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November, 2012:

They Dress Up Too

Next February Marvel Comics (with the help of Disney and Pixar, of course) presents a new Monsters Inc. one-shot full-color comic. In Monster’s Inc.: The Humanween Party, “It’s that time of year again: Humanween! Monstropolis’ version of Halloween – where monsters dress up as humans – comes but once a year, and this time the annual party is at Mike and Sulley’s home. Mike goes into panic mode when he learns of an unplanned visit from his mother the day after the big bash!” It’s written by Alessandro Ferrari and illustrated by Elisabetta Melaranci, Federica Salfo, Michela Frare, and Paco Desiato (whew!). Look for more Monsters Inc. tie-in items in 2013 as the new animated sequel, Monsters University, gets closer. In the meantime, check out Humanween at Things from Another World.

image c. 2012 Marvel Comics

Season One is Magic

Over at the Ursa Major Award-winning site Equestria Daily, lead pony Sethisto has a review of the new first season DVD of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (which also won an Ursa Major Award). Not only does the 4-disc box set include all 26 episodes from the first season, but it also includes creative commentaries on six of those episodes by the likes of Hasbro reps Brian Lenard and Robert Fukes; directors Jayson Thiessen and James “Wootie” Wootton; composer Daniel Ingram; art director Ridd Sorensen; and voice actors Cathy Weseluck, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, and Nicole Oliver. The DVD is available exclusively on Amazon, so head over there and check it out. It’s hitting the air starting December 4th.

image c. 2012 Hasbro Studios

The Last Bus Out

It’s known as Posledny Autobus, which translates as The Last Bus. It was created in the Slovac Republic by Martin Snopek and Ivana Laucikova. It features human actors wearing animal heads, animated in stop motion. And here’s its description: “It’s the start of the hunting season. The animals of the forest board a small bus and flee to safety. When hunters stop the bus in the middle of the night, its passengers reveal their true natures in fear for their lives.” We don’t know what else we can tell you about this, other than to show you this little clip from Vimeo. This short film has already won several film festival awards in Europe.

image c. 2012 Martin Snopek, Ivana Laucikova

Big Bear, Little Mouse

It looks as if we’re finally getting some motion on the long-in-development film Ernest & Celestine. This 2D animated feature from France tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a middle-aged bear and a young mouse, and how they learn to realize their dreams and overcome bigotry by working together. Based on a series of books by Daniel Pennac, the film version is directed by Benjamin Renner (A Mouse’s Tale), Stephane Aubier, and Vincent Patar (A Town Called Panic), and produced by Studio Canal.  There’s a trailer up on YouTube, and according to Animation Magazine, it’s likely to come to North American shores in the fall of 2013.

image c. 2012 Studio Canal

Battle Chickens!

Thanks to the folks over at Cartoon Brew, we now know about Chicken Core: The Rise of Kings — one of the first animated short films ever completely produced in the country of Nigeria. Here’s the description from YouTube: “Chicken Core is a Nigerian animated feature which follows the adventures of a group of chicken warriors in their quest to rid the land of Amaji from the clutches of the tyrannous Boar King and his minions.” Got that? It’s directed by Oricha Aliyu and produced by Sporedust Media.  Animation in Nigeria is really starting from the ground up, as all the people who work for Sporedust are self-taught. Check out what they’ve created — and be on the lookout for what they do next.

image c. 2012 Sporedust Media

Eat at the Bear’s

Shirokuma Cafe literally translates from Japanese as Polar Bear Cafe. It’s a manga series created by Aloha Higa, following the story of a little coffee house in Japan — run by a polar bear, and frequented by any number of zoo animals. The three main characters are Polar Bear, lazy young Panda, and lovesick Penguin. (Most of the animal characters in the series are simply naked after their species.) The manga has been running since 2008, but just this year a new anime series based on it came to TV thanks to Studio Pierrot. You can find out more at Anime News Network, or check out an actual episode at Crunchyroll.

image c. 2012 Studio Pierrot

Krazy Kat is Turning 100

Just in time for the 100th anniversary of George Herriman’s world-famous Krazy Kat comic strip, Sunday Press Books is re-releasing Krazy Kat: A Celebration of Sundays in hardcover. “A Centennial Celebration! Finally, Krazy Kat as it was meant to be seen. From the publishers of the celebrated and much-awarded Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays! deluxe oversized reprint edition, come 135 full-size Sunday pages from 1916-1944 — plus dozens more early comics from George Herriman. It’s the eternal triangle of the comics — Kat, Mouse, and Pupp, along with the catalytic brick. Here are their glorious, poignant, and hilarious stories from the genius of George Herriman, reprinted for the first time in their original size and colors. Included in the 14 x 17-inch collection is a sampling of all Herriman’s creations for the Sunday newspaper comics from 1901-1906: Professor Otto, The Two Jackies, Major Ozone, and more, many of which have never been reprinted before. Now, 100 years after Ignatz tossed his first brick, step back in time to delight in the timeless tales of America’s great comic strip artist and his greatest creation, Krazy Kat.” Check it out on Amazon.

image c. 2012 Sunday Press

Michael. Elephant. Detective.

There’s no way we could describe the new graphic novel District 14 any better than the publisher, Humanoids Inc., did in Previews magalog: “Follow Michael the elephant as he arrives to the city known as District 14, a labyrinthine metropolis where humans, animals and aliens all co-exist.  A unique anthropomorphic mystery with an intricate plot and a fantastic cast of characters, this incredible French series is finally making its way across the Atlantic.” It’s written by Pierre Gabus and illustrated in black & white by Romuald Reutimann, and it’s coming out in hardcover this January.

image c. 2012 Humanoids Inc

High School Werewolves

Yaoi and werewolves? A winning combination for some adult-manga readers. Well that’s the idea behind Wild Honey, written and illustrated by Sei Takenaka. “Hina, the student council president at St. Jeremiah High School, has a secret. Hina is the head of a family that inherited werewolf blood, and recently, he has no memories of nights with a full moon. When he encounters the student council president of a rival school, he is aroused by a scent. While he is usually calm and unperturbed by anything, this scent has transformed his personality; even the mere memory of the scent triggers a passionate reaction.” It’s being released in North America by Digital Manga. You can read more about it at Anime News Network, or order it in paperback at Amazon.

image c. 2012 Digital Manga