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An Inspirational Fore-bearer

For those who thought that Furry Art got its start in the 1980’s…  meet T.S. Sullivant, who was doing this when Walt Disney was still in school. Now Fantagraphics Books have compiled many of his well-known black & white cartoons — along with words of appreciation — into a new book called A Cockeyed Menagerie. “Welcome to the cockeyed menagerie of Thomas Starling Sullivant. From the 1880s to the Roaring Twenties, Sullivant conjured up a whimsical world in pen and ink — riotous gag cartoons featuring anthropomorphic animals of all stripes; perennial American ‘types’ like hobos, hayseeds, and urban hucksters; and familiar characters from ancient myths and biblical tales. Imbued with infectious joy, his drawings have inspired generations of artists and countless Disney films.” It’s available now in hardcover.

image c. 2021 Fantagraphics Books

They’ll Be Bok

Back when we first talked about  The Chicken Squad book series, we made a silly crack about how one day they might be made into a “chick flick”.  Well… maybe a TV series is a good halfway point? “The Chicken Squad, Disney Junior’s new cg animated comedy adventure hits the airways on Disney Junior and DisneyNOW on Friday May 14. The series, which was inspired by the popular kids’ book series of the same name by Doreen Cronin, follows a trio of young chicken siblings—Coop, Sweetie and Little Boo—and their retired search and rescue dog mentor, Captain Tully. Together, they team up on problem-solving adventures in their backyard to help their animal friends, while modeling what it means to be good community helpers and finding the joy in assisting others.” Animation World Network has more information, and a preview trailer too.

image c. 2021 Disney Junior

Rivals Land on Paper

Remember when we talked about Rivals of Aether, a very furry video game? Well now Dan Fornace and his creative team are exploring a new medium as they bring us Tales of Aether — Future Imperfect, a full-color comic book series slated to come out later this year. Over on YouTube they have a preview video that introduces a lot of the new characters and situations. Be on the lookout!

image c. 2021 Aether Studios

Bearing Arms

We’re sorry we didn’t hear about Rudek and the Bear before — but now creator Peter Donahue has a Kickstarter campaign running to get the second collection volume out, and it looks very interesting. “Rudek and the Bear is a webcomic featuring anthropomorphic soldiers and smugglers and their shenanigans along the Polish-Soviet border in 1929… Since Volume I came out, the story and characters have evolved so much. Rudek the fox faces his PTSD from the Polish-Ukrainian War; Masha the bear grapples with the moral consequences of smuggling stolen goods; and Malutki (the big bear) chooses which side he’s on.” The campaign has already reached its initial goal, so stay tuned to find out what stretches get added between now and the finish.

image c. 2021 by Peter Donahue

Ho! Kay…

Interesting story out of Variety (by way of Animation World Network): “Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard is attached to helm a computer-animated adaptation of the beloved 1980s Rankin Bass animated series Thundercats for Warner Bros., from a script Wingard will write with frequent collaborator Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest)… The original series, which aired from 1985 to 1989, was revived for a single season Cartoon Network in 2011, and then again in 2020 under the title Thundercats Roar. But as a feature film, Thundercats has been a tricky project to crack for the studio, which has hired a small parade of screenwriters and producers since at least 2007 to bring a movie to life. The underlying story is at once relatively simple — a team of humanoid cat-people (or cat-like humans) like Lion-O, Panthro, and Cheetara fight the evil wizard Mumm-Ra on the planet of Third Earth — and surprisingly complicated, with a mix of technological space sci-fi and swords-and-sorcery fantasy.” Read the article at Variety for much more on this latest take on our friends from Thundera.

image c. 2021 Cartoon Network

Mommy is Always Watching. Thank Goodness.

So here we are in April — Let’s talk about rabbits! Specifically The Runaway Bunny. We got this from Animation World Network: “First published in 1942, The Runaway Bunny is one of the many iconic children’s books by famous Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown; its poetry tells the story of a young bunny anxious to leave home and adventure out into the world beyond his rabbit hole, while also discovering the unending reach of his mother’s protection and love… Amy Schatz, documentary and short film producer and director, has spent the last year working with animator Maciek Albrecht to reimagine the classic 48-page tale into a 25-minute, 2D-animated musical, which premiered yesterday, March 25, on HBO Max.” Read the article to find out more.

image c. 2021 HBO Max

A Glorious Return

How did we not even know this was being made — let alone that it’s about to come out?? Well, here it is — The sequel to 2016’s Rock Dog, which furry fandom adored… even if the box office wasn’t so kind. Rock Dog 2 is scheduled for release in April, directed by Mark Baldo. “One year after the original Rock Dog: Bodi and his band, True Blue, have become locally famous in the village of Snow Mountain — they even have devoted fans! But when a music mogul named Lang gives them the opportunity to tour with pop sensation, Lil’ Foxy— Bodi and his friends learn that fame comes at a price, and ultimately discover that only by staying true to yourself can you unleash the power of Rock n’ Roll!” ReDefine is one of  the companies that worked on the film, and they have a lot of good info.

image c. Splash Entertainment

Hang On To Your Hats…

… because things are about to get weird-er… Digital Lizards of Doom is a new full-color graphic novel written by Gabriel Valentin and illustrated by Ernie Najera. “In a world where science and sorcery have brought peace to the galaxy, a young warrior’s belief system is shattered when an evil robot and an ancient witch attack his kingdom, forcing him into a quest for justice. As revelations about his world are exposed, Dizzy’s faith is shaken, and he must now make an unlikely alliance with a mysterious ninja and a cyborg cat pirate. Together they’ll search for a fabled weapon that could destroy evil forever and bring the universe into an unending era of peace!” Did we mention that Dizzy is a reptile? And that’s just a hint of how odd this all gets, as the graphic novel itself is written and presented in a unique new geometric manner. Visit their web site and it might all make more sense. Maybe. Oh, and there’s a soundtrack too!

image c. 2021 Clover Press

Let’s-a Go Sailing!

Look what they’re getting over in Italy! It’s a new 2D animated series designed to teach kids about ocean conservation (while they’re busy being entertained). “Based on an original concept by exec producer Federico Fiecconi (Founder & CEO, Graffiti Creative), AquaTeam-Sea Adventure follows world-famous marine biologist Marysun as she sets out with her friends Otty the Octopus (a whole rap group on eight legs) and teenage diving enthusiast Desy to explore the beautiful Mediterranean sea. As well as befriending dolphins, turtles and other sea creatures, the adventurers discover a deposit of plastic garbage which threatens a pod of sperm whales.” Animation magazine has all the details.

image c. 2021 Graffiti Creative