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Toonhound presents...






      April/May 2008
 Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!

    Another FAB advert
 Brains gets drenched...

    Top cat
 Nine wins a Pulcinella!...

    A FAB advert
That Thunderbirds commercial...

    Comic events
Shrewsbury, and Bristol's
   Comics Expo...

50 years of marmalade
   Paddington turns 50...

    Beryl's big curves

   Farewell to Beryl Cook...

    Run DFC

   David Fickling's new weekly comic...

    #1 with a bullet
Bulletproof is here...

    Let's go!
Little Red Tractor is a big fun series...

    Nine on One

   That's BBC1...

    200 at last!
   A milestone is finally reached...  more »

   news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

    50 years of marmalade  

    Happy Birthday, Paddington!

    The little bear from Darkest Peru has, this month, turned fifty.
    And to celebrate, there have been lots of articles about the fellow
    and his creator Michael Bond. Paddington has popped up all over the
    place of late. He's starred in that campaign for Marmite, he's
    been granted his very own range of figures by the folks at
    Robert Harrop (on sale at Boojog), and best of all, an
    all-new Paddington book has just been published...

      "Paddington Here and Now" by Michael Bond

    In Paddington Here and Now our ever-young immigrant must
    finally decide once and for all where his "home" really is - which
    sounds jolly relevant and topical,eh?

    Of course, on the back of those books we had THAT series.
    You know, the FilmFair version, with our stop-motion star truffling
    his nose at the 2D cut-outs around him, as the late Sir Michael
    Hordern narrates. The series first launched over 30 years ago,.
    would you believe? - My, how time flies... And my, how Paddington
    continues to beguile and delight...

Paddington Bear


    Beryl's big curves    

    And so we bid farewell to artist Beryl Cook, who passed away
    peacefully yesterday, 28th May, aged 81. Self-taught and simply
    wonderful, Beryl is most often referred to as being famous for
    painting big curvy women full of fun and laughter - usually erring
    on the saucy side. And it's true her girls have the same seaside
    appeal as the likes of Donald McGill... But more than that... If you
    take the time to explore her world, there's just something about
    those girls, and the pubs and working men's clubs they frequent.
    Yes, there's that hen night joie de vivre. But alongside it, there's...
    something melancholic about their situation... and defiant, even...
    These gals are going to have a raunchy, good time, despite

     "Bosom Pals" from Grand Slamm/Tiger Aspect
Of course, it was inevitable that Cook's curvy characters would
    get the animated treatment some day. Thus we had "Bosom Pals",
    two cracking films which debuted on BBC1 in January 2004. The
    gals and guys from Beryl's paintings were brought to life by Ginger
    Gibbons and Grand Slamm, working for the folks at Tiger Aspect.
    And they went on to win a Grand Prix at Annecy. Surprisingly, the
    films have yet to be released on DVD, which is shame, because the
    productions really do capture the essence of Cook's
    work in motion...


    Run DFC     

    Well, you must have heard the news by now. There's a big, brash
    British comic weekly in town, as of this month. It's called The DFC,
    and it's the brainchild of David Fickling, who loans his name to a rather
    successful publishing division for Random House books. And
    those are his initals in the comic's title, er, obviously...

    Mr Fickling certainly has an eye for a good book (here's a great one
    they publish). So we can be pretty certain he knows what makes
    a good comic. The talent he's roped in for the project includes
    the likes of genius author Philip Pullman, John Aggs, Dave Shelton,
    James Shelton, Kate Brown, and the remarkable Garen Ewing.

    Now the even bigger thing about this top new weekly is the fact that
    it's subscription only. That's right. The DFC is not for sale in stores.
    And that's a huge gamble, given that it won't be accruing casual
    readers via the likes of WH Smith, and that those subscription
    costs will put it out of Pocket Money reach. But the trade-off
    presumably means they can print to subscription numbers, and
    there's no need for advertising within those weekly pages...

