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March, 2011:

Drawing Fantastic Furries

Christopher Hart is a name well-known among those learning to draw: He’s put out several books of how to draw cartoon characters and characters for animation in the past. But now, he’s trying something pretty new.  His new book is called Drawing Fantastic Furries: The Ultimate Guide to Drawing Anthropomorphic Characters. That’s a pretty big claim, whot? Well here’s how the publishers describe it on Amazon: “What Is A Furry? A furry is an anthropomorphic being—an animal with human characteristics. Furries have fascinated artists going back thousands of years and as seen in the influx of animal/human characters into popular culture, interest today is at an all time high. And now for the first time all in one volume, you’ll be able to take the next step to the outer limits of your imagination with the ultimate guide to drawing your own furries—Christopher Hart’s Drawing Fantastic Furries. After a basic lesson in the fundamentals of comparative human and animal anatomies, you’ll learn how to draw an entire menagerie of furry species, ranging from the adorable and charming super-cute furries to the seductive and super-popular glamorous furries to the warriors, wizards, vampires, and demons of the furry occult and fantasy realms.” The book is available this week in paperback from Watson-Guptill. The cover certainly grabs attention!


image c. 2011 Christopher Hart

Oh My!

Hermes Press have announced they are now the new publishers of Mike Bullock and Michael Metcalf’s well-known (and well-loved) comic book series Lions, Tigers, and Bears. The long-awaited full-color Volume 3 graphic novel is available now in softcover.  This is from their press release: “Mike Bullock’s internationally acclaimed, best selling title has a new home with Hermes Press! The long awaited Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Volume 3 arrives in stores March, 2011. ‘Lions, Tigers, and Bears is a remarkable title, with memorable characters, an enchanting concept, and beautiful artwork,’ observed Hermes Press’ Publisher, Dan Herman. ‘We’re really excited about releasing all new adventures of Joey, Courtney, Ares, Venus, Pallo and Minerva as a graphic novel.'” For those who haven’t found it yet, Lions, Tigers, and Bears is the story of a group of kids who discover that their stuffed animal toys have the ability to come to life — as rather large animals — to protect the children in their care from an invasion of other-worldly demons.

When Karl Barks did Barney Bear

Some rare and seldom-seen comic book work by Uncle Scrooge creator and artist Carl Barks is coming our way this June, thanks to IDW Publishing. It’s a new hardcover collection called Barks’ Bear Book. Here’s the publisher’s description from Amazon: “Carl Barks tops the list of greatest comic book artists of many devoted fans around the world. He has often been called ‘The Good Duck Artist’ by avid readers of all ages of his Disney Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics. Those Duck stories have been reprinted and loved again and again by millions. But, while the Duck oeuvre is easily obtainable, only a few elite fans have gotten rare glimpses of yet another fabulous, alternate universe that Barks created around the classic animation characters Barney Bear and Benny Burro. Hidden in rare, Golden Age comics only Scrooge McDuck could afford are wonderful, full-color fantasy and fun stories as only Barks can write and draw ’em! Collected for the first time in a deluxe, hardcover, full-color tome are all of these masterpieces, meticulously restored. The Barks’ Bear Book is edited and designed by Eisner-Award-winning comics historian Craig Yoe, with a fascinating introduction and special cover is by Barks-devotee Jeff Smith, the best-selling graphic novelist of the Bone comics series.”


image c. 2011 IDW Publishing

Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant

Rocket Raccoon has been a busy little mammal. He became known as one of the deadliest weapons experts in the galaxy in Marvel Comics’ Annihilation series, after saving the universe as one of the Guardians of the Galaxy. But before all that, he was the sworn guardian of the Keystone Quadrant in the original Rocket Raccoon mini-series — written by Bill Mantlo, with art by Marvel greats Keith Giffen, Mike Mignola, and Sal Buscema. Now Marvel has collected all four issues as well as the original appearance of Rocket Raccoon in the page of Incredible Hulk #271 (along with the follow-up from Marvel Previews #7) in one hardcover book. It’s 144 pages of full color, coming your way this August.

