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If You Give A Mouse A TV Show

Looks like Amazon has brought us a classic children’s illustrated book series as a new animated TV series for their Amazon Prime service. If You Give A Mouse A Cookie (famously written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond in 1985) was adapted for animation by Mercury Filmworks in Canada. Show-Runner Joe Scarborough has quite the animation resume’, having worked on shows like Arthur, Doug, Curious George, Pocoyo, and Martha Speaks. This new series follows a young boy named Oliver and his best friend, an adventurous mouse. Their friends are various other kids whose companion animals include a cat, a pig, and even a moose. Check out the preview video over at YouTube.

image c. 2017 Amazon Prime

When Animation Got Cool Again

Quick bit of history: Things were looking kind of bleak for American animation in the late 1970’s. It took a while to shake off the blues and get things going in the 1980’s, but when they finally did, animation came back with a bang. And now there’s a new book about it — with an appropriate title. “Totally Awesome: The Greatest Cartoons of the Eighties is the ultimate guide to ’80s cartoon nostalgia, featuring the art, toys, and inside story behind icons like He-Man, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, and the Thundercats. For an entire generation of kids weaned on the intoxicating excitement of eighties cartoons, the decade can be summed up with two words: Totally Awesome! With a thriving Saturday morning network schedule, a full complement of weekday syndicated programming, and the removal of guidelines that prevented cartoons from being based on toys, the 1980s enjoyed an unprecedented TV animation boom that made household names of a host of colorful characters. From He-Man and the Masters of the Universe to The Transformers, G.I. Joe, and The Muppet Babies, eighties cartoons would have such a huge impact on an entire generation that decades later they have become pop culture touchstones, revered by fans whose young minds were blown by their vivid visuals and snappy storytelling. In this deluxe book, Andrew Farago, a respected cartoon historian and child of the eighties, provides an inside look at the history of the most popular cartoons of the decade, as told by the writers, animators, voice actors, and other creative talents who brought life to some of the era’s most enduring animated shows.” Hey, a decade that brought us Gummi Bears and The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse? We’re there! Totally Awesome is coming in hardcover from Insight Editions at the end of November.

image c. 2017 Insight Editions

Rabbit, Take Me Home!

An interesting project we stumbled across at the LA. Comic Con, with the deceptively simple title of Bun. Brought to us by the writing and illustration team of Brian Silveira and Lisa Nguyen, Bun is a graphic novel fantasy/horror series the couple created and published themselves. Their web page describes it like this: “A boy. A girl. An unspeakable evil. A rabbit.” An interview in a local newspaper gave us a bit more description: Bun is “…an intricate tale that follows a young boy and his pet rabbit, the titular Bun. The book picks up after the boy, Milo, loses his mother to cancer. In the wake of her death, his father retreats into alcoholism and depression, essentially making the boy an orphan, alone and struggling with his grief. Milo suddenly disappears, transported to another world where his rabbit Bun serves as the only bridge back home.” The first and second installments of this black & white series are available now.

image c. 2017 by Silveira/Nguyen

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Sweet and Innocent Books for Kids

… or so it would seem. More strangeness we found at the L.A. Comic Con. This time in the form of Reacharound Books. These folks specialize in cute illustrated picture books for kids… that are not. How so?  Well two of the books from their first set (called “Season One”) should be of special note to furry fans: Brenda’s Beaver Needs a Barber and Spank the Monkey Lends a Hand. See where this is going? The funny thing is all of their books are perfectly innocent on the surface — not a single dirty word or picture in any of them. Welcome to the world of double entendre! The books are written by “Bimisi Tayanita” and illustrated by “Sumguyen Bangladesh” — names may have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. So check out their web page, buy the books, and let your children wonder what the heck you’re laughing your head off about.

