Crumbs, chief. Star
Editions have just unveiled a rather smart selection
of affordably collectable DangerMouse etchings
for folks to sneak off
There are 13 different images available. Each print
28x35cm, or 35x28cm, depending on its orientation,
and they're restricted
to just 500 editions. Best of all, they're retailing
at pocket money prices,
which means you won't have to break the bank to
Star Editions list a bunch of retailers in their
but The Hound says you can't go wrong if you drop
by our friends
If you're Durham-bound this Summer, you might
want to take a detour to
Barnard Castle, and the famous Bowes Museum. That's
currently showcasing a fabulous Toy
Tales exhibition. It's a celebration
of 60 years of BBC tv for kids, and amongst the
goodies on display are
Peter Firmin's original Bagpuss,
Clangers and Ivor
the Engine props and
artwork. Former Bagpuss artist Linda Birch has
her storyboards for the
series on display, and Alan Rogers' has his original
Pigeon Street and BOD artwork on
view, alongside his newly-rediscovered and unmissable
puppets... Oh, and there are Paddington
Watch With Mother bits and clips, and workshops and...
This all sounds great, doesn't it?
The Toy Tales Exhibition launched 9th May, and it runs through
and Autumn, to 1st November at The
Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle,
This is insane. You wait ages for the next big UK
announcement, only to find not one, not two,
but three movie projects
getting fanfared in the very same week!
In the red corner, we have Aardman
Animation who, earlier this week, announced
that they have two animated features in development as part
of their production deal with Sony Pictures. The
first is a stop-motion
adaptation of Gideon Defoe's "Pirates!"
book series. Now these are fab
books. Great rollicking fun, in a Terry Pratchett-y
kind of way. They're
hugely eccentric, and would make for a terrific
and quirky adaptation.
Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt will co-direct the
film, which will be
based upon The
Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
our jolly band of ne'erdowells travel to
London, encounter Charles
Darwin and a talking chimp, dress up as
women and general bring
chaos and disorder to the order of species...
Aardman's second feature project is titled
It takes on that most curious of questions:
How on earth does
Father Christmas get to deliver all of those
presents in just one night?
Sarah Smith and Barry Cook will direct this
one, which will apparently
be filmed using computer animation (see
And on we now go to today's big news announcement,
which involves Ricky
Gervais and those wibbling, wobbling Flanimals.
They were a book, at first, written by Gervais
and illustrated by Rob
Steen. Then they became limited edition
figurines - that's The Hound's
very own Puddloflaj, above - and we had
news of a proposed tv series,
which was going to be brought to life by
the talents behind The Trapdoor.
And now, three more books later, we're apparently
getting a feature-length
adaptation. Illumination Entertainment, who are
based with Universal,
will be bringing those outrageous creatures to
life using 3D animation.
The film's producer is Chris Meledandri who has
"The Simpsons Movie"
and "Ice Age" on his credits. So this
one's not strictly Brit-news, but
there is that Gervais/Steen connection.
It could be an interesting
adaptation, this one. There's no word if
they're going for a straight
narrative/drama, or whether they'll opt
to do a mockumentary, like
some alternative Attenborough film, which
could be a hoot as well
as being topical. After all Earth
is currently raking in some tidy
box-office dollars, Stateside...
perky disc (22.04.09)
Better get ready - let's go! - here's "The
Pinky & Perky Show"...
This really shouldn't work, you know. The
Pinky & Perky
is a computer generated updating of a teatime
puppet classic that
has no right to be as good as it is. But it's
a funny show, with lots of
giggles to be found left, right and center and
at the heart of it are
those two piggies we know and love from the past,
bantering and as brilliant as ever. Sure, a lot
of it has changed.
The strings are gone. The live-action has gone.
But the spirit of the Dalibors
is still right there. Gawd bless those piggies.
They love to hate each other as they run rings
around the folks at
at PPTV. The design's spot-on too. It's retro-modern,
and this viewer
is inexplicably reminded of those TV Comics of
the 60s and
early 70s - which is probably the idea...
Okay, we can all scoff at the trend for remaking
classic toons and
reimagining tv characters from days gone by, and
let's face it,
The Hound has had his own tuppence to add to the
the years. But it is indisputable that a number of
have been very successful indeed. Bill
& Ben were flobbadob-tastic. Basil Brush
has divided folks, although this viewer thinks he's
terrific. And Captain
Scarlet had a CGI makeover that seemed to
go down very well indeed with most Anderson fans.
can add Messrs Pinky and Perky to that list.
Well, that's The Hound's view. But you can judge
the show for
yourself by watching their new DVD. License
released by ITV Worldwide on Monday (20th April)
eight oinking tails... er.. tales...
