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Meow and Now

And speaking of web-based comics coming to book form… Cat & Cat Adventures is a series written and illustrated by Susie Yi from Orange County, California. (Hi neighbor!) “Cat & Cat comics is a cozy, funny, and relatable comic series about more than just cats. Set in a world where pets and humans co-exist in a symbiotic relationship (much like the world we live in today!), Suzy is a human that can understand the mysterious language of cat-speak! Cat & Cat comics dives into the every day interactions between Suzy and her cats, but also the mysterious and magical scenarios that the cats encounter as well. From pancakes growing fluffier upon command to dogs being summoned out of a magical book, these comics are sure to surprise and pull you in for a sweet treat!” Find it on line, and look for the graphic novel series as well.


image c. 2024 by Susie Yi

Movie review: 'Robot Dreams' (2023)

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Movie poster, Dog and Robot walk hand in hand down a New York City street. Robot Dreams (trailer) is a 102-minute animated film released in December 2023, made by Arcadia, Lokiz and other studios. Based on a 2007 graphic novel (Amazon US - UK - Spanish edition) by Sara Varon, this Spanish-French production was written and directed by Pablo Berger, who had never worked in animation before, so he collaborated closely with art director José Luis Ágreda and storyboard artist Maca Gil for a year and a half to plan the project. It worked out really well!

Two neat things: it's a 2D film in an overbearingly 3D market, and there's no dialog. It takes place in a slightly alternative version of New York City in 1984, a funny-animal one. The main character, "Dog", lives in a Manhattan apartment. He's extremely lonely. One day he sees a TV ad for robot friends, so he orders one; after putting it together - he's not lonely anymore! Aside from this modern leap in artificial intelligence and robotics, the film is as early-80s as it gets: boomboxes, cassettes, VCRs, and Walkmen.

Gas Girl

We spent last weekend at our first Furry Weekend Atlanta, and had a great time meeting new artists seeing new creations. Such as… Wildlife Fuel is a full-color comic written and illustrated by Kelly Latham. It’s been an ongoing web-comic for a while, but now there’s the first issue out on paper! “During the summer between high school and college, Cent the Skunk works at Wildlife Fuel, a gas station that has crazy fun times, but even crazier customers. While trying to survive hectic and humorous retail situations, she must also navigate major life choices during this transitional time in her life.” Visit Kelly’s web site to find out more about this and other comics she’s created.


image c. 2024 by Kelly Latham

 

Corgis To The Rescue!

At the L.A. Times Festival of Books we learned about Mythwalker at their big, impressive booth. Maybe it was the smiling corgi in armor that attracted our attention… Mythwalker is a geolocation fantasy RPG created by Nant Games for your cell phone. In it you can play one of three species: Human, Annu (a bird-like humanoid species), and Wulven (a canine species — from which the aforementioned corgi hails). Here is the lore: “Mytherra is a fantastical, parallel planet to Earth ─ a world where throughout history its people and mystical creatures have infiltrated the dreams of humans. Over time, these visions have formed the basis of Earth’s many myths and legends. After a prolonged period of peace, Mytherra is now under attack, which poses a direct threat to Earth as well. A powerful being, known only as The Child, has reached out through the Veil into our world seeking help. She recruits you – the Mythwalker – to uncover the truth about the attackers, explore the connection between the two worlds, and lead Mytherra’s heroes in the defense of their home.” And here is the idea: “MythWalker is a geolocation fantasy RPG adventure mobile game that brings The Child and Mytherra to life through an overworld traversal system, using real locations to tell the stories of Earth’s myths and legends.

New study provides neural evidence that dogs visualise words as humans do

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Dog set up for EEG. (Photo ©Grzegorz Eliasiewicz)People have long wished to talk to animals and this desire is reflected in cultural objects such as Arthur C. Clarke's novel Dolphin Island. One well-known example of an animal "learning" human language was the horse Clever Hans, who was later shown to be responding to cues from his handler rather than actually understanding. Cases of poorly-controlled claims, like Clever Hans, and speciest notions of human uniqueness have hindered development of the field. However, the wish to communicate through language has remained and many animals have been claimed to use or understand human languages, including dogs.

