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Comedy

Helping The Ones You Don’t Even See

Another cool item we picked up from Animation World Network: “Newbery Honor-winning author Adam Gidwitz and Mixtape Club founders Jesse Casey and Chris Lenox Smith premiered online the animated debut of The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose adventures continue in a series of books for middle-grade readers from Penguin Random House.” The kids of the Unicorn Rescue Society (along with their companion Jersey, a friendly Jersey Devil) help with the needs of mythical creatures that adults don’t even believe in. “The Unicorn Rescue Society is a secret organization. Its mission is to keep the creatures of myth and legend safe. Dragons, Bigfoot, chupacabras — and maybe even unicorns. Every day, the threats to these rare and wonderful animals grow. They are hunted. Their habitats are destroyed. And the Unicorn Rescue Society is their only hope.” Rather than being adaptations of the books themselves, the animated shorts spread the word about the book series and take a behind-the-scenes look. The AWN article has a link to the first cartoon.

image c. 2018 Mixtape Club

I Read Them for the Plot!

You just know that anything from a publisher called Plotless Comics is going to be interesting, right? Well that’s the home of Walrus-Rabbit, created by Matt Marchetti (the actual title is much much longer but we’ll leave it at that), and SadoCat, created by Cory Patten. Needless to say things are not very serious but are very very strange in these funny animal superhero comics. Read all about these characters and more at their Plotless web site.

image c. 2018 Plotless Comics

They Get It Over There…

We stumbled across an interesting article about a new series of animated shorts coming to TV in South Africa. “NickToons in association with local animation studio, Sunrise Productions have proudly developed it’s first South African animation for the channel. Munki and Trunk is a dialogue-free 3D animated TV series for kids aged 4 to 7. Munki is a vine-swinging force of nature, hungry for bananas and adventure. Trunk is a big-hearted elephant who loves to nurture and play. These unlikely best friends explore their world together, facing fears and helping friends along the way. It’s the most fun you can have in the jungle.” The show is produced by Tim Keller, and it premiers this month. No word at all if anyone plans to distribute it to other parts of the world, unfortunately.

image c. 2018 Sunrise Productions

Shake Your Cosmic Thing

Another WonderCon discovery: Star Beasts is a science fiction funny animal comic written by Stephanie Young and illustrated by Allyson Lassiter. “The cosmic adventures of Star Beasts! Protectors of our planet, this secret order of creatures is sworn to guard our home. Keeping us safe from all Galactic Evil great and small. Want to know the real reason why Pluto isn’t a planet anymore? Find out in the first issue of Star Beasts, The Mighty Menace.” Well it’s nice to know that someone figured it out. Visit the Star Beasts home page or look for the creators at a comic convention near you.

image c. 2018 by Allyson Lassiter

Hopping Around the Issue

Things do get strange in the world of politics, and likely many people would agree that things have gotten even more strange than usual of late. And now, we can add furries to the mix! Follow us here: Vice President Mike Pence and his family wrote a book, Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President, which details that very thing — from the point of view of the Pence family’s new pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo. (The text is actually by daughter Charlotte Pence, with illustrations by Second Lady Karen Pence, who is a watercolor artist.) Not to be outdone, upon hearing news of this political comedian John Oliver and his crew at Last Week Tonight created A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, written by Jill Twiss and illustrated by E.G. Keller. Marlon Bundo is bored with his life as a vice-presidential pet, until one day he falls in love with another male rabbit named Wesley. Marlon offers Wesley his paw in marriage, but their same-sex union is loudly opposed by a stink bug — with a suspiciously familiar crop of white hair. Upon its release, the Marlon Bundo book instantly became a #1 best-seller on Amazon. It’s available now from Chronicle Books.

