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January, 2023:

Celebrate Diversity — All Around You

Right on time! A couple of years ago we told you about a new animated TV series headed to the Disney Channel in 2023 — and now here we are. Animation World Network has this news: “Disney-Branded Television announced that Kiff, their nutty new animated buddy-comedy about optimistic squirrel Kiff and her chill bunny bestie Barry, will premiere Friday, March 10, on Disney Channel and Wednesday, March 15, on Disney+. Kimiko Glenn (Orange Is the New Black) stars in the titular role of Kiff, whose thirst for life takes her on countless adventures through their city alongside Barry, voiced by H. Michael Croner (Craig of the Creek). From creators and executive producers Lucy Heavens and Nic Smal, the series follows Kiff and Barry as they navigate school, relationships and their often-eccentric community in Table Town, a world where animals and magical oddballs tackle day-to-day life together.” We’ll see it all this spring!

image c. 2023 The Disney Channel

Y’old Lizard, You

Cartoon Brew recently pointed us at a new upcoming animated film called Leo, being created for Netflix by Adam Sandler and his production company. “Netflix describes the film as ‘a coming-of-age animated musical comedy about the last year of elementary school – as seen through the eyes of a class pet. Jaded 74-year-old lizard Leo has been stuck in the same Florida classroom for decades with his terrarium-mate turtle. When he learns he only has one year left to live, he plans to escape to experience life on the outside, but instead gets caught up in the problems of his anxious students – including an impossibly mean substitute teacher. It ends up being the strangest but most rewarding bucket list ever…’ Leo’s animation is being produced by Netflix Animation and Animal Logic (The Lego Movie, DC League of Super-Pets)”. Look for it streaming on November 22nd.

image c. 2023 Netflix

A Sour Relationship

Another from the where-have-we-BEEN department… Everybody Loves Cats vs. Pickles is a new hardcover illustrated book and comic by Darren Farrel and Gabriele Tafuni. Evidently, it’s based on a best-selling series of plush toys. “To what lengths will the Pickles go to cultivate a furry friendship? Will our Cats pay them any attention at all? Which Cats will totally freak out (hint: all of them)? Find out in Everybody Loves Cats vs. Pickles, the debut title, featuring three hilarious stories that will keep you coming back for more. Everybody Loves Cats vs. Pickles includes 2 sticker sheets and collectible postcards.” And it’s available now from Dynamite Publishing. Strong enough to open the jar?

image c. 2023 Dynamite Publishing

The Annie Award Nominations for 2022

Recently ASIFA-Hollywood announced the nominations for the Annie Awards, celebrating the best in animation for the year 2022. The Annies are recognized world-wide as “the Oscars of animation”, chosen by folks in the animation industry from a host of disciplines. This year Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio leads the pack in nominations: Seven, including Best Animated Feature, Best Character Animation, Best Directing, Best Music, Best Production Design, and Best Editing. That’s followed close behind by Pixar’s Turning Red, Dreamworks’ Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, and The Sea Beast on Netflix, with six nominations each in various categories — including Best Animated Feature. Furry-fan-favorite The Bad Guys is up for four awards… but interestingly, not for Best Animated Feature. Marcel, The Shell With Shoes On and My Father’s Dragon are both nominated for Best Independent Feature and Best Directing, with Marcel also up for Best Writing and Best Voice Acting. (The little shell that could, sheesh!) The House (which is 2/3 furry…) and The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse are both nominated for Special Production, for projects longer than a short but shorter than a feature. And that’s just a sampling! We don’t even have room to talk about all the nominations for TV series, games, commercials, and more. Check out the Annie Awards web page for a complete list of nominees. The awards will be handed out on February 25th. (And hey, while you’re at it: Don’t forget that nominations have opened for the 2023 Ursa Major Awards too!)

image c. 2023 Netflix

Sunny Day, Sweeping The Clods Away

Once again: Where have we been? This is very very different, and Dark Horse slipped it under our radar last summer: Survival Street, a new 4-issue comic miniseries. “After an unbridled wave of corporations take over America, the country is left completely deregulated and effectively carved up into feudal states where billionaires and businesses make their own laws. Among the wreckage, mass privatization shuts down public broadcasting, forcing all the beloved edutainers out on the down and dirty streets. One group of them stick together, determined to keep helping kids across the country and do it by becoming an A-Team-esque band of mercenaries fighting for (and educating!) kids in the crumbling, corporate war zone of New Best America.” Written by James Asmus and Jim Festante, with illustration by Abylay Kussainov and Ellie Wright. Look for it now, before it’s too late.

image c. 2023 Dark Horse Comics

The Mane Attraction

Also this, from our friends at BOOM!: “Magic: Ajani Goldmane is a special one-shot issue from Hugo Award-nominated  writer Seanan McGuire (Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider), featuring the courageous and noble fan favorite Ajani Goldmane! Meet the fiercely loyal and steadfast planeswalker… Delve into his past adventures and uncover shocking revelations about the brave healer you never knew! And discover what happens when the valiant protector faces threats far beyond his capabilities.” The Lady McGuire, by the way, also happens to be a talented filk singer/songwriter. The more you know.

image c. 2023 BOOM! Studios

Wings of Magic

Somehow, we missed it before, but this came up last summer: “BOOM! Studios today announced the return of the blockbuster fantasy WYND in August 2022 with the five-issue series WYND: The Throne in the Sky, kicking off a new chapter in the acclaimed original series by Eisner Award-winner James Tynion IV (Something is Killing the Children) and artist Michael Dialynas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), the GLAAD Award-winning creative team behind The Woods… The land of Esseriel has grown darker and more dangerous, as tensions between the human and faerie realms threaten to erupt into all-out war. Could Wynd be the only hope for peace? And what will his destiny be if he truly is one of the legendary Winged Ones?” The further adventures of this monstrous young fae fellow are available now in this 5-part miniseries.

image c. 2023 BOOM! Studios

Jam Sessions for Juniors

Something new for the younger set we just found out about, thanks to Animation World Network: “YouTube Originals Kids & Family has released the official trailer for its all-new preschool series Jam Van, featuring a lineup of celebrity voice talent and musical guests… From Believe Entertainment Group (Dear Basketball), composer/producer Bill Sherman (Hamilton, In the Heights, Sesame Street), and animation studio Global Mechanic, the series follows animated best friends Lamb (voiced by Pete Lee) and Anne the Alligator (voiced by Nicole Byer). The duo travels to new locations around the country, where they meet with famous live-action musical artist friends. Together take on social-emotional learning challenges with the help of a new original song sung together.” This live action/animation mash-up premiers on January 19th.

image c. 2023 Global Mechanic

Are We Not Merry Men?

Have we been missing something? There’s a back-story here that we’re not familiar with, but we definitely noticed the cover for Robyn Hood: The Children of Dr. Moreau, a new one-shot comic from Zenescope. “Unexplained disappearances lead Robyn deep beneath the New York City streets where something evil lurks. Robyn has faced these reptilian monsters before, but their mysterious new leader has made them deadlier than ever.” Hmm, those don’t look like reptiles on the cover, now do they? Not to us. Either way, it’s written by Joe Brusha, illustrated by Igor Vitorino, and available now.

image c. 2023 Zenescope Entertainment