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Monsters

The Pearl of Animation

There’s a lengthy article over at Animation World Network about a presentation at this year’s Annecy Festival by Pearl Studios from China. Formerly known as Oriental Dreamworks (they helped to finish the animation on Kung Fu Panda 3), the newly-christened Pearl Studios have struck out on their own with several animated feature films in production — and some of them of note to Furry Fans. First up is Abominable (formerly Everest), a co-production with Dreamworks that’s directed by Jill Culton. According to Pearl, “Abominable stars Everest, a 2,000-pound yeti who is curious and playful.” And who communicates without words, it seems. (Yes, it does sound like a more serious version of Warner Bros’ upcoming yeti film Smallfoot.) Also on board is director Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) who is hard at work on an animated feature about the legendary Monkey King — a subject that he’s visited before in live action fantasy films. And further back in the pipeline are films like Tiger Empress (“… the story of a young tigress who grows from the obedient daughter of a Tiger Mom into a transformational leader when a prophecy convinces her that she’s the only one who can save their kingdom”) and Illumikitty (“… an irreverent comedy about the ultimate cat-astrophe: A feline plot for world domination”). You heard it here first.

image c. 2018 by Mochi

Werewolf Minds and Werewolf Hearts

Interlude Press is a boutique publisher specializing in fiction geared toward the LGBT crowd and their friends and allies. While visiting their booth at the LA Times Festival of Books we came across the works of Michelle Osgood.  Her talent is dark supernatural fantasies with more than a touch of romance — and her favorite subject seems to be werewolves. Here’s the press release for The Better To Kiss You With, the first book in her series of the same name: “In the rare moments when Deanna Scott isn’t working as the moderator for Wolf’s Run, an online werewolf role-playing game, she wanders the local forest trails with her golden retriever, Arthur, and daydreams about Jaime, the attractive, enigmatic woman who lives upstairs. As Wolf Run’s “den mother,” Deanna is accustomed to petty online drama. But when threats from an antagonistic player escalate, Deanna wonders if her awesome online job could be riskier than she’d ever imagined — and if her new girlfriend knows more about this community than she had realized.”  The next two books in the series are Huntsmen and Moon Illusion.

image c. 2018 Interlude Press

Paramount Has A New Monster

Over at The Wrap they’re talking about three new animated features that Paramount Pictures have announced for their upcoming film line-up. One in particular should be of note to furry fans — especially since we’ve talked about the source material before. Monster on the Hill is a film adaptation of the graphic novel by Rob Harrell. Paramount’s description goes like this: “In a world where monsters are tame and monster wrestling is a popular sport, teenage Winnie seeks to follow in her father’s footsteps as a manager by turning an inexperienced monster into a contender.” That’s a little bit different than the original storyline, so we’ll see how it goes. This we got from Cartoon Brew: “Monster on the Hill will be helmed by Bradley Raymond, a veteran director of direct-to-video Disney fare (The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, The Lion King 1-1/2, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue) from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman (upcoming The Addams Family, Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief) and Etan Cohen (Men in Black 3, Tropic Thunder, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa). Monster on the Hill will be produced by ReelFX (Free Birds), which first announced it was developing the project back in 2015, and Walden Media.” Look for it in 2020.

image c. 2018 Top Shelf Productions

Helping The Ones You Don’t Even See

Another cool item we picked up from Animation World Network: “Newbery Honor-winning author Adam Gidwitz and Mixtape Club founders Jesse Casey and Chris Lenox Smith premiered online the animated debut of The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose adventures continue in a series of books for middle-grade readers from Penguin Random House.” The kids of the Unicorn Rescue Society (along with their companion Jersey, a friendly Jersey Devil) help with the needs of mythical creatures that adults don’t even believe in. “The Unicorn Rescue Society is a secret organization. Its mission is to keep the creatures of myth and legend safe. Dragons, Bigfoot, chupacabras — and maybe even unicorns. Every day, the threats to these rare and wonderful animals grow. They are hunted. Their habitats are destroyed. And the Unicorn Rescue Society is their only hope.” Rather than being adaptations of the books themselves, the animated shorts spread the word about the book series and take a behind-the-scenes look. The AWN article has a link to the first cartoon.

