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Update on a Goose

We mentioned before about an upcoming animated film called Duck Duck Goose, one of several films being financed the Chinese firm Original Force with the intention of releasing in North America. Well now, according to an article at Cartoon Brew, Duck Duck Goose has a release date — April 20th, 2018 — and a teaser trailer up on YouTube. “Chris Jenkins, a veteran Disney effects animator who more recently shifted to the producing side (Dreamworks’ Home, Sony’s Surf’s Up), makes his feature directorial debut on Duck Duck Goose. Jenkins co-wrote the film with Rob Muir… The film follows the adventures of a ‘high-flying bachelor goose’ named Peng (voiced by Jim Gaffigan) who finds himself in charge of two ducklings (voiced by Zendaya and Lance Lim) that he must take along on a long journey south. Other voices are provided by Greg Proops, Natasha Leggero, Reggie Watts, Diedrich Bader, Jennifer Grey, Rick Overton, Craig Ferguson, Stephen Fry, and Carl Reiner.” Distribution is being handled by Open Road Films, the same outfit that released The Nut Job and its recent sequel here in the States.

image c. 2017 Original Force

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Little Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night

A new talent we’ve discovered thanks to Previews: Writer and illustrator Gustavo Borges, with his new full-color graphic novel Petals. (Fun fact: Mr. Borges used to compete for Brazil in several Olympic Games as a swimmer!) “During a long winter, a family of foxes struggles to survive the merciless cold. One day, one of the cubs leaves his house looking for much-needed firewood and crosses his path with a tall and peculiar bird wearing a singular top hat. A beautifully illustrated and deeply touching story of friendship and selflessness by young Brazilian prodigy Gustavo Borges and Eisner Award-nominee colorist Cris Peter.” According to Previews, Petals should be out in hardcover this December.

image c. 2017 Kingpin Books

What Doe, Ye Varlot

Once again, looks like Europe is getting cool stuff that we’re not getting here in the USA. According to Cartoon Brew, “Cartoon Network EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) will launch a new series in 2017: The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe, created by Danish animators Christian Bøving-Andersen and Eva Lee Wallberg. Prince Ivandoe is comprised of 10 three-minute episodes that follow the adventure of young forest prince Ivandoe, whose father, The Mighty Stag, has sent him on a mission to reclaim a magical Golden Feather from the Eagle King… The project is set to launch as both a linear series and an interactive online experience that allows viewers to join the quest of Prince Ivandoe and his bird buddy, Bert.” Keep your eyes open for a launch date.

image c. 2017 Sun Creature Studio

Beware of the Penguin Conspiracy…

Some new discoveries from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books… including some things that maybe Man Was Not Meant To Know!  We met author Steve Hammond, who introduced us to his new science fiction saga Rise of the Penguins. “The War of the Species has begun. An ancient race of penguin has reemerged. From this race a powerful leader declares himself Overlord and unites the penguin clans of the world. His goal: to drive the human presence away from Antarctica and to exact revenge for the atrocities of the past against penguinkind. Through shadowy alliances and manipulation the Overlord launches a full scale war against the humans. The Overlord’s tactics are ruthless even against penguins under his command. Those who don’t conform to the Overlord’s ideals are pressed into obedience or worse. In the midst of bloody conflict against the humans a small Chinstrap penguin, Lavour, begins to see the folly of war and questions the motives of the Overlord. But can one penguin bring an end to the bloodshed and change their course of the war and restore peace?” No less than six books in the series are available now from Rockhopper Books, and a seventh volume is on the way soon. Visit the author’s web site to keep up to date. And remember to treat birds nicely!

