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Toonhound presents...






Peppa Pig art for sale at The Animation Art Gallery!

      June 2009
 Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!
   Gruesome news
More Grizzly Tales...

   Potty time
 Teapots up for auction...

   The Orchid blooms
 The Rainbow Orchid is
   almost here...

    Reprints a-go-go
Bear Alley Books is launched... 

    Dark McLeods
Moon Bird is coming...

Battling on
 War comics a-go-go...

 Float yer boat
 Karni & Saul's video for Float...

  Gruff and ready
 The Gruffalo is coming...

    Here's to The DFC
   Let's celebrate an inspiring comic... more »

   news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

    Reprints a-go-go  

     Bear Alley is a fantastic online sidestreet dedicated to British comics
     old and new, but particularly the former. And when it comes to those
     classic strips and illustrations of the past, webmaster/author Steve
     Holland must surely be one of the most informed and influential folks
     on the circuit. He's got a mine of information on offer to visitors that's
     second-to-none online. Bibliographies, biographical info, publication
     isbns - they're all there alongside samples of astonishing strips and
     panels from folks who have all-too often been overlooked or almost
     forgotten by the mainstream...

     And now, Steve's going to go one better than his marvellous blog/site.
     He's launching Bear Alley Books, a mini publishing venture which will
     see him compiling and reprinting limited runs of classic material from
     the past. Steve's been doing just this kind of thing
regularly, for other
     publishers, so it's a natural - and most welcome - progression.

     This August, Bear Alley Books will publish limited edition volumes of
     IPC's "Cursitor Doom" and "The Phantom Patrol". 300 softcover editions
     of each, with more still-to-be-announced titles to follow, if all things
     go as planned.

     "Cursitor Doom" features artwork by Eric Bradbury and Geoff Campion.
     The strip was originally published in the pages of "Smash!" in 1969-1970.
     Most folks remember this occult adventure because of its menacing
     bald headed titular character. The Bear Alley book will feature a
     wraparound cover by John Ridgway (Hellblazer, 2000AD, Commando).

    "The Phantom Patrol", meanwhile, was first published in the pages of
    "Swift" and its 57 episodes were drawn by Gary Emlbeton. This one
     is probably new to many folks, but it's a doozy, beginning in the summer
     of 1941 where Sgt Joe Timm and his infantry patrol find themselves zapped
     back in time with a handful of captured Nazis, to the time of the Trojan
     Wars, with various twists and turns in the plot zipping them fowards
     and backwards in time again. Chris Weston (The Twelve, The Filth,
     Ministry of Space) has already produced an amazing wraparound
     cover to get us salivating:

     "The Phantom Patrol" coming soon from Bear Alley Books

     Fab, isn't it? - And so are Steve's Big Plans, so make sure you
     bookmark his site so that you're ready to order these first two
     special editions, this August...

                                                             More: Bear Alley Books


    Dark McLeods   (29.06.09)

Greg and Myles McLeod - otherwise known as The Brothers McLeod - have
    been rather busy recently, and they want to give you a sneaky peek at
    their latest animated endeavour. "Moon Bird" is billed as a dark fairytale,
    and by the looks of the promo it is indeed both dark and fairytale-ish.
    Can't wait to see the finished thing:


    You can keep up with the film's progress via the brothers' rather good
    web site, where you'll be treated to a fabulous post-by-post insight into
    the mechanics of conceiving, writing and producing a project like this.
    You'll also finds lots more of Greg and Myles' eclectic films and
    creations online there, to view and peruse...

                                                                More: The Brothers McLeod


    Battling on    (28.06.09)

    Ah, the glorified delights of war... Not too long ago, war strips with gung-ho
    British soldiers battling the Bosch or the Hun, were a regular feature in our
    weekly comics. The exploits of many of these gun-toting heroes, warriors
    and mercenaries might be considered a bit off by some of today's
    new readers, hardened by the realities of modern warfare which are
    plastered across our tv screens, and streamed live on our laptops,
    but back in the day, they were as commonplace and everyday as the
    triumphant Hollywood war movie. And the hankering for this particular
    breed of Tall Tale simply has not diminished with time.

    As any eagle-eyed visitor to WH Smiths and its contemporaries will tell
    you, can still find that old pocket-size spectacular "Commando"
    nestled amongst the hotchpotch of Marvel editions and Bongo comics
    reprints, and there are a whole bunch of fabulous reprint compilations
    currently selling very well indeed in Waterstone's and Borders. 

