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Kung Fu Fighting. Well, Not Exactly.

Somehow we missed this when it came around last year. Team Taekwondo is a black & white graphic novel series for younger readers, published by Rodale Kids. The first volume is called Ara’s Rocky Road to White BeltIt goes like this: “Ara is the odd turtle out in his family, preferring his rock collection to new or wild adventures—until he meets Baeoh, a confident tiger who practices martial arts. Unsure if he has what it takes to join Baeoh’s taekwondo team, Ara must learn how to come out of his shell, persist through failure, and accept the help of his new friends to complete the Tiger Fitness Challenge.” They go on further to say, “The Team Taekwondo series combines the appeal of graphic novels and martial arts to deliver action-filled, character-building stories. Each book also includes one free lesson at any participating licensed ATA Martial Arts location.” Each book in the series is written by Master Taekwon Lee and Jeffrey Nodelman, and illustrated by Ethen Beavers. Now the second volume, Baeoh and the Bully, was just released to stores as well.

image c. 2018 Rodale Kids

The Bird Pays Him Back

The King of Birds is a new hardcover graphic novel, written and illustrated in full color by Alexander Utkin. It’s published by Nobrow Press: “The King of Birds has victoriously defeated the King of Animals, but he is left gravely injured. He promises a merchant a great reward if he can nurse him back to health. Upon his recovery, they travel far across the land to the domains of the King’s three sisters to claim the merchant’s prize… but can his sisters overcome their greed and give up that which is most precious to them?” This is the first story in the new Gamayun Tales series of Russian folk tales — hosted by the titular Gamayun, a human-faced bird who tells stories. Check out the review over at Broken Frontier. The book is available now.

image c. 2018 Nobrow Press

Meet Him Next Tuesday

With a name like Taco, this rodent is gonna be different… maybe even difficult. “This is a squirrel . . . ‘Hey, I may be a squirrel, but my name is Taco! And I don’t eat nuts and tree bark — blech — I prefer tacos!’ The natural predator of squirrels is . . . ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa! Who is writing this book? I do not like where this is going.’ This hilarious send-up of a children’s nature primer teaches kids that the most important story is the one you write yourself.” This Is A Taco was written by Andrew Cangelose and illustrated by Josh Shipley. It’s available now from the Cubhouse imprint of Lion Forge. Check it out at Barnes & Noble.

image c. 2018 Cubhouse

Coming Soon From Italy. We Hope.

And they just keep showing up… More from Animation World Network. Rai Com (from Italy) have acquired several new animation projects for distribution, and of course several of them are furry in nature. Woof Meow is a CGI series directed by Alexey Kotenochkin and produced in Russia by AA Studios. “The series features the funny and entertaining adventures of the two kittens, Binx and Lulu, and their puppy-dog pals Oscar, Snickers, Sparky, and Hopper the Inventor. Together, they play games, make up new inventions and start real or imaginary adventuresome trips to explore the world around them. In each episode, someone gets in trouble and needs the support of the group of friends to solve the situation.” Then there’s Dixiland, a more traditional 2D animated series for preschoolers. “Dixi, the small winged elephant who is the protagonist of the story, joins other creatures as they experience joy, fun and problems.” Both are headed to MIPCOM and looking for international distribution.

image c. 2018 Rai Com

Dogs and Cats, Sailing Together. Mass Hysteria!

Looks like this is the season when folks-in-charge are shopping around for new TV series to sell around the world. Now from Animation Magazine we learn that Jetpack Distribution have picked up the world-wide rights to a 2D series from Britain called Pip Ahoy! It goes like this: “The series is a warm and boisterous show that centers on Pip and his friends as they carry out rescue missions, solve problems and take care of their community. It features the inimitable voice of Sir David Jason, who plays Skipper, an old seadog and Pip’s Uncle… Pip’s fans can also interact with the property offscreen in the UK thanks to recent renewals of both the master toy and apparel licenses and, in association with PJSL, character meet and greets at popular family entertainment parks across the country this summer. CHF Pip! Plc and PJSL are now in talks with two parks for a long-term, on-site Pip Ahoy! live show.” Good news for cartoon fans in the UK all right. Meanwhile for the rest of us, here’s some episodes on YouTube.

image c. 2018 Jetpack Distribution

Birds Sing. A-Ding-A-Ding.

Even more recent news from Animation World Network: Now we hear about a new musical animated TV series for preschoolers called Do, Re & Mi, currently starting production. “Created by Jackie Tohn (Glow, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, American Idol) and Michael Scharf (Moon and The Son: An Imagined Conversation), every episode of Do, Re & Mi starts with an adventure and ends in a song, featuring original tracks performed by Kristen Bell (Princess Anna in Disney’s Frozen), Tohn, and other surprise guests… Do, Re & Mi is about three birdy best friends named Do, Re & Mi who live in a world filled with rhythm, beats and melodies. Along with their day-to-day adventures, the characters model ways for parents and young kids to talk about music and connect these ideas to their social-emotional development.” [ Fun fact: Ms. Bell actually had one line in Zootopia, as Priscilla the sloth. ] No word yet on a planned release date.

image c. 2018 Gaumont

Once Again, We Have A Clue!

There’s more big news from Animation World Network. Looks as if a kids’ TV favorite from the 90’s has a new “leash” on life! (Sorry, sorry…) “Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues has found a new pal for Blue in TV newcomer and Broadway actor Joshua Dela Cruz, and a brand-new title: Blue’s Clues & You. Dela Cruz will have a new generation of preschoolers searching for clues with the beloved energetic girl puppy Blue.  Production on 20 new episodes of Blue’s Clues & You will commence this month in Toronto… In Blue’s Clues & You, beloved puppy Blue invites viewers to join her and the live-action host on a clue-led adventure and solve a daily puzzle. With each signature paw print, Blue identifies clues in her animated world that propel the story and inspires viewers to interact with the action.” Original series host Steve Burns is in on this new revival too, which is a good thing.

image c. 2018 Nickelodeon

Hemp Collars Are In This Year…

So we were talking about new games. Also at Long Beach Comic Con we came across the creators of Dogtag, “the attention-grabbing card game for dog-people”.  Here’s how they describe it on their web site: “The inspiration for Dogtag came from Los Angeles, where finding people who have tens of thousands of followers on Instagram is a casual occurrence. Anywhere you go you’ll see people posing in front of walls, taking pictures of food, and sneaking selfies. Showing off the highlights of our lives is a trend we all can relate to, and it only makes sense that we decided to create a card game following these themes. DUH. A splash of pop culture here, and a bucket-load of dog puns there, and this is what we get: A fun satire on social media packaged into a heckin’ cute card game.” Which is available now. The web site has video previews too.

image c. 2018 Dogtag Media

The Bears Who Stare — Now Everywhere

Thanks to Animation World Network we’ve learned that the ever-popular Care Bears are back again — this time exploring more of their world and its inhabitants. “Premium subscription streaming service Boomerang is set to unlock the imagination of the next generation of Care Bears fans as the official domestic home and world premiere destination for Care Bears: Unlock the Magic, a brand new 2D animated series from Cloudco Entertainment… A current take on The Care Bears that also plays homage to iconic brand elements like “The Care Bear Stare,” Care Bears: Unlock the Magic sends the Care Bears on the road for the first time, exploring wonderful, never-before-seen areas surrounding Care-a-lot called The Silver Lining. And as a result, the bears will get to meet new creatures and employ their powers and wits like never before.” Only thing we don’t know yet is a launch date. We’ll find out!

Image c. 2018 Boomerang