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Gobble, Gobble! Fox's Animated Dads Are Thankful For ...

Gobble, Gobble! Fox's Animated Dads Are Thankful For ... | Animation News |
Some of the toughest TV dads are getting animated about Thanksgiving this year, including Fox's Sunday night animation mainstays (Sun., Nov. 18).

We've got exclusive insight on turkey day traditions on "The Simpsons," "The Cleveland Show," "Bob's Burgers," "Family Guy" and "American Dad," including quotes on what characters like Homer Simpson, Cleveland Brown and Peter Griffin are truly thankful for.

From fart spray to secret soy turkey switcheroos and Mario Lopez, keep reading to get in the Thanksgiving mood.

"The Cleveland Show" (7:30 p.m. ET)
Cleveland Brown: “As a man living with Donna, I'm thankful for fart spray.”

Rallo Tubbs: “As a kid living with Cleveland, I'm thankful for fart spray.”

"The Simpsons" (8 p.m. ET)
Homer Simpson: “I’m thankful I live in a country where only 48 percent of the people want to secede.”

Marge Simpson: “I’m thankful the kids haven’t grown in 25 years so we don’t have to buy new clothes.”

Bart Simpson: “I’m thankful I can shoplift right after midnight on the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Lisa Simpson: “I’m thankful my family eats so fast they don’t realize I’ve been swapping in a soy turkey the last five years.”

"Bob's Burgers" (8:30 p.m. ET)
Bob: "I guess I'm thankful for my health. But I am a little fat right now. I'll get healthier next year. I mean, I look fine. Just not great. I could be better."

"Family Guy" (9 p.m. ET)
Peter Griffin: “I’m thankful that the guy who wears sandals at work broke his ankle. I hate him.”

Stewie Griffin: “I’m thankful that the Christmas lights we left up last year are almost back in season.”

"American Dad" (9:30 p.m. ET)
Stan Smith: “I’m thankful it was all a bad dream and that Mitt Romney is our new president.”

Roger: “I’m thankful for Mario Lopez. I know it’s not smart or cool, but he brings a smile to my face every time I get my entertainment news.”

Fox's Animation Domination line-up gets in the holiday mood Sun., Nov. 18.

Tell us: What are you thankful for?

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Emerald City Comicon Announces Invader ZIM Voice Actor Guests

Emerald City Comicon Announces Invader ZIM Voice Actor Guests | Animation News |

People of Earth, prepare to be destroyed! Zim to “invade” Seattle!
Zim and GIR from Nickelodeon’s cult series Invader ZIM to conquer Emerald City Comicon 2013!

Seattle, WA – Invader ZIM cast members RICHARD HORVITZ (“Zim”) and RIKKI SIMONS (“GIR”) are the first voice actor guests to be announced for the upcoming Emerald City Comicon taking place on March 1st – 3rd, 2013 at the Washington State Convention Center. They will be appearing all three days!

Invader ZIM is the still-embraced animated series from Nickelodeon that aired between 2001 and 2006. Aimed at young teens, the comical show was about an inept alien named “Zim” who was bent on eliminating the Earth. Along with his robot sidekick “GIR”, he was constantly fumbling one attempt after the other in his mad quest.
Richard Horvitz is an accomplished actor, having appeared in the 1987 comedy film Summer School with Mark Harmon as well as providing the voice of “Alpha 5“ for several years on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In addition to his work as “Zim” on Invader Zim, other voice work includes Disney’s Mulan, “Daggett Doofus Beaver” on The Angry Beavers and “Billy” on The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.

Rikki Simons is most famous for being the voice of the robot in a dog suit, “GIR” from Invader ZIM. As an artist and writer he is known for science fantasy graphic novels such as Ranklechick and His Three Legged Cat and Super Information Hijinks: Reality Check!. He is also a background painter in animation, most noted for his color design on Invader ZIM.

ECCC’s celebrity guest roster includes Sir Patrick Stewart (“Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek The Next Generation, “Dr. Charles Xavier” from the X-Men films), Billy Dee Williams (“Lando Calrissian” from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), Walter Koenig (“Chekov” from classic Star Trek), Natalia Tena (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), Paul McGillion (Stargate Atlantis), Michael Shanks (Saving Hope, Stargate SG-1), Kristin Bauer (“Pam” from HBO’s True Blood), Gillian Anderson (“Agent Scully” from The X-Files) and Chandler Riggs (“Carl Grimes” on AMC’s The Walking Dead).

Tickets for Emerald City Comicon 2013 are ON SALE NOW by visiting or any number of local comic book stores, also listed on the website!

ECCC 2013 will feature its most expansive variety of film/television stars, voice actors, comic guests, vendors, merchandise, gaming, contests, artists, speakers and pop culture yet!

