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December, 2011:

Goodbye 2011… Hello Awards Season!

As we wish you all a happy, healthy, and creative New Year in 2012, it’s time to start thinking about what we’re going to award from 2011! Besides the Oscars and the Annie Awards (which many of us follow closely), for Furry Fandom it’s time to start thinking about the annual Ursa Major Awards, the anthro-fan’s answer to the Hugo Awards ™ from science fiction fandom. Nominations for 2011 are open to any and all, and they open on January 12th. If you visit the Ursa Major Awards web site, you’ll find the Recommended Anthropomorphics Reading and Viewing List for you to peruse, listing some of the many interesting items of anthropomorphic interest that came about in 2011.  Like what?  Well… movies like Rango, Rio, Puss in Boots, and Kung Fu Panda 2… TV series like Thundercats, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic… books and stories by authors like Kyell Gold, Alflor Aalto, MCA Hogarth, and Paul Kidd…  plus comics, games, artwork, and a brand new category for Best Anthropomorphic Web Site. All this and much much  more! But remember: An item does NOT need to be on the Recommended List for  you and your friends to nominate it for an Ursa Major Award. It just needs to be Furry! [Check the web site for how the Ursa Majors define that!] After the the nominations are tabulated, the voting will begin this spring — followed by the Ursa Major Awards presentation at CaliFur in Southern California this June.  Remember, last year more than 1,000 fans world wide took part in the voting.  Help to make that number even bigger in 2012!

image c. 2011 ALAA / Heather Bruton

An Ape Classic Returns

From 1974 to 1977, Marvel Comics (through their Curtis Magazine imprint) published a black & white tie-in comic for the Planet of the Apes movie and TV series.  It featured not only adaptations of the five original movies, but also new adventures as well as background stories on the creation of the films.  [Full disclosure: Your ever-lovin’ ed-otter grabbed every issue he could get a hold of!] Many of the stories were written by Moonknight co-creator Doug Moench (as well as Gerry Conway) and illustrated by Ghost Rider co-creator Mike Ploog (as well as Mike Esposito and George Tuska). Now, BOOM! Studios have secured the rights to re-publish those 1970’s classics under the title Terror on the Planet of the Apes, coming this February.

image c. 2011 Boom! Studios


Sonic Turns 20 in a Big Way

As part of SEGA Games’ big 20th anniversary celebration for Sonic the Hedgehog, Archie Comics have released Sonic Genesis, written by Ian Flynn. This “story reboot” collection of all-new Sonic adventures is illustrated by various artists, including the return of fan favorites Tracy Yardley and Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante. After running in the Sonic comic book series this summer and fall (starting with issue #226, below), Archie will release Genesis as a hardcover graphic novel this coming April. You can pre-order this foil-covered new collection at the Barnes & Noble web site.

image c. 2011 Archie Comics (from the comic book series)

Little Nutbrown Hare on TV

Guess How Much I Love You is an popular and award-winning children’s book written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram. Now SLR Productions has created Guess How Much I Love You: The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare, a 2D animated TV series with young children in mind. Like the book, the series takes place in an idyllic woodland where Little Nutbrown Hare lives and learns with his father, Big Nutbrown Hare, and all their friends. The series has been running on Disney Junior Australia, and is set to premier soon on Disney Junior USA. If you check out the SLR Productions web site for the show, you’ll find a link to another interesting TV series they’re working on called Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs. Yes.

image c. 2011 by Anita Jeram










Well, that’s all for now. Except, of course, to say MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you all.  We’ll see you in 2012!

