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                                                                     May 2004
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!
What's in store...
ToonsToGo - still going strong!...  More...

   Annecy announcements
Animation nominations ....

   That's Dandy

1st issue Dandy up for auction....

    Spitting news
Spitting Image to return?....

    Animal instincts
I Am Not An Animal arrives....

    Eggciting developments

News from Shelltown....
   More news:       


   Annecy announcements

   Well, it's Annecy time once again. Every year, this supreme animation
   festival extends an invitation to animators from around the world, and
   provides them with a magnificent showcase for their animated films,
   specials, series, videos, web films, commercials and short films. And
   the best get to carry off a handsome trophy for their efforts.

   This year's festival lineup has just been announced, and it features
   29 productions in the TV series category. The nominated shows come
   from 13 different countries and, what do you know, 5 of them are British
    creations. 'Creature Comforts' has been nominated, together with 'Meg
   And Mog', 'Little Robots', 'The Koala Brothers' and the all-new production
   of 'Pingu'. Choosing between any of these is mightily difficult,each have
   their own merits, and all five are series to be proud of. 'Little Robots' has
   some beautiful design work, HOT's new-look 'Pingu' easily matches the
   Polish original, 'Creature Comforts' is wry and funny,
Roger Mainwood has
   worked wonders with 'Meg And Mog' and 'The Koala Brothers' is a bright
   and bonzer show. Personally, TheHound reckons all five deserve the prize.
   But - hey - what about the other 24 nominated productions...?

   Elsewhere, in the TV specials lineup, ginger Gibbons' 'Bosom Pals' has
   a nomination too, and it's lined up against films from Armenia, Canada,
   France, Japan, Iran, Germany, Switzerland and China - a truly cosmopolitan
   showing. But Annecy isn't just about big bucks commercial work. 7 films from
   the UK are included in the extensive short films section, and 7 more are
   featured in the student/graduation role call. Let's hope Annecy helps
   some new budding talent up on to the world stage. Alongside all these
   screenings and awards is a flourishing traders market, so who knows?
   These folks may be snapped up for new productions around the globe.

   The Annecy festival runs from 7th to 12th June. Stay tooned for news
   of any British successes!



   That's Dandy

    Compal's latest comic auctions have been announced this week, and
    there are some interesting British comic lots up for grabs. Top of the
    heap is a juicy first issue of 'The Dandy'. The comic dates from 1937
    and has an estimate of £3,500 - £4,000. As you may recall, Compal's
    last auction featured a rare first issue 'Beano' which went on to break the
    UK record for a comic purchase. It will be fascinating to see what this
    one fetches on the back of this development.

    As always with Compal, DC Thomson comics are particularly well
    represented and it's lovely to see a very rare, first issue copy of 'Magic
    Comic' up for grabs. This was Thomson's oft-forgotten third title, after
    'The Beano' and 'The Dandy', and it started its short eighty issue run
     in 1939. Compal's estimate stands at £700 - £1,000, but as before,
    we'll have to see what happens now that records have been re-written.

    Further down the list of June lots is some great propaganda art from
    Dudley Watkins, Sam Fair and Arthur Jackson, and some original
    'Eagle' art from William Stobbs. 'Beezer' collectors will be tempted
    by two yummy lots featuring the first issue and second issue of that
    top title and a lot featuriung the first issue of 'Topper'. What's more,
    Fleetway fans will surely be salivating over the early 'Buster' comics
    on the list, including numbers 1-to-5 - neat, eh?

    This auction runs until Tuesday June 8 2004 at 8 PM UK time.
    Bids can be submitted online, by fax or by telephone...

Compal Comics   

   Spitting news

    Some top news indeed this week, with the announcement that those
    'Spitting Image' tv puppets may soon be returning to our screens in
    an all-new series - that's if producer John Lloyd gets his way. He's
    just put together a budget for his proposed new show which would
    see the puppets back in our living rooms next year, after a nine year

    Everyone remembers 'Spitting Image', don't they? The show fearlessly
    lampooned British and world politicians, celebrities and folks in the news
    who were retooled in to outrageous, coarse rubber puppets. Some top
    talent like Richard Curtis and 'Private Eye's Ian Hislop added venom to the
    scripts, whilst an incredible array of voice talent - Rory Bremner, Harry
    Enfield, Joihn Sessions, etc - mocked and mimicked the mighty and
    the not-so-mighty, without mercy. Gosh, remember how Norman Tebbit
    was turned into a leather-clad biker? Or John Major, appearing as a dour
    grey-skinned nobody? - 'Pass the peas, dear...' - Or those outrageous
    end songs...?

