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castles

It’s Scaaaaaary In There!

People are saying some good things about Skull Cat and the Curious Castle, the debut graphic novel by Norman Shurtliff. “Even though the castle is an eerie place, full of dark secrets, Scully the cat is excited to start his new job and prove himself to be a great gardener. But wait a minute… what happened to all his co-workers? Were they devoured by bloodthirsty vampires? Spooked by a love-struck ghost? Pranked by a comic-reading goblin? Enchanted by a sleepy sorcerer? Will Scully have to become the hero and uncover the truth behind Le Dark Chateau? He never signed up for this!!” You can see what happens to him now, full-color, in trade paperback from Top Shelf Productions.


image c. 2024 Top Shelf Productions

You Forgot Your Childhood, but…

Another cool thing we’ve been missing all year, but we’re happy to find out about it now. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Invader Comics released the Back To Fairtaylia comic series, written by Jorg Alberts and Roland Heep, with artwork by P.R. Dedelis. “Once upon a time, childhood friends found a magical doorway to Fairtaylia, an enchanted realm full of wizardry and wonder. 20 years later they are a bunch of self-absorbed adults who don’t believe in fairy-tales anymore… until a talking squirrel and a chainsaw-wielding fairy show up on their doorsteps. In a fast-paced quest to save Fairtaylia from an unspeakable evil, the gang has to evade wicked witches, battle orcs and ogres, and break into Cinderella’s castle while suffering through fairy farts, skimpy outfits, and several musical numbers. Good luck with happily ever after…” Issues are available now.


image c. 2023 Invader Comics

Wolfsbane and War

Sometimes just a title is going to tell you most of what you need to know. Definitely true for a title like Sgt. Werewolf, a new comic written and illustrated by Rich Woodall. “Sgt. Steve Hovatter leads a small group of U.S. Commandos to infiltrate Lichtenstein castle in Germany and recover intel on Nazi Occult operations. The Commandos are captured, and Sgt. Hovatter is executed. Hours later Sgt. Hovatter is transformed into a Werewolf, and he uncovers a much more sinister plot at Castle Lichtenstein.” It’s coming to the comic book shelves this month from Scout Comics, through their horror imprint Black Caravan.


image c. 2023 Scout Comics

Furrstein: a furry convention at Hauenštejn Castle, Czechia

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (11 votes)

Furrstien's castle venue Our journey starts near Frankfurt am Main's main train station, where I pick up a friend. We head to Czechia, buying a vignette at the Czech border; arriving at Hauenštejn Castle, near the German border, after a four-hour drive.

This is it! A medieval castle, some parts of it still in restoration; furries with all their luggage waving to us and welcoming and greeting us in excitement. They are just as excited as we are.

We go to registration; they speak English to us, because shitty, a member of their orga team, recognised me from another convention called KRAZ.

My friend Alexis and I are sponsors of the convention and got a T-shirt, along with a wooden logo of Furrstein and its theme, which is Harry Potter this year.

Are All Animals Equal?

We just stumbled across Animal Castle, a new comic series from Ablaze Comics that takes a familiar fable… in a new direction. This is from Bleeding Cool: “On the Farm, all animals were equal. But in the Castle, some are more equal than others… Nestled in the heart of a farm forgotten by men, the Animal Castle is ruled with an iron hoof by President Silvio. The bull and his dog militia savor their power, while the other animals are exhausted by work until the arrival of the mysterious Azelard, a traveling rat who will teach them the secrets of civil disobedience.” Brought to us by Writer Xavier Dorison and artist Felix Dele.


image c. 2022 Ablaze Comics

Furries to occupy castle in the UK's Wild North

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (20 votes)

Wild North's red squirrel mascot TwizellLast year's trial run saw 12 furs inhabit a bunkhouse. This year there's room for 82, in a grade I listed castleportions dating from the 13th-14th centuries.

From the oldest active fur con, to one of the newest: Wild North, held in Northumberland, just shy of the Scottish Borders, is looking to spread its wings, with falconry, archery and the cult game of Werewolves taking place at the venue over September 27-30.

