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Cats

Take the First Steps. Please!

Dark comedy gets dark with Julian In Purgatory, a new black & white funny-animal graphic novel written and illustrated by Jon Allen. This is from Kirkus Reviews: “Julian (an anthropomorphized cat) is the son of a former two-term mayor, wearer of expensive shirts, and addict of his coffee-table drug buffet. After his levelheaded girlfriend kicks him out, Julian dredges his list of next-best friends hoping to find money, new digs, and someone who will understand why the world is against him. Though he hates his haters, he can’t help but think that maybe there’s some truth to what they’re saying. Julian’s interpretation of lemons to lemonade: steal a bag of drugs from his dealer and try to make a financial go of it without getting caught. Except he does.” Available this February in trade paperback from Iron Circus Comics.

image c. 2021 Iron Circus Comics

Cats… Saviors of the Universe

Another animated series for the young fans — and where-have-WE-been, it’s already getting into its second season! This from Animation World Network: “Nelvana and Discovery have greenlit a second season of redknot’s inaugural series, Agent Binky: Pets of The Universe… Based on the bestselling Kids Can Press graphic novels (written and illustrated by Ashley Spires), P.U.R.S.T. agents Binky, Gracie, Gordon, Loo, and Nola are back on the case and ready to protect their human families from even more aliens, robots, and interstellar threats. Certified and ready for action, the team is determined to go where no pet has gone before! Equipped with even more gadgets, the agents set off on exciting adventures, exploring new locations, and meeting new friends.” It’s scheduled for later this year in Canada, but no word on a date for the USA.

image c. 2021 Nelvana

Cats and the City

The Cats of Ostia Antica sounds like quite an ordinary title perhaps, but this new full-color dialogue-free graphic novel is anything but ordinary. Scripted and illustrated by Julian Brier, this hardcover book is available now from Tinto Press. “The sun sets on a seemingly normal day over the ruins of the ancient roman city of Ostia Antica. The groundskeeper tends to his duties and is kept company by the cats that inhabit the nooks and shadows of the historical site. What was once a seemingly normal dinner after work for the groundskeeper takes a turn when he loses consciousness and finds himself in a slightly skewed reality. Led by one of his feline friends, he finds himself back at the gates of Ostia Antica and what lies beyond is a resurrected city full of ghosts and ghouls of every kind, beckoning for him to join the party.” Solrad.co has a preview of several pages, which should give you a better idea what you’re in for.

image c. 2020 Tinto Press

Don’t Mess with a Tricky Cat

One of Sir Terry Pratchett’s lesser-known (and very furry) Discworld stories is in development as an animated feature. Here’s the latest news we found out from Animation World Network: “Bring on the Cat King of Rats! The Amazing Maurice, based on the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s 2001 novel, is in development at Ulysses Filmproduktion, Cantilever Media, Sky Cinema, Studio Rakete, and Red Star Animation (what a mouthful). Although we lost the beloved author in 2015, it is exciting to think we’ll soon get to admire his work on the big screen. Fingers crossed. Since the project’s announcement last year, it has gained quite the A-List voice cast. Hugh Laurie (House, Stuart Little) and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones, Solo: A Star Wars Story) recently joined the impressive roster, which already includes David Thewlis (Wonder Woman), Himesh Patel (Yesterday), Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia, The Girl with All the Gifts), and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey). A play on the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Amazing follows Maurice, a streetwise cat, that has the perfect money-making scam. He’s found a dumb-looking kid who plays a pipe, and his very own horde of rats – rats who are strangely educated, and literate. When Maurice and the rodents reach the stricken town of Bad Blintz, their little con goes down the drain. For someone there is playing a different tune. A dark, shadowy tune.” The film version of The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rats is coming in 2022.

image c. 2020 Sky Cinema

Little Dog and Big… Thing

Another graphic novel for young folks, this one from Razorbill. Mellybean and the Giant Monster is written and illustrated by Mike White. “Melly loves to play games. All her feline friends want to do, though, is take a nap. So when she doesn’t leave them alone, the cats trick her into burying a shoe in the backyard. But the small prank turns into a big problem when Melly falls down the hole . . . and is magically transports her to another world! Melly lands smack-dab in the middle of a scuffle between a group of knights and a huge monster. But Melly soon befriends the grumpy giant, learning he isn’t as scary as he seems.” There’s also a sequel, Mellybean and the Wicked Wizard. Look for them both over at Barnes & Noble, in hardcover or trade paperback.

image c. 2020 Penguin Young Readers

A Hero With Cat-itude

Look, we didn’t come up with that, they did! Please don’t hurt us… Max Meow is a new full-color graphic novel series from Random House, written and illustrated by John Gallagher. The first volume is called Max Meow: Cat Crusader. “Max is just a regular cat in Kittyopolis, trying to make it big as a podcaster, until he accidentally takes a bite of a Radioactive Space Meatball at his best friend Mindy the Scientist’s Secret Lab. Then before you can say meowza, Max becomes… (drum roll!)… The Cat Crusader! Being a super hero is fun (Super strength? Check! Flying? YES!!!) – but not if you get so cocky, you forget your best friend! Will Max learn to listen? Will he and Mindy make up? And together, can Max and Mindy save Kittyopolis from the evil Agent M and Big Boss?!” Also be on the lookout for volume 2, Donuts and Danger. Fun side note: John Gallagher is currently the art director of Ranger Rick magazine.

image c. 2020 Random House

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

Snack Pets

We’ve talked before about the works of Paige Braddock, both as a writer and an illustrator. Now they’re back with a new full-color graphic novel, Peanut, Butter, and Crackers Volume 1: Puppy Problems. (Woof, what a title!) “Crackers is a rescue dog who’s a bit on the nervous side, but pretty comfy at home with Butter, a very plump cat who–like all cats–is all about himself. The two pets have a good life: big backyard, nice couch, good eats, and an owner who goes to work every day so they can pretty much do what they want. Enter Peanut, a brand-new puppy with big floppy ears, unabashed energy, and no appreciation for the quiet life. The little dog is a chowhound who dips into everybody’s food bowl. He drools, he chews up stuff, he doesn’t get how stairs work, and he’s afraid of the dark. Yowl! Not to mention he’s hogging their owner’s lap. Even the squirrels in the yard are laughing at this goofy little canine. Butter and Crackers have had it! This puppy has to go! But when the backyard gate is left open (the cat’s idea, of course!) and Peanut wanders out and gets lost, the older animals remember what it was like to be alone–and lonely. Butter and Crackers to the rescue!” It’s available now in hardcover from Penguin Random House.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

A Home For Kitties

And here’s another interesting graphic novel we found out about from Harper Collins: A Cat Story is a new full-color work written and illustrated by Ursula Husted. “Cilla and Betto are two friends who need a place to call home. The docks in Valletta are too wet, and the scraps of food too scarce. The city’s streets are too busy, and the humans too unreliable. But what about the quiet garden from old kitten tales—a place where all cats are welcome, and the humans are always kind? Could the stories really be true? As Cilla and Betto embark on a grand adventure to find out, they begin to spin a tale of their own—one that will take them through the art and stories of many journeyers who came before, and that will bring them to a surprising destination.” It’s available now — and hey, at the moment it’s on sale!

image c. 2020 Harper Collins