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One Cool Cat Who Rocks

Well here’s a description that’s going to catch a few furry fans’ attention: “Meet Joe Gomez. He’s got high school on lock – good grades, a cool band, and girls digging his vibe. But just when he’s got the world figured out, he goes and turns into a saber-toothed tiger. A shape-shifting nature spirit known as a Chimera, to be specific. Now Joe needs every single one of his new powers to help save the human race – whether he wants to or not.” That’s the idea behind Urban Animal, a new graphic novel by Justin Jordan and John Amor, published by Rocketship. Volume one is available now in paperback from Simon & Schuster.

image c. 2022 Rocketship Entertainment

Four Souls of a Trickster

Well this is interesting: Four Souls of Coyote is a new animated feature film currently in production at Cinemon Entertainment in Hungary. Animation World Network showed us the teaser trailer. “Inspired by Native American folklore, the film retells the story of the universe’s creation. Billed as a call to live in harmony with the environment and save the earth, the film features adventures with animals, magic, hunger, greed, and the sacred circle of all creations… The film comes to Hungarian cinemas in 2023.” No word yet on a North American release, but the film is being produced with an English-speaking voice cast.

image c. 2022 Cinemon Entertainment

Strength From Within — And Puppets

Animation World Network let us know about Slumberkins, a new TV series that recently started streaming on Apple TV+. “Based on the plushie and book series line of the same name from Thrive co-founders and CEOs Kelly Oriard and Callie Christensen, AppleTV+’s Slumberkins series features characters Bigfoot, Unicorn, Sloth, Yak, and Fox as they explore a world of feelings in this puppet/2D animation show that empowers the emotional wellness of children through supportive storytelling. Slumberkins brings to life characters from Oriard’s and Christensen’s books who all experience a diverse range of emotional explorations, discovering that awareness of their own feelings and the ability to sort through those emotions lead to blossoming relationships and unwavering self-confidence. This was the main concept behind the original Slumberkins plushies, each with its own book series that includes interactive questions to support emotional growth.” And with puppets created by The Jim Henson Company no less.

image c. 2022 Apple TV+

Find the Fox in Flight

There’s a new graphic novel out called Fox Fires, written and illustrated by Emilia Ojala.Fox Fires is a fantasy-adventure that is inspired by Finnish folklore. ‘Fox Fires’ refers to the Northern Lights… The Fox Fires are a gate between this world and the land of the dead – it allows souls to visit their loved ones. But suddenly, the Fox Fires disappear. Our main character, a young raccoon dog named Raate, heads north to find what’s happened to Repo, the fire fox whose burning fur is said to make the Fox Fires appear in the sky. On her journey, Raate meets all kinds of interesting creatures, and also new friends.” The first volume is available in hardcover from Simon & Schuster.

image c. 2022 Rocketship Entertainment

For Once, Yes to the Anchovies

Sheesh, what have we been missing on line? Things like this, apparently: “New York Times bestselling Mac Barnett and Caldecott Honor award-winning illustrator Shawn Harris turn their massively popular The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza live cartoon into an action-packed and hysterical graphic novel series… Something terrible is happening in the skies! Rats are eating the moon! There’s only one hero for the job, a bold and fearsome beast bioengineered in a secret lab to be the moon’s savior and Earth’s last hope! And that hero is . . . a cat. A cat who will be blasted into space! Accompanied by the imperious Moon Queen and LOZ 4000, a toenail clipping robot, the First Cat in Space journeys across a fantastic lunar landscape in a quest to save the world. Will these unlikely heroes save the moon in time?” Find out now, courtesy of Harper Collins.

image c. 2022 Harper Collins

Does THIS Cat Dance Maybe?

Turns out there’s there’s another feature film in the works for everyone’s favorite lasagna-loving feline, Garfield. The big orange fellow has appeared in two previous live action/CGI films, both times voiced by Bill Murray. Now Alcon Entertainment is working on the famous feline’s first fully-animated feature film, where this time he’ll be voiced by Chris Pratt. (Is there anything that guy isn’t involved in?) Like many animated films of the past few years, this one features an impressive voice cast of well-known actors, including Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult, Hannah Waddingham, Cecily Strong, and Ving Rhames. Interestingly, this new film is directed by Mark Dindal (of Cats Don’t Dance and Emperor’s New Groove fame), whom we have not heard from in a long long time. According to Animation World Network, Garfield should be out in mid-2024.

image c. 2022 Alcon Entertainment

What UP, Dog?

Animation news out of France, courtesy of Animation World Network: “Kittened is described as revolving around famous rapper Tough Dog, ‘who is challenged to a rap battle by the Kalixte, a rising star with millions of followers. A week before the battle, Tough Dog wakes up in the body of a kitten, with the kitten’s spirit in Tough Dog’s body. To reverse the situation back to normal, he has to ask Kim, a shy young girl, for help. In exchange, Tough Dog will teach her to become popular.'”. Currently the film is scheduled for release in 2025. We have a fairly good record of getting animated films from France released here in North America (Ernest & Celestine, anyone?), so hopefully this will get a chance as well.

image c. 2022 SND

THIS Cat Returns

Your ever-loving edotter got a chance to see a preview screening of Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, the upcoming animated feature from Dreamworks Animation, directed by Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado. Here’s the basic plot summary: The unstoppable adventurer Puss in Boots discovers that he has burned up eight of his nine lives through a series of mishaps. He goes on a desperate quest to find a fallen star with magic wishing powers, hoping to restore his invulnerability. Trouble is, the cat has lots of competition for the star — and a malevolent force following right behind him. So here are some Spoiler-Free thoughts about the film: See It, as soon as you can.  Not only is this a cracking good adventure film, darker than you expect it to be in places, but it’s also quite easily the furriest film ever in the Shrek universe. In fact, there’s a wolf in this film who could easily give the head Bad Guy a run for his money. This new film is coming to theaters on December 21st.

image c. 2022 Dreamworks Animation

The Chicken Go Book Book Book

And yet more animated book adaptations. We got this from Animation World Network: “Apple TV+ just released a trailer for its newest animated series, Interrupting Chicken, based on the 2011 Caldecott Honor-winning book series written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein. The preschool series introduces children to the joy of creative writing – starting with a little young chicken named Piper, who has a habit of interrupting story time! Every time Piper hears a story, she can’t help but jump in, ask questions, and let her imagination run wild.” The new series premiers on November 18th, and the trailer is up on line.

image c. 2022 Apple TV+