Kittens and Existential Angst

“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten.” If that sounds vaguely familiar, it should: It’s roughly the beginning of Franz Kafka’s best-known work, The Metamorphosis. Only this time around, it’s not giant bugs that take center stage, it’s giant kittens: The Meowmorphosis is a brand-new spoof novel coming soon from the pseudonym known as Coleridge Cook. Here’s the publisher’s notes from “Meet Gregor Samsa, a humble young man who works as a fabric salesman to support his parents and sister. His life goes strangely awry when he wakes up late for work and discovers that, inexplicably, he is now a man-sized baby kitten. His family freaks out: Yes, their son is OMG so cute, but what good is cute when there are bills to pay? And how can Gregor be so selfish as to devote all his attention to a scrap of ribbon? As his new feline identity threatens to eat away at his personality, Gregor desperately tries to survive this bizarre, bewhiskered ordeal by accomplishing the one thing he never could as a man: He must flee his parents’ house.” The Meowmorphosis comes to bookshelves this May, in paperback from Quirk Books.

Big Simians Save the World

Missing Linx is a brand new softcover full-color graphic novel coming from Viper Comics this April. It’s written by Dale Martin and illustrated by Courtney Huddleston. Here’s their description: “Dr. Erasmus Q Bedfellow is bent on releasing the creatures of the Fantasy Realm into our dimension, using the creatures of nightmares to rule the world.  Only one thing stands in his way:  An unlikely group of heroes – the result of Bedfellow’s last attempt to breach the border between realities. They are Big Foot, Sasquatch, Skunk Ape, and the Yeti.”  Viper Comic’s web site has a preview of the graphic novel, as well as a link to a comic book “trailer” for the project on YouTube.

Big Changes at ASIFA-Hollywood

For those of us cartoon fans (and would-be animators) who’ve been following the controversy between ASIFA Hollywood (the largest chapter of the International Animated Film Society, and home of the Annie Awards for animation) and Disney/Pixar, this is some big news: A shake-up in the leadership of the Hollywood Chapter, and news of some big changes planned for how the organization works. Cartoon Brew has the story, quoted here from the ASIFA-Hollywood Press release: “ASIFA-Hollywood has announced the selection of its new President, Frank Gladstone, at its February board meeting. Gladstone replaces Antran Manoogian who held the position for over 20 years. Longtime ASIFA-Hollywood VP [and TAG President Emeritus] Tom Sito chose not to run for re-election; taking his place is Jerry Beck [one of the head-honchos at Cartoon Brew — ye ed-otter]. ‘First and foremost, we owe Antran Manoogian an enormous amount of respect and admiration for his many years of selfless devotion to ASIFA-Hollywood,’ says Gladstone. ‘Antran has seen the organization through a period of unparalleled growth and success, going from a small club to an organization of over 4000 members. During his stewardship, Antran established, among many achievements, a digital archive, and built the Annie Award into the most important honor in animation. Though I’ve been part of ASIFA and the animation community for a long time, I am looking forward to being the ‘new face’ of the organization and to making some significant changes to the status quo. For starters, this includes updating our membership qualifications, establishing a representative voice for every animation studio and creative technique, building an advisory board of animation luminaries and revising the voting structure of the annual Annie Awards. In the next few weeks ASIFA-Hollywood will be holding meetings with executives from all the major studios to get their input on how we can improve our infrastructure. ASIFA-Hollywood will take this time to ask its members, both individual and corporate, to come together and advise them on how best to chart the course for decades to come. In addition they will invite many of its members to join the executive board.’ Frank Gladstone has been a professional animator, producer, director, writer and teacher, first managing his own studio, and then working in management positions for Disney, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks, among others. He is currently the CEO of the animation consulting firm, Gladstone Film, teaches worldwide and is the ‘artist-in-residence’ for the ACME Network.”