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Fox

Islands in the Streaming

Recently Animation World Network told us about Tumble Leaf: The Movie, an upcoming feature film based on the multi-award-winning stop-motion animated series for kids created by Drew Hodges — who will also direct the feature version. “When everyone on the island of Tumble Leaf gathers at the Finding Ceremony, a momentous coming-of-age celebration, only Fig the Fox resists because it threatens to upend his perfect life. Suddenly, the ceremony is interrupted when the island mysteriously breaks apart due to a long-hidden ancient entity. With Tumble Leaf lost, Fig and his friends must lead their eclectic community as they set sail on an epic, quirky, and hilarious quest across the vast unknown to find a new home and their place in a bigger, wilder world.” No word yet on a release date, but the film-makers are seeking out distribution.

image c. 2024 Bix Pix Entertainment

The Trickster Without Scruples

Sometimes, the publisher explains things perfectly well for us. Like this: “In this atmospheric tribute to the medieval folklore tradition of trickster tales starring Reynard the fox, beloved children’s cartoonist Ben Hatke turns his pen to a very special project for adult readers. Inspired by the 12th century tales of the indomitable trickster fox Reynard, this offbeat tribute to the archetypal rogue has a satisfyingly old-fashioned feeling to it. Although this Reynard adventure is entirely the creation of modern fairytale master Ben Hatke (Mighty Jack), it fits seamlessly into the body of Reynard tales still beloved in Europe to this day. Featuring evocative, charming black-and-white illustrations and a swiftly moving narrative, Reynard’s Tale follows our hero through a series of encounters with other classic figures from this body of folklore to piece together a headlong journey through a perilous landscape filled with murderers, kings, ex-lovers, mermaids, and even Death herself.” So there you have it. And it’s available now.

image c. 2024 First Second

Little Fox Went Out…

An interesting fantasy graphic novel series we somehow missed before: Fox and Willow, written by Alison Pang and illustrated by Irma Ahmed. “When Jessa, the miller’s daughter, offers simple comforts to Willow and Gideon in return for a bit of work, the runaway princess and her fox spirit companion are more than willing to take Jessa up on it. After all, being on the road has its dangers, and the respite while they search for answers to Gideon’s cursed collar is more than welcome. But when the discovery of a murdered royal and a forsaken ghost comes to light, the two travelers realize they’ve stumbled into something far more sinister.” Volume 1, Came A Harper, and Volume 2, To The Sea, are both still available in hardcover from CEX Publishing.

image c. 2024 CEX Publishing

Wander into Wonder

A new full-color graphic novel for young readers: It’s called The Wondrous Wonders, written and illustrated by Camille Jourdy. “Hurt by her parents’ divorce and struggling to accept her new step-family, she decides to run away and live alone in the woods. But she soon discovers that she’s far from alone. Jo stumbles into a fantastical world full of tiny elves, talking foxes, and mischievous, multicolored ponies known as the Wondrous Wonders. Her new friends are on a mission: Rise up against Emperor Tomcat, the tyrannical leader who rules the enchanted forest they call home. Can Jo find the courage to vanquish an evil empire and get back to her family before dinnertime?” Find out now, in hardcover from Macmillan. (Merry Christmas and a Blessed Solstice!)

image c. 2023 First Second

Yip, Yip, and Away!

More interesting MIPCOM stuff, thanks to Animation Magazine: “Kids’ entertainment specialist CAKE has partnered with Polish-based producers Animoon [Even Mice Belong In Heaven] and Letko on new the preschool animated series Toru Superfox… Toru Superfox is an adventurous fox on a quest to face the most puzzling of creatures: His emotions. Along with his best friends Bunio, a wild boar who loves napping and eating; Zoja, a resolute chick with an attitude; and shy hedgehog Fenio, they imagine that the forest where they play is inhabited by the characters from their favorite comic books — including Supervixen, the legendary guardian of the forest based on Toru’s Grandma! Toru’s super power is empathy and whenever someone is in trouble, Toru puts on his superhero mask and comes to their rescue!” Read the article to find out more, and see the trailer for the original European series over on YouTube.

image c. 2023 Animoon

First They Look Like You…

For a while now Archaia Comics have been bringing us new series based on Jim Henson’s 1980’s TV series The Storyteller, staring John Hurt and Brian Henson. The latest addition is The Storyteller: Shapeshifters mini-series. And now, Archaia have collected all four issues together in a single hardcover omnibus. Sure enough, the stories feature everything from kids turned into swans to tricky fox-people. “Locus Award-winning writer Darcie Little Badger (A Snake Falls to Earth, Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices #1), and esteemed writers Andre R. Frattino (Simon Says: Nazi Hunter) and Deron Bennett, along with up-and-coming artists Nori Retherford, Alexandra Fastovets, Dani Pendergast, and celebrated cartoonist Emilia Cilento (INGOVY) bring together a timeless collection of tales about shapeshifters from around the world.” Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Shapeshifters is available from Simon & Schuster.

image c. 2023 Archaia

Getting Started On His Own

Recently at AnaCon (held each year at the Anaheim Main Public Library!) we came across Sebastian Dorn. A self-described “cartoonist with autism”, Sebastian moved to Southern California with his family, with the goal of creating his own comic book. Recently he gave us Turbofox, a new black & white science fiction comic released through Sebastian’s own imprint, Dorn Comics. “A wicked wolf sorcerer named Jacobus Lupus vows to conquer and destroy the planet Foxtopia, where he was banished from a thousand years ago. And so the Fox Squad — consisting of Jet McFox, Tonito, Sparky, and Vicki Vixen — head off into space to stop the villain”. Guess what? There’s even animation now!

image c. 2023 Dorn Comics

Fox and Hare Solve a Mystery

But not that Fox and Hare. Or that fox and… rabbit. This is something all together different. Cartoon Brew recently told us about Fox and Hare Save the Forest, a new CGI feature in production now from European director Mascha Halberstad. “The film’s screenplay was adapted by Fabie Hulsebos from the Vos en Haas en de Bosbaas book series from author Sylvia VandenHeede and illustrator Thé Tjong-Khing. Halbersted and Dutch production company Submarine previously adapted the property as an animated series in 2018… In the film, Fox and Hare become distressed when they find their friend Owl has disappeared. Together with a group of woodland creatures, they set out to track down the missing bird, but instead find that their forest has been flooded by a giant lake that wasn’t there the day before. Unsure if Owl’s disappearance and the floodwaters are somehow related, the animals must embark on a crazy adventure to find their friend before the rising water overtakes the forest.” The film-makers hope to finish production and release the film later this year. As usual, no word yet on if there will be distribution in North America.

image c. 2023 Submarine

Multi-Species Messaging

Somehow we missed The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse when it was an illustrated book sensation three years ago. But now it’s been made into a new 2D-animated film, directed by the book’s author Charlie Mackesy with the help of animator Peter Baynton (The Tiger Who Came To Tea). “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse features traditional hand-drawn animation to tell a heartwarming tale of the unlikely friendship between the title characters as they journey in search of the boy’s home. Yet, as simple as the story is, the film, like the book, contains deep and profound insights into the things that matter most in life, offering a sorely needed message of hope in a troubled time.” Animation World Network has a detailed article about the film, which premiered on Apple TV+ at Christmas. Interesting to note: Idris Elba, Chief Bogo himself, voices the Fox.

image c. 2022 Apple Original Films