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Toonhound presents...






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

    A Fluffy promo
 Fluffy Gardens - just for you!...

    Graphic prize
A new Random House competition...

Scaredy Cat
Some Frankenstein's Cat news...

    Daring news
Dan Dare returns - er - again...

    Cereal killers
Toons and food and Jamie Oliver...

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

     news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

    Scaredy Cat   (31.08.07)

    Designer, author and all-round top toon talent Curtis Jobling is
    currently putting the finishing touches to "Frankenstein's Cat", a
    new 30 x11mins series that's all set to hit the BBC this Autumn.
    The patchwork moggy in question here is known as Nine, and the
    series follows his antics and adventures with a girl called Lottie.
    As voiced by Celebrity comedian Joe Pasquale, Nine has the
    unenviable bad habit of coming apart at the seems, usually at
    the most inopportune times...

    Frankenstein's Cat
    As part of the buildup to the series launch, Curtis has been busy
    preparing a series of 9 (or should that be "Nine"?) limited edition
    giclee prints for folks to purchase and drool over, and he's just
    posted the first bits of preparatory art on his fab little blog. Each
    piece is centered around a favourite episode title, with Nine and
    Lottie and their munster friends and foes. And my, they're
    shaping up very well indeed...

    And whilst we're referencing Mr Jobling, it's great to see another
    of his projects, "Bob the Builder" finally getting a proper DVD
    retrospective. Bob the Builder - Series 1 was released a couple
    of weeks ago, and will hopefully usher in a complete run the show.
    That's something us completists have been clamouring for, 'cos
    we've had to make do with no end of hatcheted compilations,
    thus far...

                                                          More: Curtis Jobling


    Daring news  (29.08.07)

    So Dan Dare is in the news again this week. It appears that Richard
    Branson's Virgin Comics are set to publish a new monthly comic
    series, written by Garth Ennis ("Preacher", "Hitman" etc) and drawn
    by Gary Erskine, and it's said to be just the forerunner to a big new
    revamping/relaunching for the heroic space Colonel. Mr Branson is
    something of a Dare fan, we're told, with several original pieces of Dare
    artwork on show in his Virgin Atlantic lounges. What's more, a live-action
    film adaptation is in the works as you read this, with Virgin working
    closely with CAA in the States to package and promote the proposed
    movie franchise to Hollywood...

     Dan Dare #1 - new from Virgin Comics!

    But even though this is all exciting stuff, it's a little hard to get too
    worked up. That's 'cos poor Dan has seemingly "returned" umpteen times
    over the years. Latterly, we've had  a 90's comics reimagining from Grant
    Morrison and the short-lived CGI series, plus all those ongoing
    announcements concerning a Dan Dare theme park proposal. It leaves
    one wondering why it is that none of these announcements and
    happenings have quite caught on with the wider public. So what's
    changed now. Why is this new Virgin push going to succeed when
    so many others have fallen short?

    You see, there's an ongoing problem here. For folks of a certain
    age (older than The Hound, thank you) Dan's arrival on the 50s comics
    scene was akin to a sci-fi explosion in their young lives. Bang! - There
    he was - a pioneering new hero, traversing the spaceways of the future
    in glorious technicolour panels... Frank Hampson's strips were, and
    still are, magnificent works of art to drool over. Most of the folks
    keeping Dan alive hail from that original era. Branson too, counts
    himself as a paid-up member of the original Dare fan club. But the fact
    is these folks are clinging to the coat-tails of their comics nostalgia.
    Dan Dare was a hero for a particular moment in our post-war history.
    Only, the world has moved on. There are new heroes for us to embrace.
    Elaborate sci-fi tales and sophisticated science-fantasy adventures
    now fill our cinema screens. Today's generation of kids have their
    own new brooding comic heroes; their own X-box and PlayStation stars
    to oggle at. Dan Dare today has lost his relevance. Even the name is
    somewhat clunky. It harkens back to a past world of intrepid comics
    heroes which today's audience neither recognises, nor - and it's
    painful to have to say this - appreciates.

    So Dan Dare is returning again? - Well, let's hope this time they can
    seize the imagination of the wider public. Certainly, Garth Ennis is a good
    choice of writer for the new comics. Let's hope he can put a spin on the
    concept to make Dare relevant once more. And not only relevant, but
    desirable, so the calling for an all-new Dare becomes a clamour. It's a
    tough ask. But we'll see how things are shaping up come November,
    when the title launches...
                                           More: Virgin Comics  Dan Dare Corp.


