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Toonhound presents...






    September 2007  
 Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!

    Lights! Camera!
   Paddington gets an advert
   and a film...

    Comics on the Beeb
Comics Britannia launches...

    Cracking statues
A double salute to Nick Park...?

    A piggin' event
More Peppa Pig art editions...

    Beat it
A Biteneck Beatniks promo...

    A cool toon
Arctic Circle is here...

    Ducks and sheep
Two top DVD releases...

    More comics on the Beeb
The Hound's contribution...

The wonderful web
   Blogs and sites are everywhere...  more »

     news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

    A piggin' event   (26.09.07)

    The Animation Art Gallery are having lots of snorting fun this
    weekend as they play host to a Peppa Pig launch event. Folks
    attending the party will not only get to meet Peppa herself, in
    person, and get the chance to pick up some Peppa prizes,
    but they'll also be the first to get their trotters on some
    all-new Peppa Pig art editions which are being revealed on
    the day...

   Peppa Pig at the Animation Art Gallery!

    The Hound's already trumpeted the five previous releases at the
    Gallery, and he's even picked up a couple for his own collection.
    These are gruntingly good editions, each signed by the toon trio of
    Astley, Baker, and Davies. So news of still more top pieces
    has certainly whetted the old tastebuds again...

    Make a note in your diary for 11.00am on Saturday September 29th
    at The Animation Art Gallery in Great Castle St, London W1. And
    don't forget your credit card!

                                          More: The Animation Art Gallery


    Beat it    (26.09.07)

    Here's a fab and groovy promo for a top new toon. It stars the hip
    and happening "Biteneck Beatniks" as created by the multi-talented
    Curtis Jobling, and brought to life by the folks at Sardine Productions
    in Canada.


    If you've been reading Curtis' blog, you'll know all about this
    fingersnapping, toetapping quartet of undead stars. Mr Bling has
    been tinkering with the concept for a wee while now, but with
    "Frankenstein's Cat" about to shake teatime tv by the scruff of the
    neck, the time is surely right for these tunesters to sink their teeth
    into the schedules too... Well, that's the theory...

    But will the broadcasters bite? - Let's hope so, 'cos this must
    surely be the freshest new toon project around. I mean, undead
    musicians tackling alien menaces and evil nemeses - without
    missing a beat?

    Suffice it to say, The Hound is jazzed for this!


    A cool toon   (23.09.07)

    Alex Hallatt is a cartoonist based in Lyttelton, New Zealand. She's
    recently become an Honourary Kiwi, but her roots actually lie back
    in Blighty, and she can still recall the joys of reading Krazy comic,
    during her formative years in Dorset. In other words, the lady's got great
    comic taste. And she also happens to have her very own Top Strip
    that's just entered the big bright world of syndication...

     Arctic Circle by Alex Hallatt   Frank the cynical polar bear

    Arctic Circle stars a trio of penguins who have trapsed halfway round
    the globe to a shrinking northern ice floe and coffee shop whose
    inhabitatnts include a cynical polar bear, a shallow tern, an intellectual
    snow bunny and several duplicitous killer whales. It's very cute and rather
    topical, and it's now been snapped up by the Big Boys at King
    Features Syndicate, which means Ed, Oscar, Gordo and the rest
    of the "Arctic Circle" critters should hopefully be popping up in
    newspapers and greetings cards shops everywhichway, very soon.

                                                     More: Arctic Circle  Moontoon


    Ducks and sheep  (18.09.07)

    Two top DVDs have hit UK stores recently, as Autumn sneaks
    up on us and Christmas looms once more, on the not-too-far

    First up, we have the quacktastic delights of Count Duckula.
    The Complete Third Series of this Cosgrove Hall classic was
    released by the folks at Fremantle Home Entertainment on 
    September 3rd, and your £17.99 buys you the last 20 episodes
    of the show, compiled on two shiny discs. Duckula's adventures
    are distinctly  international this time round, as we travel with him
    to Hollywood, the Rockies, New York, the Swiss Alps
    and off into the depths of space....

    Count Duckula: The Complete Third Series
    Duckula still has a sizable cult following, around the globe, and
    it's easy to see why. These toons were produced back in the day
    when producers had an open remit to wander the world with their
    toon stars, and just have fun. Plots take a turn out of Left Field,
    and crazy things seem to happen on a whim. Above all, the characters
    are given space to just be themselves - in Nanny's case, that means
    being as clumsy, clotted and clueless as ever. Similarly Igor is as droll
    and dry as a desert throughout. So the episodes are bit long (wacky
    always works best in shorter bursts, methinks), but that Duck's
    still a star turn...

