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July, 2009:

NIMH Returns… with Mrs. Frisby

Yahoo Movies is reporting that Paramount Pictures is developing a feature version of the Newbery Medal-winning children’s book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien. “Director Neil Burger (The Illusionist) is in talks to write the screenplay. The movie would be the second theatrical go-round for the book, which MGM brought to the screen in 1982 as the animated film The Secret of NIMH, directed by Don Bluth.

Robert C. O’Brien’s book has been a staple in children’s bookstores and libraries since it was first published in 1971. The story centers on a mouse — the titular Mrs. Frisby, renamed Mrs. Brisby in the MGM movie — faced with a crisis when her son falls ill and she must move her family to escape a farmer’s plow. Mrs. Frisby enlists a group of former lab rats, whom she soon discovers possess advanced technologies and run a highly evolved society, dividing labor in the manner of a human community.

The new NIMH will likely combine live action and animation in the manner of Alvin and the Chipmunks and other kiddie hybrids.” No word yet on cast members or a planned release date, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do!

The Fantastic Mr. Fox is coming… from Fox!

People are talking about the new stop-motion animation film The Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the book of the same name by the late Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). The film is the first foray into animation for director Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums), and it’s being released by (who else?) 20th Century Fox.  For those who don’t know, the story tells of Mr. Fox, who regularly steals chickens and ducks from three mean human farmers (named Boggis, Bunce and Bean) to feed his family.  When the farmers conspire to have them all killed, the foxes conspire right back with a group of badgers, moles, and other undergroud dwellers to take care of the humans once and for all.  The cast includes the voices of George Clooney and Meryl Streep as Mr. and Mrs. Fox, respectively, as well as Anjelica Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Jarvis Cocker, Michael Gambon, Owen Wilson, and Willem Dafoe — several of whom have been frequent Wes Anderson collaborators in the past. The film is scheduled to be released on November 13th of this year, and the first trailers are scheduled to hit theaters on July 31st.

Guinea Pigs Gone Wild!

In a surprising development that few in or out of Hollywood were expecting, Disney’s 3-D guinea-pig-secret-agent film G-Force topped Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince AND a brand new romantic comedy (The Ugly Truth) for the top spot at the U.S. box office this past weekend, earning more than $32 million according to studio estimates. This is from The Los Angeles Times: “”We knew we had a really good-playing family movie, but when you’re competing against a film like Harry Potter, you can never presume anything,” said Mark Zoradi, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Group. Although critics had few nice words for G-Force, audiences were pleased, giving the movie an average grade of B-plus, according to market research firm CinemaScore. That presages a healthy box-office run that could see it ultimately earning more than $100 million.” The film was directed by Hoyt Yeatman and produced by Mr. Action Movie himself, Jerry Bruckheimer.

The Unscratchables

It’s called The Unscratchables by Cornelius Kane, and it’s being billed as “A new breed of crime novel”. Here’s the run-down from Publisher’s Weekly: “Detective Max ‘Crusher’ McNash, a fearless bull terrier in the slaughter unit of the San Bernardo police dog force, must overcome his distrust of special agent Cassius Lap, a very Zen Siamese of the FBI (Feline Bureau of Investigation), in their pursuit of a serial killer cat targeting dogs in this off-the-leash hard-boiled satire from the pseudonymous Kane. The fur begins flying when two rottweilers are torn apart. Later victims include a retriever attending a museum shindig, movie star Jack Russell Crowe and a newshound. Crusher and Cassius deal with gangsta hounds as well as visit Kathattan, an island where dogs are unwelcome, and Cattica Correctional Facility, where convicted murderer Quentin Riossiti, a debonair psycho cat, offers his help for a price. Billed as a well-known Australian author, Kane offers plenty of tongue-in-muzzle insights into bestial behavior, political chicanery and assorted foxy topics.”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.  Look for it soon, in paperback from Scribner.

The Dragon Codices

The Dragon Codices series by R.D. Henham is a new series of young-adult hardcover fiction novels for readers with an interest in dragons — as characters, not just as marauding monsters. This is from the publisher, Mirrorstone:

“For fans of The New York Times best-selling A Practical Guide to Dragons, a new series of fantasy fiction focusing on the power of dragonkind. The Dragon Codices chronicle adventures with each of ten dragons of Krynn. From the fiery, evil red dragon to the playful copper, each dragon’s tale is unique. Sindri Suncatcher, narrator of A Practical Guide to Dragons, shared these tales from his travels with library scribe R.D. Henham. Mudd lives a peaceful life in his small town, tinkering with the mill and any mechanical devices that he can find. But his peaceful life soon changes when, out of nowhere, a red dragon attacks, burning the town and kidnapping Shemnara, the village seer. Only one clue is left behind–a cryptic note telling Mudd, “Seek the silver dragon.””

The most recent book in the series is Brass Dragon Codex. An orphaned brass dragon named Kyani ventures out into the desert and stumbles upon a gnome inventor — whose latest invention might just start a war if he and his new dragon friend aren’t careful!  Remember, folks: Color dragons are evil, and metal dragons are good.  Mostly…

Bun Buns!

Radio Comix/Sin Factory have a new adults-only black & white release that we learned about on line: Bun Buns #1.

“They’re rascally, they’re raunchy — they’re rabbits! This all-new special from the Genus alumni features nothing but bunnies doing what they do best, and all focusing on the derriere! Sexy stories and art spotlighting bushels of backdoor action featuring straight couples, gay couples, and everything in-between.”

Bouncing buns of all persuasions by AnimeCat, Karno, Bellamy, Blackberry, Gibson, D.A.Q., Giles, Harlan-Stein, Howell, Palmer, Paperbag, Rosales, Smith, Williams, and XianJaguar, with a cover by Yamaneko-Ya. Ask your local comic dealer about it.

Mr. Stuffins tries again!

The comic book adventures of a teddy-bear secret agent! Mr. Stuffins #1 was constantly selling out at conventions, with fans demanding to know when issue #2 would come out.  Well now issue #1 has been re-issued by Boom! Studios, with new artwork by Axel Medellin. Original artist Andrew Cosby (Eureka) and writer Johanna Stokes have also returned, and this time the whole team is promising that issue #2 will be coming out soon!  Visit to find out more.

Long Tall Kitty

Lark Pien is a name well-known among graphic novel fans, and now she’s released her first hardcover children’s book through Blue Apple Books.  Long Tall Kitty tells the story of the titular cat and his friends — including a bee who’s friends with the flowers (at least the nice ones), a mouse who likes ice skating, and a family of aliens who drop in for a night of fun.  Yes.

Aardvarks and more

Dave Sim’s very, very strange journey to creating his world-famous Cerebus the Aardvark series is now reflected upon in Dave’s new bi-monthly black & white publication, Cerebus Archive (from Aardvark-Vanaheim, of course). From his earliest cartoon creation, The Beavers, to his first professionally published comic book story Cry of the White Wolf (with art by Stan Connerty), it’s all here, plus a lot of extras — including some of Dave’s early rejection slips from major comic book publishers!