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One Shots from the Ape

Two new full-color one-shot comic books from Ape Entertainment’s Kizoic line are set to hit stores later this month. Both of them are tied in to Kizoic’s successful Dreamworks Animation comics. And both of them have long titles! In Kung Fu Panda: Tale of Two Noodle Shops, “Business at Mr. Ping’s noodle shop has been booming since his adopted son Po became the legendary Dragon Warrior. But when a new noodle shop opens in the Valley Of Peace, touting nightly entertainment by the Dragon Wizard, can Po lure back his father’s clientele? Or has his act gone as stale as noodles left out overnight?” Find out in a story written by Troy Dye and illustrated by Massimo Asaro. Check it out at Things From Another World. And then, there’s The Penguins of Madagascar: Mortzilla vs. King Kowalski, written by Jackson Lanzing with art by Bob Renzas and Antonio Campo. Well, frankly, we don’t think we can tell you about it better than the cover does! Either way, find out more at Mile High Comics.

image c. 2013 Ape Entertainment

Eat at the Bear’s

Shirokuma Cafe literally translates from Japanese as Polar Bear Cafe. It’s a manga series created by Aloha Higa, following the story of a little coffee house in Japan — run by a polar bear, and frequented by any number of zoo animals. The three main characters are Polar Bear, lazy young Panda, and lovesick Penguin. (Most of the animal characters in the series are simply naked after their species.) The manga has been running since 2008, but just this year a new anime series based on it came to TV thanks to Studio Pierrot. You can find out more at Anime News Network, or check out an actual episode at Crunchyroll.

image c. 2012 Studio Pierrot

Everyone’s Favorite Penguin — In Color

Before they were surfing, before they were singing and dancing, before they were even marching, penguins were… resting among the dandelions. Throughout the variations of Bloom County and all of its off-shoots, one constant has been the penguin known as Opus. Now creator Berkeley Breathed has brought together all of the Opus full-color Sunday strips from 2003 to 2008 in one hardcover collection, Opus: The Complete Sunday Strips (appropriate, huh?). Besides our shy, friendly, waddling friend, this “magnum opus” (sorry…) also features many well-known and well-loved characters from Mr. Breathed’s comics new and old, some of them making their final appearances. Amazon has the book available for pre-order, and IDW Publishing will have it out this December.

image c. 2012 IDW Publishing

Copycat Dancing Penguins

When an animated movie becomes a hit, or even when it’s likely to become a hit, you’d be amazed at the number of copy-cat knock-off projects from little animation houses (often overseas) that will start to flood the direct-to-video market before, during, and after that film. Renegade Animation from right here in the US of A have started making a reputation for themselves with projects like this — Chop Kick Panda, anyone? Now here comes the latest: Tappy Toes, which we found over on Cartoon Brew. It’s a 41-minute 2D animated film, directed by Darrell Van Citters, which is an obvious “homage” to the Happy Feet series. Check out the trailer on YouTube, and make of it what you will.

image c. 2012 Renegade Animation

Return to the Outland

Barely a month after retiring his world-famous Bloom County comic strip in 1989, creator Berke Breathed returned with a new Sunday-only full-color strip, Outland. It featured many of the original Bloom County characters, including Bill the Cat and Opus the Penguin, in new adventures. Now IDW Publishing has put together Berke Breathed’s Outland: The Complete Library, a 320-page hardcover collection of all the Outland strips from 1989 through 1995, scanned and reprinted from Berke Breathed’s original artwork. It will also include a collection of very rare Academia Waltz strips, which Berke Breathed began in college before he created Bloom County. Mile High Comics has a detailed write-up on the book, which is coming to stores this May.

image c. 2012 IDW Publishing

Big Movie News for the Fall

A pair of big announcements from our friends at Cartoon Brew: Warner Brothers has just released the first teaser trailer for Happy Feet 2, set to premiere this November. No word yet on the sequel’s plot, but it has been confirmed that Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, and Magda Szubanski will reprise their roles from the first film, along with new voices Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Hank Azaria, and Pink. Also from Cartoon Brew recently: “Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa are back and better than ever this fall when Disney’s The Lion King roars into theaters and homes in breathtaking 3D. A special two-week theatrical extravaganza kicks off Sept. 16, 2011, showcasing the Oscar®- and Golden Globe®-winning film on the big screen in Disney Digital 3D™ for the first time ever, and its highly anticipated home entertainment debut kicks off October 4, celebrating the Diamond Edition release of the epic movie The Lion King in high-definition Blu-ray™ and Blu-ray 3D™.”

Return to Bloom County

Opus the penguin. Bill the cat. What more need be said? Bloom County, written and illustrated by Berke Breathed, was the visual soundtrack to the lives of many furry and comic book fans throughout the 1980’s. And many of the characters, situations, and sayings that Mr. Breathed, well, “breathed” into life are still iconic to this very day. Now IDW Publishing has collected the entire 1980 – 1989 run of the original comic in Bloom County: The Complete Library. Volume One (the first of five — itself nearly 300 pages long!) contains reprints from 1980 through 1982. All of the comics found in these volumes will be reprints from either the original printer proofs, or Berke Breathed’s original artwork.

The original first collection cover, c. Berke Breathed

The original first collection cover, c. Berke Breathed