The Animation Art Gallery are having lots of snorting
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
but they'll also be the first to get their
trotters on some
all-new Peppa Pig art editions which are being
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
at The Animation Art Gallery in Great Castle St,
London W1. And
don't forget your credit card!
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
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
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!
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
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,
Two top DVDs have hit UK stores recently,
as Autumn sneaks
up on us and Christmas looms once more, on
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
September 3rd, and your £17.99 buys you the
last 20 episodes
of the show, compiled on two shiny discs. Duckula's
are distinctly international this time round,
as we travel with him
to Hollywood, the Rockies, New York, the Swiss
and off into the depths of space....
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 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
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.
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....
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
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
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
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
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
and the well-informed Forbidden
blog will be only too happy to guide you round the
crop of new titles and artists awaiting your
Well, now, here's a little bear making some
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
Of course, there's been a neccessary change
in narrator, with
Paul Vaughan taking on Sir Michael Horden's duties.
still a doozy, and it joins a lengthening
list of our tv toon favourites
who have recently been brought back via the
but, but... There's even BIGGER news for Paddington fans this
week, with the announcement of a brand-new
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.
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
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
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
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
exploring the art and craft of the industry in
of this British comics tradition.
The series features those who wrote and drew the
strips, comics experts and a range of fans whose
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"
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
Set your recorders for BBC Four at 9.00pm
on Monday 10th
September, when we enter the world of
"The Fun Factory"!...
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.
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
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
down in Bristol. And there's good reason to erect
something there too,
given that the city is home to the Aardman studios,
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
like the Wrong
Trousers Day appeal...
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
embarking on a cartoon pilgrimage around the
And that gets you thinking, you know. Why
isn't there a jolly big Happiness
Dragon in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, or a bronze
in Putney? - Wouldn't it be great if more of these
places could be recognised and tied together
to make a Top Toon
Trail around the country...?
The wonderful web (10.08.07)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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...