    So will The DFC hit a Home Run? Who knows! But its launch is most
    certainly very welcome round these parts. Weekly fun comics have
    become something of a dying breed in recent years. Although the
    genre isn't quite as dead as The DFC's publicity wagon would have
    us believe. Indeed, they incorrectly assert that this comic is the
    first new title on the scene in the last 25 years. But we'll forgive
    'em that slip, because elsewhere, they've worked wonders. There
    was a big launch party for the comic on May 15th, which The Hound
    was unable to attend... Not that he's miffed, of course... It was only
    a party, after all... Er-hum... Anyway, ever since, David Fickling's
    name has been slapped across the media left, right and centre -
    both online, in print and on the radio. You can't deny, they've pulled
    out all the stops to make the launch a success...

    You can spin by the official site here. And if you like what you
    see, and what's on offer in future issues, then you can subscribe.
    Er, at once.. and all that...

                                                                     More: The DFC

    #1 with a bullet   

    May is shaping up to be a big, big month for British comics. Today
    we have the London launch party for a super new fun comic for kids,
    which The Hound has been invited to attend.. but alas... this dawg is
    pinned down to his attic-come-kennel in north-east Scotland with
    no hope of a reprieve...

    So instead, let's turn our attention to another newcomer. It's an
    anthology comic aimed at an older audience, published by
    Bulletproof Comics and called - er - "Bulletproof".

    Bulletproof - a new anthology comic!

    Now the thing about "Bulletproof" is this: it features work from a
    real mixture of British talent, some new, some well established.
    And there's 80 pages - or 10 strips - for us to peruse, for just £2.50.
    It's been printed in US comic format, and it makes no bones about
    the fact that it's reaching out for action fans and folks who like
    their thrillers with a bizarre British bent. So amongst the strips
    we get a masked vigilante called Redstitch, a quasi-religious
    superbeing known as Occultus, and - er - two mushroom-shaped 
    Funguys visiting theTwelve Disciples... Well, okay... So it's out there,
    and very much hit-and-miss, and therefore not to everyone's taste...
    But, darn it, it's a new and hopefully regular comic anthology which
    may well unearth some great new comic talent.

    And to that end, Bulletproof are also reaching out to new talent
    online as well as in print, thanks to their Creator Showcase. It's like
    an online advertising board where comics creators can showcase
    themselves. And the best bit is, submissions are free. With luck,
    new talent will make a splash on the boards before moving on to
    the anthology and a high-flying comic career!

    "Bulletproof" #1 can be purchased right now, from your  local
    comic shop, or online direct from the publishers. There's also
    a b/w sampler-stroke-preview available - "Bulletproof" #0 - for
    collectors to hoard...

Bulletproof Comics


    Let's go!    

    I love Little Red Tractor.

    There. I've said it. And I mean it. And I think it's because it's
    something of an underdog series, really. Bob has been building
    worldwide domination, Pat has been posting success all over
    the place, and Fifi has been growing and growing and growing.
    But chugging steadily along all the while, behind those high-profile
    creations has been Stan, and Little Red, and all the jolly folks
    at Babblebrook...

    Stan & Little Red Tractor

    Keith Littler, Russell Haigh and the folks at that Little Entertainment
    Company have invested so much thought and care and attention into
    this toon. Mr Jones, Walter, and Mr Turvey are masterful. They're mad
    as hatters, but they're not just caricatures. They have so much depth
    to them. And as Stumpy - dear old Stumpy! - the muttonchopped yokel
    with a penchant for knitted sweaters... well... his relationship with Elsie
    is just wonderful... These two riff off each other so beautifully... They
    have that certain kind of chemistry you only find in folks who've been
    married a long, long time. Oh sure, they mutter and mumble and moan
    to one another, they chastise and tease, but underneath it all, in every
    word and gesture you can see how much they love each other...

    Goodness. Such depth. In a preschool cartoon!

    Preschool be darned. Little Red Tractor gives as much pleasure to the
    watching adults as it does to the littl'uns. You know, folks often ask if
    today's tv world has room for an updated version of  Trumpton or
    Camberwick Green. They joke about the things that may have
    happened to those countrified folks in the intervening years.
    Well, maybe it would look a little like Babblebrook.

    And speaking of the "look", the Babblebrook environment is supremely
    realised. There's so much detail on offer, from the tiny textures of the
    corduroy on Mr Jones' clothes, right up to the way the landscape
    itself is lit, and sky is so - erm - weathered...

