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Frog

Mom and Dad are Rats

Canadian artist and writer Eric Orchard makes quite a big splash with his first graphic novel, Maddy Kettle: The Adventures of the Thimblewitch. This is from Previews: “Maddy is an eleven year old girl with a pet toad named Ralph. And they’re on a rather big adventure right now, as her parents are currently kangaroo rats – having been put under a spell. On their way to find the Thimblewitch to sort everything out, they battle Spider Goblins and befriend two endearing Cloud Mappers, Harry the bear and Silvio the raccoon, who help them get where they’re going. We won’t tell you what happens next, but we can assure you that it’s a beautiful and magical ride.” Top Shelf Productions will release this full-color all-ages fantasy in trade paperback this October.

image c. 2014 Top Shelf

image c. 2014 Top Shelf Productions

Fresh and Salt Water Meet

Orky the Porky Orca (say THAT fast!) is a new full-color web comic written and illustrated by Brett DeWall. The premise is quite simple really: Orky the killer whale is accused of a murder he didn’t commit, and now he is forced to hide out among human kind. To this end he puts on a trench coat and fedora, and no one ever notices he’s an orca. Simple, yes? Oh, and helping him to adjust is a smoking, drinking frog named Pierre, with a French accent and (supposedly) refined tastes. Got all that?  Good. Check out Orky at his web site when it updates every Tuesday.

image c. 2013 Brett DeWall

Amphibian Ambitions

Trevor Pryce is a 14-year veteran of the NFL who played defensive end for the Denver Broncos, the Baltimore Ravens, and the New York Jets. Now, he’s taken on a completely new career: Fantasy author. In the  first book of the new Kulipari series, Mr. Pryce (aided by Joel Naftali) tells the story of An Army of Frogs. “It’s frogs versus scorpions in this new series by professional football player Trevor Pryce. For years, the frogs of the Amphibilands have lived in safety—protected by an elite group of poisonous frogs named the Kulipari and by the dreamcasting spell of the turtle king that cloaks their lands in mystery. Now the spell is threatened by the Spider Queen, a talented spellcaster, and Lord Marmoo, leader of the scorpions. With the Kulipari off training in secret, the Amphibilands have never been so vulnerable. Enter Darel, a young frog who dreams of joining the Kulipari, despite his utter lack of poison and limited fighting skills. With the help of a motley crew of friends, Darel has the chance to become the warrior of his dreams.” This new series of hardcover fantasy novels is illustrated by Sanford Greene. According to Amazon, it’s due to hit the shelves this May from Amulet Books.

image c. 2013 Amulet Books

Secret of the Stone Frog

David Nytra is a relative newcomer to the world of fantasy graphic novels. Still The Secret of the Stone Frog, his first work as a writer and illustrator, is drawing a lot of interest from fantasy collectors just prior to its release.  “When Leah and Alan awaken in an enchanted forest, they have only each other and their wits to guide them. In a world of pet bees and giant rabbits, they befriend foppish lions and stone frogs, learning to confront danger as they find both their own independence and the way home. Newcomer David Nytra’s breathtaking pictures break the boundaries of imagination, sending the reader on a wild flight of fantasy while experiencing the most universal of stories: Growing up.” According to the pre-order site at Amazon, Toon Books will publish this hardcover black & white graphic novel in early September.

image c. 2012 Toon Books

The Return of 2D Animation…?

Well, maybe not, but there was definitely a loud, collective sigh of relief being breathed over at Walt Disney Animation Studios when their newest 2D animated feature The Princess and the Frog not only did well during its first weekend of full release, but was actually #1 at the box office in North America. Now true, making just over $25 million on your opening weekend is not exactly earth-shattering by Hollywood standards, but it should be pointed out that $25 million broke the record for animated films premiering in December — and the film didn’t even premier on Christmas weekend, when animated films traditionally top, so many are expecting the film to do even better in the next few weekends. The tie-in machine is in full “swing” also, of course: Clips from the film and behind-the-scenes shorts are all over YouTube, and live singing and dancing shows can be found on board the Mark Twain riverboat at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The film even has its own Facebook page, if you’d like to join up and become an “official fan”.