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Toonhound presents...






      September 2008
 Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!

    Pat's special
   Does the new show deliver?

    Random news

   A Rick Random anthology...


   Bloggs is back
   Gentleman Jim returns...

    This cat's the tonic

   Frankenstein's Cat gets an art show...

    Cracking figures

   Wallace & Gromit at Robert Harrop...

    Cracking strides

   Wallace & Gromit at Harvey Nichols...

Why so quiet?
   So what happened to August?...  more »

   news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

   Pat's special  

    Postman Pat's back on our screens this week, in his brand new
    shiny series. And for once, The Hound guessed things correctly,
    because "Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service" (SDS for short)
    sees our favourite rural postie moving to the busy, bustling market
    town of Pencaster. Pat's now frequenting a brand new SDS Sorting
    Office, with lots of high-tech machinery. He's got a motorbike and
    sidecar to aid his his speedy deliveries, and an even bigger and shinier
    helicopter for those extra-important items...

    And it's not just Pat who's had an upgrade. Pencaster is within
    easy commuting distance of Greendale, which means we'll still be
    seeing the likes of his pal Ajay Baines, who can often be found in
    control of a speeding express train known as the Pencaster Flyer.
    Ted Glen, too, is a regular face about town because he's now
    opened a new tip-top garage. Oh, and then there are lots of new
    faces for us. There's the Taylor family. Mum Lauren is the new
    teacher in Grendale, and her daughter Lizzie is a new pupil there.
    And Dad, Ben, just happens to be the General Manager of the
    SDS Sorting Office. We'll also be meeting Michael Lam, who
    runs a mobile shop and library...

    So it's all go for Pat, then, with his new motto "Anything, Anytime,
    Anywhere!" But what does The Hound think? Well, Pat's had an
    upgrade before before, of course, and he passed that with flying
    colours, and there's little doubt that Entertainment Rights and
    the team at Cosgrove Hall have put a lot of work into this venture.
    Hells bells, there's a lot riding on this new show, given Pat's worldwide
    popularity. Let's just hope that Pat's special rural charm has survived
    the makeover. You see, the original concept worked precisely because
    it was so rooted in the everyday. Greendale always felt like a real town,
    with a real rural population doing real jobs. Now of course, the world has
    moved on, and Pat should certainly move with it. But there are ways
    of intergrating the new with the old. ER's companion toon Little Red
    Tractor is a showcase example, with Stan and friends operating big
    shiny new machinery and gadgets in a quintessentially olde worlde
    farm environment (darn it, it's a great little series). This viewer is
    ever-so-slightly alarmed when he sees Pat and Jess entering an elevator
    that pings them into the cockpit of their SDS helicopter like something
    out of International Rescue, or a Wallace and Gromit adventure.
    Why can't they just climb on board?

    Ah, but that's just a teeny-tiny moan. Everything else looks super.
    And frankly, this viewer can't wait to visit Pencaster and see what's
    what. There's something so wonderfully soap-like about Pat, and the
    way the characters and places have developed (his biggest rival has
    built up his world brilliantly too). But you can judge for yourself,
    can't you? "Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service" starts on
    29th September on BBC2, at 8:30am...

                                                                 More: Postman Pat


    Random news    

    Rick Random of the Interplanetary Bureau of Investigation is getting his
    very own anthology, from Prion Books. Which is grand news, indeed,
    because now we can savour a big fat run of Ron Turner's classic 50's artwork
    (10 of the Best Space Adventure Picture Library Comic Books, as it
    happens) in one standalone volume. Look out for Rick Random: Space
    Detective in stores from 6th October...

    "Rick Random: Space Detective" from Prion Books

    You know, it's great to see more and more British classics resurfacing
    at bookstores in this way. But it's also got The Hound thinking. How about
    some fun strip compilations, much like those amazing Peanuts volumes?
    Imagine a complete run of Faceache strips, or Frankie Stein, or even an
    anthology focusing on the best of those "munster" strips (monsters + fun
    = munsters). Oh yes... That would hit the spot!...


    Bloggs is back    

    Poor Jim Bloggs has been away for some time.
    Or should I say, his titular book has been away.

    Gentleman Jim by Raymond Briggs

    But he's back now, because Jonathan Cape have just republished
    Gentleman Jim, by Raymond Briggs. Does Mr Briggs need any
    introduction here? As you might know, The Hound has been a longtime
    fan. And "Gentleman Jim" is a marvellous milestone in his career
    (it was first published back in 1980). It's a story that reaches out to
    children and adults alike. This reader was hooked when he first read
    it as a twelve year old, and now, as an adult he can see even more
    depth to this scathing tale of a Working Class Hero rallying against
    the world. Bumbling Jim Bloggs faces off against the pointed-nose
    tyrants in Authority, and inbetween his failed endeavours, his soft
    focus dreams spill across pages...

    It's brilliant stuff. And of course, it's even more heartbreaking to
    read this in retrospect, knowing that Jim and his wife will go on to
    experience the nuclear horrors of When the Wind Blows...

