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October, 2020:

Oh Blimey, Oh Goody, Back in your Neighborhood-y

This has been flying around the Internet all day: Following the re-boot of Animaniacs, it’s time for a reboot of Tiny Toons. Here’s what Animation Scoop had to say: “HBO Max and Cartoon Network are returning to Acme Acres with a series order for Tiny Toons Looniversity, an all-new half hour animated comedy series featuring characters from the Emmy Award-Winning Tiny Toon Adventures from Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) and Amblin Television.  Steven Spielberg will return as executive producer…  Erin Gibson (Throwing Shade podcast) will serve as showrunner and co-executive producer. Nate Cash (Adventure Time) is also on board as co-executive producer. Babs, Buster Bunny and the rest of the gang follow their comedic ambitions all the way to Acme Looniversity, the esteemed institution of higher hijinx learning, where young dreamers become professional toons. Here they form long-lasting friendships with one another and perfect their cartoony craft while studying under the greatest cartoon characters in history, the Looney Tunes.” No word yet on a planned release date, but with more and more animation coming down the pipe these days, it shouldn’t be long.

image c. 2020 Warner Brothers Animation

When You REALLY Need A Best Friend

Lerner Books has a new full-color graphic novel with a notable title, Mega Dogs of New Kansas. “Sienna Barlow loves nothing more than riding around New Kansas on top of her mega-dog, Gus. He’s one of the massive pooches protecting the human settlers of a strange planet. In fact, Sienna connects better with Gus than with other kids. So when a visiting official threatens to shut down the mega-dog program, Sienna sneaks off with her best friend. After she, Gus, and a stowaway crash their escape ship, they discover a danger to every human in their community — and launch a wild plan to save New Kansas.” Written by Dan Jolley and illustrated by Jacques Khouri, Mega Dogs is due this November in trade paperback. Lerner has preview pages to check out also.

image c. 2020 Lerner Books

Beauty and the Cryptoid

Okay so, we found this in Previews: Sasquatch In Love. “Meet Holden: he’s well-read, caring, and single. He’s also the world’s last Sasquatch. When Holden falls for Grace, the filmmaker who’s come to rural Oregon to make a Bigfoot documentary, he enlists the aid of his best friend – local veterinarian Felix – to find out more about her.” Written by Jason Nutt and illustrated by Alexis Vivallo, this new full-color comic is due in early November from Action Lab.

image c. 2020 Action Lab

This Pig Gets His… Animal

A recent article at Animation World Network let us know about Hit Pig, a new animated feature based on the book Pete and Pickles by Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed. The film version stars the voices of Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Lilly Singh (A Little Late With Lilly Singh). “Set in a futuristic cyberpunk world, the film stars Hitpig (Dinklage) as a grizzled porcine bounty hunter who accepts his next hit: Pickles (Singh), a naive, ebullient elephant who has escaped the clutches of an evil trillionaire. Though Hitpig initially sets out to capture the perky pachyderm, the unlikely pair find themselves on an unexpected adventure criss-crossing the globe that brings out the best in both of them.” And hey, if all goes well it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more interesting anthro features coming out of the production company, Aniventure. “The London-based animation production studio is in production on Riverdance: The Animated Adventure based on the stage show phenomenon of the same name, and Blazing Samurai, based on Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing Saddles and directed by Mark Koetsier (The Grinch) and overseen and produced by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King). Riverdance: The Animated Adventure, Blazing Samurai and Hitpig will be delivered in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively.” Here’s hoping.

image c. 2020 Aniventure

Ravenous Rodents and Sugary Substances

Good grief, there’s been a lot of anthropomorphic content for young folks coming out of Penguin Random House lately! Now there’s Norma and Belly, Volume 1: Donut Feed The Squirrels (whew, another long title too) written and illustrated by animator Mika Song. From the publisher: “Norma and Belly plan to start the day with some pancakes, but when Norma accidentally burns them, these two best friends set out to find a new treat. Chestnuts might be nice . . . but what is that delicious smell in the distance? A new food truck has parked near their tree, and these two squirrels are going to figure out how to get their hands on these ‘donuts’ that it seems to be selling.” There are other graphic novels available in the Norma and Belly series as well.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

Furry Forest Adventures

Thanks to Twitter we found out about Wild Lands, a new fantasy role-playing game created by Steve Wood — an animation and game arts professor and fantasy illustrator, to quote him. “Wild Lands is a High Fantasy Critter TTRPG inspired by the stories I loved as a kid like Redwall, The Wind in the Willows, The Rats of Nymph, and Once Upon a Forest to name a few.” Over at the official web site it says “Scurry into adventure with Wild Lands, a cooperative storytelling RPG where players control squirrel knights, mouse mages,  badger barbarians, and more!” Free trial downloads are available now.

image c. 2020 by Steve Wood

Teeth and Tech

…and more graphic novels for young readers, coming to us from Penguin Random House. Possibly the strangest yet for the current crop: Shark and Bot, written and illustrated by Brian Yanish. “Shark loves water. Bot short circuits if he goes near water! Shark recites poetry. Bot recites facts. Can these two really be friends? They’re both a little awkward… They both love comics… And just wait til you see their dance moves when they confront a playground bully.” It’s available now in hardcover. Fun fact: Mr. Yanish works for the Jim Henson Company.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

Snack Pets

We’ve talked before about the works of Paige Braddock, both as a writer and an illustrator. Now they’re back with a new full-color graphic novel, Peanut, Butter, and Crackers Volume 1: Puppy Problems. (Woof, what a title!) “Crackers is a rescue dog who’s a bit on the nervous side, but pretty comfy at home with Butter, a very plump cat who–like all cats–is all about himself. The two pets have a good life: big backyard, nice couch, good eats, and an owner who goes to work every day so they can pretty much do what they want. Enter Peanut, a brand-new puppy with big floppy ears, unabashed energy, and no appreciation for the quiet life. The little dog is a chowhound who dips into everybody’s food bowl. He drools, he chews up stuff, he doesn’t get how stairs work, and he’s afraid of the dark. Yowl! Not to mention he’s hogging their owner’s lap. Even the squirrels in the yard are laughing at this goofy little canine. Butter and Crackers have had it! This puppy has to go! But when the backyard gate is left open (the cat’s idea, of course!) and Peanut wanders out and gets lost, the older animals remember what it was like to be alone–and lonely. Butter and Crackers to the rescue!” It’s available now in hardcover from Penguin Random House.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

To the Bat Garage, Robin!

Okay… Folks, we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: We cannot make this stuff up. If we could, we’d be making a whole lot more money. This came across our Twitter feed, which lead us to an article from Variety: “Warner Bros. Animation has started production on an animated preschool series called Batwheels, which will star some of the most iconic vehicles from across the DC universe, fighting crime in Gotham City alongside the usual squad of Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and more. The show’s main crime-fighting crew is led by Bam (The Batmobile), and also includes Bibi (The Batgirl Cycle), Red (The Redbird), Jett (The Batwing), and Buff (The Bat Truck). Together, the sentient super-powered vehicles must navigate the growing pains of being a newly-formed super team, as well as the growing pains that come with just being a kid.” Batman meets Cars, coming to Cartoon Network and HBO Max. Did we mention that the series is aimed at preschoolers?

image c. 2020 Warner Bros. Animation