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Mystery

The Master’s Early Work

Discotek Media have released all 26 episodes of the original anime series Sherlock Hound in a special 6-DVD box set. “Written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) during his time at Japans largest animation studio, TMS. Before he went on to create Totoro and Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki captured a whole generation of children’s imaginations with his retelling of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries using a loveable cast of canines. Sherlock Hound, released as either Famous Detective Holmes or Detective Holmes in Japan, is an anime based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series where all the characters are depicted as anthropomorphic animals, the majority dogs, though Holmes is a fox and his enemy Professor Moriarty is a wolf. The show featured regular appearances of Jules Verne steampunk-style technology, adding a 19th-century science-fiction atmosphere to the series.” You can order the new box set over at Discotek’s web site.

image c. 2014 Discotek Media

image c. 2014 Discotek Media

Maybe Someday a New Chick Flick?

Sorry, sorry… It’s called The Chicken Squad, a series of light-hearted mystery stories written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornell.  “Meet the Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie. These chicks are not your typical barnyard puffs of fluff, and they are not about to spend their days pecking chicken feed and chasing bugs. No sir, they’re too busy solving mysteries and fighting crime.” In The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure, “… when Squirrel comes barreling into the chicken coop, the chicks know they’re about to get a case. But with his poor knowledge of shapes (‘Big’ is not a shape, Squirrel!) and utter fear of whatever it is that’s out there, the panicky Squirrel is NO HELP. Good thing these chicks are professionals”. Following all this? Check out this new book series from Atheneum Books for Young Readers over at Amazon, in one of several formats.

[Hey, don’t forget! You only have one week left to vote for the Ursa Major Awards — the Hugo Awards ™ of anthropomorphic fandom! Visit www.ursamajorawards.org to find out how.]

Image c. 2014 Atheneum Press

Image c. 2014 Atheneum Books

Moo-Steries

Author Dawn Kravagna has released Murderous Critters, her first collection of Cattle Capers ™ mystery stories on-line at Smashwords. “Murderious Critters is a trio of outrageously funny mystery short stories, the first collection in a series featuring the zany comic animal characters from the world of Cattle Capers ™. A killer magician, rogue dinosaur skeletons, and roaming gunslingers are no match for bovine Master Detective Adam Steer and his goofy sidekick Crazy Cal.” The stories here include “The Magician’s Trick”, “The Dino Sore Mystery”, and “The Moontana Murders”, as well as the extra short story “Whopper Fish”.

image c. 2013 Dawn Kravagna

Michael. Elephant. Detective.

There’s no way we could describe the new graphic novel District 14 any better than the publisher, Humanoids Inc., did in Previews magalog: “Follow Michael the elephant as he arrives to the city known as District 14, a labyrinthine metropolis where humans, animals and aliens all co-exist.  A unique anthropomorphic mystery with an intricate plot and a fantastic cast of characters, this incredible French series is finally making its way across the Atlantic.” It’s written by Pierre Gabus and illustrated in black & white by Romuald Reutimann, and it’s coming out in hardcover this January.

image c. 2012 Humanoids Inc

Bigfoot: Private Eye

Okay here’s a different take on things: Mr. Foot, aka Bigfoot, is a sasquatch private eye. Having received a letter from his long-lost brother Yeti, Mr. Foot enlists the aid of his friend The Jersey Devil to fly him to the arctic — only to find that Yeti has been beheaded. Now the reluctant Mr. Foot must bring together his old gang of cryptozoological friends — including Nessie and the Megaladon (or giant shark) and others — to find the killer and bring them to justice. It’s all there in Footprints, a new black & white comic book series from 215 Ink. It’s written by Joey Esposito (the comic book editor for IGN Publishing) and illustrated by Jonathan Moore (FUBAR). Alternative Magazine On Line has an extended preview of the comic up on their web site.

image c. 2011 Jonathan Moore

More Chickens, and an Old Dog

We really can’t top this description (from Amazon) for The Trouble with Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery, so we’ll not try. “J.J. Tully is a former search-and rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he’s not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar (who look like popcorn on legs) and their chicken mom show up demanding his help to track down their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Is Vince the Funnel hiding something? Are there dark forces at work—or is J.J. not smelling the evidence that’s right in front of him?  Bestselling author Doreen Cronin uses her deadpan humor to pitch-perfect effect in her first novel for young readers. Heavily illustrated with black-and-white artwork from Kevin Cornell, this new series is destined to become a classic.” It’s in hardcover from Balzer & Bray. The Amazon entry also features a video ad that Doreen Cronin put together for the book.

image c. 2011 Balzer & Bray

Sam and Friends Meet Dracula!

Sam is no ordinary sheep-dog: He has a nose for sniffing out the clues to a mystery. And Jennie is no ordinary girl, because she can read Sam’s thoughts! Together with their friend Beth, the trio seek out the answers to mysterious goings-on in their seemingly-sleepy little town of  Woodford. Their first assignment: Finding out if their weird new neighbor is in fact a vampire! It’s all in the first Sam and Friends Mystery graphic novel, coming this January from writer Mary Labatt and illustrator Jo Rioux. This black & white trade paperback is published by Kids Can Press.

Grandville is back for more badgering!

The second hardcover, full-color graphic novel in the  Grandville series is due out this coming October 20th, once again written and illustrated by Bryan Talbot. We’ll let the publisher, Dark Horse Comics, describe it: “Convicted psychotic killer and extremist fanatic Edward ‘Mad Dog’ Mastock violently escapes the guillotine’s blade in the Tower of London to once again terrorize the Socialist Republic of Britain. But dogging Mastock’s bloody footsteps is his longtime adversary and nemesis, Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock, at odds with Scotland Yard and intent on bringing Mastock’s horrific murder spree to an end, once and for all. Aided by his friend and colleague Detective Roderick Ratzi, LeBrock follows the trail of carnage to Paris, otherwise known as Grandville, the largest city in a world dominated by the French Empire and the prime target of Mastock’s sadistic terrorism. Can LeBrock capture the Mad Dog before he can mete out his final vengeance, or will LeBrock’s own quest for redemption be dragged to ground by the demons of his past? The badger is back! Set three weeks after the finale of GrandvilleBryan Talbot’s critically acclaimed steampunk graphic novel–Grandville Mon Amour explores an alternate art-nouveau world populated by intelligent animals, a human underclass, robot automatons, and advanced steam technology that power everything from hansom cabs to iron flying machines.”

image c. 2010 Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse brings back Blacksad!

This is from The Beat at PublishersWeekly.com:

“One of the most excellent comics announcements to come out of you-know-what [I think that means San Diego Comic Con — ye Ed-Otter ]was the news that Dark Horse will be reprinting all three volumes of Blacksad by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido in a deluxe oversized volume. The first two Blacksad books were published here by iBooks a while back, but with iBooks having gone into bankruptcy, these became highly sought after. Getting the full series reprinted was in limbo, but now Dark Horse has ridden in to fix that right up. Blacksad is best described as hardboiled detective tales with an anthropomorphic cast, but with a darker side and social criticism mixed in. The real star is Guarnido’s art, which is some of the best stuff out there (the series has won over a dozen European awards). He worked extensively on several Disney films, and his art has the best qualities of that brand: Indelible character designs, flawless storytelling and the attention to mood and place that is the hallmark of the great European comics. The series is hugely popular in France and Spain, and we can’t wait to read the whole thing in English.” This is especially good news since Blacksad Volume 3 was never published in English before iBooks went belly-up. No word yet on if Dark Horse will also be reprinting the Blacksad Sketchbook.

Blacksad, and a cat lady with lipstick...

Blacksad, and a cat lady with lipstick...