Shiba Shiba Coco-Bop

The things you can make into a manga… Shibanban Super Cute Doggies is written and illustrated by Yasuteru Ogoshi. “A full-color book for the popular Shiba Inu characters appearing in LINE stickers and stationery! Meet Aka, Kuro, Cha, Shiro, the Roly-Poly Pups, and the rest of this colorful cast of adorable Shiba Inu dogs! Whether they’re venturing out into stormy weather in a raincoat, lazing at the beach, napping in a cozy dog bed, or eagerly eyeing dinner someone left out on the table, their fun (and sometimes mischievous) antics are sure to put a smile on your face.” Available now from Seven Seas.


image c. 2024 Seven Seas Entertainment

Movie review: Three foreign animated films from 2017-2019

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

'The Angel in the Clock' poster Three foreign animated film reviews! Behold the trailers for:

The Angel in the Clock,
White Fang, and
The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily.

All of these films successfully blend 3D and 2D animation in their own different styles.

White Fang is the most 3D, applying a brush-like texture to characters to create a 2D, painted look. Angel's main characters are 2D, with 3D designs used for the settings. Bears uses 3D for almost everything, then alters its visuals to look as 2D as possible.

Hurray!

The takeover of Planet Earth by one little Australian blue heeler dog continues unabated. We just got this announcement: “The first ever Bluey video game is releasing on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC on November 17. Outright Games, in partnership with BBC Studios, is opening up the world of the beloved animated preschool series and inviting you to join Bluey and her buddies in an all-new interactive sandbox adventure, aptly titled Bluey: The Videogame, that will give players free rein to explore Bluey’s house and several other iconic locations.” Based on the celebrated and Ursa Major Award-winning TV series, of course. Coming this fall!


image c. 2023 Outright Games

Veterans Who Go to the Vet

We’re mostly about anthropomorphic animals around here, obviously, but now and then it’s interesting to find a project about real-life non-humans and their adventures. Such is the case with Four-Fisted Tales: Animals In Combat, a new non-fiction graphic novel by Ben Towle. “In virtually every military conflict in recorded history animals have fought — and often died — alongside their human counterparts. While countless stories of the men and women who’ve served in the trenches, jungles, and deserts of the world’s battlefields have been told, Four-Fisted Tales: Animals in Combat shares the stories of the animals who fought alongside them. From Hannibal’s elephants in ancient Rome to mine-sniffing rats in Vietnam and everything in between, Four-Fisted Tales highlights the real-life contributions of these underappreciated animal warriors. Whether in active combat or simply as companions, these animals served and made their mark on history.” It’s available now from Dead Reckoning.


image c. 2023 Dead Reckoning

Review: 'Strays'

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

strays.jpgReggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) is a cute, scruffy little mutt who lives with his owner, Doug (Will Forte), who hates Reggie. Reggie was actually adopted by his ex-girlfriend, and Doug blames Reggie for her leaving him, despite the fact that he is generally a terrible person himself. He only kept Reggie around just to hurt her.

Doug continuously tries to get rid of Reggie, who believes the frequent trips far out into the country ending with a tennis ball thrown into a random field followed by Doug not waiting for him to bring it back is a game. Reggie seems not to realize that this is not fetch until, out of desperation, Doug leaves him in a city over two hours away. There, Reggie meets Bug (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who finally is able to explain to him that what’s going on here is so not fetch. Reggie and his new friend, as well as Hunter (voiced by Randall Park) and Maggie (voiced by Isla Fisher), decide to make the arduous trek back home, not to reunite Reggie with Doug as dog and master, but so Reggie can seek revenge for his mistreatment, specifically by biting Doug’s penis off.

Ruff Seas

Up next at the Festival of Books was the Dogfish series of illustrated books, written by Rita Reed and with art by Craig Cartwright. Starting off with Dogfish Saves The Ocean:Dogfish is enjoying a beautiful day in the ocean when suddenly he sees his friend Turtle with a straw stuck in his snout! After he calls his friends to help, they all discover that ocean pollution is a BIG problem! Join Dogfish and his friends as they learn more about pollution and what they can do to help.” All the books are available now from Fine Eye Media, including Dogfish Stands Up To Bullying and Dogfish: Just Be You!


image c. 2023 Fine Eye Media

Review: "In a Dog's World" by Mary E. Lowd

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (6 votes)

In a Dog's World cover. Is In a Dog's World set in a dog's world? Well, yes and no. Humans have vanished from Earth, and several species are now "uplifted," gaining human-level intelligence and an anthropomorphic form. The story focuses on dogs and cats, which are now the main inhabitants of North America, and there, if you'll pardon the expression, dogs rule the roost.

