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February, 2014:

The Creator of Samurai Cat — RIP

Word came out recently that one of the originals of Furry Fandom, Mark E. Rogers, passed away this past weekend while out hiking with his family. Some might even call him a patron spirit of anthropomorphics. In 1984 (back when a certain group of Ninja Turtles were making their very first appearance) mark published his first book chronicling the adventures of¬†Miaowara Tomokato, the Samurai Cat. Almost every other page of Rogers’ Samurai Cat books featured a black and white or full-color illustration by the author, connected with the action on the previous page. Through a series of five such books of historical satire, Mark was one of the first to take anthropomorphics away from “funny animal” silliness and into something completely new, in a big way. Ron Miller has a detailed obituary of Rogers which he posted up on I09. Sayonara, Mark-san.

image c. 2014 by Mark E. Rogers

Nine Lives to the Rescue

New this month from Hermes Press is the new deluxe hardcover collection of Scratch 9: The Pet Project. “Following Scratch9’s FCBD adventure, comes the complete Eisner Award-nominated story of The Pet Project. Scratch is a house cat who must save his animal pals from the clutches of Dr. Schrodinger and the C.R.U.E.L. corporation. Fortunately he can tap into all of his nine lives to help him out in jam! This deluxe edition collects the original story plus the Cat Tails anthology, along with all-new bonus materials!” It’s written by Rob M. Worley with art by Jason T. Kruse, Joshua Buchanan, and others. Check out the preview at Comic Book Resources.

image c. 2014 Hermes Press

The OTHER Chipmunks

According to an article in Variety magazine, Disney Animation has given the green light to produce a live action Chip and Dale movie. Yes. What’s more, the film’s plot is an origin story for the Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. This means we get to see not only Chip and Dale but Monterey Jack, Gadget Hackwrench, and the fly known as Zipper all portrayed as CGI characters in the real world, a la The Smurfs or the recent spate of Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. The film is being written and directed by Paul Rugan, previously best known as a director of TV commercials. No word yet on a planned release date or any cast members.

image c. 2014 Disney Animation

The Annie Award Winners

Your humble ed-otter and his mate were honored to once again attend the 2014 Annie Awards, honoring the best in animation from the year 2013.¬† The event at UCLA’s Royce Hall (on Saturday the 1st of February) was hosted by Patrick Warburton, best known as Kronk from Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove but also appearing as a voice in the upcoming Peabody and Sherman movie. Though Disney’s Frozen won Best Feature and Best Directing (it was a favorite for both), no film or TV series really seemed to dominate the awards that night. Instead the honors were spread out over a wide swath of projects. Several furry projects — or projects with anthropomorphic characters in them, at least — were honored, which is good when you’re honoring a year like 2013 that, let’s face it, had rather a dearth of heavily furry works — especially compared to 2012. Overall Disney was one of the big winners of the night — no, not Pixar. Disney. Not only did Frozen take home the feature-length honors for Best Picture, Directing, Music, Production Design, and Voice Acting (Josh Gad as Olaf the snowman); but the Disney Mickey Mouse series of shorts won in TV/Broadcast categories for Editing, Character Design, and Music. What’s more, the popular Disney cartoon Get A Horse won the Best Short Subject award. Pixar was represented as well of course, both in feature awards (as Monsters University won for Storyboarding and Editing) and TV/Broadcast (where Toy Story of Terror took home awards for Storyboarding, Character Animation, and Directing). Dreamworks Animation’s biggest winner of the evening was The Croods, which took home feature awards in Character Design, Effects Animation, and Character Animation. In television Tom Kenny received the award for Best Voice Acting for his role as The Ice King in Adventure Time, and the show itself was honored as the Best Production for Children. Some popular furry projects were nominated in several categories but unfortunately the did not win any awards. Among them were the TV series Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Dragons: Riders of Berk, as well as the French feature film Ernest & Celestine. The Annie Awards are administered by ASIFA-Hollywood, the Southern California branch of the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA). You can visit the Annie Awards web site to see pictures and videos from the event as well as a full list of all the winners for 2013.

image c 2014 Walt Disney Animation