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The Annie Award Winners for 2018

Your humble ed-otter and his mate got a chance to attend the Annie Awards at UCLA’s Royce Hall recently. Presented annually by ASIFA-Hollywood, the Annie Awards are considered by many to be the Oscars for animation, voted on by folks who work in the industry. And once again, there was plenty of anthropomorphic content to be found among the winners. By far, the big winner of the evening was Sony Pictures’ Spider Man: Into The Spiderverse. The surprise hit from last December not only won the coveted Best Animated Feature trophy, but also took home the Feature awards for Directing, Writing, Character Animation, Character Design, Production Design, and Editing — winning all seven categories in which it was nominated. (Go, Spider-Ham!). Ralph Breaks The Internet had to settle for only one award in Feature Effects Animation, while the 2D animated sequence in Mary Poppins Returns got the awards for Animated Special Production and Character Animation In A Live Action Feature. Also taking home one award was Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs, which got the award in Feature Voice Acting for Bryan Cranston’s performance as Chief. Over on the TV/Broadcast side of things, the big winners were Hilda from Netflix (taking home awards for Best TV Series For Children, Writing, and Character Animation) and Disney’s Mickey Mouse (with trophies for Music, Storyboarding — tied with Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — and Directing). In TV Character Design, the Annie went to a very anthropomorphic episode of Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure called “Freebird”. Bojack Horseman did well, winning for TV Voice acting (Will Arnett as Bojack) and Best TV Production overall. Dreamworks’ Tales of Arcadia: Trollhunters won the trophy for Best TV Effects Animation. The award for Best Commercial went to “There’s a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom” (produced for Greenpeace), and the first winner of the brand new Best Virtual Reality award was Crow: The Legend (which we’ve talked about before!). Finally, the Ub Iwerks Award for technical achievement went to the developers of the open source software known as Blender, which of course many furry creators have also used extensively. To see all the winners visit the Annie Awards web site — and remember, nominations for the Ursa Major Awards close on February 16th!

image c. 2019 Sony Pictures

HOW It All Started with a Mouse

Seems like we just can’t get enough of Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday celebration — and here’s a whole bunch of it at once! Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: The Complete History is a very thick compendium book from Taschen, edited by David Gerstein, J.B. Kaufman, and Daniel Kothenschulte. “On November 18, 1928, the world’s most famous mouse made his very first public debut. Today, we celebrate 90 years of Mickey in one of the most expansive illustrated publications on the Disney universe. Starting with the first sketches of a character who was almost named Mortimer, we trace the career of Walt Disney’s and Ub Iwerk’s most famous creation, one met with an explosion of worldwide popularity preceded only by the earlier successes of Charlie Chaplin. With unlimited access to Disney’s vast historical collections as well as public and private collections, the authors bring Mickey’s success story to life: concept art, story sketches, background paintings, and animation drawings as well as historical photographs trace the origins and evolution of such timeless favorites as Steamboat Willie, The Band Concert, and Brave Little Tailor. They also follow Mickey as he builds on this legendary library of short cartoons by appearing in two historic feature-length films, Fantasia and Fun and Fancy Free.” All that and much, much more. It’s available now in hardcover.

image c. 2019 Taschen

The Legend. The Icon. The Mouse.

In case you haven’t gotten the word yet, it’s Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday! The Disney superstar’s big celebration is bringing many special events to Disney parks around the globe. Meanwhile, over on the comic book side of things, IDW has a new full-color trade paperback, the Mickey Mouse: 90th Anniversary Collection. “Mickey’s celebrating the big Nine-Oh, and he’s joined by all of his best friends! Goofy, Minnie, Pegleg Pete, and Atomo Bleep-Bleep are all here to celebrate our modest mouse’s big day in style! Includes the thrilling ‘Sacred Spring of Seasons Past’ and ‘Return of the Phantom Blot!’ Celebrate Mickey’s big anniversary with this epic anthology featuring his most beloved creators and most exciting adventures!” Check it out over at Previews. It’s scheduled for release in early January. [And with that — Merry Christmas and a Blessed Solstice to you all!]

image c. 2018 IDW Publishing

Afternoon Delight

IDW has a new anthology comic sure to catch the interest of TV animation watchers — and furry fans: Disney Afternoon Giant. According to them, “It’s the first issue of a brand-new series featuring stories from your favorite Disney Afternoon shows! It’s a blast from the past in the present as we feature classic DuckTales, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, and Darkwing Duck stories, all together in one place for the first time!” The first issue features stories by Warren Spector and Ian Brill, with art by Leonel Castellani, Jose Massaroli, James Silvani, Jake Myler, and Braden Lamb.

image c. 2018 IDW Publishing

Aw, the Brits Get Everything!