Staying Friday 3 PM to Monday 11 AM costs £150 for buffet food, soft drinks and beds, but not bedding. A recent announcement added two-day weekend and single-day residency options, for £100 and £50. But prospective castle-dwellers must hurry; registration and payment is to close this Saturday, August 31.

A Disney… Classic?

Okay, how did we miss this one? Disney Hamlet, Starring Donald Duck, a new full-color graphic novel written by Giorgio Salati and illustrated by Paolo De Lorenzi. “The ghost of a betrayed king appoints Prince Ducklet to restore peace to his kingdom in this adaptation of the classic tragic play by William Shakespeare. Huey, Dewey and Louie, along with Uncle Scrooge, head on a road trip to Denmark, passing by the famous landmark–the phantom castle of Ducksinore! The triplets recall the story of Ducklet, written by the celebrated playwright William Duckspeare. Scrooge’s interest is piqued and the story of tragedy, betrayal, and corruption unfolds.”  Published by Dark Horse Books in trade paperback, it’s available now from Penguin Random House.


image c. 2019 Dark Horse Books

My Not-So-Little Unicorn

New from Papercutz, the folks who bring us the Geronimo Stilton series of books. Melowy is a graphic novel digest series for young readers, written by Cortney Powell and illustrated by Ryan Jampole. “When flying unicorns called Melowies turn fourteen they go to school at Destiny, a legendary castle hidden somewhere in the clouds. Here they develop their special power, which lies dormant in them until they finish school and discover their place in the world. What lies ahead for the impressive group of Electra, Selene, Cora, Maya, and Cleo, each destined for their own paths? Dreams, adventure, and friendship around every corner!” Yep, sounds familiar — but hey, even Equestria Daily gave it a review. The series is available now in hardcover.


image c. 2018 Papercutz

Be Happy, Everyone! Or Else.

And speaking of kitties (sort of)… Here’s an interesting bit of news we got from Deadline.com: Princess Unikitty, probably the furriest character from The Lego Movie, will be getting her own TV series on Cartoon Network. Here’s what the folks at Warner Brothers say about it: “As ruler of the kingdom, Unikitty has busy days full of royal responsibilities. Unikitty is most interested in making sure everyone is happy and ridding the kingdom of negativity, but don’t misunderstand her optimism – she is one kitty not to be crossed. While she may be full of boundless energy and creativity, Unikitty is a force to be reckoned with if anyone gets in the way of spreading her positive vibes, especially if anyone makes her little brother and best friend, Puppycorn, sad. Also living in the castle are Dr. Fox, the resident scientist, and Unikitty’s trusty bodyguard, Hawkodile. Through it all, Unikitty and her friends make sure that every day is the happiest and most creative ever. The voice cast is led by Tara Strong (Teen Titans Go!) and Grey Griffin (Be Cool Scooby-Doo!) along with Kate Micucci (Be Cool Scooby-Doo!), Roger Craig Smith (Regular Show), Eric Bauza (The Adventures of Puss in Boots), and H. Michael Croner (Review).” No word yet on a premier date, but the Princess is sure to let us all know. Loudly!

Save King Mickey!

After what seems like a long long time, this past March Yen Press finally released Kingdom Hearts: The Novel as a single black & white collected manga. Just one that happens to be over 300 pages long! “On the Destiny Islands, three children–Sora, Riku, and Kairi–are living out their peaceful, carefree lives while yearning for whatever lies beyond the great ocean. But one night, an unexpected disaster takes place, and the three are torn from each other and their island home. Meanwhile, at Disney Castle, Donald Duck and the other castle residents are in an uproar upon discovering King Mickey has suddenly gone missing. When fate brings them together, Sora, Donald, and Goofy set out on a grand Disney adventure to find their friends!” Find it over at the Yen Press web site. It’s written by Tomoco Kanemaki and illustrated by Shiro Amano, based on the original game concept by Tetsuya Nomura.