    "Little Red Tractor: One Potato, Two Potato... "

    So why the rave now? Well, there's a new DVD out this Summer.
Little Red Tractor: One Potato, Two Potato... is released by
    Revelation on 21st July, and a preview copy plopped through the
    letterbox the other day. It brings us stories about a storm, Mr Turvey's
    wayward rowboat, Mr Jones' hot air balloon, and the annual Babblebrook
    Potato Race - the latter of which is a splendid example of the sort of
    character banter and bustle which makes this not-so little series so
    very special indeed, and means that The Hound has got on his
    soapbox straight away to crow about this top toon ...

    And if you still need convincing, well, there's a moment during the
    episode "Row Yer Boat" where this viewer found himself looking at the
    rain spattering off a corrugated roof. Yes, rain. Spattering. But the way in
    which it was realised... It was spattering off one particular edge and
    pooling close to Stan and Stumpy and Little Red as they bantered...
    And... And...
    Darn it. I love this series...

    Nine on One    

    Oh, Igor, this is late...
   But it's time to celebrate...
   'Cos Nine's being run... on BBC1...
Isn't that news just great?

    Frankenstein's Cat

    Alright, alright, enough with the dodgy verse. Let's just make
    the announcement. "Frankenstein's Cat" premiered on the CBBC
    Channel, back in February. However the show is now being
    shown terrestrially for the first time. It's on BBC1 every weekday
    afternoon at 3.55 pm. The run actually started on Monday
    12th May, but The Hound was a little late catching up 
    with the news...

Frankenstein's Cat


    Another FAB advert    

    Goodness, these are coming like buses now. Commercials, that is.
    Or to be more specific, Thunderbirds commercials. Last month,
    Virgil Tracy was seen outwitting The Hood in an advert for Specsavers.
    And now - ladies and gentleman - witness the wonder, the magic,
    of Brains... drenching himself... and getting his groove on...


    This is in fact an ad for Drench, a bottled mineral water drink
    from Britvic, and the film makers use some super-sly puppet
    work to get Brains into gear. Is there some CGI in there too?
    Well, however it was achieved, we know for sure it was
    directed by Ringan Ledwidge, a founding partner and director
    at production company Rattling Stick, who've been responsible
    for a whole lot of advertising goodness in recent years...

Stay Drenched

    Top cat   

    Meow! - It seems the judges at this year's Cartoons on the Bay
    really did love Frankenstein's Cat to bits, 'cos they've just given him
    a very desirable prize in the form of the Pulcinella for Best Childrens
    Show 2008. The festival took place in Salerno last week, and prizes
    were handed out last Saturday (April 12th). Series creator Curtis
    Jobling and producer Jackie Edwards were on hand to collect
    their handsome award. And the reasoning behind the win is
    described thus:

    "For presenting a unique and gloriously
     quirky fast-paced, funny tale..."

    Hmm. Couldn't have put it better myself. "Frankenstein's Cat" now joins
    a rather illustrious Hall of Fame which includes the likes of Charlie
    and Lola (Best Series for Infants 2007), The Adrenalini Brothers
    (Best Series for All Ages 2006), Peppa Pig (Best Series for Infants
    2005), and "Creature Comforts" (Best European Programme 2004).
    Say... Is that a pattern emerging? We've had wins every year for
    British toon series of late. Let's hope it continues!

    Oh, and before we wrap up this news item, let's also give Matthew
    Walker a round of applause, because his 3min film "John and Karen"
    won the Best Short Film award at the same festival. (John is a polar
    bear seeking reconciliation with his penguin friend Karen...)

    Well done to one and all!

Cartoon on the Bay  Frankenstein's Cat

    A FAB advert    

    So Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds puppets have returned to UK screens
    via a commercial for Specsavers:


    The ad's been directed by Tobias Fouracre at Tandem Films. And it's
    a fine bit of fun. And the return of International Rescue has merited
    much media coverage, with folks getting oh-so excited for the advert's
    retro feel. Wouldn't it be great if they could bring back the puppets for
    real. You know, like in an all-new tv series?