This came out of nowhere, but we have an excuse: I appears to be a UK exclusive. Here’s what we got from Animation World Network: “Disney UK has announced that Paloma Faith, Miriam Margolyes, Ben Bailey Smith, Tameka Empson and Bethan Wright have signed up for a ‘spot’ on Disney Channel’s brand new animation series, 101 Dalmatian Street, and will be featured in the first season which is set to launch on Disney Channel UK early next year. Ahead of the season premiere, there will be a special episode, airing in December 2018, which will introduce audiences to the unique characters and world of 101 Dalmatian Street. The U.K. guest stars will be joining Josh Brener as Dylan (Silicon Valley, Star Wars Resistance, The Big Bang Theory), Michaela Dietz as Dolly (Steven Universe, Barney & Friends) who voice the eldest Dalmatian siblings… Aimed at girls and boys, the new series has been reimagined for the 21st Century and is set in modern day London in the borough of Camden. The series follows the adventures of eldest siblings Dylan and Dolly, their parents Doug and Delilah, and 97 younger puppies, whose names also begin with ‘D’, in an epic comedy about family life, multiplied one hundred and one.” The article has a whole bunch more about the voice actors and the production team. Who knows? Maybe Disney will let us folks in North America see this sometime.

image c. 2018 Disney Channel UK

Disney Had Help

A well-known (among fans) but under-discussed pioneer of animation gets more of his due in the new book Walt Disney’s Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks. It’s written by Don Iwerks (Ub’s son!), with an introduction by Leonard Maltin. “Beginning with the creation of the Mickey Mouse cartoons, the Walt Disney Studio established an early reputation as being a technical leader in Hollywood. But Walt Disney didn’t do it alone. He frequently relied on the counsel, expertise, ingenuity, and creativity of a kindred spirit, lifelong friend, and fellow virtuoso: Ub Iwerks. Yet Ub and his many technical inventions and techniques are largely unknown by the general public. His illustrious career consisted of dozens of innovative contributions, large and small, to both animated and live-action motion pictures, as well as the fields of optics, film processes, and special effects. He was also the major force behind the design of special cameras, projectors, electronics, and audio for theme park projects-and much more. The high standard set by Walt and Ub continues to inspire artists and technicians within The Walt Disney Company as they explore new avenues of quality entertainment.” In hardcover from Disney Editions, it’s out of print right now but should be available again before the holidays.

image c. 2018 Walt Disney Animation

Stuffed with Fluff

Some of the most iconic funny animal illustrations in the entire world get the scholarly treatment in The Art of Winnie the Pooh by James Campbell, published by Harper Collins. “Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends have enthralled generations of children and have become some of the world’s most beloved characters. But before their adventures were captured in many millions of books published in nearly fifty languages, they started life in the 1920s as the product of a unique collaboration between author A. A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard. They wove images and text together in a way that was utterly original for the time. It was a process that Shepard relished; he continued to create artwork for new editions until his death in 1976 at the age of ninety-six. This lovingly designed, full-color volume, which includes a foreword from Shepard’s granddaughter, tells the story behind this remarkable partnership, and traces the evolution of Shepard’s work, from his first tentative sketches to the illustrations we know and love, including the characters’ later incarnations by the artists at Walt Disney Studios.” The book is available now in hardcover.

image c. 2018 Harper Collins

Because She’s A Lady, That’s Why

Okay, something different… How about a Disney kitten as a magical kitty? That’s what we get in Miriya & Marie, a new black & white manga from Maya and TokyoPop. “Even though the wealthy young girl Miriya has almost everything she could ever need, what she really wants is to find her missing parents. But this year, she gets an extra special birthday gift when Marie, a magical white kitten, appears and whisks her away to Paris! Learning the art of magic is one thing, but getting to eat the tastiest French pastries and wear the most beautiful fashion takes Miriya and Marie’s journey to a whole new level!” On the shelves now.

image c. 2018 TokyoPop

Ghost Dog. No not the samurai.

New from Tokyo Pop we have the first full-color comic follow-up to Nightmare Before Christmas — and just in time for Halloween, too. In Zero’s Journey, “When Jack Skellington’s faithful pet Zero gets lost, the ghost pup must get the help of the residents of Christmas Town to find his way back. With Halloween plans on hold while Jack mounts a search, will they be reunited in time to save both holidays?” Written by D.J. Milky, this new series features art by Kei Ishiyama, Kiyoshi Arai, David Hutchison, and Dan Conner. Check it out.

image c. 2018 TokyoPop