With record-breaking attendance of over 53,000 attendees in 2012, Emerald City Comicon has established itself as one of North America’s largest and most respected shows of its kind anywhere in the world and has become the premier event of its kind in the Northwest.

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Exclusive: Hand Drawn, CG And Something Paperman-Like In Future Of Disney Animation

Exclusive: Hand Drawn, CG And Something Paperman-Like In Future Of Disney Animation | Animation News |

This weekend I was able to sit down with Rich Moore, Clark Spencer and Renato Dos Anjos, the director, producer and animation supervisor on Wreck-It Ralph. You’ll be hearing a lot from them as we get closer to the release of the film in the UK in February, including a great, illustrated ‘Animation Masterclass’ in Issue 2 of Bleeding Cool Magazine.

Now, though, I want to share a short part of the conversation between Dos Anjos and myself. We started by talking about the legacy of traditional, hand drawn animation at Disney and how it is influencing the cutting edge of 3D CG.

"Dos Anjos: As an artist I know what I want these things to look like and computers at times have limitations that you need to work with. It would be amazing to not have limitations, but that’s just not how it is. At the studio we are working really hard at breaking the boundaries and just be able to create the art we want. It’s a process and it’s improving on every show. Right now, Ralph is as good as it can be but on the next show we will try to make things a little better. We’re always thinking of growing and learning. Having the tradition at the studio of hand drawn animation is great and we really treasure that, it inspires us a lot.

Bleeding Cool: And yet there’s no traditionally animated film in the pipeline. It’s sad.

Dos Anjos: Well, actually… I’m not going to tell you what but there’s actually something happening right now. But as a studio, we really leave the decision up to the filmmakers. It’s really up to the directors. If that’s story they want to tell and the medium they want to use, then it’s really up to them. We want to support that.

Bleeding Cool: And now there’s a third way. John Kahrs has brought us a new way with Paperman.

Dos Anjos: Yeah, it’s amazing. The first time I saw it was a few weeks ago at our wrap party. I was amazed by it. I couldn’t believe how it looked. I played around with the meander system a little bit just to see how it worked because early on Rich [Moore] and I were exploring lots of different looks [for Wreck-It Ralph] and different ideas for some of the [film’s videogame] worlds. This was before Paperman. We have this really great program at the studio whenever there is downtime, we encourage artists to try different mediums and different things. We call them ‘Spark Projects.’ Anybody in the building can come up with an idea and pitch it to a small group and if they find it interesting, we give them resources to accomplish that idea. This animator, Patrick Osborne, was working on a project called Pet about a kid who finds this little alien pet thing. That was the first time we saw anything like Paperman where there was this integration of something that looked very different to your regular CG thing. That was more about flat colours. After that, Patrick did another test for one of the feature films that we’re planning on doing. That is a lot more like Paperman, with a little stronger design sense, in that it is rougher drawings, it isn’t as clean as Paperman. And then he went and helped John Kahrs make Paperman."

Paperman is playing in the US now, before Wreck-It Ralph, and I’m hoping they’ll stay together for the UK release next February. In their own, very different ways they represent the cutting edge of Disney’s CG work, and they’re both just cracking movies too.

And that’s what the studio needs to hold on to. I’m looking forward to new hand drawn work, you better believe it, as well as more experimentation and aesthetic experiments, but it’s the stories that are really going to matter.

For more on Paperman, see my previous, very detailed post on just how it’s so unusual For more on Ralph, sit tight – or, if you’re in the US, get yourself to the cinema.

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New Lego Cast Includes Will Ferrell As President Business, Liam Neeson As Bad Cop And More

New Lego Cast Includes Will Ferrell As President Business, Liam Neeson As Bad Cop And More | Animation News |

Lord and Miller are deep at work on their Lego Movie, The Piece of Resistance. I like to imagine them up to their waste in colourful plastic bricks, barking direction at little bewildered minifigs. Real shame you can’t actually get movies made that way – I’d have finished my first Epic Trilogy by the time I was four.

The latest casting, as per Deadline, sees Will Ferrel, Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman and Alison Brie join the cast. Their character names can be pretty winning – Ferrell is to play President Business, Neeson will be his right-hand man, Bad Cop. We don’t know the name of Offerman’s character yet but he’s a pirate, so that’s okay, we can get pre-loving him just for that.

Nick Offerman as a pirate makes just as much sense as Nick Offerman as Axe Cop. He just seems to bring out the best in casting agents.

Alison Brie’s character is described as being part of the lead character Emmet’s “team” and having a powerful secret. Emmet, played by Chris Pratt, is mistaken for the all-powerful Master Builder, which gets the story rolling… I expect this “secret” could well be that Brie’s character is actually the one with those powers.

Piece of Resistance is due for release in February 2014. It’s going to be good.