image c. 2015 Yen Press

image c. 2015 Yen Press

Review: 'Kairos. T.2/3', by Ulysse Malassagne

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (5 votes)

Kairos, book 2 Kairos, volume 2 of 3, is out! (My thanks again to Lex Nakashima for making this review possible.) Volume 1 was published in France in April, with an animated cartoon trailer for the whole series by the author at his new Studio La Cachette. Niils and his mysterious girlfriend Anaëlle (whom he is trying to talk into becoming his fiancée) are camping out in the French countryside. She is kidnapped by anthropomorphic dragons dressed as Medieval soldiers, and taken “home” through a dimensional portal to the world that she apparently came from in the first place. Niils follows to rescue her, and is met in the countryside by two friendly inhabitants; Kuma, a dragon monk, and Koyot, a brown, beaky peasant.

Tome 2 begins with Niils, Kuma, and Koyot coming to a peasants’ market town, where a big political argument is in progress between the supporters of the dragon royal family and those who accuse it of becoming tyrannical, weak, and no longer in touch with the people.

Roubaix, France, Ankama Éditions, October 2013, hardcover €11.90 (64 pages; on Amazon.fr).

Werewolf game 'Guise of the Wolf' released

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

'Guise of the Wolf' cover Werewolves have been in the news quite a bit, what with Demi Moore and Madonna allegedly following the "Werewolf Diet", and the BBC reporting on werewolves who want to go running on the moors.

And it's not long since January 24, when the first-persion Gothic action-adventure game Guise of the Wolf was released on Steam.

Review: 'Kairos. T.1/3', by Ulysse Malassagne

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (5 votes)

KairosKairos, volume 1 of 3, has just been published in France. It was announced here last month with an animated trailer from Studio La Cachette in Paris that had me salivating for the album! (Ankama’s catalogue lists a volume title that does not appear on the volume; “His Kingdom”.)

Now the book is here. Is it worth the hype?
(My thanks again to Lex Nakashima for making this review possible.)

Oh, yeah. This first album is both disappointing and tantalizing, only beginning to show the world in the trailer; its first scene, where the dragons emerge at night to kidnap Anaëlle, does not come before page 23 in the album.

Tome 1 ends with Nills, Koyot (the short, brown, beaky character), and Kuma (the big, green dragon? with short chin whiskers) walking towards the castle. Much is to be revealed in t.2.

Roubaix, France, Ankama Éditions, April 2013, hardcover €11.90 (64 pages; on Amazon.fr).

Review: ‘Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion’ for the Nintendo 3DS

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (5 votes)

epicmickeypowerofillusion.jpgThis handheld spinoff of the Epic Mickey games features Mickey Mouse as Mario in an old-school side-scroller with cel-animation style visuals. What he’s doing in a 2D game with 2D visuals on a console with “3D” in its name is a mystery.

I’m sorry. That came out a bit grumpy. You see, I really liked this game. Up to a point. Then that point came and I was very disappointed in it. This made me re-examine the game a bit more harshly than I expected, but it all really is sour grapes.

Save Yourself

Here’s a different take on the traditional princess vs. dragon story: “Princeless is about Princess Adrienne who lives in a land of fairy-tale castles.  When the Princesses reach age 16 they are put in a tower guarded by a fearsome dragon, where they languish until a dashing would-be Prince comes to rescue them.  It’s traditional.  Apparently knowing which end of a sword to stick in a dragon is a fit test for kingship…  Adrienne isn’t pleased with this state of affairs, and after one particularly luckless knight turns up she decides she’s had enough.  Chatting late into the night with Sparky (the dragon) they decide to abandon the castle, fake her own death and set off on a quest to save her sisters from their towers.” Fantasy creatures and fantasy tropes show up aplenty in this series, and none of them looked at in the traditional way. Now Action Lab Comics have released Princeless: Save Yourself, which collects the first story arc of the series (written by Jeremy Whitley and illustrated by M. Goodwin) into one handy full-color trade paperback. Check out their blog.


image c. 2012 Action Lab Comics