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Step into the World of Crow

Recently, we learned about a new 3D virtual reality film in the works called Rainbow Crow from Baobab Studios. The idea is to make a short film where the viewer can step into a different world and interact with animal characters as they tell you a story. In this case, it’s a Native American legend about how the crow saved his fellow animals from a harsh winter frost — and in so doing, gained his famously black feathers. Directed by Eric Darnell from Dreamworks (Antz, Madagascar), Rainbow Crow stars the voices of singer John Legend, Diego Luna, Constance Wu, and Randy Edmonds. A short preview film (about 4 minutes of the final 40) made the rounds recently at Tribeca and other film festivals. Road To VR has an article about the production of the film.

image c. 2017 Baobab Studios

When Animation Got Cool Again

Quick bit of history: Things were looking kind of bleak for American animation in the late 1970’s. It took a while to shake off the blues and get things going in the 1980’s, but when they finally did, animation came back with a bang. And now there’s a new book about it — with an appropriate title. “Totally Awesome: The Greatest Cartoons of the Eighties is the ultimate guide to ’80s cartoon nostalgia, featuring the art, toys, and inside story behind icons like He-Man, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, and the Thundercats. For an entire generation of kids weaned on the intoxicating excitement of eighties cartoons, the decade can be summed up with two words: Totally Awesome! With a thriving Saturday morning network schedule, a full complement of weekday syndicated programming, and the removal of guidelines that prevented cartoons from being based on toys, the 1980s enjoyed an unprecedented TV animation boom that made household names of a host of colorful characters. From He-Man and the Masters of the Universe to The Transformers, G.I. Joe, and The Muppet Babies, eighties cartoons would have such a huge impact on an entire generation that decades later they have become pop culture touchstones, revered by fans whose young minds were blown by their vivid visuals and snappy storytelling. In this deluxe book, Andrew Farago, a respected cartoon historian and child of the eighties, provides an inside look at the history of the most popular cartoons of the decade, as told by the writers, animators, voice actors, and other creative talents who brought life to some of the era’s most enduring animated shows.” Hey, a decade that brought us Gummi Bears and The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse? We’re there! Totally Awesome is coming in hardcover from Insight Editions at the end of November.

image c. 2017 Insight Editions

The Ape You Fear The Most

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the original Planet of the Apes movie. (“You blew it up!”) You can bet there will be plenty of media celebrating that milestone. Possibly first out of the gate, BOOM! Studios has a new full-color series: “BOOM! Studios and Twentieth Century Consumer Products are excited to announce Planet of the Apes: Ursus, a comic book series launching in January 2018 about the classic franchise’s most notorious villain. Written by David F. Walker (Power Man & Iron Fist, War for the Planet of the Apes) and illustrated by Christopher Mooneyham (Five Ghosts) — both longtime fans of the franchise — the series will follow the rise through the ranks of the ape who has hated (and feared) mankind the most, including what first brought him to the Forbidden Zone. This is the first project from BOOM! Studios in 2018 as part of their yearlong celebration of the franchise’s 50th anniversary.” Previews has an extensive interview with Mr. Walker about bringing the series to life.

image c. 2017 BOOM! Studios

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Animals to Cuddle

As we’ve noted, if you’re talking about Furry Fandom the word “cute” is never far away. And if you’re talking about cute, plush animals are probably going to come up too. Well at the L.A. Comic Con we came across an artist called Bellzi, who specializes in cute plush animals. In literally dozens of designs in fact. “Anything and Everything Cute” their web site says, and they live up to that ideal!

image c. 2017 by Bellzi

Rabbit, Take Me Home!

An interesting project we stumbled across at the LA. Comic Con, with the deceptively simple title of Bun. Brought to us by the writing and illustration team of Brian Silveira and Lisa Nguyen, Bun is a graphic novel fantasy/horror series the couple created and published themselves. Their web page describes it like this: “A boy. A girl. An unspeakable evil. A rabbit.” An interview in a local newspaper gave us a bit more description: Bun is “…an intricate tale that follows a young boy and his pet rabbit, the titular Bun. The book picks up after the boy, Milo, loses his mother to cancer. In the wake of her death, his father retreats into alcoholism and depression, essentially making the boy an orphan, alone and struggling with his grief. Milo suddenly disappears, transported to another world where his rabbit Bun serves as the only bridge back home.” The first and second installments of this black & white series are available now.

image c. 2017 by Silveira/Nguyen

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Awww. Weird, but Awww.

Every year we visit several comic book conventions, and every time we run across artists who specialize in cute. One of the latest is Rizzo Michelle. If you visit the official web site you’ll see artwork of little bunnies, little kittens, and sad little sharks (believe us, it works…), often in rather odd but fun settings. The art is available not only as prints but magnets, tote bags, and even plush toys.

image c. 2017 by Rizzo Michelle

These Animals ROCK… If You Want Them To

[Just back from PAW-Con in Northern California, and STILL getting caught up on stuff from Stan Lee’s LA Comic Con!] Here’s a useful item with a Furry Fandom twist: My Audio Pet is “…a powerful Bluetooth speaker that enables you to listen to your favorite music, podcasts, or shows wherever you are. All My Audio Pets feature: Easy wireless connection to most smartphones, tablets, and other Bluetooth-enabled devices, a built-in mic for convenient hands-free option, and a rechargeable battery allows for portable tunes wherever you go.” Not to mention, they come in several cute animal designs — all with equally cute names like “Owl-capella”. Visit their web site to see all their current designs.

image c. 2017 myaudiopet.com

Sweet and Innocent Books for Kids

… or so it would seem. More strangeness we found at the L.A. Comic Con. This time in the form of Reacharound Books. These folks specialize in cute illustrated picture books for kids… that are not. How so?  Well two of the books from their first set (called “Season One”) should be of special note to furry fans: Brenda’s Beaver Needs a Barber and Spank the Monkey Lends a Hand. See where this is going? The funny thing is all of their books are perfectly innocent on the surface — not a single dirty word or picture in any of them. Welcome to the world of double entendre! The books are written by “Bimisi Tayanita” and illustrated by “Sumguyen Bangladesh” — names may have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. So check out their web page, buy the books, and let your children wonder what the heck you’re laughing your head off about.

Image c. 2017 Reacharound Books

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Panda Power Protects

More news we picked up at Stan Lee’s L.A. Comic Con. According to Screen Daily: “Stan Lee’s POW Entertainment has licensed its animated alien characters, The Unknowns, to be used in animated feature Panda vs. Aliens, which is currently in production at Canada’s Arcana Studios. Co-produced by China’s Yisang Media and Los Angeles Beijing Studios (LABS), the film is about aliens landing on an animal planet and seeking the power of a panda that they’ve seen through satellite broadcasts of a TV show. Gill Champion and Stan Lee will executive produce the film, which is directed by Arcana Studios founder Sean O’Reilly and is being lined up for release over Chinese New Year 2018.” You heard it here. Sean O’Reilly previously produced and directed Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (which we’ve talked about before) and its sequel.

image c. 2017 Arcana