                                                        More: Gentleman Briggs    

    This cat's the tonic    

    Ouch. Couldn't resist that headline. And neither can this old dawg
    resist the paintings in what is a fabulously funky art show from
    Curtis Jobling. As you may know, Curtis is the creator/designer for
    that spookily good tv series "Frankenstein's Cat", starring Nine, the
    cat from a kit, who's a tvtoon hit on CBBC...

     detail from "Halloween", a Frankenstein's Cat painting by Curtis Jobling

    Well, Curtis has just put the last dab of paint on an appropriate
    selection of nine funky artworks featuring our crosstitched cat and
    his pals. And they're the backbone to a little art show that's going
    on display at the Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester, in October,
    where the  originals, prints, and even some "Biteneck Beatniks" artwork
    will all be available for sale. What's more, the art show will be moving
    to London and the Animation Art Gallery in December...

    Ah, this is grand stuff. Nine looks divine in these purr-fect prints.
    And those Beatniks are - like - so groovy, man (see more of them here).
    But if you can't make it to the show, you can still surely make
    it to Curtis' blog, where you can see all nine Nine prints online.
    Oh, and if all this talk of artwork and prints has got you jazzed
    for the original toon, you'll be dead chuffed to find that the series
    is coming to DVD at the tail-end of October - Meow!...
                                                                More: Badablingthing


    Cracking figures    

    Oh. Oh. Start saving your pennies, folks, 'cos our fine friends
    at Robert Harrop Designs have started work on their newest line
    of figures, ready for launch in 2009. This time, they're turning their
    hand to those Aardman wonders, Wallace and Gromit, and - oh -
    these could be better than cracking, given the success of their
    previous endeavours...

    In recent years, Robert Harrop have amazed and delighted us with their
    figures and limited editions based on the likes of Mr Benn, The Clangers,
    The Beano, Bagpuss, Stingray, Thunderbirds and most recently, Paddington
    and Ivor the Engine. And just look how far they've gone with their Trumptonshire
    range. They've brought us music boxes, buildings, vehicles and scenes, 
    and this Summer we've even had celebratory monochrome  figures...

    Robert Harrop's Willo the Wisp figures - order yours from Boojog Collectables!

    The company's newst introductions are Willo the Wisp and his pals
    from Doyley Woods. Don't they look great?
    So what goodies await us in the Wallace & Gromit range? - The
    Harrop folks aren't saying, just yet. But you can bet this Hound
    will be posting details here, just as soon as he gets them. And
    he'll bepurchasing one of everything they make!


    Cracking strides    

    In what must be one of the most surprising of advertising team-ups in
    recent years, that most fashionable of stores, Harvey Nichols has
    teamed up with Messrs Wallace and Gromit to promote the opening
    of their new Bristol store...

    Now hang on... Wallace, with his preference for knitted tank-tops,
    and a somewhat cheesy cologne... promoting haute couture fashion?!

    As it happens, the teaming works stupendously well. DDB London
    have generated a trio of terrific images of Aardman's finest, posing
    for the ad campaign (you can view them here). Oh, those models
    are just exquisitely dressed. The Hound particularly loves the
    additional inclusion of Lady Tottington, dolled up to the nines -
    what a great framed print that would make. In fact, limited edition
    prints of all three campaign photos would go down a treat...

    But whilst we're waiting and wishing, here's a super little promo
    film in which the the folks involved discuss this cracking
    campaign and how it all came together:     


   Why so quiet?  

    Er. Well. It's like this... July and August were tough. As you might
    have noted, Toonhound went on something of a wild ride as the site
    was transferred to a new hosting package. The old pages were erased
    completely from their original server, before being put back online, and
    during the interim period - nigh on five days, I believe - there were
    missing pages, and dropped images on the site everywhichway
    you looked. In other words, that upgrade was pretty stressful...

    And it also got the me looking at the site again, in totality, and
    everywhere I looked I saw errors and glitches and ommissions.
    Missing information, like series credits and episode details. And
    dead links aplenty. It started with the comics section - a collection
    of pages so poorly handled, thus far. I thought I'd better spruce
    up what I had; dust them down, so that I'd be ready to finally start
    expanding the selection. But when I'd finished that not altogether
    small task, I realised how many of the TvToons pages were also
    in decline... and the number of series and films I still had to index...
    and... and...

    You can see how it all snowballed. Toonhound is very much a
    work in progress. And oftentimes over the last eight years, that
    work has transformed into a heavy, heavy millstone to bear. It eats
    up time like you wouldn't believe - and thank you for your patience
    thus far, because I'm finally getting to the crux of this posting - because
    I soon realised I'd have to make a bit of a sacrifice last month, in order
    to carry out some of those essential repairs. I'd have to skip a month
    of toon news.

    See, the thing about this news page is, each incoming story leapfrogs
    to the top of my "to do" list. The news demands my immediate attention,
    dragging me away from the index pages, the upgrades, the corrections
    elsewhere. And when I'm done with it, the needs of the Real World quickly
    lead me away for another day. After all, Toonhound is really nothing
    more than an old dawg's hobby site. It's not a career. Sure, it brings
    in a few casual pennies that are very gratefully received (especially in
    these crunchy times). And sure, I'm striving for it to eventually become a
    database of news and info that no cartoon convert can be without.
    But it's not a career job, and I can't work on it 24/7. I have a
    mortgage to pay, after all...

    So there you go. The news items slipped off the agenda. They had to.
    But they're back on now. And thank you for asking, but here in September,
    The Hound is feeling as if he's back on top of the site. There's still an
    awful lot of work to do here - a ridiculous amount - but the worst of
    the current backlog has, I think, been breached. Which means that
    a normal news service can now resume...
    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'

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