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The Ursa Major Awards for 2020

Welcome in the May! And welcome the 2021 Ursa Major Awards for the best in anthropomorphic media from 2020. While there was so much crazy (and let’s face it, sad) going on that year, somehow creative people managed to bring us some fine “talking animal” entertainment — and we love them for it. So here, as nominated and voted on exclusively by you, the Fans, are the winners for the Best in Anthropomorphics from the year 2020:

Best Costume (Fursuit): Zigc the Khajiit, created by Inerri Creatures

Best Web Site: Furaffinity.net

Best Game: Animal Crossing — New Horizons, created by Nintendo

Best Published Illustration: “Cheers” by Lofi

Best Magazine: Pocari Roo (video series)

Best Comic Strip: Housepets! by Rick Griffin

Best Graphic Story: Beastars (Volumes 4 – 8) by Paru Itagaki

Best Non-Fiction: The Fandom — A Furry Documentary, directed by Ash Kreis and Eric Risher

Best Other Literary Work: Difursity — Stories by Furries of Color, edited by Weasel

Best Short Fiction: What Makes A Witch, by Linnea Capps

Best Novel: The City That Barks and Roars, by J.T. Bird

Best Dramatic Short Work: Zoophobia — Bad Luck Jack, directed by Vivienne Medrano

Best Dramatic Series: Beastars (The English Dub), directed by Shinichi Matsumi

Best Motion Picture: Wolfwalkers, directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart

Needless to say, congratulations to everyone — the winners, and all the other nominees. To find out more about the Ursa Major Awards, or if you’d like to volunteer, visit the official web site. And start thinking about what sort of Furry Stuff you like from 2021! The Ursa Major Awards will return next year!

image c. 2021 Cartoon Saloon

With a Song in His Heart

We’re learning more about Vivo, Sony Pictures Animation’s first musical. For one thing, they’ve released a teaser trailer — and a plot. “An animated musical adventure that follows Vivo, a one-of-kind kinkajou (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda), who must find his way from Havana to Miami in order to deliver a song on behalf of his beloved owner and mentor Andres (Juan de Marcos Gonzáles).” Mr. Miranda wrote the original story, and lots of songs for the film as well. It’s directed by Kirk DeMicco (Space Chimps, The Croods) and Brandon Jeffords (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2). One of the producers is none other than Rich Moore (Zootopia). Well-known voices include Gloria Estefan, Michael Rooker, and Zoe Saldana. Vivo is coming soon to Netflix.

image c. 2021 Sony Pictures Animation

Winging to Your TV

Ava DuVernay, director of Selma and A Wrinkle In Time, has a new series in the works — with dragons. Wings of Fire was a novel series, then a graphic novel — and now, a new animated series on its way to Netflix. “Oscar nominee and Emmy Award winner Ava DuVernay has landed her animated family series, Wings of Fire, at Netflix. Based on Tui T. Sutherland’s #1 New York Times and USA Today best-selling book series, the epic fantasy saga will be produced by Warner Bros. Animation… Published by Scholastic, with 14 million copies in print, the Wings of Fire book series tells the story of a bitter war that has raged for generations between the dragon tribes who inhabit the epic world of Pyrrhia. According to prophecy, five young dragons will rise to end the bloodshed and bring peace back to the land. Raised and trained in secret from the time they were hatched, the Dragonets of destiny – Clay, Tsunami, Glory, Starflight, and Sunny – embark on an evolving quest that will bring them face to face with their true selves and the overwhelming scope of this savage war they are destined to bring to an end.” Stay tooned for more news about a planned release date!

image c. 2021 Scholastic, Inc.

The Pony Century

IDW Publishing is about to hit quite a milestone in the world of My Little Pony… “This July, IDW invites readers of all ages to enjoy a centennial celebration with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #100, the sensational super-sized anniversary issue full of frolicking fillies and mysterious menace! The monumental 100th issue of Friendship is Magic features the work of longtime, fan-favorite contributors, writer Jeremy Whitley and artists Andy Price and Brenda Hickey, and includes a special back-up story by Katie Cook. Set officially within the Season 10 continuity following the series finale of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic animated series, the story will be a thrill for longtime fans while remaining accessible to new and returning readers. In this landmark issue, Rainbow Dash and her companions Spitfire, Celaeno, Lyra, and Bon Bon find themselves in the Bird Kingdom, where old friendships are tested and a new, enigmatic enemy lurks in the shadows. Together, the ponies will unravel the mystery of the Knights of Harmony!” You herd it here folks.

image c. 2021 IDW Publishing

Are You Ready?