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Wreck-It Ralph is the best video game movie since Last Starfighter

Wreck-It Ralph is the best video game movie since Last Starfighter | Animation News |

The history of video game movies is a pretty inglorious one, with a higher proportion of awfulness than almost any other genre, except maybe Rapture movies. There’s been Tron, there’s been Last Starfighter, and maybe one or two others. But given how much great storytelling there is in games, it’s weird that Hollywood has been so weak in harnessing that potential.

Which is why Wreck-It Ralph is such a welcome change — it’s a really nifty animated film that does for video games what Toy Story did for toys. Minor spoilers ahead…

And yes, minor spoilers means “minor.” Seen the trailer? You’re fine.

I’ve you’ve seen the trailers, you probably already know the basic story of Wreck-It Ralph. Basically, there’s a 30-year-old 8-bit video game called Fix-It Felix Jr., where a Donkey Kong-esque lout named Ralph destroys an apartment building, Rampage-style, and then the player controls Fix-It Felix Jr., who repairs it with his magic hammer. But after 30 years of being a video-game villain and getting treated like dirt by the people whose homes he destroys, Ralph is sick of it. He wants to be a good guy in his own right, and have people admire him the way they do Felix. So Ralph goes on a quest to find the approval he needs, through a couple very different video games.

And similar to the way the Toy Story films handle the inner lives and complicated politics of toys, Wreck-It Ralph gives us the sense that video game characters have a whole life when people aren’t looking at them or moving them around with a joystick. But even when the games aren’t being played, their characters are largely defined by their roles in the game, and by how people play with them.

But where the Toy Story characters just want to be played with and to stay with their owner, Andy, Ralph’s quest is for self-determination and the right to define himself, rather than let his pre-ordained role in the game define him. At the same time, though, there’s the same sense of deriving your worth from being played with, and of drawing life from the imaginations of children.

The main way that Wreck-It Ralph reminds me of Toy Story, though, is in the world-building and all of the personality it imbues these characters with. The world behind the screen feels totally lived in, and the notion of a back door that allows Ralph and other characters to travel between games, or to a neutral “Game Central Station,” is pretty genius. The movie is so jam-packed with cameos by classic video game characters, and wacky in-jokes, you’d probably have to watch it a couple times to catch most of them. The “video game villain support group” sequence, which you’ve probably seen in the trailers, is pure gold, and so are the other video game pastiches that Ralph travels through.

You can pretty much count on a film like Wreck-It Ralph to be funny, and to have a lot of cute, inventive bits — but the real achievement of a film like this is that you actually care about the characters and the stakes. Ralph’s quest to become something more than what he is never feels entirely petty. You feel Ralph’s pain at being tossed aside and mistreated, and his need to be loved or appreciated feels very human and real.

And the cast is pretty brilliant. John C. Reilly gives a kind of buffoonish dignity to Wreck-It Ralph, even when you start to see how selfish and short-sighted he actually is. Jane TK and Sarah Silverman are also great as characters that Ralph meets on his travels. And Alan Tudyk is fantastic as a campy video game monarch who’s not quite what he seems.

I really don’t want to give away too many spoilers here, but suffice to say the stakes do get raised quite a lot over the course of the movie, and Wreck-It Ralph’s quest to be appreciated as a hero turns into an actual journey of discovery of what it means to be an actual hero.

It’s interesting that all the really decent video game movies have been in some way about games as a form — about play, and what play “means.” Why play requires “good guys” and “bad guys,” and what kind of stories and experiences arise during gameplay. There are no great video game movies that aren’t about video games, rather than just adapting games. Maybe it’s because gameplay is such an important part of our relationship with games, even as the storytelling has become exponentially more complex — the best movies are ones that actually comment on the gaming aspect, rather than just trying to discard it as a vehicle for the story that’s being adapted.

In any case, the genius of Wreck-It Ralph is that it takes one of the simplest possible video-game stories and complicates it — the “bad guy” has a heart and doesn’t actually want to be bad. And yet, at the same time, it reminds us why we love such simple stories, and why we want to believe in good guys and bad guys in the first place. That’s quite a neat trick, and it’s even more impressive that the film does it with so much gentle humor, and such unostentatious cleverness.

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JJ Abrams Gets Into Animation With Beastlies

JJ Abrams Gets Into Animation With Beastlies | Animation News |

To be honest, I’d never heard of Beastlies before, but I understand that they are one of a kind, hand-sculpted ad-hoc figures of little monsters, standing perhaps one or two inches tall. They’re made by Leslie Levings, and apparently sold through Etshy and at Cons and the like. I imagine they’re quite expensive, but the online shop is bare at the moment so I can’t confirm.

Levings has today confirmed that she’s working with JJ Abrams on an”animated Beastlies thing!”, consolidating a rumour that this was going to happen. What kind of thing? Movie? TV? Web series? Whatever it is, don’t you just know it’s going to be CG animated when it really deserves to be stop motion? Levings’ fingerprints are part of her sales pitch.

