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Maybe Not ALL Unicorns Want Friendship

Joey Spiotto certainly has an interesting sense of humor. Among his creations is one Grumpy Unicorn, who put out a book of philosophy and observations called Why Me? Well now the grumpy one has returned with his first graphic novel, Grumpy Unicorn Hits The Road. “Everyone’s favorite magical grouch returns in a graphic novel all about adventure! In this collection of laugh-out-loud stories, Grumpy introduces us to his friends like Sassy the Sasquatch and Jack the Jackelope, takes us camping and on road trips, causes a major dust-up at a museum, and more!” It’s available now in paperback from Scholastic.

image c. 2020 Scholastic, Inc.

A Triple-Shot of Furries

Mo Willems is an award-winning author and playwright — who recently signed a deal for not one but three new animated projects, all of them quite a bit furry. We got this from Animation World Network: “HBO Max and Cartoon Network have just announced greenlighting three new projects with New York Times best-selling children’s book author, illustrator, and playwright Mo Willems: A hilarious animated series Unlimited Squirrels!; a CGI animated rock special Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Special; and a pilot order for a live-action immersive series, Cat the Cat’s Show the Show Show with YOU the YOU! The projects are designed to encourage kids (and former kids) to feel comfortable in their own skin. The three new orders join the recent live-action special, Mo Willems and The Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!, and a collection of Weston Woods Studios animated films adapted from his award-winning books, Mo Willems Storytime Shorts!, to further expand the innovative content slate that is part of the streamer’s multi-year deal with Willems. The new projects will also be executive produced by Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures.” The article goes into a lot more detail about each of the new shows, as well as Willem’s previous works. [Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!]

images c. 2020 by Mo Willems

For Your Friends, They Are A’Changin’

Literally one of the most well-known animal transformation stories on our planet has returned — as a full-color graphic novel series from Scholastic. It’s Animorphs, Volume 1: The Invasion. “The wildly popular, bestselling sci-fi series by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant returns in a new full-color graphic novel series, adapted by Chris Grine. Sometimes weird things happen to people. Ask Jake. He could tell you about the night he and his friends saw a strange light in the sky that seemed to be heading right for them. That was the night five normal kids learned that humanity is under a silent attack — and were given the power to fight back. Now Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Tobias, and Marco can transform into some of the most dangerous creatures on Earth. And they must use that power to outsmart an evil greater than anything the world has ever seen. . . ” Volume 1 is available now from Barnes & Noble.

image c. 2020 Scholastic, Inc.

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