The movie Rumble has been pushed back to next year (February, according to IMDB), but already you can start ordering the tie-in material. Rumble: The Art and Making of the Movie is coming soon from Titan Publishing, edited by Noela Hueso. “In a world where monster wrestling is a global sport and monsters are superstar athletes, teenage Winnie seeks to follow in her father’s footsteps by becoming a coach and turning a loveable underdog monster into a champion. From Paramount Animation, Rumble is a larger-than-life animated coming of age comedy. With ringside seats to the production, Rumble: The Art and Making of the Movie contains sketches, concept art, storyboards, and final stills. Featuring exclusive commentary from the creative team, plus a foreword written by [actor] Terry Crews, this extraordinary collection of art will give you captivating insights into the creative process.” Look for it at Barnes & Noble.

image c. 2021 Titan Publishing

An Inspirational Fore-bearer

For those who thought that Furry Art got its start in the 1980’s…  meet T.S. Sullivant, who was doing this when Walt Disney was still in school. Now Fantagraphics Books have compiled many of his well-known black & white cartoons — along with words of appreciation — into a new book called A Cockeyed Menagerie. “Welcome to the cockeyed menagerie of Thomas Starling Sullivant. From the 1880s to the Roaring Twenties, Sullivant conjured up a whimsical world in pen and ink — riotous gag cartoons featuring anthropomorphic animals of all stripes; perennial American ‘types’ like hobos, hayseeds, and urban hucksters; and familiar characters from ancient myths and biblical tales. Imbued with infectious joy, his drawings have inspired generations of artists and countless Disney films.” It’s available now in hardcover.

image c. 2021 Fantagraphics Books

They’ll Be Bok

Back when we first talked about  The Chicken Squad book series, we made a silly crack about how one day they might be made into a “chick flick”.  Well… maybe a TV series is a good halfway point? “The Chicken Squad, Disney Junior’s new cg animated comedy adventure hits the airways on Disney Junior and DisneyNOW on Friday May 14. The series, which was inspired by the popular kids’ book series of the same name by Doreen Cronin, follows a trio of young chicken siblings—Coop, Sweetie and Little Boo—and their retired search and rescue dog mentor, Captain Tully. Together, they team up on problem-solving adventures in their backyard to help their animal friends, while modeling what it means to be good community helpers and finding the joy in assisting others.” Animation World Network has more information, and a preview trailer too.

image c. 2021 Disney Junior

Rivals Land on Paper

Remember when we talked about Rivals of Aether, a very furry video game? Well now Dan Fornace and his creative team are exploring a new medium as they bring us Tales of Aether — Future Imperfect, a full-color comic book series slated to come out later this year. Over on YouTube they have a preview video that introduces a lot of the new characters and situations. Be on the lookout!

image c. 2021 Aether Studios

Ho! Kay…

Interesting story out of Variety (by way of Animation World Network): “Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard is attached to helm a computer-animated adaptation of the beloved 1980s Rankin Bass animated series Thundercats for Warner Bros., from a script Wingard will write with frequent collaborator Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest)… The original series, which aired from 1985 to 1989, was revived for a single season Cartoon Network in 2011, and then again in 2020 under the title Thundercats Roar. But as a feature film, Thundercats has been a tricky project to crack for the studio, which has hired a small parade of screenwriters and producers since at least 2007 to bring a movie to life. The underlying story is at once relatively simple — a team of humanoid cat-people (or cat-like humans) like Lion-O, Panthro, and Cheetara fight the evil wizard Mumm-Ra on the planet of Third Earth — and surprisingly complicated, with a mix of technological space sci-fi and swords-and-sorcery fantasy.” Read the article at Variety for much more on this latest take on our friends from Thundera.

image c. 2021 Cartoon Network