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February, 2012:

The Jungle Book — As Never Before

Zenescope Entertainment, the home of Grimm Fairy Tales, are now presenting their own unique take on Rudyard Kipling’s famous story The Jungle Book.  Here’s their write up on it: “The new five-issue miniseries will follow Mowglii, a young girl raised by wolves who finds herself in the middle of what the animals call The Great Animal Battle. Mowglii must learn her place in the jungle and fight for survival against many exotic beasts. But she is not the only human in this jungle island. Three other children have been raised by different animal tribes: Bomani grows up in the tiger tribe that is led by the conniving Shere Kahn, Akili learned the ways of the jungle from the mischievous Tavi mongoose tribe, and Dewan comes of age within the unpredictable Monkeys of Bandar Log, which is led by the insane King Bandar Louis. Mowglii and the rest of the human cubs play key roles in the ongoing Great Animal Battle of Kipling Isle as they approach adulthood.” The series is written by Mark L. Miller and illustrated in full color by Carles Granda, with variant wraparound covers available from Ale Garza and Mike DeBalfo. Look for it in March.

image c. 2012 Zenescope Entertainment

Man’s Best Friend

Rebellion/2000AD, the folks who brought you Judge Dredd, now bring you Kingdom: Call of the Wild, a new full-color trade paperback written by Dan Abnett and illustrated by Richard Elson. “Earth, the far-future. With the planet now overrun by gigantic alien insects, mankind is all but extinct. Genetically engineered dog soldier, Gene the Hackman, now protects one of the last remaining human beings, a young girl named Leezee Sower, and the two of them have traveled to the land of Auxtralia, straight into the territory of a new pack!” Look for it this March, or find out more at The Book Depository.

image c. 2012 Rebellion/2000AD

Strangeness from Antarctic Press

Where to even begin, except to say: Dead Pooh. Yes. Here, we’ll let the perpetrators try to explain: “Trash-collecting bear by day, crime-fighting martial artist by night. Dead Pooh protects the citizens of Woodland City from the menace of the Candy King. In the best traditions of parady, Comi-Kazi presents the latest hero to arise to confront the forces of darkness for truth, justice…and a jar of honey!” Sure to raise the hackles and the temperature of Marvel fans and Disney fans alike.  This loony full-color one-shot is written by Al Sharpe, illustrated by Marat Mychaeis and Sean Davis, and scheduled for release from Antarctic Press in March. Oh bother.

image c. 2012 Antarctic Press

The 2011 Annie Awards

Your humble ed-otter was pleased and proud to attend the 2012 presentation of the Annie Awards for 2011, which took place at UCLA on Saturday the 4th. The Annie Awards are the “Oscars” of the animation industry, presented every year by the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA). It was a busy year for the awards, with many of the numerous categories having up to 10 nominees.  And of course, entries with an interest for furry fans were well-represented. The big winner of the evening was clearly Rango, with five wins including the big one, Best Animated Feature.  It also won for Writing, Character Design, and Editing, as well as the new Members’ Favorite category (the single category voted on by all ASIFA members, regardless of their professional or fan status). Interestingly, it was not a complete Rango sweep, as Rio won for Character Animation (by Jeff Gabor) while Kung Fu Panda 2 won for Production Design, and Best Director (Jennifer Yuh Nelson). Secrets of the Masters, the back-up short included on the Kung Fu Panda 2 DVD, also won for Best Animated Special Production (which honors OVA’s and direct-to-DVD projects). Disney’s 2D Winnie the Pooh also racked up one win, for Feature Film Storyboards by Jeremy Spears.  The winner of Animation in a Live Action Production (a new category that was just introduced last year) was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Minkyu Lee won Best Animated Short Subject for his 17 minute 2D film Adam and Dog. In the category of Best Game, the honor went to Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, the creation of well-known funny animal and fantasy cartoonist Michel Gagne. In the television categories, the big winner of the night was Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice from Disney, which won four awards.  (However the big prize, Best General Audience TV Production, went to perennial favorite The Simpsons). Penguins of Madagascar won for Editing in a TV Production, and Voice Acting (for Jeff Bennett as Kowalski). The entire show as hosted by comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, the voice of Remy in Pixar’s Ratatouille.  At the after-awards dinner party, Rango director Gore Verbinski remarked that the show was “The strangest thing I’ve ever seen”. We’d be hard-pressed to argue. For a complete list of all the winners and nominees, make sure to visit the Annie Awards web site. And remember, a membership in ASIFA not only gets you a discount on tickets to the Annie Awards, but lots of animation screenings and seminars throughout the year as well.

image c. 2011 Paramount Pictures

A Legend in his Own Mind

He’s a vegan hippie with super powers, sort of. He’s Ethan Young, hero of Tails, an on-line comic… written and illustrated by Ethan Young. Maybe we’d better let the publisher explain: “Quirky, funny, and surreal, Tails follows the semi-autobiographical exploits of Ethan, a vegan cartoonist with super powers (sort of). Ethan uses his comic book creation Crusader Cat to escape from the real world, but things get interesting when his escapist work starts to talk back to him. Poignant, funny, and daring, Tails is an unflinching portrait of a believable character as he starts falling into the abyss of an unbelievable world, with results ranging from hilarious to heart-breaking”. Now Hermes Press have announced they are publishing the first Tails collection in graphic novel form, Tails: Book One. Look for this new black & white trade paperback in April, or you can pre-order it on Amazon right now.

image c. 2012 Hermes Press

Return to the Outland

Barely a month after retiring his world-famous Bloom County comic strip in 1989, creator Berke Breathed returned with a new Sunday-only full-color strip, Outland. It featured many of the original Bloom County characters, including Bill the Cat and Opus the Penguin, in new adventures. Now IDW Publishing has put together Berke Breathed’s Outland: The Complete Library, a 320-page hardcover collection of all the Outland strips from 1989 through 1995, scanned and reprinted from Berke Breathed’s original artwork. It will also include a collection of very rare Academia Waltz strips, which Berke Breathed began in college before he created Bloom County. Mile High Comics has a detailed write-up on the book, which is coming to stores this May.

image c. 2012 IDW Publishing