Everywhere she looked in the world, it was dogs on top. Politicians, CEOs, the biggest celebrities, even the most innovative scientists -- they were all dogs.

Our main character, Katasha, is a tabby point Siamese cat, preparing for her high school prom and awaiting the results of her college application. She is not happy with the status that most cats have and wants to be a success. As dogs are successful, that is her aim: not to be a dog but to be a part of their world. She wishes to emulate the traits that dogs possess, wants to go to a predominantly dog college, and desires to date a dog.

Ruff Ruff Ronin

So here’s a brand new comic book series from Aftershock, with a very straight-forward title: Samurai Doggy. “During the Fourth War of the Sun, a small dog named Doggy experienced an irreparable trauma: His mother was brutally murdered, and his eight brothers, still puppies, were kidnapped by a mysterious man. To save them, Doggy fought bravely against the terrible killer, but all his efforts were in vain, and he was left for dead. What nobody imagined was that a technological vulture scavenging the region for corpses would be the one to rescue the dying dog from death’s scythe. Now, Doggy has become Samurai Doggy, and his only goal is to quench his thirst for revenge.” As told to us by writer Chris Tex and illustrator Santtos, the team behind Blackout.


image c. 2023 Aftershock

Review: 'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish'

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (10 votes)

pussinbootsthelastwish.jpgLet's start at the beginning.

Before Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, even. How about DreamWorks Animation's new studio bumper? It's a bit ostentatious, even a bit overly pleased with itself. Maybe goes on a little long. But, then again, what studio bumper doesn't, nowadays? But, being a celebration of DreamWorks past triumphs, it's interesting to note what franchises were chosen to be spotlighted.

Right out the gate, the Bad Guys are getting quite a vote of confidence, despite being the new guys with one movie under their belts. So I think it's safe to say we're getting a sequel. Also for furries, the Kung Fu Panda series is featured, and we already know that's got a fourth movie coming. The How To Train Your Dragon series is also represented by Toothless, despite the fact that the last movie came to a very decisive story end. It's one of the more acclaimed franchises of DreamWorks, so it has to show up, and even if there are no more movies, smaller screen spinoffs are still happening. There are also appearances by the Trolls and Boss Baby franchises, but they aren't furry, so who cares?

There are some notable absences, however. Despite featuring four movies, the Madagascar franchise is ignored. Spirit, you know, the one with the horse? That somehow managed two movies, but is apparently not an ongoing concern. And obviously, the Shrek franchise is prominently featured, but the star of the movie we're about to actually start reviewing is not. Maybe he'll show up in the bumper for movies he's not the star of?

Review: 'DC League of Super-Pets'

Your rating: None Average: 3 (7 votes)

DC League of Super-Pets poster Between the time I went to see DC League of Super-Pets and writing this, things got weird at Warner Bros. Two movies that were reportedly near completion were suddenly shelved. Most mainstream movie press outlets covered this as "What does this mean for this group of comic book superhero movies?". Even Flayrah's Newsbyte on the subject only mentioned Batgirl, despite the fact that Scoob! Holiday Haunt, an actual movie featuring anthropomorphic animals, rather than just one superhero in a pseudo-fursuit, was also cancelled.

And that has some bearing on my thoughts on this movie. Warner Animation Group is looking like it could be in trouble. Even though it appears that the studio will survive in some capacity, people are going to lose jobs in this area. So, it doesn't feel like a good time to take a look at their latest output, shrug, and say, "It was okay, I guess?"

DC League of Super-Pets was directed by Jared Stern and Sam Levine, and stars Dwayne Johnson as Krypto, Superman's superpowered pet dog. When the evil guinea pig Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon) manages to depower Krypto, he must lead a team of newly-empowered shelter pets in order to rescue his kidnapped master.

It was okay, I guess?