     Shaun the Sheep: Shape Up With Shaun

    Shaun the Sheep new show is super too. It's already taken CBBC
    by storm, of course, and now the toon is scaling the DVD charts
    in the form of Shape Up With Shaun. Now here's a series that
    is just perfect in every way - right down to the last sheep dropping.
    The Hound has bleated and barked about this toon enough already,
    but really, what's not to like here? - Fabulous character design,
    a jaunty jolloping theme tune that sticks in your head all day, some
    delightful twists and turns and just the most perfect little glances,
    sidelooks and expressions. Oh, and the timing. It's faultless.
    Priceless, indeed. There are 8 episodes on 2 Entertain's DVD and
    they don't half remind one of those magic, silent comedy shorts
    from a century ago. These really are joyful toons, to be watched
    again and again....


    More Comics on the Beeb   (14.09.07)

    Got the time for a little trumpet-blowing? You see, the BBC got in
    touch earlier this week, on the back of their "Comics Britannia" season,
    and blow me if they didn't invite me to contribute a short comics article
    for their web site. So I've done it, and it's now online

    You'll understand that the Beeb are approaching the debate much like
    your typical uninformed passerby on the street, who might have bought
    comics as a kid but gave up on them when they became a middling,
    moody teenager. Nowadays, they step into the local newsagent and
    bemoan the loss of their top titles. But if they just take a closer
    look, maybe lift a few stones...

    Welll, you get the drift. You should also bear in mind that the Beeb
    only wanted a certain number of  words on their chosen subject, which
    made a tricky task still more difficult for this Hound who's used to rambling
    on ad-infinitum on his own pages. So I'm apologising now for the
    truncated discussion, and for the many omissions in the piece.
    Like I say, I'm not so used to the tighter deadlines and briefs of a
    professional web site, and I see there are already talkbackers out
    there only too happy to fill in the gaps, and to point out my leanings
    towards the fun comic market...

    But that last one's completely excusable. After all, this dawg has a thing
    for that particular genre. They were what truly inspired me, in my
    formative years. Other folks got the action and adventure bug. Still
    more skipped many of the Brit stuff altogether and thrilled to the
    delights of all those Marvel UK reprints. Comics have always meant
    different strokes for different folks - and long may they
    continue to do so...

    By the way, if you're one of the aforementioned parties who moved
    away from the Brit comics arena somewhere in your teenage years,
    then David Freeman's web site
, and the well-informed Forbidden
    Planet blog will be only too happy to guide you round the
    crop of new titles and artists awaiting your discovery...
                                                           More: Comics live on


    Lights! Camera! Paddington!  (14.09.07)

    Well, now, here's a little bear making some big news this week.
    You see, Paddington Bear is currently starring in a brand new
    advert for Marmite. Yes, Marmite, because the ad has him
    ditching his world-renowned marmalade sandwiches in favour of
    of a bottle of new Squeezy Marmite.

    Some folks are naturally appalled at the notion of our favourite furry
    friend from Darkest Peru making such a big change to his eating habits.
    But there's no denying that DDB London have concocted a cracking
    little film, in which they reproduce the FilmFair version of the bear
    in all his glory, right down to his snuffling nose:


    Of course, there's been a neccessary change in narrator, with
    Paul Vaughan taking on Sir Michael Horden's duties. But it's
    still a doozy, and it joins a lengthening list of our tv toon favourites
    who have recently been brought back via the commercial world:


    But, but, but... There's even BIGGER news for Paddington fans this
    week, with the announcement of a brand-new live-action Paddington
    movie. Yep, you heard that right. Paddington is about to make the
    leap to the Big Screen, with "Harry Potter" producer David Heyman
    in charge of a new Warner Bros. production. He's told Variety
    that he's been a longtime fan of the little bear, and the trade mag
    speculates that the new film will feature a CGI bear in a live-action
    environment, just like the "Stuart Little"franchise. Which leaves one a
    tad fearful. Because sitting in the same dump-bin of toon-to-film
    translations are the likes of "Scooby Doo" and "Garfield".

    We can only hope that Paddington will give those Hollywood types
    a good hard stare if they start to lead him astray...

                                                                 More: Paddington


    Comics on the Beeb   (07.09.07)

    The BBC are launching a three-part comics documentary series on
    BBC Four next week. Comics Britannia is airing over three consecutive
    Mondays. It's hosted by Armando Iannucci and promises much:

From the Beano to Bunty, Commando to Viz, the Eagle
    to 2000AD, British comics have captivated generations
    from the Thirties to the present day.

    Now BBC Four delves into the world of the British comic,
    exploring the art and craft of the industry in a celebration
    of this British comics tradition.

    The series features those who wrote and drew the original
    strips, comics experts and a range of fans whose lives have
    been shaped by reading classic strips..."

     The first episode looks at the development of British humour comics,
     starting with "The Dandy" and "The Beano". Episode two tackles the
     rise of those post-war action comics for boys, and girls comics like
     "The Eagle", "School Friend" and "Bunty". In episode three, the
     producers delve into the reimagining of the modern comics scene,
     and the birth of the graphic novel, taking us from "Viz" to the
     darker realms of "V for Vendetta" and beyond...