    When 'Spitting Image' was good, it was very good indeed. The series ran
    for 12 years in all, from 1984 to 1996. At its peak it was regularly getting
    15million viewers. It even spawned a hit single, when 'the Chicken Song'
    (a spoof of 'Agadoo') reached number one in May 1986. It was all so
    successful that international versions of the show sprang up in France
    and, even, Russia. Co-creators Peter Fluck, Roger Law and Martin
    Lambie-Nairn went on to bring us a 'Spitting Image' tour of their Covent
    Garden studios. Many of those fantastic latex creations were later sold
    at auction...
    According to The Guardian online, Mr Lloyd, who produced the first five
    series, has been working with Roger Law and Richard Bennett the financial
    guru on the originals, on plans to revive the show with ITV. A seven-figure
    investment would be needed so the team could rebuild their troop of
    puppets. And one has to say, the time is certainly right for their return,
    with a whole new world of non-celebrities, footballers and ridiculous
    politicians to send-up now. Since those puppets left the scene, the satirical
    void has been filled by '2DTV' and 'Monkey Dust', and Rory Bremner and the
    'Dead Ringers' team have applied the make-up and pushed themselves ever
    closer to puppet-like lampoonery. But you know, you just can't beat those 
    original rubberised grotesques. There's something fascinating about their
    flailing, spitting faces flexing across the screen... It'd be great to see
    them back...

                                                     More:  The Guardian (free registration)


   Animal instincts

    Those of you with an 'instinct' for animated adult humour might want to
    tune in to BBC2 tonight at 10.00pm, because that's when Baby Cow's
    'I Am Not An Animal' finally gets its first UK screening...

     I Am Not An Animal - starts this week!

    As reported - oh - eighteen months ago now, 'I Am Not An Animal' follows
    the exploits of a group of animals created in a vivisection lab. Amongst
    their number are Philip the horse, Winona the dog, Keiron the cat,
    Claire the rat, Hugh the monkey and a rabbit called Niall. This jolly gang
    get a shorp sharp shock one evening when a bunch of Animal Rights
    Protesters decide to liberate them from their laboratory. The project
    received some serious ear-bashing from cetain quarters when it was
    announced, given its sensitive subject matter, but the furore seems to
    have died down a tad now that the show is finally here.

    The series has some top voice talent on board: Steve Coogan is Philip,
    the pompous horse who wants to write like James Herbert. Simon Pegg
    plays the arrogant cat Keiron, who's desperately keen to flee to London.
    Then there's Amelia Bullmore, Kevin Eldon, Julia Davies and Arthur
    Matthews adding their vocal weight to the rest of the animals.

    It all looks fab on paper, and Tim Searle and his animation team have
    created a fantastic, anarchic look to the production. The animals are wild
    cut-out creations, collaged together from photos and art samples. If the
    humour is as sharp as the design this could have 'cult hit' slapped all
    over it...

    Keep your hooves crossed, folks!

Baby Cow


   Eggciting developments

Remember 'Shelltown'? - The Hound profiled this 'cracking' new toon
    in June last year. This CGI pre-school series is in development with
    Shelltown Productions of Ulster and has been adapted from the
    bedtime stories created by Patricia Parson-Sparkes. Here are
    the stars again:

      Splat,  Cracker and Exactly - image courtesy Shelltown Productions

    Well, producer Bernard Sparkes now tells us that, as of May 1st,
    star crooner, recording artiste, celebrity and producer Ronan Keating
    has joined Shelltown Productions as a shareholder. And that means he'll
    be providing voiceover and music for the forthcoming series. Which
    is, indeed, eggshellent news for this fun production...
Shelltown Productions


   What's in store...  

    Well it's May now, and TheHound and his family have slowly but surely
    progressed through the last few difficult weeks and we've started looking
    forward again. For Yours Truly, it means turning attention to Toonhound's
    companion site ToonsToGo.

    For those of you who don't know, ToonsToGo is our little online store
    selling a selection of British and American cartoon collectibles. We started
    this spin-off venture two-and-a-bit years ago now, not really knowing how or
    if it was going to work, but we're happy to say that it is - just about!

     The Koala Brothers - coming to ToonsToGo!

    By 'eck, it's been tough, though. I'll hold my hands up now and admit
    I'm no businessman. Indeed, any business bloke worth his salt would
    look at some of our decision-making and positively grimace. The thing
    is, we decided from the outset to operate one way only: We'd only
    stock things that we personally would like to own. At the end of
    the day there's no way we can stand by products that are shoddy or
    inferior - and believe me, there's a lot of tat out there to avoid. We also
    like to track down items that other stores seem to overlook. That's
    why we've had the likes of Mr Bean, Mr Hell, Mr Benn and The
    Rubbadubbers in stock, and it's why very soon, we'll be bringing in
    characters from Spellbound's top new toon The Koala Brothers and
    we'll continue to source those amazing Muppets action figures which
    so few companies have brought in to the UK. We're not breaking any
    business records, but we are in profit (slightly) and we are keener
    than mustard to keep on supplying quality toon toys to our customers.
    Indeed, our bank positively hates us because we've yet to touch
    any of their loan or overdraft facilities!

    So what's going on there that's newsworthy? - Well, we've just tweaked
    the site design a little to bring it in line with Toonhound's streamlined design,
    and we've just ushered in a little Mad May Sale that might interest you,
    especially if you're a fan of The Mr Hell Show. What's more, like I said
    a moment ago, The Koala Brothers are about to wing in to the store very
    soon. Frank and Buster Koala fly around the orange scrub and biller bongs
    of the Australian Outback, tracking down folks to help and attend to. 
    This is a top series, beautifully animated and produced (and no, I'm not just
    saying that to boost our sales) Do yourself a favour and track this one
    down, daytimes on BBC2. And afterwards, track down the toys because
    they too, are of tip-top quality...

    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'     thehound@toonhound.com

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