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Book

Go to the Rats. Again.

This one we found thanks to Facebook of all things. Gizmodo has an article about efforts at Fox to bring Robert C. O’Brien’s world of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH to television — almost 40 years after Don Bluth and company gave us The Secret of NIMH as an animated film. Here’s what they say about the new project: “NIMH, which seems to be its working title, will be based on Robert O’Brien’s 1971 book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and possibly its two sequels Rasco and the Rats of NIMH and R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH, written by O’Brien’s daughter Jane Leslie Conly after his death. According to Deadline, Fox — already home to animated series Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and more — has already issued a script commitment for the series, but has yet to hire a writer.” They go on to note, “In 2019, the Russo brothers of MCU fame were reportedly going to executive-produce a live-action remake of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH for MGM, which the studio had announced back in 2015. There’s no word on how this new adaptation may affect the former, but there’s also no guarantee Fox’s version will ever get made, either.” We hadn’t heard about that! It’s interesting that Gizmodo remembers Secret of NIMH as “terrifying” for children, whereas most cartoon fans from the time remember it fondly as a giant leap forward for animation, from a time when the industry was not looking all that great in America.

image c. 2021 MGM Studios

Mom is a Monkey. Kind of.

Thanks to ASIFA Hollywood we found out about Ape Star, a new Scandinavian animated film directed by Linda Hambäck. Based on a popular children’s book by Frida Nilsson, the set-up is pretty simple: “Joanna is a feisty young orphan who wants to be adopted more than anything else. When her potential new mom drives up to the orphanage, she gets a big shock as the door opens and a talking gorilla steps out.” An English dub is making its way into streaming services now. Take a look at the trailer on YouTube.

image c. 2021 Lee Film

Big Bird and Little Bird (It’s Relative)

Here’s a graphic novel series we came across, for young readers and fans of the feathery folk. Arlo and Pips is written and illustrated by Elise Gravel. “Like most crows, Arlo has a big brain. But Arlo has something else: a little pal who’s not afraid to tell him when he’s being insufferable! In the first of three episodes, a battle of the brains and bird-to-bird banter soon turns into an unexpected friendship. Arlo and Pips’ adventures include a visit the big city and the beach on their hunt for shiny things and French fries. Cool crow facts are included throughout the book.” Check out this series from Harper Alley.

image c. 2021 Harper Alley

Best Friends Go On One Last Adventure

Rainbow Bridge is a new graphic novel written by Steve Orlando and Steve Foxe, with art by Valentina Brancati. The story goes like this: “Rainbow Bridge is about a 14-year-old boy, Andy, whose lifelong canine best friend passes away right before Andy is about to start high school. Andy has relied on Rocket for support ever since he was a toddler and Rocket was a pup, and now he’s not so sure about handling such big life events without Rocket in his life. When Andy gets overwhelmed and runs off to a spot that was important to the two of them, a dizzyingly colorful splash of light swoops down and carries Andy away to the Forever Fields, the afterlife paradise for animal companions. It turns out the Rainbow Bridge that pet lovers always talk about when an animal passes away is real, but humans are NOT supposed to cross it—especially humans who are still alive. If the Rainbow Bridge allowed Andy across, it must mean there is powerful unfinished business between him and Rocket. And as Andy soon discovers, animals who linger with unfinished business run the risk of turning into wraiths, vengeful, shadowy spirits that haunt the outskirts of the Forever Fields, driven by unresolved pain and trauma.  Rocket has always been there for Andy. Now it’s Andy’s turn to find his best friend and make sure Rocket gets the afterlife he deserves.” It’s available now from Aftershock, and Big Comic Page has a preview.

image c. 2021 Aftershock Comics

Three Young Ladies, Three Cats. It Works.

More from Dark Horse, this time for the cat-lover in your life. Or maybe that’s you. It’s called Cats! Purrfect Strangers, written by Frederic Brremaud, with art by Paola Antista and Cecilia Giumento. “A collection of light-hearted short comic stories following the lives of three young women and their cats. Best friends Manon, Erika, and Camille see adventure every day, but when all three become cat owners, everything changes–for better or for worse! Grow up with these quirky cats and share in all the excitement and fun that comes with raising a cat.” They let it out this October, right before Halloween — of course.

image c. 2021 Dark Horse Publications

Writers Speak on How To Write

Prolific author and Ursa Major Award winner Mary E. Lowd has a new non-fiction project out, with the help of Ian Madison Keller. The title pretty much speaks for itself: Furry Fiction Is Everywhere — A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Anthropomorphic Characters. “Have you ever read a book or novel and wondered why they even bothered to make certain character(s) in the book something other than human? Want to avoid that in your own work? There are some simple steps you can take to make your anthropomorphic (or furry) characters stand out on the page. This guide will walk you through step-by-step how to build a believable furry species, world, and characters.” It includes worksheets for helping to create your own characters and story situations. And it’s available in September from Rainbow Dog Books.

image c. 2021 Rainbow Dog Books

You Were Watching It For Them Anyway, Right?

When Avatar the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra were all the rage in TV animation circles, furry fans of course zeroed in on all of the interesting and strange wildlife to be found in that fantasy universe. Well soon Dark Horse Comics will be publishing a new compendium of creatures called Beasts of the Four Nations. “Part of what everyone loves about the Four Nations is all the strange and wonderful (and sometimes scary!) creatures that inhabit them! From the Air Nomads’ flying bison, to Kyoshi Island’s elephant koi, to the Earth Kingdom’s singing groundhogs and the little purple pentapus, look to this hardcover collection for images and information on Avatar and Korra’s creatures large and small, including many from the spirit world!” Different sources give different release dates for it, from this coming December to next February.

image c. 2021 Dark Horse Comics

Catching Up With Cottonwood

Remember quite a while ago when we talked about a new graphic novel (at the time in production) called Under The Cottonwood Tree? Turns out it’s available now from North Fourth Publications! Here’s what we said then: “One day, brothers Amadeo and Carlos Lucero walked into the deep, dark woods near their home in Algodones, New Mexico… and encountered a deep, dark magic. Attempting to flee, suddenly Carlos finds himself transformed into a black and white calf! That’s the set up for Under the Cottonwood Tree (El Susto de la Curandera), a new full-color ‘Latino fairy tale graphic novel’ by Paul Meyer, Carlos Meyer, and Margaret Hardy. Watch as our heroes encounter dangerous owls, talking rats, and magical spirits as they seek to un-bovine young Carlos.”

image c. 2021 North Fourth Publications

Hot Love between Human and… Not

We literally stumbled across the writer Christine Warren, whom we had not heard of before — but we found her novel Born To Be Wild at a used book sale. Since 2003 Christine has written a slew of hot adult-oriented fantasy romance novels, usually involving a human getting wrapped up with a non-human shapeshifter of some sort. Her series include The Others (as human/animal shapeshifters call themselves), Gargoyles (no connection to the Disney series but it shares some ideas), and Alphaville (specifically werewolves). Her web page at Fantastafiction has a summary for each and every book, if you like your romance explicit and your lovers of a different species.

image c. 2021 St. Martin’s Press