     First reports suggest that the production is somewhat hit and
     miss, with a particular bias towards the worlds of DC Thomson,
     especially in that first episode. That's something that narks this
     particular Hound, given the wealth of wonders to be found in the
     Fleetway vaults... But whilst there may be the odd error-or-two in
     the detail, it's still an undeniable delight to have all those sumptuous
     comic pages on display, and to hear at least some of the various
     creators and contributors talking about their endeavours. 
     Set your recorders for BBC Four at 9.00pm on Monday 10th
     September, when we enter the world of "The Fun Factory"!...

                                                   More: Comics Britannia


    Cracking statues   (05.09.07)

    According to the BBC, and others, Councillors in Preston have designs
    on raising £100,000 so they can commission a statue of their most
    famous ambassadors, Messrs. Wallace and Gromit. That's because
    Preston is Nick Park's home town. In the past, he's paid homage to
    his roots by naming a certain robot dog after the place, and Wallace
    has been seen sporting the local footy strip in a "Cracking Contraptions"
    short. So it's a grand idea indeed, and the theory is, a fab statue like this
    will become a focal point for the place - much like the DC Thompson
    statues in Dundee, or the Dan Dare bust in Southport....
    The thing is, those councillors are a little bit late out of the  starting
    blocks, because last year, the very same idea was proposed
    down in Bristol. And there's good reason to erect something there too,
    given that the city is home to the Aardman studios, where Wallace,
    Gromit and so many more top characters have been brought to life
    over the years. And Nick Park and Aardman have given a whole
    lot back to their local community, via their charitable endeavours
    like the Wrong Trousers Day appeal...

    So the question is, are the two councils in dispute over this?
    One hopes not. There's more than enough room for both statues.
    Indeed, they would tie the two places deftly together for those
    embarking on a cartoon pilgrimage around the UK.

    And that gets you thinking, you know. Why isn't there a jolly big
    Happiness Dragon in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, or a bronze bowler hat
    in Putney? - Wouldn't it be great if more of these famous cartoon
    places could be recognised and tied together to make a Top Toon
    Trail around the country...?


   The wonderful web  

    Isn't cyberspace wonderful?

    The reach and range of this place never ceases to amaze. In the last
    few years there's been a veritable explosion of new folks entering the
    realms of the web with their own self-created and maintained sites
    and blogs and info pages, and almost every time The Hound logs on
    it seems that someone else has popped up online, waving their flag
    and sharing a wealth of wonder about themselves, their work and their
    lives online.

    Want some examples? - Well, one of the more recent has been the
    official web site for Curtis Jobling, erstwhile designer of "Bob the Builder"
    and creator of the soon-to-be-huge "Frankenstein's Cat". Curtis has
    maintained a jolly informative blog for a wee while, but now he's
    branched out into a fully-fledged web site all about his creative

    Then there's Laura Howell, a rather talented lady who's recently
    turned her talents to "The Beano". Her web site has been growing
    nicely all year and is an excellent showcase for her work. Laura's
    a star in the making methinks...

    And right over the other side of the great comics spectrum we
    have Mr Chris Weston. Chris is something of a Comics God, really.
    His work for the Big Comics Boys - Marvel DC, 2000ad and almost
    everything inbetween continues to make us lesser mortals salivate
    with delight and envy. Chris not only has his own web site, but he
    also has a very fine blog, keeping us all smack-bang up to date
    with his day-to-day endeavours...

    Meanwhile Jason Tammemagi, the friendly fellow who's currently
    bringing "Fluffy Gardens" to life, has been maintaining a suitably fluffy
    blog in the run up to the series' launch on Cartoonito (it's on at 6.45am,
    9.30am and 6.45pm, so set your video, Freeview box or DVD!)...

    How ironic that, as these talented folks pour themselves into
    their online prescence, so Big Business seems to be floundering.
    There are far toom many companies out there, sinking big bucks into
    bland, corporate spaces. Take Cosgrove Hall. Now here's a big name
    company with a wealth of wonderous productions to their name.
    For months now, we've been promised a shiny new company web
    site "coming soon!" Only, the one that's finally appeared doesn't
    really do justice to the studio at all. Sure, it teases us with its delights,
    but its content is - well - rather weedy right now. Of course, it's early
    days with this one; the site has only recently gone live. But if it were
    me, I'd have made sure all the series detail, programme info, credits
    and background wonders were correct and present from the reboot
    date. As it stands, despite the gee-whizz whistles and bells, there's
    a rather corporate feel about the place, as if the site is talking down
    to its visitors. It's such a contrast to the sites and blogs identified
    earlier in this commentary.

    Folks, it's the personal touch that grabs the visitor. It's why the web
    can be so completely addictive as you hop around, peeking through
    all those little windows into the lives of your favourite artist and creators
    and seeing what makes them tick. And I'd like to think Toonhound is
    run like that too...

    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'

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