     "Classic Comics: Battle Picture Weekly" from Egmont UK  "The Best of 'Battle' - Volume One" from Titan Books

    So it's no surprise to learn that Egmont UK have now jumped on the
    proverbial war wagon. They've just launched a special celebrational 
    compilation of strips from "Battle Picture W
eekly" (52 pages for £3.99,
    on sale now at WH Smith's), which means we can salivate the
    the return of D-Day Dawson, Danny Budd aka the Bootneck Boy, and 
    Fleetway's very own Dirty Dozen, The Rat Pack, twenty one years
    after their last weekly engagement.

    "Battle" was Fleetway's war-fueled flagship title, first published in 1975 as
    a direct response to DC Thomson's "Warlord" and the then fledgling
    comics duo of Pat Mills and John Wagner were hired to put it all together,
    with Carloz Esquerra, Mike Western and Joe Colquhorn drawing strips
    for the title. So there were/are some damned fine panels to get your
    gritted teeth into, perhaps most notably, the ones on show in
    "Charley's War", which has already been granted its own extremely
    popular standalone volume, of course.
    "Battle" is actually the second in Egmont's Classic Comic revival, and
    it's followed swiftly on the heels of their recent "Roy of the Rovers"
    compilation. "Buster" and "Misty" compilations are coming soon, too,
    as Egmont continue to mine the Fleetway library they bought in 1991.
    And if this Egmont tester whets your war buds, you'll be even happier
    to hear that Titan Books are soon to publish an even meatier compilation.
    Look out for The Best of "Battle": Volume One in book shops any
    moment now!...
                                                         More: Egmont Titan Books


    Float yer boat   

The Hound's just caught up with the Annecy award winning music video
    for Flogging Molly's "Float". And it's a beauty, so it is:


    Gets you, right there, doesn't it? - Film makers Karni & Saul have really
    bottled that special Irish spirit in their depiction of a down-on-his-heels
    cotton bud man, dragging himself through the days, from the streets to
    the ocean, accumulating all that baggage en route. By the time he's
    plunging into the waves you're right there with him, hauling yourself
    through the surge as the vocals brim with defiance... Yep... This is
    what a great music video is all about...

     "Lost and Found" now on DVD

    Speaking of Annecy, I'm not sure what happened, but The Hound's
    round-up of news from this very special annual get-together somehow
    went astray this year. So just to confirm "Float" won Karni & Saul the
    award for Best Music Video. And our other big UK award winner was
    Philip Hunt and Studio AKA's adaptation of Lost & Found, which was
    given the Best TV Special award. This is Oliver Jeffers' story of the boy
    and the lost penguin which aired on Channel 4 over Christmas.
    It's a lovely tale that creeps up on you as you're watching until
    you find yourself in inexplicable floods of tears at the end.
    And it's another thoroughly deserving winner, methinks...

                                                                         More: Annecy


    Gruff and ready    

    The Gruffalo has to be the most popular picture book of recent years.
    Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler's best-selling tale was first published
    in 1999 and has now sold over 4m copies worldwide. So it's no surprise
    to hear that an animated version of the story is on the way...

    "The Gruffalo" by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler

    Magic Light Pictures are producing a Gruffalo half-hour special, which is
    all set to air on the BBC this Christmas. The model and CGI film is currently
    being animated at the award winning Studio Soi in Ludwigsburg, Germany
    under the stewardship of directors Jakob Schuh and Max Lang, and
    the voice cast includes the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Rob Brydon,
    Robbie Coltrane, James Corden, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson.

    And if it's a hit - and let's face it, if ever there was a dead cert for
    a hit special, it's this - then you can bet we'll see a follow up,
    because Magic Light also hold the film and ancillary rights to
    The Gruffalo's Child...

                                                             More: Magic Light Pictures


    Gruesome news     

    Time to rub your hands together with grim dribbling glee, because
    Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids is making a curdling comeback,
    thanks to folks at Nickelodeon. As part of a just-struck deal with Sara
    and Simon Bor and Honeycomb Animation all 79 original episodes
    are going to be aired on the channel next year, followed by the premier
    of 26 newly-commissioned cautionary tales in 2011.

    "A Grizzly Dozen" by Jamie Rix - out now!

    Honeycomb Animation's BAFTA-nominated series was, of course, based
    upon the popular books by Jamie Rix. And, wouldn't you know, there's a
    new collection currently available in the form of A Grizzly Dozen, which
    was published at the start of the month. So that's new stories
    and new toons to get your cackling teeth in to!...
                                                          More: Honeycomb Animation


    Potty time    (20.06.09)

    Wanna get your paws on a unique Mr Benn teapot, painted by
    David McKee himself?