Is this going to be the first movie based, basically, on an Etsy shop? It won’t be the last, I’m sure.

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Six Spoooooky Halloween Specials From Our Favorite Cartoons

Six Spoooooky Halloween Specials From Our Favorite Cartoons | Animation News |

I've never really liked slasher movies. To be honest, they scared the living hell out of me when I was a kid, and even though I've long since realized that, say, Chucky could be pretty easily punted into the next county, I never really got over that distaste. As a result, while other people load up on Fridays and Nightmares when the calendar flips over to October, I tend to go for a different route. Much like I do at Christmas, I spend halloween watching cartoons.

Whether they're actual Halloween specials or just extra-spooky episodes, I love these things, and that's why today, I'm handing out the treats of a spoooooky sextet of my favorite Halloween episodes!

The Super Hero Squad Show - "This Man-Thing, This Monster"
Written by John Rozum

"At night, he glides in like a shadow, takes villagers by their neck, and drains them of their..."
"Oh, we're not related."

The Suepr Hero Squad Show tends to skew more towards kid-friendly slapstick than sheer terror, but this episode is right up there with the one where the Punisher shows up voiced by Ray Stevenson to talk about how criminals are like broccoli for sheer awesomeness. It was done as part of a six-part arc where the Silver Surfer had been corrupted by the Infinity Gems and sent the "Squaddies" all across space and time -- there's even a 1602-inspired episode where the pilgrims try to burn the Scarlet Witch at the stake. Really.

This one, though, sends Iron Man into the Marvel Monsters universe, and it's pretty great, if only because of all the characters that get to make their super-deformed animated appearances. The core plot is a team-up where Iron Man, Werewolf By Night and Man-Thing battle against Dracula, but there are cameos from It the Living Colossus, the Zombie, Googam, Son of Goom, Monster of Frankenstein, Groot, and even N'Kantu the Living Mummy, who gets an open-hand slap right across the face:

Even though it's rooted in downright Airplane!-esque comedy, Rozum's script throws a lot of great stuff in there. The dialogue is snappy, the twist at the end is fun, and there are a few ideas -- like Iron Man using Frankenstein's apparatus to recharge his armor.

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends - "The Bride of Dracula!"
Written by Jack Mendelsohn

"Welcome to Vampire City!"

Speaking of cartoons where Marvel Dracula shows up to smack the rest of the cast around, the Lord of the Vampires makes an appearance on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and it is absolutely insane. For starters, we have a being of nearly unlimited supernatural power hanging out at a college dance waiting to mack on a coed -- in this case, Firestar -- then taking his private jet back to Transylvania while Spider-Man and Iceman follow by climbing onto the outside of a cargo plane flying over the North Pole.

Then, once Dracula notices that his airplane is being followed -- by a plane that appears to be going perpendicular to his jet for several minutes -- he takes it down by shooting hypno-rays out of his eyes at the enemy pilot.

Also, his jet can turn into a gigantic robot bat. Because of course it can.

The whole thing is, of course, a plot for Dracula to hypnotize Firestar into being his latest wife. This is actually pretty in keeping with Dracula's established M.O., even if Bram Stoker never got around to mentioning that his chauffeur is the Wolfman and that he has a robot Frankenstein hanging around to do the housework.

TMNT - "All Hallow's Thieves"
Written by Gavin Hignight

"What happened to you?"
"Some kind of security guard or somethin' in a frog costume."

It's pretty difficult to figure out what constitutes "horror" for a bunch of characters who fight a talking brain in a robot body and a guy whose clothes are literally made of knives every day, but this one's actually set on Halloween night. And it's worth it, too, if only to see Michaelangelo, a six-foot talking turtle trained in the art of silent assassination, completely flip his shell when he runs into a burglar dressed as a werewolf.

True to the occasion, this particular adventure has a bit of the supernatural involved: In an effort to upgrade himself to the King of Thieves -- a title previously held by Bruce Campbell on the better episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess -- a guy with a truly awful Cockney accent steals a statue of the six-armed god of larceny, Kleptonus, and then lays a hoodoo on it that both brings Kleptonus to life and sets an army of winged gargoyle thieves on New York City to steal everything from jewelry to trick-or-treaters' candy.

One would think that the god of thieves would probably go more for stealth and cunning, but I guess a giant, rampaging six-armed monster makes for a better set piece. It all works out, though: In one of the best moments in TMNT history, the Turtles tear one of its arms off and use it as a club to smash its head, then kick it in front of a subway train.

Jem and the Holograms - "Trick or Techrat"
Written by Misty Stewart-Taggart

"I hate Halloween! I hate it!"

