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March, 2013:

… and They Can Talk To Him

We’re fresh back from WonderCon in Anaheim, and me-oh-my is there a lot to talk about. Starting with…

Here’s one we somehow missed over the past couple of years, but we found out about it now, finally: Alex Walker and the Circus of Secrets, by Michael Mayo. “On the run from  his father’s deadly plans, Alex and his mother stumble upon a small traveling circus in a Kansas field. A strange accident awakens a hidden ability: He can speak to the animals — and they can speak to him. He meets an elderly cocker spaniel, a macaw, and a Siamese cat who tell Alex he is their long-prophesized savior. Alex must learn to fight for their lives — and his own.” This young adult novel is available now in paperback from Valstar Publishing, and also in a Kindle edition. Another bonus: Proceeds from the sale of the book go to various no-kill animal shelters.

image c. 2011 Valstar Publishing

Monsters in Love

Here’s the first set of new discoveries we’ve made this year at WonderCon in Anaheim, California.

Christopher Lee (no, not that one) is a graduate from the California State University at Sacramento who majored in graphic design. After working for graphic magazines, toy companies, and special effects studios, he made the bold choice to go solo as a graphic-designer-for-hire. To that end he has created a series of prints, t-shirts, and other items which he sells on his web site, Among the items he’s created is Kaiju Romance, “Twenty two of your favorite giant monsters from the Gamera and Godzilla franchises falling in love in unexpected ways.” Each of these 5 x 5″ cards was hand-finished, making each one unique, and they’re available now as a set.

image c. 2013 Christopher Lee

One Odd Duck — or Two

We like this description of Odd Duck, a new illustrated storybook: “Theodora is a perfectly normal duck. She may swim with a teacup balanced on her head and stay north when the rest of the ducks fly south for the winter, but there’s nothing so odd about that.  Chad, on the other hand, is one strange bird. Theodora quite likes him, but she can’t overlook his odd habits. It’s a good thing Chad has a normal friend like Theodora to set a good example for him.  But who exactly is the odd duck here? Theodora may not like the answer.” Author Cecil Castellucci (Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd) hooks up with illustrator Sara Varon (Chicken and Cat) to create an unusual story of an unusual friendship. It’s coming this May in hardcover from First Second.

image c. 2013 First Second

Their Own Take on the Mice

One of the most famous furry comics out there at the moment is Mouse Guard by David Petersen. This sword-and-sorcery tale (tail?) has already spawned collections, role-playing games, and a devoted following. Now and then, Mr. Petersen allows some of his friends to try their paw at the Mouse Guard characters and situations — and some of the best in the business came calling. After the first go-round’s success, Archaia Entertainment have announced that Volume 2 of Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard will be released  as a full-color 4-issue miniseries, starting this May. “Contributors to issue #1 include Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), Ben Caldwell (The Dare Detectives!), and the team of writer Nick Tapalansky and illustrator Alex Eckman-Lawn (Awakening). Subsequent issues will include contributions from Christian Slade (Korgi), Rick Geary (The Adventures of Blanche), Jemma Salume (Unicorn Life Cycle), Jackson Sze (concept art on films like The Avengers and Iron Man 3), Cory Godbey (Fraggle Rock, the upcoming Jim Henson’s Labyrinth), Eric Canete (Fear Itself: Spider-Man), C.P. Wilson III (The Stuff of Legend), Bill Willingham (Fables), and fantasy illustrator Justin Gerard.” After the mini-series is completed, the whole thing will be released as a hardcover graphic novel this fall.

image c. 2013 Archaia Entertainment

The Elephant Men are Back

Image Comics have announced that the popular first hardcover volume of Richard Starkings’ popular Elephantmen comic book collection will soon be back in print — now in a new Revised and Expanded edition called Wounded Animals. It includes the original “Issue Zero” (with art by Ladronn), a sketch section, a new introduction, and more. Extreme noir science fiction with uplifted animals fighting against and alongside humans for world domination. Hey, the creators insist that it’s not Furry. Check it out and decide for yourself. The new edition (collecting issues 0 – 7) comes back to shelves on May 1st.