image c. 2018 Chronicle Books

This Lion is Kuku

We have Fred Patten to thank for this: He pointed us in the direction of Kuku and Mey Mey, a new 2D animated comedy series of shorts created by Anish Patel and realized by HopMotion Animation. Here’s how they describe the show: “On the edge of the wildlife sanctuary that is Kuku’s home, is a famous Jungle Inn. This is Kuku’s hunting ground and the comforts of the Jungle Inn are big game. All Kuku wants to do is sneak into the inn and steal the modern day comforts it has to offer. Meanwhile, the territorial Mey Mey will go to any lengths to stop Kuku from trespassing. Her notorious booby traps are set at every corner to do the trick and embarrass the beast out of Kuku. The result is a chaos laden chase comedy that turns the tables on predator and prey.” Now, about distribution: “The first season of the show has 78 episodes of seven minutes each and is available on North America’s OTT platform Toon Goggles and VOD platform Amazon Prime US, under the title Kuku and the Goat.” Got it? The article over at Animation Xpress has more details and a preview video too.

image c. 2018 HopMotion Animation

But the Cat Came Back

Screen Daily has an article about 10 Lives, a new CGI feature film created by some familiar names. “The film is the second to be produced as part of a joint venture between Chinese animation outfit Original Force and GFM Animation. The first, Duck Duck Goose, will be distributed in China by Wanda Pictures and in the UK by Entertainment Film Distributors… 10 Lives is produced by Penney Finkelman Cox (Shrek) and Adam Zhang, senior vice president of Original Force. The story follows a once scrawny shelter kitten that now leads a pampered life after being adopted. Everything changes when he loses his ninth life. In the afterlife, he escapes and cheats his way into another cycle of nine lives, but he doesn’t realise that each of the nine lives will see him return as a different animal.” As you can see from the article, the film has already set up distribution throughout much of the world — but no word yet about North America. You can just bet, though, that a US or Canada deal is going to hinge on how well Duck Duck Goose does at the box office later this year.

image c. 2018 GFM Animation

Robo-Cop? No, Robo-Dog!

Two talented and award-winning creators who have worked on The Simpsons comics now turn their eyes to a funny animal science fiction adventure with Sparks!, a new full-color graphic novel. Written by Ian Boothby and illustrated by Nina Matsumoto, Sparks! goes like this: “August is a brilliant inventor who is afraid of the outside. Charlie is a crack pilot who isn’t afraid of anything. Together these pals save lives every day. They also happen to be cats who pilot a powerful, mechanical dog suit! Always eager to leap into danger, this feline duo have their work cut out for them as they try to thwart Princess, an evil alien bent on enslaving mankind. Don’t let the fact that Princess looks like a cute, diaper-wearing baby fool you. She’s clever, determined, and totally ruthless. So when Princess and the browbeaten fools she calls servants enact a brilliant and dastardly plan to conquer Earth, August and Charlie pull out all the stops to save the day.” Check out the preview video over on YouTube. The book is available now in hardcover and softcover from Graphix.

image c. 2018 Graphix

Teenage Girls and Their Friends

Over at Cartoon Brew there’s an article about two new animated TV series coming to The Disney Channel in 2019. They have some interesting things in common: Both feature teenage human females transported to an unearthly other realm, and both have been created by storyboard artists who worked on the wildly-popular series Gravity Falls. One is a bit anthro, and one is very anthro! The former would be Owl House, created by Dana Terrace. “The show follows Luz, a self-assured teenager who accidentally enters a portal to the Demon Realm where she befriends a rebellious witch, Eda, and a tiny warrrior, King. Though she lacks any magical abilities, Luz pursues her dream of becoming a witch by apprenticing with Eda, and ultimately finds a new family in an unlikely setting.” On the other paw (flipper?) there’s Amphibia, from Matt Braly. “The show tells the story of Anne Boonchuy, a self-centered teenager who is magically transported to the world of Amphibia, a rural marshland populated by frog-people. There she meets a young frog named Sprig, who will become Anne’s first true friend and help transform her into a hero.” Keep your ear-holes open for some more precise debut dates when we get them.

image c. 2018 Disney TV Animation