Well, Tharg be darned, it looks like a whole bunch
of 2000AD's finest
strip stars are about to get the animated treatment.
That's because Impossible
Pictures have just struck a deal with the comic's owners, Rebellion.
Now, Impossible have an animation subsidiary called Firestep,
and it's these guys and gals who will be producing
an exciting toon
series for television, and developing a full-on
cross-media assault for
the 2000AD characters.
According to C21Media,
the proposed tv series will feature a range
of contrasting animation styles, both 2D and CGI, to
feel of the original strips. After all, a whole
shed-load of artists have
brought their own unique flavour to the weekly proceedings,
The production deal apparently covers all of 2000AD's
with the exception of a certain Judge, who's been ring-fenced
development. But who is on the production slate
Well, Steve Maher, the director/producer at Firestep
C21 with the news that they're definitely developing an
adaptation of the ABC
Oh, and the first footage should
be ready to unspool at this year's Comic-Con, in San
Talks are now underway with broadcasters, with news
deals to follow in due course...
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is forty years
old this year. That's quite
old, for a caterpillar, is it not? - Eric Carle's
ever-popular picture book was
first published in 1969, and his creation is still
munching its way to
nostalgic affection in the hearts of schoolchildren,
up and down the
Now, The Hound knows what you're thinking. Eric
Carle is based in
New York, he grew up in Germany, there's no British
But there is. You see, in 1993 Iain Harvey and
produced a short animated version of Mr Carle's
most popular book,
via Animation City. It was part of a series
of Carle adaptations, as it
happens, and was Illuminated's very first series
now, in timely fashion, the film, and its companion
pieces, have been
rereleased as a 40th
from VDI, in appealing
Apparently, the author isn't too keen on the film
(see this Guardian interview).
But having now caught up with a review copy, The Hound
wants to say that it does exactly what it says
on the cover. And rather
well, too. In other words, the titular film retells
the story of The Very
Hungry Caterpillar, as a 5min animated short. And frankly,
does the author want? Director Andrew Goff and the
City team have certainly captured the spirit of
the original. Carle is what's
known as a collagist, mixing media to produce those
distinct, vibrant images.
And those same textures and colours are present and
correct in the film.
It's very understated. But that's part of the appeal.
There are four more Carle stories on VDI's DVD.
This viewer wasn't so
familiar with the tales of "Papa, Please
Get Me The Moon", "The Very
Quiet Cricket", "The Mixed Up Chameleon"
and "I See A Song", but if
anything this helped, because they came free of
baggage . The colours and shapes were new to the
eye. The latter tale
has a particularly attractive abstract quality.
A musician makes music,
and as he does so, swatches of colour and pattern take
shape and dance
around, above and behind him. We see his
song come to life.
It's all quite trippy, actually...
Two top new toons are coming to UK TV next week:
woolly spin-off "Timmy Time" arrives
on CBeebies, whilst over on Nick Jr we
have "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom"
from the celebrated triumverate that
Of the two, "Timmy Time" has probably had
the most exposure.
The series follows the nursery school adventures
of Timmy the little sheep,
who hails from the same farm as that fellow Shaun.
The BBC have been previewing
this little lambkin all over their various channels and web sites
of late, which is hardly a surprise. You'll recall
that Shaun the Sheep has
picked up a barn's worth of industry
awards of late and Wallace & Gromit
cooked up some delicious
ratings over Christmas. What is surprising
is the fact that "Timmy Time" is actually
Aardman's very first pre-school
production. Yep. They've not produced a show for
this kind of broadcasting
slot before. But we shouldn't get too hung up on that
kind of pigeonholing
because, as you probably expect, there's just
as much fun for adult
viewers to enoy too. The series launches on CBeebies
on Monday 6th April
and will be showing every weekday at 9:00am, 12:30pm
Meanwhile, over on Nick Jr, Ben
and Holly want to play. You might recall
The Hound getting over-excited about this forthcoming
toon, way back.
Deep within the thorny brambles, you'll find Princess
Holly and her
best friend, Ben Elf, who reside in their very
own little kingdom, and
have to contend with all sort of not-so-little
encounters and adventures in their miniature realm.
This one's got
that distinctly brilliant Astley-Baker "look"
to it, and oozes storybook
appeal, just like Peppa
Pig before it. You can catch up with the twosome
on Nick Jr UK from Monday 6th April at 7:30am
Here's to The DFC (29.03.09)
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
Which is something to celebrate. Why, even The Hound has
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
If you think back to the giddy heydays of DC Thomson
those top weeklys stuck quite religiously to a house "style"
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...