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December, 2009:

Hitman Monkey

And yet more titles to make furry fans stand up and take notice. Hitman Monkey is a new full-color comic book series from Marvel, created by Daniel Way and Dalibor Talijic. Issue #1 also features a kick-ass cover by Frank Cho (of Liberty Meadows fame. See below). Yes, the hero is a Japanese macaque who happens to be a hitman. It seems that folks at Marvel Comics have been following some Internet photo-memes… Series executive editor Alex Alonso describes Hitman as a “soulful, tortured, jazz-loving, 30-pound engine of destruction.” This new series introduces the character, who then gets to go bananas (sorry ^^ ) in an issue of Deadpool that also features Spiderman. Interestingly, in the same month there’s an issue of Deadpool Team-Up where the “Merc with a Mouth” battles an army of gun-toting giant raccoons!  What’s going on here??

Hitman Monkey by Frank Cho

Hitman Monkey by Frank Cho

Furry Vengeance

Hollywood does have its way of coming up with titles that make furry fans lift their ears and take notice…

Furry Vengeance is a new live-action comedy film starring Brendan Fraser, coming to theaters in April of 2010. Fraser stars as Dan Sanders, a real estate agent charged with helping a large property company tear down a huge section of a forest preserve to build a new residential community and shopping mall. Trouble is, the local animals have gotten wind of the project, and they decide to take it on themselves to see that it doesn’t happen — even if that means driving Dan and his family out of house and home. The animals are lead by a clever and very resourceful raccoon. Is it all starting to sound familiar to you? You’re not alone. The blog-o-sphere has been going crazy pointing out similarities of this movie to Dreamworks’ animated film Beyond the Hedge, and in general saying not-very-nice things about Furry Vengeance… and all of this after just seeing the first trailer! Still, if you check out the trailer for yourself, you’ll see that there is a huge variety of animals in the “cast”, and any film like that is going to catch Furry Fandom’s interest — for good OR bad. We’ll see what happens next April.

Until then, Merry Christmas everyone, and a Blessed Solstice to you all.

Start 2010 right… with a Kitty!

Arabian Dreams is a new, provocative fur-suit calendar for 2010, starring a spotted cat known as Dreamsong. Here’s the description from “Dreamsong, Tjiran princess from long ago, accompanies you on a thirteen-month journey into the world of ancient royalty through fourteen high-quality large-format, frameable prints with companions 2 the Ranting Gryphon and Alexander James Adams.” Now that’s some company for a cat to keep! Follow the link to see pictures from the calendar and purchase your own copy for $22.95. You’ll also find links there to purchase some interesting furry-themed t-shirts.

Goodbye Roy

Sadder news today from the world of Disney…

Roy E. Disney has died, at the age 0f 79, after a long battle with stomach cancer. The nephew of Walt Disney himself, Roy E. was the son of Walt’s brother Roy O. Disney, who was famous as being the financial brains behind many of Walt’s craziest ideas — like, animated feature films and theme parks. Roy E. spent almost all of his adult life working for his uncle and father’s company, in many different capacities. In the 1950’s and 1960’s he worked as a writer on famous short films in the True Life Adventures series, like The Living Desert and The Vanishing Prairie, as well as the TV series Zorro. (It seems appropriate that, most recently, Roy was involved in the creation of the Disney Earth series of documentaries.) In many circles though, what Roy E. became best known for was his staunch defense of the Disney company’s reputation as an animation powerhouse and pioneer. In the 1980’s, when Roy was a Disney board member and he felt that the animation quality was drifting (The Black Cauldron, anyone?), Roy lead a revolt among the stockholders that lead to the ouster of Disney chairman Ron Miller (who was married to Walt’s daughter Diane). This lead to Michael Eisner taking on the leadership of the Disney company, and soon enough lead to an animation renaissance that would produce such hits as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King. Twenty years later, when Pixar was booting Disney’s traditional butt at the box office regularly, Roy again lead a stockholder revolt that lead to Michael Eisner being stripped of many of his powers at the company. Roy was a loud promoter of traditional 2D animation, even when it didn’t always make financial sense. Fantasia 2000 owes a large part of its existence to Roy’s efforts while he was head of Walt Disney Feature Animation. That film may not have broken records at the box office, but many fans of traditional animation celebrated Roy for seeing that it got made and released. At more than one public appearance, Roy was given a standing ovation by adoring animation fans. Your humble ed-otter can attest to being among them. So thank you, Roy. And blessed be.