In typical fashion, the Halloween episode of Jem and the Holograms has about thirty-four different plots all going on at once. First up is the old Opera House, a historic building that's about to be torn down unless the Holograms can put on a benefit show to raise money to repair it, then there's Eric Raymond's sinister business dealings involving purchasing the lot after the opera house is razed, then there's the creepy old B-Movie actor Frederick Vincent who owns the opera house and has been living there destitute in a tuxedo with hobo patches, and then there are the Misfits, who are throwing a concert right across the street on Halloween night in an effort to spoil Jem's fundraising efforts. Then, on top of all that, is Terry, a member of Jem's ever-expanding collection of orphans, who needs to learn that ghosts and Draculas and black cats aren't actually that scary.

Heaping even more insanity onto all this is Techrat, the Misfits' resident technological genius who once built a time machine. Here, he's wearing a weird one-eyed ghost costume and setting up tricks to make everyone think the place is haunted from the Opera House basement, which features both an actual dungeon and a gigantic bottomless pit with a huge spiral staircase that looks like it might be in the Death Star:

There is also a dance number.

Batman: The Animated Series - "The Demon Within"
Written by Rusty Bjornhöel and Stan Berkowitz


Why in the name of all that is holy would a Gotham City auction house agree to even have an artifact rumored to possess the strange magical power of Morgan le Fay even brought to the premises, let alone actually sold? Seriously, why not just throw in some ancient Egyptian cat statues rumored to be the key to answering the ancient riddle of the twin stars while you're at it? Just make sure to get your affairs in order first.

That is, of course, exactly what happens in this episode of Batman, prompting a heated dispute / highly destructive wizard duel between Jack Kirby's two most horror-inspired creations, Etrigan the Demon and Klarion the Witch Boy, an immortal youngster so evil that his bowl-cut has devil horns.

He also has a cat that turns into a cat-lady, and I'm always surprised when I watch this episode that Bruce Wayne actually tries to fight her instead of casually leaning against a wall and offering up a "so, do you come here often?" Don't even pretend like that dude doesn't have a type.

G.I. Joe - "The Phantom Brigade"
Written by Sharman Divono

"Ghosts in the service of Cobra?!"

Between the episode where Shipwreck's wife and son melt into goo in his arms, the one where Dr. Mindbender attacks with weaponized nightmares, and the one about the Cthulhu monster that Destro keeps in his basement, there are no shortage of G.I. Joe episodes that draw on some pretty scary thoughts. This one, however, heads straight into horror movie territory and never looks back.

In order to counteract the problem of his soldiers not being all that eager to run facefirst into a wall of red lasers, Cobra Commander -- who has temporarily relocated to a spoooooky castle in Transylvania -- elects to recruit some soldiers who are already dead. To that end, he enlists the help of a local witch, who just so happens to have three baubles that bind the souls of the unquiet dead to Earth. Thus, Cobra gets its Phantom Brigade, made up of a barbarian warrior woman, a Roman Legionnaire, and an American pilot from World War I whose guns produce flames made up of hellish, demonic faces.

Or as close as you could get to hellish and demonic on a cartoon for eight year-olds in 1985. Things look pretty dire for the Joes and their surprisingly non-Soviet Transylvanian allies, but eventually the Baroness finally shows up to tell them what the deal is because Cobra Commander is threatening to replace his entire staff with vengeful spirits of the damned. Seriously. It's pretty great.

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Andy Serkis Directing Motion Capture Animal Farm, Planning Adaptation Of Bone Season

Andy Serkis Directing Motion Capture Animal Farm, Planning Adaptation Of Bone Season | Animation News |

Shortly after the release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we learned that Andy Serkis and director Rupert Wyatt were working up a motion capture version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The project is making headlines again, though this time, I don’t see Wyatt mentioned anywhere.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Serkis is going to direct the Farm film himself, making it the first project for his motion capture studio, The Imaginarium.

Serkis says:

"I think we found a rather fresh way of looking at it. It is definitely using performance capture, but we are using an amalgamation of filming styles to create the environmments. We are in proof-of-concept stage at the moment, designing characters and experimenting on our stage with the designs.

It is quite a wide canvas as to how much and how far we can take performance capture with quadrupeds and how much we will be using facial [capture]. We are not discounting the use of keyframe animation or puppeteering parts of animals."

Well, isn’t that something. It sounds properly fascinating, and there’s no doubting how rich the source material is.

The Imaginarium will follow Animal Farm by adapting some rather more contemporary fiction. The Bone Season has been written by current Oxford Uni student Samantha Shannon, and seems to fit quite squarely in the sci-fi young adult subgenre that has already given rise to The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Knife of Never Letting Go and so on. It hasn’t been published yet, so we don’t know if it will also echo the widespread success of these other books and series, but The Imaginarium certainly saw something in it.

Shannon says that she’s actually taking another pass at the novel now:

"…prompted by Imaginarium’s writers, who met Bloomsbury with some new suggestions. Filmmakers are forensic about plot, and they came up with some really good editorial points – not so the book will suit a film (they initially went through it from a reader’s perspective, not as filmmakers), but so the plot becomes clearer to the reader. To me it showed they cared about the whole world of The Bone Season, not just the visual aspect. They read it four times before producing notes on it."