image c. 2017 Rockhopper Books

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Consumers of Art

John Layman made a name for himself with the surreal comic book series Chew. Now he’s at Aftershock Comics with a new title called Eleanor & The Egret. Here’s what Comic Alliance said about it: “With the wrap up of Chew this year, John Layman has proved himself one of the go-to creators when it comes to crime comedy comics, and Eleanor and the Egret looks to be at least as surreal as his previous series. Sam Kieth, the legendary creator behind The Maxx, feels like an exciting choice to illustrate this Catch Me If You Can-style caper involving an art thief and a heron.” A heron who eats fine works of art, in fact. This is from the publishers: “A slightly surreal tale of an art thief and her sidekick, a talking egret who gets just a bit bigger after each successful caper, as they embark on a escalating series of daring thefts of world-famous paintings, and dodge pursuers in an increasingly weirdly dangerous game of cat & mouse.” Look for it this April.

image c. 2017 Aftershock Comics

Penguin & Peep, Moose & Bear

Monica Bruenjes specializes in animation, children’s book illustration, & comics. She is the founder of Subarashii, a creator-owned company designed for providing you with “Splendid artwork for a joyful life.” To that end she has created an on-line comic called Penguin & Peep. “Best friends and polar opposites, Penguin & Peep go on adventures in hopes of having the perfect day together. Penguin loves his home in the zoo, but Peep is always looking for something new.” Also on her web site you’ll find information about Moosebear, a TV series concept which Monica has been trying to pitch. “In the Alaskan woods behind her house, a relocated California girl determined to fit in becomes friends with a magical creature trying to help his no-nonsense neighbors.”

image c. 2017 by Monica Bruenjes

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Art Must Be Done

Karen Krajenbrink describes her job quite succinctly: “I do art.” Going into perhaps a bit more detail, she elaborates: “Associate Art Director at a mobile gaming company by day, freelancer by night. I’ve worked in games, film, and TV for art direction, visual development, character design, story, pipeline creation, BG paint, prop design, and technical pitches.” Add to that one more achievement: In 2015 she completed her first illustrated children’s book called Fox & Boots, “… a 24 page story about friendship, love, and loss, illustrated in full color.” It’s available at her store, along with her sketchbook and several art prints. [Let us wish you all a Happy and Safe New Year in 2017!]

image c. 2016 by Karen Krajenbrink

One Big Bird — and Not From Sesame Street!

Mary J. Lai creates art and animation under the moniker of Birdzilla Studios. According to her web site, “She has a fondness for birds, which are a frequent subject in her work and cause of quite a few shenanigans in her life. Her achievements include receiving the Matt Groening Initiative award for her thesis film Velo Hoot (which was also selected for an encore in the Best of the NorthWest Animation Film Fest), featured filmmaker for UCLA’s Film & TV’s Director’s Spotlight for her second year film dream(drem)n., and multiple donor awards.” And of course, there are lots of animal, monster, and anthro-animal characters in her portfolio too. Check out her demo reel!

image c. 2016 by Mary J. Lai

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Never Chicken Out

We missed this one earlier this year, but it’s worth mentioning: For a few years now Disney has been distributing Animasia Studio’s 2D animated series Chuck Chicken on their channels in Southeast Asia. Now Animation Magazine has announced that Animasia have teamed up with Zero One Animation in China to create Chuck Chicken — The Movie. Animasia’s official web site lays it out pretty clear: “Chuck Chicken takes place on an island called Rocky Perch, a land filled with chaos, mayhem and birds…… lots and lots of birds. Welcome to Golden Egg Securities, the number one security service on Rocky Perch. Chuck, who runs the company with his two friends, Flick and Wing. They provide Kung Fu style security to the citizens of Rocky Perch and their valuables, as they travel across the island. Chuck also inherited a very special talisman in the shape of a golden egg, an object that bestows amazing powers on whomever possesses it, and turns Chuck into Kung Fu Chicken. Unfortunately for Chuck, the talisman doesn’t come with any instructions, so he doesn’t know how to properly control his new abilities.” Got all that? Given the interest that many Chinese animation studios have shown in creating product intended for American markets, there’s a good chance we may have an English version of Chuck Chicken waiting in the wings.

image c. 2016 Animasia Studios