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Aw, the Brits Get Everything!

This came out of nowhere, but we have an excuse: I appears to be a UK exclusive. Here’s what we got from Animation World Network: “Disney UK has announced that Paloma Faith, Miriam Margolyes, Ben Bailey Smith, Tameka Empson and Bethan Wright have signed up for a ‘spot’ on Disney Channel’s brand new animation series, 101 Dalmatian Street, and will be featured in the first season which is set to launch on Disney Channel UK early next year. Ahead of the season premiere, there will be a special episode, airing in December 2018, which will introduce audiences to the unique characters and world of 101 Dalmatian Street. The U.K. guest stars will be joining Josh Brener as Dylan (Silicon Valley, Star Wars Resistance, The Big Bang Theory), Michaela Dietz as Dolly (Steven Universe, Barney & Friends) who voice the eldest Dalmatian siblings… Aimed at girls and boys, the new series has been reimagined for the 21st Century and is set in modern day London in the borough of Camden. The series follows the adventures of eldest siblings Dylan and Dolly, their parents Doug and Delilah, and 97 younger puppies, whose names also begin with ‘D’, in an epic comedy about family life, multiplied one hundred and one.” The article has a whole bunch more about the voice actors and the production team. Who knows? Maybe Disney will let us folks in North America see this sometime.

image c. 2018 Disney Channel UK

Why the Crow is Black

Almost exactly a year ago we told you about a VR film in production called Rainbow Crow, based a Native American legend. Well now it seems that project has changed name and changed format. According to Animation Magazine, Crow: The Legend will premiere as a free-to-view animated feature on Facebook and YouTube later this month. “Written and directed by Eric Darnell [Antz, Madagascar] with input from Native American cultural experts and community leaders, the folklore-inspired tale arrives timed to Native American Heritage Month. The film features an all-star voice cast including John Legend as Crow, Oprah Winfrey as The One Who Creates Everything by Thinking, Sarah Eagle Heart (Native Americans in Philanthropy CEO) as Luna; 83-year-old tribal elder and lifelong Native rights crusader Randy Edmonds as the Narrator; Liza Koshy (Hulu’s Freakish) as Owl; Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Moth; Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One) as Turtle; and Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians, Fresh Off the Boat) as Skunk… Inspired by the classic Native American legend about the origins of the bird, Crow: The Legend respectfully illustrates the sacrifices the bird must make. As the most beautiful animal of the forest, Crow must risk everything to save those around him. With themes of diversity and self-sacrifice for the greater community, Crow demonstrates how one single act of sacrifice can have a profound impact to our world.” You can also check out the official trailer at Animation’s link.

image c. 2018 Baobab Studios

2019 Could Get Ugly

UPDATE: As we mentioned last summer, both a feature film and a new TV series based on the UglyDolls line of plush toys have been in development for some time. Well now thanks to Animation Scoop and the Hulu Network we have the first trailer for the UglyDolls animated feature. And as it turns out, the film includes quite a roster of singers and well-known actors giving voices to the characters, including Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Pitbull, Wanda Sykes, and Gabriel Iglesias. The film is directed by Kelly Asbury (of Shrek 2 and Gnomeo & Juliet).

image c. 2018 STX

It’s Not Fair Penguins Can’t Fly

An unusual new graphic novel from Fantagraphics Books: Penguins by Nick Thorburn. “Told almost entirely without words, Penguins is one of the most playfully original graphic novels in recent memory… relying on visual expression and the physical movement of his penguin characters, as well as the formal properties of sequential drawings (with penguins routinely moving within and without each page’s panel borders), Penguins is a series of interconnected short strips that, without words or human characters, does more to showcase the breadth of emotion we as humans experience than most prose novels.” It’s available now in hardcover from Amazon.

image c. 2018 Fantagraphics Books

Magics Best Left Hidden

You may recall we told you about Patrick and Jessica Reilly, a pair of U.S. military veterans who work together as a creative team. Well here’s an update: After some successful fundraising through Patreon the first issue their black & white fantasy comic Five Realms has been released. “Join Mehan, Ronin Prince of the Mallow Clan, his best friend Gellaze, and his student Iwain as they uncover the mysteries surrounding a ‘Golden King’ buried deep within a dust-chocked canyon.” The 1st issue is available at their Etsy store and a 2nd is due this winter.