image c. 2018 Mixtape Club

Dog of the Dead

Okay, how about a furry story from a horror comic based on a tabletop game? You got it! Oni Press brings us Dead of Winter: Good Good Dog. “From the tabletop smash hit comes this new comic series starring your favorite characters from Plaid Hat Games’ Dead of Winter, written by Kyle Starks (the Eisner Award-nominated Sexcastle), and illustrated by Gabo (The Life After). In the pantheon of superheroes, none are more loveable and loyal than everyone’s favorite good ol’ dog, Sparky. Surviving in the wintery apocalypse of the undead, this former TV show stunt dog turned zombie killing machine just wants to make friends and be a good boy. As his fellow survivors scavenge for supplies in the frigid wasteland, will Sparky be able to protect his companions from threats both undead and otherwise?” Check out this new trade paperback at DCB Service.

image c. 2018 Oni Press

Before He Danced the Magic Dance

Boom! Studios (through their Archaia imprint) are returning to the world of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth in a new series called Labyrinth: Coronation. It sounds like this: “Before Sarah braved the Labyrinth to save her brother, another young woman sought to save a young boy named Jareth from the clutches of the Goblins. Set in 18th-century Venice, Italy, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is a striking look into the history of the Labyrinth itself, and what happens to the little boys who don’t get rescued. This is the untold history of the Goblin King.” Written by Simon Spurrier and illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, the first issue is on the shelves now. Mr. Bayliss, you may recall, was the illustrator of that marvelously weird anthropomorphic comic Kennel Block Blues.

image c. 2018 Archaia

Teenage Girls and Their Friends

Over at Cartoon Brew there’s an article about two new animated TV series coming to The Disney Channel in 2019. They have some interesting things in common: Both feature teenage human females transported to an unearthly other realm, and both have been created by storyboard artists who worked on the wildly-popular series Gravity Falls. One is a bit anthro, and one is very anthro! The former would be Owl House, created by Dana Terrace. “The show follows Luz, a self-assured teenager who accidentally enters a portal to the Demon Realm where she befriends a rebellious witch, Eda, and a tiny warrrior, King. Though she lacks any magical abilities, Luz pursues her dream of becoming a witch by apprenticing with Eda, and ultimately finds a new family in an unlikely setting.” On the other paw (flipper?) there’s Amphibia, from Matt Braly. “The show tells the story of Anne Boonchuy, a self-centered teenager who is magically transported to the world of Amphibia, a rural marshland populated by frog-people. There she meets a young frog named Sprig, who will become Anne’s first true friend and help transform her into a hero.” Keep your ear-holes open for some more precise debut dates when we get them.

image c. 2018 Disney TV Animation

Two Brothers Make Comics

Bobby Timony (art) and his twin brother Peter Timony (writing) are the creators of Night Owls, an award-winning series from DC Comics that’s been available in print and on line since 2009. This Roaring-20’s-style adventure tells the story of two humans and a gargoyle who team up to solve supernatural mysteries. It features more than its fair share of non-human characters too, mind you. If you visit their web site (called, appropriately enough, Twin Comics) you’ll see much more of Bobby’s art and the brothers’ work on other comic series they offer on-line now. Among them Goblin Hood, Widdershins Wilderness Scouts, and (furriest of them all) McCool: Sheriff of Dogwood.

image c. 2018 twincomics.com

The Cop What Lurks

We can see how the pitch for this probably went: “HE is a hard-boiled New England cop… IT is a Cthullu-spawned horror… Together, they fight crime!” Actually, here’s what we got from Previews: “Artie Buckle is a grade ‘A’ schmuck. His excessive fondness for booze compliments his flash temper, but hold their feet to the fire, his fellow officers would agree: Artie is one helluva cop. He’s gonna need that scrap of goodwill because Brick City is under siege from its citizenry… and to top it off Artie’s been saddled with the city’s newest hero as his partner: A hideous, monstrous, but completely likable, extra-dimensional being named Vinegar Teeth. Can Artie pull his head out long enough to work together with a Lovecraftian monster with a heart of gold and set Brick City back on its feet?” Vinegar Teeth is a new 4-issue comic miniseries created by Damon Gentry and Troy Nixey. The first issue is out now from Dark Horse.

image c. 2018 Dark Horse Comics