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Monsters

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

Your Childhood Is Not Safe…

Seriously, are we the last ones to know about this…? If so we’re embarrassed. Following the latest… trend (?), Hollywood is making a big budget, live action adaptation of Hanna-Barbera’s 60’s and 70’s icons The Banana Splits… as a horror movie. No, we are not joking or insane. Check out this from MovieWeb.com: “The upcoming horror thriller centers on a boy named Harley who attends a taping of The Banana Splits TV show with his brother Austin, mother Beth, and father, Mitch. It was supposed to be business as usual for the producer of the series, Rebecca, and a fun-filled birthday for young Harley. But things take an unexpected turn… and fittingly the body count quickly rises. Will Harley and company survive? And if so, what will be left of them?” It seems that a review copy of the film is already making the rounds — and the MPAA have given it an R rating for “horror violence and gore”. Honestly, what can we even say…? (Does it surprise anyone that the Syfy Channel has a hand in this?)

image c. 2019 Hanna-Barbera

He’s Big, He’s White, He’s Lost

Just today we got the first full trailer for Abominable, the new animated feature from Dreamworks and Pearl, their production partners in China. Animation Scoop has the video. “When teenage Yi (Chloe Bennet, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in Shanghai, she and her mischievous friends, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai), name him ‘Everest’ and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth. But the trio of friends will have to stay one-step ahead of Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) to help Everest get home… Abominable is written and directed by Jill Culton (Open Season, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story 2) and co-directed by Todd Wilderman (Trolls, The Croods).” Look for it in theaters September 27th.

image c. 2019 Entertainment Weekly

Make ‘Em Laugh

Everyone has been talking about Disney+, the Mouse House’s new attempt to enter the streaming content market in a big way — looking to take on Netflix, Hulu, and all the rest. Well now Animation World Network has let us know about about a new animated series for Disney+ with a very familiar furry angle. “Billy Crystal and John Goodman will reprise their beloved roles as Mike and Sulley in Monsters At Work, a new animated series for families set to premiere on Disney+ in 2020. Produced by Disney Television Animation and inspired by the world of Disney and Pixar’s Academy Award-winning Monsters, Inc., the series picks up six months after the original movie’s story, with the Monsters, Inc. power plant now harvesting the laughter of children to fuel the city of Monstropolis, thanks to Mike and Sulley’s discovery that laughter generates ten times more energy than screams. Monsters At Work follows Tylor Tuskmon (voiced by Ben Feldman), an eager and talented young mechanic on the Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team (MIFT) who dreams of working his way up to the factory Laugh Floor to become a Jokester alongside his idols Mike and Sulley.”  As the article points out, the voice cast includes a lot more familiar and talented names too.

image c. 2019 Pixar

The Dragon Century

Katelyn McCaigue is an artist and illustrator we met at WonderCon last week. She describes herself as a “monster and character artist”, and a look at her web site seems to back that up. Recently, she’s been working on a project to illustrate 100 different dragons based on ideas submitted to her by her fans and subscribers. She’s still got a ways to go but she’s intent on finishing! Many of her current monster designs are also available as prints.

image c. 2019 by Katelyn McCaigue

The Girl, the Monster, and pickles

Another new project we found out about thanks to Animation World Network: “Jessy and Nessy is a 40 x 11’ mixed-media preschool series about Jessy, an innately curious little girl and her best friend, Nessy, a five-and-a-half-thousand year old sea monster, with a penchant for pickles… At the heart of the show is Jessy; an inquisitive, fun loving, spectacle wearing six-year-old, who happens to see the world a little differently through her magical glasses, or as Jessy calls them — her ‘Inspectacles’. They allow Jessy to see and talk to all types of animated characters, including Nessy, who lives in a fountain in Cara Park opposite Jessy’s apartment building. Together this unlikely duo explore life’s curiosities like why birds fly south, why things don’t fall up instead of down and even why some people snore? Jessy and Nessy reveal how all these seemingly everyday curiosities have fantastical answers — leading the home viewer to explore their own curiosities and to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.” Look for the new show later this year on Amazon Prime Video.

image c. 2019 JAM Media

Shaggy (and the) Dog

Here we go again! We got this from Complex.com: “Scooby-Doo will make its return to the big screen with an animated movie set to star Gina Rodriguez, Tracy Morgan, and Will Forte, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film — directed by Tony Cervone, the producer behind the television series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated — is currently untitled. Forte is set to play the titular dane’s best friend Shaggy, Rodriguez will voice Velma, and Morgan will be non-Mystery Gang member Captain Caveman [!]. Frank Welker, who’s worked with the franchise since 1972-73’s The New Scooby-Doo Movies, will play the role of Scooby-Doo. For this case, the gang will reportedly team up with other Hanna-Barbera universe heroes to save the world from the corrupt plans of Dick Dastardly, the main villain of fellow Hanna-Barbera classic, Wacky Races [!!]. The project, which is set to hit theaters May 2020, will be the first time Scooby Doo takes the silver screen since the 2004 live-action film, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.” Sounds like they’re getting much more ambitious with their universe now! We found other talk on-line about this this movie project that gave it the title of S.C.O.O.B. Guess we’ll find out next year!

image c. 2019 Hanna Barbera

Bad, Bad Bunny

And more dark stuff from the Long Beach Comic Expo. Remember when we talked about the graphic novel Wretched Things? Well it turns out that the publisher, Source Point Press, has another creepy anthropomorphic title in their crop: Rottentail. “This deranged graphic novel comes straight from the minds and hands of David C. Hayes, Kevin Moyers, Kurt Belcher, and Henrik Horvath. Geeky fertility researcher Peter Cotton is bitten by a mutant rabbit and changes into the half-man/half-bunny Rottentail. What’s a boy to do? Why, take a hippity, hoppity trip home of course! Peter begins a bloody killing spree of revenge that culminates in his childhood hometown of Easter Falls.” Ready for this? Rottentail has even been made into a film!

image c. 2019 Source Point Press