    But of course, as regular readers here will know, rights holders Carlton Intl
    considered doing just that very thing, a few years back. They even
    commissioned an action-packed promo, to see how such a thing might look
    nowadays, and lots of folks (The Hound included) got rather excited about
    the prospect... Only they got cold feet... They reconsidered the budget...
    Would folks really be that interested in a puppet show nowadays?.. And
    whilst they dithered, Working Title got the greenlight to make a certain
    live-action feature film that threw any potential new show out with the
    bathwater... And in the interim period, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have
    shown us just how much fun they could have with puppets on a mission...
    And Gerry Anderson himself has taken a brave and brilliant stab at a
    different kind of return...

    And so the circle turns... the debate continues... will those Thunderbirds
    really ever return, as puppets, or in CGI, or anything else inbetween?


    Comic events  

    Time to fanfare a couple of upcoming cartooning and comic events
    which you simply shouldn't miss:

    First up, Matt Buck has been in touch to tell us about the forthcoming
    Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival. Matt's part of the PCO
    (that's the Professional Cartoonists organisation) and he's keen to
    expound on the event which takes place 18th - 20th April in and
    around the heart of Shrewsbury. Apparently, some 40 professional
    artists from around the UK will be converging on the place. There'll
    be a talk from Steve Bell, workshops with Andy Gilbert, Angela
    Martin and Tim Harries, Cath Tate of Cath Tate Cards wants to tell
    us how to get published, plus a host of top toonsters will be drawing
    live in The Square. On top of that, there are a bunch of exhibitions,
    and far too many chances to meet and greet the artists about town.
    Frankly, the line-up sounds fabulous, with Shrewsbury being virtually
    over-run with cartoons and cartoonists for the weekend...

    And then... well... it's the biggie... It's the Bristol International
    Comic Expo on 9th - 11th May. This one will see the exhibition halls
    overflowing with comics, comic artists and events. Guests this year
    are set to include Jim Shooter, Yanick Paquette, Mike Carey,
    Dave Gibbons, Alan Davis, Bryan Talbot Walt Simonson, Louise Simonson,
    Mike Ploog, Duncan Fegredo, and - well - take a look at the line-up
    yourself. It's a giddy mixture of comic stars from both sides of the Pond.
    Plus you'll have dealers and exhibitors galore, and topping the bill,
    the presentation of this year's super shiny Eagle Awards, as voted for
    by us, the comics fans. And frankly, if you call yourself any kind of
    comics fan, you ought to be making a bee-line for the British Empire
    & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall and the Ramada Plaza Hotel
    next month...

Shrewsbury Festival  Bristol Comics Expo


   200 at last!  

    This time last year, The Hound was celebrating the imminent arrival of
    a very jolly milestone. He was closing in rapidly on the big 200. That is
    to say, the 200th animated series to have entered the TvToons index.
    He had his streamers and party poppers at the ready... The cake was
    in the oven...

    And then, fate intervened. 2007 has been a ridiculously busy year.
    I've been pulled everywhichway, offline and on, and the amount of new
    additions to the various indexes have slowed to a mere trickle of late...

    But finally, twelve months later than planned. We've done it. We've hit
    that double century, courtesy of Roger Hargreaves and those fantastic
    Little Miss, who joined the site this week. And it's rather apt because,
    Mr Hargreaves was a masive influence on this dawg's formative years.
    His Mr Men books were my first love when I was five, and their
    elegant simplicity encouraged me to pick up a pen for myself and
    get drawing... Why, those are just felt pen drawings.. I could do
    what he did... Easy-peasy...

    But of course, that's the beauty of the Mr Men. They are, in fact,
    defiantly sophisticated. Oh for sure, my young hand could draw a
    big wobbly shape, colour it purple and call it "Mr Greedy". But
    Mr Hargreaves' original had such splendid control to it. A perfect
    smile... dinky little fingers on the tummy... I spent a whole Summer
    drawing Mr Men over and over, but they were never as good as
    those originals.... and maybe I'm not alone, given the furore that's
    been building over "The Mr Men Show"!

    Anyways, let's not get mired in that debate. Instead, let's celebrate
    that 200th addition to the index. Of course, there are still plenty of
    missing shows - Roger Hargreaves' "Timbuctoo" amongst them -
    but you can bet the index will keep growing, slowly but surely.
    As long as they keep makin' them, Toonhound will keep on
    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'

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