Here’s an official blurb for the book:

"2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. She works as an envoy between secret cells: she drops in and out of people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant, and in her world – the world of Scion – she commits high treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes forever. Attacked, kidnapped and transported to Oxford, a city that has been kept secret for two hundred years, she meets Warden, a Rephaite with dark honey skin and heavy-lidded yellow eyes. He is the single most beautiful and frightening thing she has ever laid eyes on – and he will become her keeper."

It’s not yet clear if the whole film will be CG imagery or if the motion capture characters will be blended with live action, as Serkis was suggesting for Animal Farm. I guess they’re even earlier in the development process on this project and a lot will change, change and then change again between now and the time production starts.

Sounds to me like The Imaginarium are off to a good start. Can’t wait to hear more.

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Is There Really An Animated Firefly Spin-Off Early In Development?

Is There Really An Animated Firefly Spin-Off Early In Development? | Animation News |
Welcome to Bleeding Cool, home of spurious Firefly rumours. Pull up a seat.
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My Little Pony #1 Sells Over 90,000 Copies | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors

My Little Pony #1 Sells Over 90,000 Copies | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors | Animation News |
Wow. Just wow.I understand that advance orders for the first issue of the My Little Pony comic from IDW, all of it's covers (including the box set of six co...
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Neil Patrick Harris teams up with Donald Glover for Adventure Time's next gender-swapped adventure!

Neil Patrick Harris teams up with Donald Glover for Adventure Time's next gender-swapped adventure! | Animation News |
If you liked the Adventure Time episode where Neil Patrick Harris played the male counterpart to Princess Bubblegum, Prince Gumball, then the sequel is going to send you over the Moon.
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First Look At Character Art For Disney’s Frozen

First Look At Character Art For Disney’s Frozen | Animation News |

Disney have sneaked out some artwork for their upcoming animated picture Frozen and not really told anybody about it.

Several bloggers and journalists have seen these images already, and some may have been at this particular presentation, part of the Destination D event.

But nothing from the film has actually appeared online before. There weren’t even any leaks from the presentations.

Lots of sites fell for some supposedly leaked concept art, which was a combination of fan-made stuff and work from a previous incarnation of the project, years and years ago. We didn’t run it here because… well, we knew it was bunk.

Here, though, you can get some idea of what approach Chris Buck and co. are taking with their loose adaptation of The Snow Queen. I’m glad this stuff has started to bubble up now.

Here’s Elsa and Anna, the sisters at the centre of the story. Elsa is voiced by Idina Menzel and is the titual Snow Queen, her good hearted sister Anna is being played by Kristen Bell.

And here’s Olaf, a sidekick snowman type. Not the 3D version, a kind of maquette-y puppet-y thing, it seems.

There are still a lot of Frozen mysteries. We don’t know who is voicing Olaf, for example – or the other main characters Sven and Kristoff. My hunch is that something, however slight and teasing, will accompany Wreck-It Ralph into cinemas. Even if it’s just CG swirling snow, a logo and a sample from one of the songs I know that Disney buffs will lose their minds.

Frozen is set for release in November of next year, at least in the US. International release dates are still forthcoming.


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Animation World Loses Voice of Smurfette: Lucille Bliss Dies at 96

Animation World Loses Voice of Smurfette: Lucille Bliss Dies at 96 | Animation News |

Lucille Bliss has passed away at the age of 96, but her voice lives on through iconic cartoon characters like Smurfette of “The Smurfs,” Anastasia from “Cinderella,” and more recently Yagoda from the film “Avatar.”

Born in New York City on March 31, 1916, Bliss had a talent that was appreciated and later pursued by the creators of cartoons. In 1950 she voiced her first cartoon character, Crusader Rabbit.

Her vocal talent nailed her roles in a number of Disney features and Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Bliss also was heard in several Warner Bros. and MGM theatrical cartoons in the 1950s.

Quick to detect her talent, Walt Disney did not hesitate to use her in a leading cartoon motion picture in 1950. The film was “Cinderella.”

“In the fiftieth anniversary of the film, the Disney Company put out a commemorative book. There I read that Walt had personally selected me for the part of Anastasia. I had never known that before, and it almost made me cry. I wished I had thanked him,” Bliss said in an interview for the book “How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life.”

