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December, 2010:

Animals United

Slipping under the radar for a lot of folks — including, yes, yours truly! — is the CGI animated film Animals United, recently coming out of Germany. It’s directed by Reinhard Klooss and Holger Tappe, known among fans of European animation for Impy’s Wonderland. In this new film, animals of various species must work together when the effects of human industrialization (read: Global Warming) threaten their supply of clean water. And yes, it’s a comedy. One look at the trailer will tell you that. So far there’s no word on a North American release, but an English language version has been created for the U.K., featuring well-known voices like Jim Broadbent, Dawn French, and Stephen Fry.

And with that bit of news: Let us wish a Happy and Joyful New Year to all you furry fans the world over! We hope to see you back here all through 2011… and beyond!

Polar Bear Adventures

Erin Hunter is a collective writer (yes, “she” is a team) best known for the Warriors series of cat fantasy novels. More recently, Erin has been creating the Seekers series, a set of fantasy novels featuring bears of various sorts. Now, this coming February brings us Seekers: Kallik’s Adventures, an illustrated black & white graphic novel co-published by Harper Collins and Tokyo Pop. The illustrations are by Bettina Kurkoski. “Polar bear cub Kallik and her brother, Taqqiq, live in a cozy den nestled into the side of a snowy hill. Their mother, Nisa, tells them stories of the great world beyond their little den: stories of other bears, endless snow, and flecks of ice in the sky called stars. Kallik and Taqqiq can’t wait to explore everything, though Nisa says they’re still too little to venture out. But when the two cubs sneak out one day, they discover some startling new things about life in the wild and make a new friend—whose life may be in danger!” Amazon. com has more about this new softcover book.

New Adventures of Bone

Bone: Legacy is a new trilogy of illustrated fantasy novels set in the universe of Jeff Smith’s award-winning Bone comic book series. The first novel, Quest for the Spark by Tom Sniegoski, is being released by Graphix this coming February. It’s illustrated by Jeff Smith himself, too. The story goes like this: “Twelve-year-old Tom Elm is just an ordinary turnip farmer from the Valley, but he’s always felt destined for something bigger. So when he discovers everyone in his village is asleep and plagued by nightmares, he assembles a band of unlikely heroes. They must fight to preserve the Spark — a divine light born at the core of a vast, dark nothingness called the Nacht.” That band of heroes includes new members of the Bone folk, young rat-creatures, and Roderick the Raccoon, among other popular Bone characters.

Warriors of the Dharuk

Creators Edge Press is releasing a new full-color 4-issue mini-series this coming February. It’s called Warriors of the Dharuk, and here’s the description we found from the creators: “From the mind of Stephen Lindsay of Jesus Hates Zombies fame, and amazing art by Dave Myers and Alfredo Lopez Jr., comes an epic adventure all-ages book just in time for the holidays! Warriors of the Dharuk is the tale of Jody, a young warrior-in-training among the Clan of the Dharuk – a Koala clan that lives in harmonious existence with nature. As Jody prepares to enter The Trails — the tests of manhood for all warriors to-be — he is thrust into the middle of a brewing conflict between the Clan of the Dharuk and the Shak-ta, a technology-obsessed clan of Sugar Gliders. The Shak-ta have no respect for the ways of the Dharuk and see them as archaic hold-outs of a world long gone. For the Shak-ta to progress further, they need the Dharuk moved off of their lands or eliminated all together. To the Shak-ta, either end is acceptable. When a failed Dharuk warrior turns traitor, the very existence of the Dharuk is threatened. But the Dharuk holy man, Yuan — a blind skunk — tasks Jody and his new friend and protector, a wandering armadillo warrior named Ota, with finding a way to stop the Shak-ta.” Heavy Ink is taking pre-orders for the first issue on-line.

image c. 2010 Creators Edge Press

Elephantmen: Cover Stories

This coming February, in preparation for the return of artist Ladronn to the pages of Elephantmen, Image Comics will be presenting a special art collection, Elephantmen: Cover Stories. It’s 64 pages of Elephantmen and Hip Flask covers and cover sketches by Ladronn, page-flipped with covers and cover sketches by current Elephantmen artist Boo Cook. The collection also includes a 5-page preview of Elephantmen Volume 4 by Ladronn.

Cover to Elephantmen Volume 4 by Boo Cook, c. 2010

Christmas: A Time for Reflection

Merry Christmas, Blessed Solstice, Joyful Kwanzaa, and in general Happy Holidays to all of you. And of course, good wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.

For those looking to learn more about Furry Fandom, or perhaps just to see what some folks think, you might want to look at Furries — An Inside Look, a new student film by Curt Pehrson that’s up on Vimeo. Here’s his description: “This documentary gives an inside perspective on the strange and interesting subculture known as the furry fandom. Filmed at Midwest Furfest 2010, a major furry convention, the fandom is explained by furries in their own words. This project was both a personal and an academic undertaking. The concept and production was my own, but I also got college credit for producing it, as an independent study at Bradley University.” The film has, needless to say, sparked a lively debate in the fandom already. Check it out at Vimeo and join in the discussion.

To Read the Mind of Pegasus

Fantasy author Robin McKinley (well-known for Dragonhaven) has a new book on the shelves, simply called Pegasus. The idea is simple: For a thousand years, humans and pegasi have lived in a magical alliance. Unfortunately, neither can speak the other’s language, and so they must rely upon a special guild of wizards to communicate. But things are different for Princess Sylviianel and her winged-horse friend Ebon: They can read one another’s minds. That fact alone, they find, makes them some powerful enemies… who consider them to be very dangerous. This hardcover fantasy novel is available now from Putnam Juvenile. Here’s a description from Amazon.

And with that, let us wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy Holiday Season. Bright blessings.

Spider-Man: Animal Magnetism

Full-color funny animal silliness from Marvel Comics, collected together in one big trade paperback for your enjoyment. Spider-Man: Animal Magnetism hits the shelves this January, collecting Spider-Man: Back in Quack (a team-up with Howard the Duck which you may recall we talked about before), The Spider-Ham 25th Anniversary Special (a classic funny-animal spoof of the web slinger, complete with new material), The Ultimate Civil War Spider-Ham (don’t even ask!), and Top Dog #10 (about, you guessed it, a super-dog). Some of the guilty party include writers Stuart Moore, Tom Defalco, J. Michael Straczynski (!), Tom Peyer, and George Caragonne; along with artists Mark Brooks, Joe Suitor, Jacob Chabot, Adam Deraker, Agnes Garbowska, Joe Jusko, and Warren Kremer. The cover art was completed by the late Mike Wieringo of Tellos fame.

Sam and Friends Meet Dracula!

Sam is no ordinary sheep-dog: He has a nose for sniffing out the clues to a mystery. And Jennie is no ordinary girl, because she can read Sam’s thoughts! Together with their friend Beth, the trio seek out the answers to mysterious goings-on in their seemingly-sleepy little town of  Woodford. Their first assignment: Finding out if their weird new neighbor is in fact a vampire! It’s all in the first Sam and Friends Mystery graphic novel, coming this January from writer Mary Labatt and illustrator Jo Rioux. This black & white trade paperback is published by Kids Can Press.