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September, 2021:

Dice-Rolling Rovers

A friend pointed this out to us — and just in time too, as it just hit the shelves! It’s Campaigns & Companions, a new hard-cover book by Andi Ewington,  Rhianna Pratchett, and Alex De Campi, with illustrations by Calum Alexander Watt. “If there are two things all geeks love, it’s roleplaying games, and their pets. So why not fuse the two? It’s time to grab your dice, dust off that character sheet, and let your cat or dog (or guinea pig, or iguana, or budgie) accompany you on an epic adventure! It’ll be great! … unless you have pets like these.” Distributed by Simon & Schuster, it’s available everywhere now.

image c. 2021 Rebellion Publishing

Worry’s For Another Day

Fans of Muppets and Really Good TV: Rejoice! There’s a new book out called Fraggle Rock: The Ultimate Visual History, edited by Noel Murray and Jody Revenson. “It’s been over thirty-five years since the irrepressible Fraggles first hit the screen in the beloved children’s television hit Fraggle Rock. Created by the legendary Jim Henson, along with Michael K. Frith, Jerry Juhl, Duncan Kenworthy, and Jocelyn Stevenson, Fraggle Rock remains a favorite of fans to this day. This delightful volume tells the incredible story of the bighearted show that helped instill open-minded values in a whole generation of viewers. Fraggle Rock: The Ultimate Visual History follows the show’s creation, from early concepts to the incredible puppetry that brought the unforgettable characters, such as Gobo, Red, and Mokey, to life. Exclusive interviews with Stevenson, Frith, Kenworthy, and several other major contributors reveal fascinating, exclusive insights that take the reader further into Jim Henson’s world than ever before.” It’s available later this month, in hardcover from Simon & Schuster.

image c. 2021 Simon & Schuster

Go to the Rats. Again.

This one we found thanks to Facebook of all things. Gizmodo has an article about efforts at Fox to bring Robert C. O’Brien’s world of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH to television — almost 40 years after Don Bluth and company gave us The Secret of NIMH as an animated film. Here’s what they say about the new project: “NIMH, which seems to be its working title, will be based on Robert O’Brien’s 1971 book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and possibly its two sequels Rasco and the Rats of NIMH and R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH, written by O’Brien’s daughter Jane Leslie Conly after his death. According to Deadline, Fox — already home to animated series Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and more — has already issued a script commitment for the series, but has yet to hire a writer.” They go on to note, “In 2019, the Russo brothers of MCU fame were reportedly going to executive-produce a live-action remake of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH for MGM, which the studio had announced back in 2015. There’s no word on how this new adaptation may affect the former, but there’s also no guarantee Fox’s version will ever get made, either.” We hadn’t heard about that! It’s interesting that Gizmodo remembers Secret of NIMH as “terrifying” for children, whereas most cartoon fans from the time remember it fondly as a giant leap forward for animation, from a time when the industry was not looking all that great in America.

image c. 2021 MGM Studios

Mom is a Monkey. Kind of.

Thanks to ASIFA Hollywood we found out about Ape Star, a new Scandinavian animated film directed by Linda Hambäck. Based on a popular children’s book by Frida Nilsson, the set-up is pretty simple: “Joanna is a feisty young orphan who wants to be adopted more than anything else. When her potential new mom drives up to the orphanage, she gets a big shock as the door opens and a talking gorilla steps out.” An English dub is making its way into streaming services now. Take a look at the trailer on YouTube.

image c. 2021 Lee Film

Princess Kitty in Motion

We just got this in from the creator himself, Charles Brubaker: He recently released Katrina The Fuzzy Princess, an 18-minute animated short based on his web comic The Fuzzy Princess. It’s available to see up on YouTube now. “The short focuses on Katrina, a feline princess of St. Paws, who goes on a diplomatic mission to gain alliance with the humans, only to get into misadventures along the way.” Vocal talent includes Emi Koch, Aimee Smith, Ty Konzak, Nyla C., Brittany Ann Phillips, and Michael Malconian.

image c. 2021 by Charles Brubaker

Big Bird and Little Bird (It’s Relative)

Here’s a graphic novel series we came across, for young readers and fans of the feathery folk. Arlo and Pips is written and illustrated by Elise Gravel. “Like most crows, Arlo has a big brain. But Arlo has something else: a little pal who’s not afraid to tell him when he’s being insufferable! In the first of three episodes, a battle of the brains and bird-to-bird banter soon turns into an unexpected friendship. Arlo and Pips’ adventures include a visit the big city and the beach on their hunt for shiny things and French fries. Cool crow facts are included throughout the book.” Check out this series from Harper Alley.

image c. 2021 Harper Alley

Best Friends Go On One Last Adventure

Rainbow Bridge is a new graphic novel written by Steve Orlando and Steve Foxe, with art by Valentina Brancati. The story goes like this: “Rainbow Bridge is about a 14-year-old boy, Andy, whose lifelong canine best friend passes away right before Andy is about to start high school. Andy has relied on Rocket for support ever since he was a toddler and Rocket was a pup, and now he’s not so sure about handling such big life events without Rocket in his life. When Andy gets overwhelmed and runs off to a spot that was important to the two of them, a dizzyingly colorful splash of light swoops down and carries Andy away to the Forever Fields, the afterlife paradise for animal companions. It turns out the Rainbow Bridge that pet lovers always talk about when an animal passes away is real, but humans are NOT supposed to cross it—especially humans who are still alive. If the Rainbow Bridge allowed Andy across, it must mean there is powerful unfinished business between him and Rocket. And as Andy soon discovers, animals who linger with unfinished business run the risk of turning into wraiths, vengeful, shadowy spirits that haunt the outskirts of the Forever Fields, driven by unresolved pain and trauma.  Rocket has always been there for Andy. Now it’s Andy’s turn to find his best friend and make sure Rocket gets the afterlife he deserves.” It’s available now from Aftershock, and Big Comic Page has a preview.

image c. 2021 Aftershock Comics

The Front-side of Furry History

If you have not heard of the APA-zine Rowrbrazzle — well, every self-respecting furry fan should. After the famous APA-zine Vootie closed in the late 1970’s, Rowrbrazzle took up the torch of the “new wave” of funny animal art and comics, and in so doing laid the groundwork for much of Furry Fandom to come. It was also a springboard for many creators who went on to much bigger things — artists like Steve Gallacci and Stan Sakai, and big names in animation fandom like Jerry Beck, John Cawley, and Fred Patten. One of the big draws of every Rowrbrazzle issue was the covers — the front cover and covers for each section. And now, MU Press have gathered together a big set of black & white and full-color covers in a new compilation, Covering Rowrbrazzle Volume One, “covering” the first 50 iconic issues. It’s available for sale over at Second Ed.

image c. 2021 by Bill Fitts

Three Young Ladies, Three Cats. It Works.

More from Dark Horse, this time for the cat-lover in your life. Or maybe that’s you. It’s called Cats! Purrfect Strangers, written by Frederic Brremaud, with art by Paola Antista and Cecilia Giumento. “A collection of light-hearted short comic stories following the lives of three young women and their cats. Best friends Manon, Erika, and Camille see adventure every day, but when all three become cat owners, everything changes–for better or for worse! Grow up with these quirky cats and share in all the excitement and fun that comes with raising a cat.” They let it out this October, right before Halloween — of course.

image c. 2021 Dark Horse Publications