Bliss’ loss was hard-felt in the world of voice acting and animation. “It feels we’re losing an era of talent that she represents through her sensitivity for animation. She is a huge loss given all her big contributions. She showcases a certain uniqueness like no other,” Michael D. Cohen, a voice actor and acting coach in Los Angeles, told

Bliss’ agent, Don Pitts, agreed with Cohen. Bliss and Pitts worked together in San Francisco on radio programs in the 1950s. He had been her agent from the 1960s up until five years ago when she stopped acting. “It’s a great loss. She was one of the leading actors in this line of industry and her absence will be felt,” Pitts told

Her signature voice, acting talent, and a lot of hard work contributed to her success. “Bliss had two apartments in the 1950s, one in San Francisco and another in Los Angeles. She would shuttle from one city to the other to audition for jobs. She did that for almost twenty years. I never knew any actor like that,” Pitts said.

Bliss had a flexibility and profoundness to her voice not very common among female voice actresses. “Her voice had a unique quality to it,” Cohen said. “She had the voice of a little girl’s innocence combined with a gravel of an old woman’s voice. Normally women’s voices can be one or the other, but Lucille possessed both qualities and could play both.”

Bliss’ acting talent allowed her seamlessly to embrace the character she was voicing. In an interview with Archive of American Television, Bliss recounted the relationship she had with Smurfette, an iconic role she played for 8 years.

“Smurfette felt so real to me because I created her voice, so I could feel her emotions. It may sound strange but it’s true. We have to think like the character and it takes over. That’s what I tell my students, too. You must lose yourself if you want to be successful in animation and be the character,” she said.

Outside the world of animation, Bliss hosted “The Happy Birthday to You Show” on San Francisco’s KRON-TV. In 1999 she won the Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award for her role in “Cinderella.” In 2000 she won a Winsor McCay Award at the 28th Annie Awards for special achievement in animation.

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A Second My Little Pony Comic Focusing On Individual Ponies – First Up, Twilight Sparkle | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors

A Second My Little Pony Comic Focusing On Individual Ponies – First Up, Twilight Sparkle | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors | Animation News |

With IDW clearing 100,000 preorders and more on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic#1, it was only a matter of time before we’d see more.

In February, as well as My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #4, you can also buy My Little Pony Micro Series #1 – Twilight Sparkle, the first of six comics spotlighting a specific Pony.


(W) Katie Cook (A) Andy Price (CA) Stephanie Buscema, Andy Price

Their epic quest nearing its end, the Mane 6 reach the Changeling Kingdom and find themselves at the mercy of Queen Chrysalis! A sinister offer threatens to tear the group apart before they can save the day. Will friendship prevail over the Queen’s nefarious plan?


(W/A) Thomas F. Zahler (CA) Thomas F. Zahler, Amy Mebberson

Introducing the first of six spotlights focusing on everyone’s favorite Ponies! Twilight Sparkle becomes enthralled in a literary masterpiece. Dismayed to hear the series never continued, Twilight goes on a quest to hunt down the reclusive author, Jade Singer. It will take all of the studious Pony’s detective skill to find the author, and twists and turns abound! Don’t miss this adventure in imagination!

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Confirmed: Transformers 4 Gets Mark Wahlberg Locked In, New Logo Revealed

Confirmed: Transformers 4 Gets Mark Wahlberg Locked In, New Logo Revealed | Animation News |

A few weeks back, word went round that Mark Wahlberg was being considered for a role in Transformers 4. I called it a rumour.

Within hours, Michael Bay had denied that this was going to happen. Wahlberg, he said, was considering making another, different film with him. I didn’t pass this on, actually, because it smelled bad. Michael Bay isn’t always so honest, you know.

Then a couple of days back, Bay claimed that plans were changing and, actually, he was inspired by this internet rumour and was now thinking of putting Wahlberg in the film after all. Yes, because of that rumour, he was now going to cast Marky Mark.

Let’s say that very internet chatter gave me some ideas. We are at the inception of our story process right now on T4. Let’s say some ideas are gaining traction with me and my writer – so I’m here to say thanks internet chatter

What was actually going on behind this masquerade I don’t know, but I’m not buying Bay’s version of events at all. If somebody else from the production wants to go on the record about this, then great.

But I really don’t think they will.

Anyway, tonight we’re back where we started but with bells on. Bay has come clean and admitted that Wahlberg has actually signed on.

Bay posted his approval of Wahlberg just now:

Mark is awesome. We had a blast working on Pain and Gain and I’m so fired up to be back working with him. An actor of his caliber is the perfect guy to re-invigorate the franchise and carry on the Transformers’ legacy,

He also posted the logo, which you can see at the head of the story.

Wahlberg’s role isn’t yet confirmed, but rumours have it that he’ll be playing the father of the female lead, a high school girl. The third lead is said to be a race car driver who, according to some casting details, is dating the high schooler.

We don’t know for sure where in the pecking order the robots will go, but it’s reasonable to assume they’ll come in somewhere below the meat puppets once again – and I know some of you won’t like that.

Personally, I don’t care if the lead character is a CG creation, an actor or Shia LaBeouf, I just want them to be interesting and engaging. Wahlberg, I like. We’re off to the best start with a Transformers film since the 1980s.

