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January, 2010:

Return to Munden’s Bar

IDW Publishing presents a return to the focal point of Cynosure: Grim Jack’s own multi-world famous Munden’s Bar. Grim Jack was a popular dark science-fiction adventure comic of the 80’s and 90’s, and many anthropomorphic creatures (to say nothing of other alien beasties) met up with Grim Jack and his crew at Munden’s Bar. Now we have a brand-new full-color trade paperback featuring all new never-before-printed stories of this multi-dimensional hangout by the likes of Skip Williamson, Jon Ostrander, William Messner-Loebs, Marc Hempel, Joe Staton, Hilary Barta, Mark Wheatley and more. Munden’s Bar: Grand Re-Opening will be on shelves this February.

A History of Comic Strip Art

Jerry Robinson is a living legend in the world of comics, having created The Joker and having been involved in the comics industry for more than 70 years now (!). In 1974 Jerry was the author and editor of a book which has since become a world-famous study: The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art. Now that historic book has been updated and re-released in trade paperback form by Dark Horse Comics. The press release describes it as “…a comprehensive history of the truly American art form! The Comics is a fully reworked and updated edition of the 1974 classic that chronicles the origins and evolution of comic strips, from prior to The Yellow Kid through today, and highlights the game-changing contributions of such creative luminaries as Milton Caniff, Walt Kelly, Hal Foster, and Winsor McCay, among countless others. A fascinating resource of enduring excellence for fans of the art form, historians, and casual readers alike, this edition has been extensively revisited by Robinson and tells the stories behind the newsprint page.” Needless to say, many furry comic strips are covered in this extensive history, including Bloom County, Peanuts, Calvin & Hobbes, Pogo, Garfield, and many many more. This new edition goes on sale this April.

Meet the Barque Cats

A new and futuristic take on an ancient tradition: The ship’s cat.

Since the early days of travel by sea, ship’s cats have been a vital part of any crew, working to keep the ship free of vermin and to acting as “morale boosters”. Now, in Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, a pure-bred line of these “barque cats” have been bred to follow humans into space as vital members of any starship’s crew, seeking out air leaks and other environmental hazards in the tight and inaccessible parts of a ship. Now though,  deadly livestock plague is racing between planets, and humans may be forced to destroy all exposed animals — including the barque cats. Yet as humans argue and fight over the fate of these animals, a new discovery is made: Some of the newest barque kittens are demonstrating signs of higher intelligence… and something very much like telepathy. The book is available now in hardcover from Del Ray.

Return of the Pet Avengers

They saved the world in Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, but what have they been doing since then? Now Marvel Comics answers that question with the new Tails of the Pet Avengers full-color comic book series, coming to a comic store near you this February. The premier issue features a never-before-seen story of Zabu the sabertooth from the Savage Land, plus a new prequel-story of Frog Thor. Each of thse super-powered animals we be getting their own solo stories in the coming months, as well as joining their fellow animals for more Pet Avengers daring-do. The first issue has quite a diverse roster of talent working on it, including writers Chris Eliopoulos, Scott Gray, Colleen Coover, and Joe Caramagna, with art by Ig Guara, Gurihiru, and more. The cover art (below) is by Humberto Ramos.

Cover Art by Humberto Ramos. c. 2010 Marvel Comics

Cover Art by Humberto Ramos. c.2010 Marvel Comics

Goodbye Gumby

Art Clokey, creator of the world-famous claymation character Gumby, has passed away this last week after a long battle with infection. He was 88.

Mr. Clokey (born Arthur Farrington in Detroit, before he was given up for adoption at age 11) and his wife Ruth created an avant-garde claymation short film, Gumbasia, in the early 1950’s. Clokey said he took the term from “gumbo”, a common rural term for sticky mud that is heavy with clay. Soon after that film had a successful run on the film festival circuit, Art created the green character Gumby, with an asymmetrical head based on a photo of his own father’s sculpted hair. Soon Art was animated short Gumby films and packaging them together as TV shows. Along the way he created characters like Gumby’s “pony pal” Pokey, their friends Prickle (a cranky dinosaur/dragon) and Goo (an optimistic shape-shifting whatsit), and the villainous blockheads. Later on in the 1960’s, Clokey was hired by the Lutheran Church Council to create a TV series called Davy and Goliath, in which a young boy and his talking dog studied the Bible and learned about Christian values.

Art Clokey is survived, of course, by his creations — who have since become cultural icons in past few decades. Gumby himself has more than 100,000 fans on Facebook.

Cats and Dogs, living together…

We don’t remember it doing that all-fire well at the box office, but evidently it pleased someone: Cats and Dogs (from 2001) has inspired a big-screen sequel, Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, coming to theaters (in 3D) at the end of July. In spite of it not appearing until this summer, a full-fledged trailer is available for viewing on YouTube and elsewhere. From what we can tell the cast, crew, and characters appear to all be different from the first film. This time around the secretly high-tech cats and dogs put aside their warring ways in order to battle with a rogue cat spy — voiced by Bette Midler no less! — who has evil plans of her own. Hmm, could it be that the basic idea of the first film (dogs as heroes and cats as villains) so turned off “cat people” that it wound up limiting the film’s audience — and box office? We’ll find out if this new take on things performs any differently this summer.

The Last of the Polar Bears

Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges, creators of Draw Furries, are currently working on a new graphic novel, The Last of the Polar Bears. According to Jared, “It’s one part fable, one part coming-of-age adventure epic. The story takes place in the near future, told through the perspective of a mother polar bear and her two cubs as they struggle to survive in a rapidly changing world. Work on this project started back in March 2009, almost immediately after we finished up Draw Furries. It’s only now (almost a year later) that we are at the point where we can share our story with the public. While the developmental work is finished, the long grueling task of drawing the comic is just beginning. Around the first of the year, Lindsay started roughing out the first chapter of the tale. And although the finished book is still a long way off, we want to start getting the word out about this new story. As part of our efforts, we put together a promotional postcard featuring Lindsay’s art of the polar bear family. Here’s the link to sign up for one! Just enter an address on the form and hit the send button to received the card in the mail. I have a stack of 500 of these postcards and I want to give every one of them out to people, so please participate!” Meanwhile, we at In-Fur-Nation will keep you informed when we hear word of a release date for the new graphic novel.

A SCOOP from Radio Comix!

Recently the artist Heather Bruton put up the piece you see below up on her Fur Affinity page. It’s the cover for a brand-new comic book anthology that’s coming up from Radio Comix, “focusing on human/furry interactions”. That’s all we have so far, this lovely cover — no word yet on format, artists, writers, or a release date. But this certainly grabs our interest! Keep up with In-Fur-Nation through 2010 and we’ll let you know when we find out more.

And with that little scoop, let us wish you all a Happy New Year in 2010!

Rod O’Riley, your ed-otter

"Wedding Night", c. 2009 by Heather Bruton

"Wedding Night", c. 2009 by Heather Bruton