image c. 2018 Zonks Illustration

Trapped in a World He Never Evolved For

Richard Fairgray is a well-known comic book artist and children’s book illustrator in his native New Zealand. (Interesting fact from his Wikipedia: Richard illustrates and animates his own works, even though he is legally blind.) His best-known work, Blastosaurus, created quite a sensation in his homeland. Now living in Southern California, Richard has re-launched his comic with the help of Paul Eiding and Golden Apple Books. From Previews: “Blastosaurus, a 6-foot-tall, mutant triceratops, aided by Tabitha Jones and Richard Green (the twelve-year-old sidekicks he never asked for) battles monsters, robots, sentient meatballs and whatever other weirdness Freak Out City can throw at him. This action/fantasy all-ages book is big, stupid fun, grounded by a real emotional core and the most human dinosaur you’ll ever meet!” And look, there’s a YouTube preview as well. Blastosaurus is out in comic shops now.

image c. 2018 Golden Apple Books

Friends In Spite Of Everything

We had not heard of this, but evidently it’s a thing — and now it’s collected all together. “Anouk Ricard’s bold and colorful comics of this quirky, grumpy gang of pals are delightfully weird yet thoroughly realistic in their honest and hilarious portrayal of friendship. Anna, Froga, Christopher the worm, Ron the cat, and Bubu the dog continue their non-adventures with bickering, needling, cajoling, and honest friendship. No white lie goes unexposed, no small embarrassment goes unrevealed, no secret is kept, everyone’s foibles are fodder for jokes. Anna and Froga: Completely Bubu collects all five issues of the acclaimed Anna & Froga series into an accessible paperback.” It’s out now from Drawn & Quarterly.

image c. 2018 Drawn & Quarterly

I Want a Monster to Be My Playmate

Monster Mayhem is a new full-color graphic novel written and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos.Zoe’s favorite thing to do—besides invent and build robots — is watch classic monster movies. She has never been comfortable with kids her own age, and so she pretends she doesn’t need friends while inside she’s longing for connection. And then one day, Zoe finds a mysterious ring on her way home from school. She puts it on, gives it a twist, and — FRZAAKK! There’s a massive burst of light! The next morning, a familiar monster appears at Zoe’s window. He’s from one of her favorite kaiju movies, and he likes Zoe — he wants to be her friend. Has her secret wish been fulfilled? But it turns out that Zoe’s ring has brought more than just this friendly monster to life. More monsters have arrived, and they are hungry! Now she’ll need to reach out to other people to help her save her town from destruction. Good thing she’s a robotics genius!” Got all that? It’s available now in hardcover from Dial Books.

image c. 2018 Dial Books

 

All The World Shall Be Your Enemy

How on Earth did we not hear about this coming up? Well thanks to The Nerdist we did — and just in time too, as the newly-animated Watership Down is due very soon! “The BBC and Netflix are releasing a new CG-animated version this Christmas, and in order to more accurately portray the book, it’s going to come in two feature-length installments. The cast was already all-star, with James McAvoy as refugee rabbit leader Hazel, Nicholas Hoult as the psychic runt Fiver, John Boyega as the intimidating fighter Bigwig, Olivia Colman as bereaved doe Strawberry (a gender-flip from the book), Ben Kingsley as villain General Woundwort, Tom Wilkinson as doomed elder Threarah, and Taron Egerton as the rabbit Christ-analogue El-ahrairah (meaning “prince with a thousand enemies”). But now, via an official BBC announcement, they’ve revealed even more: Peter Capaldi will play the bunnies’ seagull ally Kehaar, Daniel Kaluuya is warren destruction survivor Bluebell, and Rosamund Pike is the Black Rabbit of Inle, a death/Satan figure and counterpart to the rabbit deity Frith.” All that plus director Noam Murro, the man behind 300: Rise of an Empire. Look for it on Netflix this coming December.

image c. 2018 BBC