image c. 2013 Image Comics

Return of the Street Sharks

One of the admittedly stranger TV series of the 1990’s was DIC’s Street Sharks, which ran from 1994 to 1995. Created by David Siegel and Joe Galliani of Mr. Joe’s Really Big Productions, the series followed the adventures of four teenage brothers who were transformed into human-shark mutants by an evil scientist’s genetic manipulations. Yes, yes, the show was riding on the coat-tails of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — in fact, it directly spoofed Turtles on more than one occasion. Previously, only a handful of Street Sharks episodes have been available on tape or DVD. But now Mill Creek Entertainment have announced that they are releasing all 40 episodes of the original series in a 4-DVD set at a reduced price. The set is available now at Amazon and other dealers.

image c. 2013 Mill Creek Entertainment

A Fan-Made Episode of Ponies

The TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is already famous for having inspired a wellspring of creativity in many forms, including art, stories, music, and much more. Now it seems to have reached a particular peak, as a group of “Bronies” around the country have joined forces to create Double Rainboom — the first fully-animated, fully fan-created episode of the show. With the blessings of Hasbro and DHX Media, Zachary Rich (known as Flamingo Rich) and his friends at the Savannah College of Art and Design have created a real, 22-minute episode as part of his senior project in animation. That’s real as in an orchestral score, voice actors for all of the characters, high-quality sound effects, and more. The plot? Twilight Sparkle (pre-wings) develops a magic potion — which has an interesting effect on Rainbow Dash. The entire film will be released to the world on March 30th. You can visit the Double Rainboom web site to keep up with the crew’s progress.

image c. 2013 Flamingo Rich

This Book is for the Birds!

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya, everyone! A belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

First off, a quick note: Voting for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards — celebrating the best in Anthropomorphic Everything from 2012 — has just opened, and will remain open until May 15th. Visit the Ursa Major web site to see the nominees and sign up to vote. Then come check out the winners at a special ceremony at this year’s Anthrocon!

Now, on to more Furry Stuff. Here’s a brand new book coming out for folks who are really, really into the game Angry Birds. “In 2009 little-known Finnish video game company Rovio Entertainment wowed the world when it unleashed an unlikely gaming phenomenon: Angry Birds. Ingeniously simple and highly addictive, the game’s initial success led to a number of bestselling sequels and in 2012 the franchise reached a staggering landmark with its one billionth Angry Birds download. For the first time, this stunning coffee table book goes behind the scenes of Rovio’s success to deliver in-depth insight into the remarkable artistry that goes into creating each Angry Birds game. Featuring exclusive conceptual artwork and revealing interviews with the game’s creators, Angry Birds: Hatching a Universe is a must read for fans.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. This hardcover book is edited by Danny Graydon, and according to Amazon it’s coming from Insight Editions this June.

image c. 2013 Insight Editions

Amphibian Ambitions

Trevor Pryce is a 14-year veteran of the NFL who played defensive end for the Denver Broncos, the Baltimore Ravens, and the New York Jets. Now, he’s taken on a completely new career: Fantasy author. In the  first book of the new Kulipari series, Mr. Pryce (aided by Joel Naftali) tells the story of An Army of Frogs. “It’s frogs versus scorpions in this new series by professional football player Trevor Pryce. For years, the frogs of the Amphibilands have lived in safety—protected by an elite group of poisonous frogs named the Kulipari and by the dreamcasting spell of the turtle king that cloaks their lands in mystery. Now the spell is threatened by the Spider Queen, a talented spellcaster, and Lord Marmoo, leader of the scorpions. With the Kulipari off training in secret, the Amphibilands have never been so vulnerable. Enter Darel, a young frog who dreams of joining the Kulipari, despite his utter lack of poison and limited fighting skills. With the help of a motley crew of friends, Darel has the chance to become the warrior of his dreams.” This new series of hardcover fantasy novels is illustrated by Sanford Greene. According to Amazon, it’s due to hit the shelves this May from Amulet Books.

image c. 2013 Amulet Books