    Cereal killers   (21.08.07)

    Look out, folks. There are unseen dangers lurking in the depths of
  your morning cereal bowl. There are sugar-frosted smiles, and fast food
    freaks down there, just waiting to reel in the unwary...

    Yes, the perils of cartoon promotions and tie-ins are back on the
    menu, thanks to this latest Which? report. Only, do we really need
    another organisation or body to jump on this runaway wagon?
    When The Hound was still a young pup he was surrounded by the
    likes of Klondike Pete, Tony the Tiger, Honey Monster and the
    Treborland gang. They were jumping up and down on his television,
    and grinning in the pages of his weekly comics, and all of them
    were pestering him to purchase and devour their sweet delights.
    But you know, there was there was an Evil Villain out there,
    ready to thwart these Super Sugary Heroes at every turn.
    And that was my Mother.

   More to choose from, more to chew in Treborland

    Nowadays, Mums and Dads appear to be complicit with the
    bodies and organisations demanding change. There's no doubt
    that the word "no" doesn't appear to mean what it used to, when
    parents are faced by cartoon smiles and fun in every aisle of their
    local supermarket. Maybe they should just try a little harder to
    rebuttal, rather than taking the softer option of banning all things
    for everyone. Yes, this sugarcoated confectionery is bad for you.
    Yes, it's encouraging an awful lot of childhood obesity here in the
    UK and indeed, around the world and some reining in is most
    certainly required. But even so, thanks to a good firm "NO" from
    my Mum, and Dad, and a bit of proper food education, this
    particular Hound didn't do so bad...

    ...Which leads us neatly into a bit more toon food news, regarding
    the chap who seems to be jumping all over the sweet, sweet heart of
    this most topical of debates. You see, Aardman Animation have just
    announced that they're teaming up with celebrity chef Jamie
    Oliver to bring us a toon series about his youthful cheffy exploits
    with a group of happy-go-lucky pals. No one's commissioned
    "Little J" yet, but with exposure like this, and such a topical
    theme, it's surely won't be long until Mr Oliver's topping the     
    teatime schedules and helping to promote his very own line
    of tasty low-sugar treats to the same tykes he's been trying
    to protect. That is, of course, if there are any tv slots left in which
    to broadcast his new toon. After all, it's this selfsame junk food
    advertising ban that's playing a major part in the demise of the
    kids tv schedules here in the UK...

                         More: The Guardian  The BBC
 Save Kids TV


    A Fluffy promo  (17.08.07)

    Just for you...
    Just because it's Friday...
    Just because it's there...

    Here's a lovely little trailer-come-promo for Jason Tammemagi
    and Monster Animation's delightful new series, "Fluffy Gardens".


    And if that's got you all fluffy and excited, then make sure you tune
    in to Cartoonito in the UK, where the show's currently airing thrice
    daily. What's more, the episode "Tooty the Elephant" has just been
    selected for inclusion in this year's Prix Danube - which is a jolly
    prestigious nomination, so it is. "Fluffy Gardens" is a delight from
    start to finish and it deserves all the praise and attention
    it can get its soft little paws upon...


                                More: Fluffy Gardens  Monster Animation


    Graphic prize  (15.08.07)

    Random House have just launched a rather jolly competition for
    budding graphic novelists. If you've got the inspiration, they want
    you to create a single-page tale to titilate their panel of judges, and
    they've got a £1000 top prize on offer. More importantly, the winner
    gets to see their creation printed across a full page of "The Observer"

     A Graphic competition from Random House!

    The judges - including the likes of Nick Hornby, Posy Simmonds,
    and Paul Gravett of Comica - are looking for a self-contained tale,
    so there's no point submitting a sample from your 200-page uberwork.
    They want just one page. And if you win, you'll no doubt be buying lots
    of copies of "The Observer" on the 14th October, 'cos that's the
    day they'll be publishing the winning entry in all its glory. As for
    the prize-giving itself, that takes placeat the Comica Festival at
    London's ICA on the 20th October.

    You'll find more info on the rules and prizes and whatnot, on the
    Random House web pages. And you've got until Monday 3rd Sept.
    to complete and submit your one-page masterpiece!...

Graphic Short Story Prize


   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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