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December, 2010:

Starman and Congorilla

Okay, try to keep up here: Mikaal Thomas — known as the superhero Starman — and Congorilla — a talking ape from Gorilla City, made famous in the pages of The Flash — team up to “unlock the secrets behind the toxic Omega Man’s dark energy, which has encased Washington, D.C.”. All righty then. In this full-color one-shot from DC Comics, our heroes — one blue, one furry — encounter several friends and foes from the DC universe, including Animal Man, Sirocco, and “a certain wonder-dog named Rex”. You can thank writer James Robinson, illustrator Brett Booth, and cover-artist Gene Ha when Starman/Congorilla hits the shelves in early January.

Tales (Tails?) of the Trickster Spirit

Many cultures in our world have a long tradition of folklore relating to the trickster spirit — a being of great power who mostly uses that power to steal food or precious possessions, cheat at games, fool the opposite sex (or sometimes the same one!), and so forth. Often enough the trickster spirit is embodied as an animal — Reynard the fox from Europe and The Monkey King from Asia are great examples. Native American cultures also have rich traditions of trickster story, whether he (or she, or both) takes the form of a raven, a rabbit, a coyote, or whatever. Now Fulcrum Publishing have brought together many of these stories in a new full-color comic trade paperback: Trickster — Native American Tales — A Graphic Anthology, edited by Matt Dembicki. More than twenty Native American story-tellers worked together with a select group of artists to bring to life stories like “Coyote and the Pebbles”, “How Wildcat Caught a Turkey” ,  “Rabbit’s Choctaw Tail Tale”, and many more. Take a look at Fulcrum’s web site for the book.

Return of the Rescue Rangers

Once again BOOM! Studios have stepped up to the task of bringing the Disney Afternoon back to life.  Following on the webbed heels of their successful Darkwing Duck comic book series, now comes the full-color return of Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers, written by Ian Brill and illustrated by Leonel Castellani. You can see a preview of this new series, as well as the various alternate covers for the first issue, at BOOM! Studio’s web site.

The Easter Bunny Is Coming… To Stay

By now you might have caught wind (or teaser trailer) of Hop, a new live action/CGI film coming next spring from Universal Pictures. If not, here’s the run-down: It seems that one day the Easter Bunny (voiced by UK comedian Russell Brand) is accidentally run-over by Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work slacker. Now Fred is forced to keep the bunny in his home until he heals enough to complete his job — a fact that both of them find terribly annoying. The film is directed by Tim Hill, best known for Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, and Muppets from Space. The animation was created by Illumination Entertainment, who created this year’s film Despicable Me. Oh, and that trailer? You can find it on You Tube, or find out even more at Hop’s official web site, I Want Candy. Check out the film when it premiers on April 1st, 2011.

The Adventures of Pug Davis

Pug Davis is a very strange, successful, and popular web comic written and illustrated by Rebecca Sugar. She’s already on her third “issue” (read: story arc), and now the first two have been released as a single-volume black & white trade paperback by Albatross Exploding Funny Books (what a name!). The story concerns a famously dangerous space adventurer known as Pug Davis: Gruff, grouchy, conservative, politically incorrect… Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact he’s got the face of a cute little pug dog, complete with bright and shiny little puppy-eyes. He and his companion, an optimistic and unashamedly gay human known as “Blouse”, travel the galaxy together — one looking to make friends and find a home, one looking to bash some heads.  The Web Comic Overlook site has a much more detailed review and explanation of it all… but afterward, it still won’t all make sense!

The Art of Camilla d’Errico

Camilla d’Errico is a fine artist and painter, widely known for her pictures of anime-style young women posing with animals. Her work has been seen in publications like Hi-Fructose, Kid Robot, and Juxtapoz. You can view more of her art, often referred to as “pop surrealism”, at her web site. Now Dark Horse Comics are set to release Femina & Fauna: The Art of Camilla d’Errico, this coming March. It’s advertised as “the largest and most comprehensive book of Camilla’s art ever published”. Well at very least it’s more than 100 pages of art in a large-format hardcover book. You can order it now at Amazon too.

image c. 2010 Camilla d'Errico

The Age of Reptiles Omnibus

It may seem only sideways anthropomorphic, but Ricardo Delgado’s Age of Reptiles comic book series earns a place here by virtue of its viewpoint: Life seen through the eyes of dinosaurs, and many species of dinosaurs at that. Besides, Ricardo Delgado himself was a guest speaker at several early furry fandom conventions! Now Dark Horse Comics is releasing the Age of Reptiles Omnibus, collecting the long out-of-print Age of Reptiles original series, the Age of Reptiles: The Hunt follow-up, and the never-before-collected third series, Age of Reptiles: The Journey. It’s a full-color trade paperback, and it’s coming to stores this February.

The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo

By now you’ve likely heard of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first book in Stieg Larsson’s award-winning and wildly successful crime-drama trilogy. It, and the other books in the series, have also been made into successful movies. Well it seems that UK fantasy writer Adam Roberts could not leave well enough alone. He’s gone and written his own book entitled The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo, and it’s available now in the UK from Gollancz. Here’s the cover blurb: “Larssonous? Or out-and-out burglary? You know how dragons feel about burglars … Lizbreath Salamander is young and beautiful. Her scales have an iridescent sheen, her wings arch proudly, her breath has a tang of sulfur. And on her back a tattoo of a mythical creature: a girl. But when Lizbreath is drawn into a dark conspiracy she will have to rely on more than her beauty and her vicious claws the size of sabres . . . A dragon has disappeared, one of a secretive clan. As Lizbreath delves deeper into their history she realizes that these dragons will do anything to defend their secrets. Welcome to the world of The Dragon With The Girl Tattoo. A world of gloomy Nordic dragons leading lives uncannily like our own (despite their size, despite the need for extensive fireproofing of home furnishings), a world of money hoarded, a world of darkness and corruption. A world where people are the fantasy.” You can find out more about all of this at Adam Roberts’ new blog.

image c. 2010 Adam Roberts

Fox Spirits Are After You!

Media Blasters have released the first four episodes of Kanokon: The Girl Who Cried Fox on DVD. How to describe this anime series? We’ll let them do it: “Kouta, a country boy who lives with his grandfather, is now moving to the city to attend high school. Changes come with his new home and new school, but nothing could have prepared the gentle young man for girls, specifically a bombshell fox spirit named Chizuru. As if her aggressive advances weren’t enough, he also catches the attention of a frosty wolf spirit named Nozomu. Kouta is dragged into supernatural events as a result of his contact with the two girls, and his school life only gets more chaotic by the day. But with a girl who gives ‘foxy’ new meaning and another howling after him, things are looking up for his love life.” We love anime for a reason, don’t we? Find out more about it at Anime Castle.