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Comedy

Meet Him Next Tuesday

With a name like Taco, this rodent is gonna be different… maybe even difficult. “This is a squirrel . . . ‘Hey, I may be a squirrel, but my name is Taco! And I don’t eat nuts and tree bark — blech — I prefer tacos!’ The natural predator of squirrels is . . . ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa! Who is writing this book? I do not like where this is going.’ This hilarious send-up of a children’s nature primer teaches kids that the most important story is the one you write yourself.” This Is A Taco was written by Andrew Cangelose and illustrated by Josh Shipley. It’s available now from the Cubhouse imprint of Lion Forge. Check it out at Barnes & Noble.

image c. 2018 Cubhouse

The Grump is Finally Here

You may recall that a couple years ago (!) we talked about a new animated feature based on the 1960’s Depatie-Freleng TV series called Here Comes The Grump. Well it seems that Anima Estudios just recently completed the film and released it in Mexico. What’s more, according to Cartoon Brew it’s apparently coming to the U.S. for a brief theatrical run, under the title A Wizard’s Tale. “The film is directed by Andres Couturier, who also helmed Anima’s 2015 feature Top Cat Begins. Some key American talent was involved in the development of the film, including writer Jim Hecht (Ice Age: The Meltdown) and character designer Craig Kellman (Madagascar, Samurai Jack, Hotel Transylvania). English voice cast includes Lily Collins, Toby Kebbell, and Ian McShane.” Cartoon Brew has a trailer for the film as well. Look for it!

image c. 2018 Anima Estudios

The Audition of a Lifetime

Is it time to start thinking about the Holidays already? Evidently — Look what showed up in our in-box from Animation World Network: “U.S. distribution rights to Josh Hutcherson’s animated family feature Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer have been acquired by Screen Media, according to a Variety report, with a holiday season release set for November 30… In the film, written and directed by Jennifer Westcott, Blitzen announces his retirement on December 21, which gives Elliot, a miniature horse, only three days to travel to the North Pole, compete for the open spot and fulfill his lifelong dream of pulling Santa’s sleigh. Voice casting includes Hutcherson as Elliot and Samantha Bee as Hazel the goat, as well as John Cleese, Martin Short, Jeff Dunham, and Morena Baccarin.” Not sure if it’s a “release” to theaters or DVD, but we’ll find out!

image c. 2018 Awesometown Entertainment

Beware the Cat with an Imagination

Another find from Comic Con, this time over at Humanoids. Nancy Peña is a French writer and cartoonist with several books to her name. Her latest is called Madame Cat, and this particular kitty is quite a character. From the publisher: “Madame means mischief in this series of slice-of-life vignettes that present the private love, laughter and frustrations of a pet who thinks she’s an owner! Whether she’s tearing up clothes, spilling ink on the carpet or filling the air with stinky tuna-breath, Madame is both wonderfully frustrating and endearingly whimsical.” Meanwhile Comics Beat has a preview, which also includes a look at the exclusive Madame plushie that’s available.

image c. 2018 Humanoids

Volcanoes, Hurricanes… and now Pineapples

Found out about this at San Diego Comic Con: The same animation team that brought us Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (we talked about that!) returns with a new feature called Hallowaiian. “In the vein of The Goonies, E.T., and Jurassic Park, Hallowaiian follows three kids who must put their differences aside to save the island from a monster thought only to live in legends. Kai, Leilani, Eddie and the Menehune, Hawaii’s mischievous creatures, must band together to stop the monster they have mistakenly awoken. Facing great dangers along the way, the kids realize the true meaning of courage, friendship and tradition. The voice cast stars Hawaii Five-0 alumni Teilor Grubbs and Mark Dacascos with Tia Carerre (Wayne’s World) and Kiefer O’Reilly (Howard Lovecraft).” Once again it’s directed by Sean Patrick O’Reilly from Arcana Studios. Looks like it should be available this October — of course.

image c. 2018 Arcana Studios

It’s Good To Have A Friend

And more, this time from both Animation Magazine and Variety: “Russia’s animation powerhouse Riki Group has teamed up with New York’s 3 Beep to work on the upcoming CG-animated feature My Friend Finnick. The comedy, which was presented at Cartoon Movie this year, follows the adventures of a ten-year-old American girl who moves with her family to Scotland and befriends a Finn, a magical and mischievous spirit who lives in her new house. When the young girl goes missing. the Finn sets out to rescue her, but in doing so he puts himself in danger. The movie, which is budgeted at $7 million, is in development, and is due to be released in 2020. It is being directed by Riki’s Denis Chernov (Kikoriki movies) and written by Chernov, Tatyana Belova and 3 Beep’s Tim Werenko (Pokemon, The Winx Club, Snow Queen 3).” Fortunately for us, Riki Group has been getting better at securing distribution in North America.

image c. 2018 Riki Group

Little Dino Lost

The June/July issue of Animation Magazine features a huge list of upcoming animated films in production all over the world. Including one from Poland: “Human Ark, one of Poland’s leading animation studios, has launched a new animation test for its new animated feature comedy Diplodocus. The movie is a family comedy inspired by classic 1980s comic books by the cult Polish author Tadeusz Baranowski, which have sold over 2.5 million copies. It tells the epic adventure of a little dinosaur, who has to find his missing parents and discovers that he actually lives inside of a comic book. The project is the second feature-length animated film by Wojtek Wawszczyk (George the Hedgehog), who also wrote the script in collaboration with Mark Palmer (The Penguins of Madagascar, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Kim Possible). Set for completion in 2020, the movie is the biggest 3D CGI production for children ever produced in Poland.” The article in Animation features several illustrations from the film, and Human Ark has also produced a promo clip on Vimeo.

image c. 2018 Human Ark

Big Dino, Little Dinos

Here’s a new TV series we found out about through Animation magazine: Gigantosaurus, produced by Cyber Group Studios. “Growing up in the Cretaceous is no mean feat for kids! New volcanoes popping up all the time, long-necked brachiosauruses, meteor showers, enormous triceratopses and… the big bad Gigantosaurus, as the kids would say. Gigantosaurus isn’t actually very well-known but the mere mention of his name is enough to conjure up a range of (conflicting) emotions in our four young (dinosaur) friends: Fear (Bill), fascination (Rocky), laughter (Tiny), and scientific interest (Mazu). In short, Gigantosaurus represents four different ways of finding out more about the world when you’re between 4 and 6 years old.” According to their web site it’s all “based on a book written by the multi-awarded children novelist Jonny Duddle”. Gigantosaurus has already been sold to Disney Junior for worldwide distribution, and it’s in production now. And as you can see from their site, Cyber Group Studios have several other shows of furry fan interest in production as well.

image c. 2018 Cyber Group Studios

All the Sweet Little Monsters

Back from San Diego Comic Con, and of course there’s a lot to talk about. We came across Hazy Dell Press, the home of Kyle and Derek Sullivan and their illustrated children’s books all about famous monsters — featuring titles like Get Dressed, Sasquatch!, Good Night Krampus, and their latest, Don’t Eat Me, Chupacabra! Their colorful and whimsical monster designs are also available on greeting cards, t-shirts, and various other goodies.  Find it all at their web site.

image c. 2018 Hazy Dell Press