Image c. 2017 Reacharound Books

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Quest of the Vegetables

Cucumber Quest is a popular on-line fantasy adventure comic for young readers, written and illustrated by Gigi D.G. Now it’s been assembled by First Second into a new full-color graphic novel, Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom. It goes like this: “What happens when an evil queen gets her hands on an ancient force of destruction? World domination, obviously. The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they’ll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic sister, Almond, must now seek the Dream Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Queen Cordelia’s Nightmare Knight. Can these bunny siblings really save the world in its darkest hour? Sure, why not?” The first volume is available now, in hardcover or trade paperback.

image c. 2017 First Second

The Inner Life of Plushies

There’s an interesting new hardcover book coming soon called Toys Talking. Here’s what they say at Drawn & Quarterly: “Always there to comfort and listen, stuffed animals provide a reassuring presence in many a childhood. With Toys Talking, acclaimed illustrator and author Leanne Shapton explores their inner lives, to reveal that their thoughts and feelings are just as complicated as our own. The concerns of these bunnies, bears, and ducks range from the mundane to the existential, and with each new pairing of character and text, we see a deeper portrait of their pensive, quiet world. Shapton holds a mirror to our own lives, to our insecurities and concerns, by revealing that the objects who comfort us have worries of their own. This board book brings Shapton’s gorgeously minimal brushstrokes to a younger audience, and will leave children and parents alike brimming with the beauty and melancholy of self-reflection.” Marketed for children, it’s more a sort of visual poetry. Look for it in November.

image c. 2017 Enfant

North, But Not Alaska

And the Christmas comic flood continues, this time with a new title from Action Lab — Northstars Volume 1: Welcome to Snowville. “Holly, the daughter of Santa Claus, and Frostina, the Yeti Princess, must put their differences aside to save the town of Snowville before Christmas is lost forever. They travel through an exotic underground world to save Christmas from the devious Krampus and his oafish Straw Lads.” Krampus who looks like an evil reindeer, it seems. They also said this: “Northstars is what you get if you combine Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with Adventure Time. Like the classic Rankin/Bass specials, it’s a wonderful world where holiday characters such as Santa and his daughter, Holly, rub shoulders with winter warlocks, snow dragons and fall fairies. Like Adventure Time, there is a wry sense of humor and a colorful, quirky cast of characters that both kids and adults will enjoy.” The first ultra-sized hardcover issue is written by Jim Shelley and Haigen Shelley, with illustration by Anna Liisa Jones. Look for it later this month.

image c. 2017 Action Lab

Classic Christmas from Classic Artists

It’s not too early to be thinking about Christmas, is it? (Our local department store certainly doesn’t think so…) In that spirit (Ha Ha), IDW have once again compiled The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories, edited by Craig Yoe. What’s especially interesting about this collection is some of the artists represented: Among them are Walt Kelly (creator of Pogo), Richard Scarry (famous creator of funny animal books for kids), John Stanley (Little Lulu), and many others. It’s coming out in trade paperback this November, and there’s a review over at the Graphic Novel Reporter site.

image c. 2017 IDW

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How to Battle With Your Dragon

[Back in town again, your ed-otter is happy to get caught up with new furry stuff!] Looking ahead to the delayed-but-still-coming film How to Train Your Dragon 3, Dreamworks Animation have a new full-color graphic novel coming early next year from Dark Horse. “This second standalone graphic novel based on the film series is a new adventure that takes place shortly after the events in How to Train Your Dragon 2, during the period in which Hiccup is desperately trying to fill his father’s role as the chief of Berk. Created with the help of the film’s writer, director, and producer, Dean DeBlois; it bridges the gap between the second and third films. Hiccup, Toothless, and the rest of the dragon riders encounter two deadly yet mysteriously linked threats: One is an island consumed by Dragonvine, an uncontrollable force of nature that’s poisonous to humans and deadly to dragons. The other is an all-new, all-terrifying dragon species – the web-spitting Silkspanners!” As they noted in the press release, How to Train Your Dragon: Dragonvine is written by Dean Deblois and Richard Hamilton, with illustrations by Francisco de la Fuente and Doug Wheatley.

image c. 2017 Dark Horse