The Return of 2D Animation…?

Well, maybe not, but there was definitely a loud, collective sigh of relief being breathed over at Walt Disney Animation Studios when their newest 2D animated feature The Princess and the Frog not only did well during its first weekend of full release, but was actually #1 at the box office in North America. Now true, making just over $25 million on your opening weekend is not exactly earth-shattering by Hollywood standards, but it should be pointed out that $25 million broke the record for animated films premiering in December — and the film didn’t even premier on Christmas weekend, when animated films traditionally top, so many are expecting the film to do even better in the next few weekends. The tie-in machine is in full “swing” also, of course: Clips from the film and behind-the-scenes shorts are all over YouTube, and live singing and dancing shows can be found on board the Mark Twain riverboat at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The film even has its own Facebook page, if you’d like to join up and become an “official fan”.

Scratches, Volume 3

The popular artist collective known as Blotch have returned with a new collection CD for 2009. Scratches Volume 3 features over 120 drawn images of male-on-male anthropomorphic erotica, with no less than 100 of them having never seen the light of day on the Internet. It includes pencil sketches, inked drawings, and full-color works, and even two multi-page comics (one color and one black & white). It’s available now (shipping soon) for only $26.00 US, including shipping and handling *ahem*. To find out more about Volume 3 (and Volumes 1 and 2 if you need to catch up), visit the information site here.

It Will Leave You…

Famed horror and imaginative fiction writer Dean Koontz has returned with Breathless, his latest book in hardcover from Bantam.  Check this out: Grady Adams is a man with a troubled past, living a solitary life in the remote Colorado mountains with only his Irish wolfhound, Merlin, for company. That is, until the day when Grady stumbles across a pair of magnificent, unknown furry creatures — clearly a brand new species. Grady befriends the creatures and asks Cammy Rivers, a local veterinarian, to help him study them. But then, out of nowhere, the government shows up and puts the entire area under quarantine — and refuses to answer any questions why. When something horrible happens, Grady and Cammy soon decide that they have no choice but to join the new creatures and escape to freedom.

Awards Season Kicks Off

The International Animated Film Society (ASIFA) announced the nominees for the 37th annual Annie Awards, presented every year to the best in animated feature films, TV shows, commercials, short films, and more. Walt Disney Animation Studios dominated the nominees 2009 with 17, including eight for the traditional 2D film The Princess and the Frog. That film was nominated for Best Animated Feature, as well as earning individual nominations for animated effects, character animation, production design, and voice acting. Joining Princess in the Best Animated Feature category are Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Secret of Kells, and Up. Notice: Six nominees instead of the usual five.  There’s a lot to choose from this year! Check out all of the 2009 Annie Awards nominees at the Annie Awards web site.

Did you also notice that all of the Best Feature nominees have anthropomorphic animals in either lead or supporting roles?  There’s a lot to choose from for furry fans this year too! Especially when one looks further and finds numerous nominations for the Penguins of Madagascar TV series and Merry Madagascar special (both from Dreamworks Animation, of course), plus nominations for Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas, Open Season 2, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, The Wonder Pets, Ponyo, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Monsters vs. Aliens, and more.

With that many to chose from this year, it’s time for furry fans around the world to get serious thinking about The Ursa Major Awards for 2009, too. Remember, this is the Peoples’ Choice awards for furry fandom! Visit the Ursa Major Awards web site to add items to the Recommended Reading and Viewing List, things that furry fans might want to remember and keep in mind when they’re getting ready to nominate — which, by the way, will begin in January of 2010!