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June, 2021:

Kiff is Spiff

Looking further ahead with Animation World Network. News from Annecy 2021: “Disney Channel has ordered Kiff, a nutty animated buddy-comedy series from South African creators and executive producers Lucy Heavens (Space Chickens in Space) and Nic Smal (Caillou), set to debut in 2023… The series follows Kiff, an optimistic squirrel whose best intentions often lead to complete chaos, and her best friend Barry, a sweet and mellow bunny. Set in the bustling mountains, where animals and magical creatures live together in harmony, the series features the duo, who take the town by storm with their endless adventures and zest for life.” So we’ll see you in a couple years then!

image c. 2021 Disney Channel

Can We Have Some Of What THEY Had…?

We’re learning more about Centaurworld, the very colorful and very very strange new animated series created for Netflix by Megan Nicole DongHow to Train Your Dragon 2). Animation World Network describes it like this: “Centaurworld follows a war horse who is transported from her embattled world to a strange land inhabited by silly, singing centaurs of all species, shapes, and sizes. Desperate to return home, she befriends a group of these magical creatures and embarks on a journey that will test her more than any battle she’s ever faced before.” Trust us, that barely scratches the surface of just how odd this beastie is. Check out the trailer on YouTube, or experience the series itself on July 30th.

image c. 2021 Netflix

Cat Nibbles

And more stuff for young folks, this time from the First Second imprint at MacMillan: Kitty Sweet Tooth, a full-color graphic novel written by Abby Denson and illustrated by Utomaru. “There’s just one thing Kitty Sweet Tooth loves more than going to movies, and that’s eating delicious desserts. Now that Pop-Pop’s movie theater has fallen on hard times, Kitty decides that only dessert can keep it from closing its doors. With a coat of paint, a tasty new menu, and a lot of hard work, Kitty and her friends transform this ramshackle theater into the Taste-O-Rama, a combination movie house restaurant. At the Taste-O-Rama, special film screenings are paired with custom-made dishes. But when you have a mad scientist and a witch working in the kitchen, recipes can go awry! On opening night, the theater is flooded with magical jelly that grows out of control. How can Kitty Sweet Tooth and her friends save the day?” The MacMillan web site has a preview and a trailer video.

image c. 2021 First Second

Her Friends Come Out At Night

More interesting news from Animation World Network: “Netflix has announced their newest preschool series, Ridley Jones, created and executive produced by Peabody, Emmy, and Humanitas Prize-winning children’s television screenwriter and producer Chris Nee, known for creating the popular kids’ series Doc McStuffins and Vamperina. Nee is heralding in a new era of preschool TV that is steeped in representation, diversity, and inclusivity, continuing her mission to change the way we look at media for kids. Her newest series features a strong female lead character and re-occurring LGBTQIA+ characters like Fred the non-binary bison (the first reoccurring non-binary character in a preschool series). The CG animated series follows six-year-old Ridley who, alongside her mother and grandmother, is a protector of the museum she calls home. Keeping the exhibits safe takes a real hero, especially when the lights go out and the exhibits — from Egyptian mummies to stampeding elephants — come to life! Throughout her many adventures, Ridley finds that being a good protector, and leader, is about finding common ground and respecting others, no matter what our differences might be.” Like all of Chris Nee’s series, this new one abounds with anthropomorphic buddy characters, including a dinosaur, a chimp astronaut, a dodo, and the aforementioned bison. The series premieres on Netflix on July 13, but there are preview episodes are up on YouTube already.

image c. 2021 Netflix

Luck Be A Dragon Tonight

We’re also learning more about Luck, the new CGI animated feature that’s coming from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Animation. It was previously announced that Jane Fonda would be in the cast, and now it turns out Whoopi Goldberg is lending her voice too. According to Animation World Network: “Goldberg will provide the voice for ‘The Captain’, the tough-as-nails Head of Security for the Land of Good Luck,” while Fonda “…will voice ‘The Dragon’, the exuberant CEO of Good Luck and undisputed luckiest ancient being in all the land.” They go on to say this: “Directed by Peggy Holmes (Secret of the WingsThe Pirate Fairy) and written by Kiel Murray (CarsCars 3), Luck centers around the unluckiest girl in the world, who after stumbling upon the never-before-seen world of good and bad luck, must join together with magical creatures to uncover a force more powerful than even luck itself.” The article goes on to detail several other animated projects that Skydance have in the works.  Luck is scheduled for release by Apple TV+ in February of 2022.

image c. 2021 Skydance Animation

A League Of Their Own

My but it seems like Dwayne Johnson is busy with a lot of animation projects lately! Now the latest we’ve heard about is the DC League of Super-Pets feature film. DC just released a new teaser trailer, and there’s an article up on Collider: “The cast of animated family film DC League of Super-Pets just got a serious injection of star power with the announcement that Kevin Hart, Keanu Reeves, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, Kate McKinnon, Natasha Lyonne, and Diego Luna have all boarded the ensemble via a fun teaser video starring Krypto the Super Dog in all his animated glory.” The latter voiced by Mr. Johnson, of course. The film will be un-leashed in 2022 — by Warner Brothers, naturally!

image c. 2021 DC Comics

Pokemon Paintings

Spreading the word: The artist known as Barasaurus (David Alcántara Rubio) has a new Kickstarter campaign running for his book 151, a collection of Painted Pokemon Portraits (whew!). “151 is an unofficial Pokémon artbook re-visiting the 1st Gen, with redesigns inspired by folklore, video games, the Internet, and pop culture.” The Kickstarter for this hardcover collection is on ’till the end of June.

image c. 2021 by Barasaurus

For Anyone Who’s Been Had by a Dog

Another popular web comic gets put together on dead trees for you! This time it’s Living With Mochi. “When architect-turned-cartoonist Gemma Gené first met her pet pug, Mochi, she felt as if time stopped. This dramatic moment and her adoring relationship with the rambunctious pug led her to begin chronicling her adventures with Mochi in a series of incredibly cute web comics that have gained a social media following of half a million loyal readers. The comics chronicle Mochi’s life from puppyhood to adulthood, featuring Mochi’s unrequited dog friendships, his jealousy of his two dog-brothers, and his love of food. Readers and dog parents will love this humorous tale of a sincerely loyal friendship between one grumpy pug and his adoring owner.” Full color, it’s available now in paperback from Andrews McMeel.

image c. 2021 Andrews McMeel

So Deadly and So Cute

Don’t look now, but Stan Sakai’s world has gone pear-shaped — almost literally! It’s time for Chibi-Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis, a new full-color graphic novel premiering this month from IDW. “Stan Sakai’s beloved rabbit samurai has won countless fans over his 35 year history, thanks to a clever blend of thrilling action, heartwarming characters, and realistic portrayal of Japanese culture. Chibi-Usagi brings these fun and thoughtful stories to middle-grade readers as a original graphic novel packed with adorable art and captivating energy. While fishing for freshwater eels, Chibi-Usagi, Tomoe, and Gen rescue a Dogu, a clay creature from Japan’s prehistory. The Dogu’s village has been enslaved by the Salamander King and his Heebie-Chibi minions and are forced to work in their mines. Chibi-Usagi and his friends must rescue the Dogu people and eliminate the threat of the Salamander King forever in this feature-length story of adventure, humor, and slippery eels.” It’s written by creator Stan Sakai, of course, with art and more writing by Julie Fujii Sakai. In trade paperback.

image c. 2021 IDW Publishing