Rodent vs. Rodent

The Nut Job is a new CGI animated feature film that was announced in Animation Magazine’s 2012 calendar. It’s being produced by Toonbox Entertainment and Red Rover International, who are hoping to release it next summer. The director is Peter Lepeniotis, who first introduced his character Surly the Squirrel in a 2005 animated short film titled, appropriately, Surly Squirrel. In this new feature film, Surly and his rat buddy (named Buddy) must contend with a new group of rodents who invade their city park home. Not a lot to go on yet, but the film does have an entry up on IMDB, and Toonbox also has an web page for the project. Word is that The Nut Job may be developed into a TV series also.

image c. 2011 Toonbox Entertainment

From Africa to Europe

The trailers have begun to arrive for Madagascar 3, Europe’s Most Wanted, coming next June in 3D from Dreamworks Animation (of course). It’s directed by Eric Darnell (who co-directed the first two Madagascar films) and Conrad Vernon (Monsters vs. Aliens). Here’s the plot as described by the Wikipedia entry for the film: “Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippopotamus (Jada Pinkett Smith) set out to return to New York after escaping to Africa. Dependent on the mechanical know-how of the notorious monkeys and penguins, their plan inevitably goes awry and they find themselves stranded in Monte Carlo, where they try to escape Europe from animal control by joining up with a traveling circus by chance. Led by the venerable tiger Vitali, the animal-centered circus has seen better days. During the course of a tour through a series of European cities that ends in a fabulous big top in the heart of London, Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria help Vitaly, Gia the jaguar, and Stefano the sea lion, rediscover their passion for show business and reinvent circus performance.” In other words, they show them how to move it, move it…

image c. 2011 Dreamworks Animation

Gon — Not Forgotten

In the “about bloody time” department: Word is out that Gon, the globally-popular manga by Tanaka Masashi, is finally being made into a CGI animated TV series. Gon, if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know (or perhaps if he threw one on top of you) is a miniature dinosaur-like creature of tremendous speed and power. He lives in the animal world, and always seems to be getting into fights (comical, but still…) with other animals over simple matters like food and territory. Interestingly, this famous Japanese manga is being brought to television by an animation house in Korea, Daewon Media, with the help of the Japanese publishing house Kodansha. There’s a preview video up on YouTube which shows footage that was displayed recently at the TV trade show MIPCOM. The show is all set to premier in Japan and Europe early next year, with the rest of the world hopefully to follow soon after.

image c. 2011 Daewon Media

Happy Birthday … to Me!

This is no one’s idea of a personal blog, but when your ever-lovin’ ed-otter turned 47 yesterday he received two books from his family that are so cool and so furry that he just had to give mention to them — again. Both of them feature behind-the-scenes looks at recent Dreamworks Animation films, and both of them are available now (here and here) in hardcover from Insight Editions. The Art of Puss in Boots is edited by Ramin Zahed (veteran editor of Animation Magazine) with a forward by famous director Guillermo Del Toro. The Art of Kung Fu Panda 2 is edited by Tracy Miller-Zarneke (who worked on numerous animated films including Chicken Little and The Emperor’s New Groove) with a forward by famous actor Dustin Hoffman (aka Master Shifu). Both books feature so much background artwork and character development for these two very furry films that the reader may find themselves wondering which are more interesting: The final character designs or the sketches leading up to them.

image c. 2011 Insight Editions


Beauty and the Beast that Never Was…

Who knew that Secret of NIMH director Don Bluth and his crew had their own version of Beauty and the Beast in the works? Well they did, back in the day, and we stumbled across some pictures from the project. According to animation historian John Cawley (from Get Animated), “Early in 1984, Don began in earnest turning the famous tale into an animated feature. He even announced it in the Fall of 1990 in his Animation Club newsletter. At the time, he described it as ‘a tender love story that says, ‘a thing must be loved before it’s lovable.’ We sprinkled this classic tale with a generous amount of comedy, a little bit of terror, and a lot of love. From Nan, the clairvoyant dog, Max, a bird detective, and Otto, an escape artist lizard, to the King Bats, the Wee Beasties and Queen Livia, herself, this picture has something for everyone.’ An American Tail also interrupted this production. As work began on Land Before Time, Don felt that Beauty and the Beast would be his first independent picture. However in late 1986, the Disney Studio announced they were working on a version and by 1989 had begun full production (for a 1991 release). Knowing his version could not be completed before Disney’s, Don dropped the project.” The picture below and others were recently uncovered on Tumbler.

image c. 2011 Don Bluth Studios