You’ll be able to see Transformers 4 in June 2014. Something something to your mother something for me Andy Samberg something?

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Muppets Sequel Filming In London In January, Bret McKenzie Writing New Songs

Muppets Sequel Filming In London In January, Bret McKenzie Writing New Songs | Animation News |

Filming on the next, somewhat Eurocentric Muppet movie is due to start filming at Pinewood in January, and it seems like there’s going to be location work around London between then and April. Word of this first started creeping along the muppet-fan grapevine last Friday, but before I could confirm it was more than just sourceless chatter, Collider bumped into producer Todd Lieberman and got him on the record.

Also now confirmed is the return of Flight of the Conchords‘ Bret McKenzie who is currently writing new songs for the film. He didn’t write every tune in the last picture, but he did a sterling job on the ones he did write and deservedly won an Oscar* for Man or Muppet.

Other Muppet rumours, as yet unconfirmed, have a UK comedy star in the human lead role and new Muppet characters in supporting parts. We’ll see about this soon, I guess.

The Muppet Show was filmed in London. It’s nice to see them coming back.

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The Painterly Look Of Pixar’s New Brave Spin-Off, The Legend Of Mor’Du

The Painterly Look Of Pixar’s New Brave Spin-Off, The Legend Of Mor’Du | Animation News |

In spinning off Brave for a new short on the film’s DVD and Blu-ray release, Pixar opted to eschew the look of the feature and go for something else entirely. According to the film’s director, Brian Larsen, the look is inspired by concept art, particularly that of Disney Legend Mary Blair.

It perhaps spoils a key point of Brave to explain what’s going on in
the images, so I won’t.

Larsen, though, was happy to reveal that this story doesn’t have a happy ending:

If you are selfish and not working in the right direction for the greater good you can destroy a huge part of your family – and yourself. A lot of tales and legends, like Grimm’s fairy tales, were like that. If you do some things, there’s a bad outcome, and not always a happy ending.

What isn’t clear to me is if the film has been animated in 2D or if we’re looking at something like Paperman-style mapping of 2D over 3D models here. Looking closely at the images, I could read certain details here and there as indicators of either approach.

Copies of the Brave Blu-ray set are out there already, ahead of its official release on November 13th in the US, November 26th in the UK, so I’m hoping a good review will reveal more soon. Maybe I’ll even be able to get my own grubby paws on a copy…

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Dan Harmon’s ‘Rick and Morty’ Goes To Series For Adult Swim

Dan Harmon’s ‘Rick and Morty’ Goes To Series For Adult Swim | Animation News |

The brilliant Dan Harmon rises from the ashes of his "Community" ousting with the new half-hour animated series "Rick & Morty" for Adult Swim. The show, from Harmon and Justin Roliand, centers on the struggles between a genius inventor and his not-so-bright grandson.

Harmon is working on a pair of sitcoms for both Fox and CBS, but this marks his official return to the world of scripted TV comedy.

Adult Swim greenlit the "Rick & Morty" pilot back in May amid the well-publicized canning on Harmon at the hands of NBC.

"Rick & Morty" airs in 2014.

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South Park As The Avengers

South Park As The Avengers | Animation News |

Okay, I’m sure people have done the characters of South Park as The Avengers before,

But last night, Matt Stone and Trey Parker did it for reals on their Hallowe’en episode of the show. The four together! Even if Captain America had to be there virtually… which gave us lots of lovely bits about how people prefer their technology to people…

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Wenk to pen 'Masters of the Universe'

Wenk to pen 'Masters of the Universe' | Animation News |
Sony Pictures and Escape Artists will continue tapping the hot hand of scribe Richard Wenk ("The Equalizer"), who will rewrite He-Man pic "Masters of the Universe.". EXCLUSIVE from the entertainment source: Variety.
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Roger Rabbit Sequel Seems To Be Coming Along Nicely

Roger Rabbit Sequel Seems To Be Coming Along Nicely | Animation News |
Bob Hoskins has retired but Roger is still in the biz.
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Exclusive details on David Fincher's Kickstarter campaign for his zombie movie The Goon!

Exclusive details on David Fincher's Kickstarter campaign for his zombie movie The Goon! | Animation News |
It's been years since we've heard news about David Fincher's adaptation of Eric Powell's paranormal comic The Goon. But now the director, Powell, and the team over at Blur Studio have gone rogue in hopes of making The Goon a reality.
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In Jim Henson's early Sesame Street sketches, Big Bird was a giant chicken and Oscar the Grouch was pink

In Jim Henson's early Sesame Street sketches, Big Bird was a giant chicken and Oscar the Grouch was pink | Animation News |
The venerable puppets of Sesame Street have gone through many iterations throughout the years — don't forget that Mr. Snuffleupagus was pretty unsettling in his first appearance.


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