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Fantasy

Karma Chameleon

This is an interesting new comic series from Action Lab with an attention-grabbing title: Cold Blood Samurai. Here’s what we found in Previews: “A feudal Japan with anthropomorphic and samurai animals inspired by Homer’s poem on ‘War of Mice and Frogs’… As in the classic poem, one tells of the futility of war and the desire for peace by Gaijin, a foreign salamander in a Japan of frogs invaded by lizards. ” Got that? It’s written by Massimo Rosi, illustrated by Ludovica Ceregatti, and on the shelves now.

image c. 2019 Action Lab

Enter the World of Cerulean

We literally came across this book on the shelf at a local coffee house! Never heard of it, but wow… Sunborn Rising is a new fantasy series for young folks by Aaron Safronoff, lavishly illustrated in both black & white and full color. “The Great Trees of Cerulean are dying. Infected with a mysterious blight, time is running out. Join Barra, a willful, resourceful and adventurous young Arboreal and her two friends, Plicks and Tory, as they journey down into the forgotten heart of their world in a desperate attempt to save it.” The first book in the series, Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall, is available now in several formats. The official web site has lots of background information and several videos about the making of the series. (Honestly, this looks like an animated movie waiting to happen!)

image c. 2019 Neoglyphic Entertainment Inc

They’re Not Toys

And another from the Festival of Books — in a similar vein, perhaps. This is the Isle of Misfits series of novels for young readers, written by Jamie May and illustrated by Freya Hartas. The first book, appropriately called First Class, goes like this: “Gibbon is a gargoyle who has been unable to sit still for hundreds of years. One day, he leaves his post from the castle he was meant to be guarding, and a person sees Gibbon, he panics and runs away. As Gibbon is sadly walking back, he meets three gargoyles who bring him to an island filled with other legendary creatures. There, he goes to a special academy that will train him to go on missions to protect all sorts of mythical creatures who are in trouble. Excited to go and happy that he won’t be lonely anymore, Gibbon is also nervous to go some place where he doesn’t know anyone. Will he be able to make friends in this new place? Find out in this new and exciting creature-filled series, complete with a hilarious cast of characters such as a clumsy dragon, an ill-tempered fairy, a griffin with poor flying skills, and a yeti with a manbun!” Four books in the series are available now from Simon & Schuster.

image c. 2019 Simon & Schuster

Be Careful What You Wish For

At this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books we came across an illustrated children’s book called If I Had A Gryphon, written by Vikki Vansickle — and our eyes were caught by the colorful illustrations of Cale Atkinson. “Sam just got a hamster for a pet. But the hamster is kind of boring … he just eats and sleeps and gets his shavings wet. Inspired by her book of mythological creatures, Sam longs for a more exciting pet. But she soon realizes that taking care of these magical beasts might not be as wonderful as she thought. Sasquatches are messy, unicorns are shy, hippogriffs scare the dogs at the dogpark, and having a fire extinguisher handy at all times makes dragons seem like an awful lot of work. In the end, Sam realizes that her hamster is a pretty sweet and safe pet … or is he?” You can find out more at Penguin Random House.

image c. 2019 Penguin Random House

New Adventures Brought Together

Boom! Studios recently collected two different comic book series of furry note (both of which we’ve talked about before!) into trade paperbacks. Ruinworld: Eye For An Eye brings together issues 1 through 5 of this funny animal fantasy series by Derek Laufman. “Join Pogo and Rex as they set out on a quest to hunt for valuable artifacts and magical weapons across the land. Along with plenty of not-always faithful companions, our heroes must battle dangerous tribes of Toadies, survive giant stone Golems, and stop a catastrophic world-ending disaster, all while evading a cunning gang of thieves as they race towards the biggest treasure of all time.” And then there’s Midas, a truly strange 8-issue science fiction series by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, and Shelli Paroline. “Space captain Joey, navigator Fatima, and scientist (and dinosaur) Cooper are headed to Earth—a planet completely sectioned off, abandoned, and covered in gold—and are confronted by the most powerful weapon in the universe: Some ancient dead guy’s body?! Now they gotta keep King Midas’s body from being dropped on planets across the universe, and figure out exactly what to do with a gross dead dude with one truly ridiculous superpower.” Yes, and a talking dinosaur too. Both collections are available now.

image c. 2019 Boom! Studios

A Disney… Classic?

Okay, how did we miss this one? Disney Hamlet, Starring Donald Duck, a new full-color graphic novel written by Giorgio Salati and illustrated by Paolo De Lorenzi. “The ghost of a betrayed king appoints Prince Ducklet to restore peace to his kingdom in this adaptation of the classic tragic play by William Shakespeare. Huey, Dewey and Louie, along with Uncle Scrooge, head on a road trip to Denmark, passing by the famous landmark–the phantom castle of Ducksinore! The triplets recall the story of Ducklet, written by the celebrated playwright William Duckspeare. Scrooge’s interest is piqued and the story of tragedy, betrayal, and corruption unfolds.”  Published by Dark Horse Books in trade paperback, it’s available now from Penguin Random House.

image c. 2019 Dark Horse Books

Little Dog in a Strange, Strange World

Another announcement we found at Animation World Network: “GKIDS, producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, has acquired the North American distribution rights for the animated feature Marona’s Fantastic Tale, by film from director Anca Damian… The film features Marona, a mixed-breed Labrador, who after an accident reflects on her past homes and experiences. Journeying back through her memories she reflects on the deep impressions she has made on her owners’ lives. With Marona’s unfailing love and empathy she had provided lightness and innocence to her families. Marona’s Fantastic Tale is a beautiful and emotional story of an average dog and her extraordinary life.” The picture below doesn’t really do justice to how weird and artistically adventurous this 2D film is. Check out the trailer instead!

image c. 2019 GKIDS

Two Cups Make… A Pint?

Word has been going around that the Ursa Major Award-nominated video game Cuphead (developed by Studio MDHR) is now being turned into an animated TV series. We got this from Animation World Network: “Netflix has joined forces with King Features on The Cuphead Show!, a new kids series based on the Studio MDHR video game. The show will expand upon the characters and world of Cuphead, with an animation style inspired by the classic Fleischer cartoons from the 1930s… The character-driven comedy follows the unique misadventures of the impulsive Cuphead and his cautious but easily swayed brother Mugman. Through their many misadventures across their surreal home of the Inkwell Isles, they’ve always got one another’s backs. The series will be produced by Netflix Animation and is executive produced by Emmy and Annie Award-winning producer, Dave Wasson (Mickey Mouse Shorts), with Cosmo Segurson (Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling) serving as co-executive producer.” That’s some good talent behind the project! No word on a planned release date yet.

image c. 2019 Studio MDHR

Can’t Stop The Rock

Archaia has a special edition reprint you should know about — with a long title! See what’s happening down at Fraggle Rock… “It’s the annual ‘Splish-Splash Friend Bash’ at Fraggle Pond and all of Fraggle Rock is invited! But when a few bullies decide to crash the party, Gobo, Boober, and the other Fraggles will have to look out for one another and come up with a plan to help everyone get along. Written and illustrated  by Jay Fosgitt (Bodie Troll), Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock: The Rough Side of the Rock celebrates Jim Henson’s timeless television series with an inspiring story of acceptance and friendship for fans of all ages.” It’s issue #2 of Archaia’s Fraggle Rock comic, but now it’s in a premium hardcover picture book format. Check out the preview over at Graphic Policy. (Happy 4th!)

image c. 2019 Archaia