    Mr Benn teapot

    Or a Shaun the Sheep teapot from Richard Goleszowski?

   Shaun the Sheep teapot

    Or maybe you'd like a Beano edition, courtesy of Jim Glen?

    Beano teapot

    Well, these three beauties are up for grabs via an auction for The Willow
    Foundation, the charity that puts together special days for special people
    aged 16 to 40. There are a stack of fab celebrity endorsed teapots in their
    Stars on Teapots online event. Here's a little more press spiel:

    "The small teapots (10.5cm high x 18.5cm long approx) have
    been created in association with the Pottery House Café based
    in Hove. As well as the one-off creations by celebrities and
    artists, a selection of teapots have been donated from London's
    leading hotels, best known for afternoon tea.

    The teapots will be auctioned online from Thursday 25 June
    2009 (closing on Sunday 5 July) - marking the end of the
    charity's Piece of Cake campaign and helping to raise valuable
    funds that will help the charity to provide special days for
    many more seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds...."

    You can check out all the amazing teapots on the foundation's web
    site. But more importantly, if you're at all interested and you've cash
    to spare: get bidding!

                                                          More: The Willow Foundation


    The Orchid blooms     (04.06.09)

    At last! - The first part of Garen Ewing's long-gestating work of comic
    strip brilliance, The Rainbow Orchid is published by the fine folks at Egmont
    this August. Drawn in the European ligne claire style, Garen's rip-roaring period
    adventure sees young Julius Chancer and friends taking off around the world
    in pursuit of an infamous mythological flower, with an ensemble of ruffians,
    roustabouts and ne'erdowells in hot pursuit. In other words, we're in the
    same classic territory as Herge and Edgar P Jacobs.

    "The Adventures of Julius Chancer: The Rainbow Orchid - Volume One"  coming very soon from Egmont Publishing!

    According to the author, there are:

     " zombies, no bikini-clad gun-toting nubiles, and
    no teeth-gritting... grittiness. Just a huge slice of
    pure adventure, made to go with a big mug of tea"

    Being the humble artisan that he is, however, Garen neglects to add that
    his strip is completely fantastic, and immediately transports the reader back
    to those giddy times spent hidden under the bedcovers, as a ten year old,
    with a winking torch and a dog-eared copy of TinTin's globetrotting
    exploits in hand.

    Yep. It really is that good.

    Do yourself a favour and pop by Garen's web site for lots more on
    his comics work, the book, and its painfully-long development. It's
    been a protracted labour of love... and the result, well, it's truly

     "The Rainbow Orchid" collector's edition from 2008

    Last year, just before the Egmont deal came together, Garen put together
    a fantastic collector's edition Orchid book, to help promote his efforts.
    Only 52 were printed up, and number 17 has pride of place in The Hound's
    comic book collection. It even came with a signed drawing of Julius on the
    preface. And now, as the big, fully-fledged, mainstream publication day draws
    near, Garen is promising us even more collectable goodies - signed editions
    and a very limited giclee print. You can bet The Hound will be first in line
    for both of them...

    But on top of all that, there's an even more important reason for
    trumpeting "The Rainbow Orchid" today, because - gawd bless him -
    Garen's celebrating his 40th birthday. So Happy Birthday, Garen, and
    here's to a hugely successful launch in 60 days... and counting!

The Rainbow Orchid

   Here's to The DFC  

    How sad it is to witness the demise of The DFC - in its current guise,
    at least. It appears to have been a victim of these uncertain times,
    more than anything else. But undoubtedly, it's been a huge jolt in
    the arm for the UK comics scene, and it's brought a wealth of cartoon
    talent out of the small press woodwork and into the mainsteam.
    Which is something to celebrate. Why, even The Hound has been
    inspired enough to dust down his old drawing board. And if The Hound's
    been inspired, well, you can bet a whole bunch of those DFC subscribers
    have also got themselves worked up enough to pick up a pen...

    If you think back to the giddy heydays of DC Thomson and IPC/Fleetway,
    those top weeklys stuck quite religiously to a house "style" throughout
    their strips. But The DFC has bravely presented an array of styles and
    tones to its readership. Each strip has had its own voice. That's been
    so exciting for this reader to see. And inspiring, because it encourages
    folks to think outside the box, as it were... Look at this... Look what you
    can do... The possibilities are endless...

    Who knows, maybe a whole new generation of cartoonists
    will look back upon those 43 issues of The DFC as being the  
    birth-point of their career...

    How exciting is that?
    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'

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