Tuesday, February 5, 2008

News - 02/05/08...

Why Ratatouille could have been nominated for Best Picture

CNN Money elaborates on the interesting notion that Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille could very well have been nominated for best picture at this year’s Academy Awards if it wasn’t for its “animated” nature. Even though it was ranked by many critics as one of the year’s best, it was never a serious contender for best picture. Instead, it was relegated to the relatively new category of best animated feature, a category the academy started back in 2002.

Directed by Brad Bird, Ratatouille has garnered a fantastic score of 96 on Metacritic.com, ranking it above this year’s best picture candidates including No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. In total, Ratatouille has been nominated for 5 academy awards: Best Animated Feature, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

Ghibli Shake Up

Studio Ghibli announced that Koji Hoshino, former president of the Japanese bridge of Disney will be replacing Toshio Suzuki as the revered studio's president. Suzuki plans on remaining with the studio as production and creative capacities. Nausicaa.net notes Suzuki also announced that Isao Takahata and Goro Miyazaki's new films will be planned after the completion of Hayao Miyazaki's upcoming "Ponyo".

Studio Ghibli (My Neighbor Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) has announced on February 1 that former Walt Disney Japan president Koji Hoshino will replace Toshio Suzuki as its president. Ghibli has animated every film from its two founders, Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Howl's Moving Castle) and Isao Takahata (Only Yesterday, My Neighbors the Yamadas), from the mid-1980s until now. Going forward, Suzuki will devote himself to his duties as a producer and board director.

North American Anime Industry Continues Its Nose Dive

Anime News Network notes that ADV Films removed all mentions of the following titles from their website, including the main page, store, and trailers.

5 Centimeters per Second
Devil May Cry
Gurren Lagann
Moonlight Mile
Project Blue Earth SOS
Pumpkin Scissors
Red Garden
Sergeant Frog
Tokyo Majin
The Wallflower
Welcome to the NHK
Xenosaga: The Animation

ANN's forum goes note that ICV2 posted, then removed an item stating that, in a letter to retailers, ADV Films has identified 37 anime properties including Devil May Cry, Gurren Lagann, and Pumpkin Scissors that are "on indefinite hiatus, effective immediately." The list includes virtually all of the properties that ADV has announced since its financing deal with the Sojitz Corporation in late June of 2006.

ICV2's reported list included:
5cm Per Second
Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy
Air Gear
Air Movie
Air TV series
Best Student Council
Blade of the Phantom Master
Comic Party Revolution
Coyote Ragtime
Devil May Cry
Ghost Train
Gurren Lagann
Innocent Venus
Jinki: Extend
Kanon TV Series
King of Bandit Jing: 7th Heaven
Kurau Phantom Memory
Le Chevalier D'Eon
Moeyo Ken TV Series
Moonlight Mile
Nerima Daikon Brothers
Pani Pani Dash!
Project Blue
Pumpkin Scissors
Red Garden
The Wallflower
Tokyo Majin
UFO Princess Valkyrie - Third and Fourth Seasons
Venus vs. Virus
Welcome to the NHK

Retailers have said that the letter was not sent out.

Milton Griepp, CEO of ICv2, gave ANN the following statement:

The article on Sojitz and ADV you refer to was one of several contingency articles we prepared and posted on a staging site. Although that staging site is not accessible through ICv2 navigation, an unpublished article was indexed by Google using a spidering technique of which we had previously been unaware. We discovered the Google indexing within an hour or two of when it occurred and immediately removed the article from our staging site (along with any other unpublished articles). Unfortunately, the article was cached by Google and has now been brought to the attention of anime fans. It's unfortunate because as this is written, the article isn't true. It may still be one of several possible outcomes of the current situation, but as far as we know today ADV has not sent a notice to its retailers or placed the titles in question on hiatus and may not, pending the outcome of events that are still unfolding. We regret that our efforts to prepare for any eventuality led to this draft article becoming public before it was published and have taken steps to prevent such an event from happening again.

Then, ADV stated

We know there are a lot of rumors swirling about, and that fans are looking for assurances that ADV will continue to distribute the anime series they know and love.

While we can't go into any detail at this time, please know that ADV is working through a few short-term challenges and fully intends to continue our releases.

We thank you for your patience.

Also on the ADV front, ICV2 reports ADV will be pursue an iniative to release its anime on Blu ray. "Frontlist is more important than catalogue right now," so the first high def releases will be the company's newest titles. The move to begin releasing Blu-ray versions of some new titles may have an impact on ADV's release schedule, as high def transfers will have to be prepared.

FUNimation Web Update

FUNimation Entertainment has unveiled a new, redesigned funimation.com, introducing a broadband television experience that makes it easy to watch and share anime clips. The new website features hundreds of videos streamed through a custom video player that allows viewers to watch their favorite FUNimation anime.

Fans are now able to download and purchase high-quality episodes of their favorite anime series. Each month, FUNimation.com will be rolling out new Download-to-Own series. Kicking off the website launch are episodes of Rumbling Hearts, Suzuka, Peach Girl, and MoonPhase. Also new for FUNimation is the release of subtitled series. Available for the first time online, subtitled episodes of Rumbling Hearts and the highly-anticipated vampire action series Black Blood Brothers have been posted, with many more to come.

Other new features include:

*RSS content alerts so fans can stay up to date on the latest news, trailers, and information from FUNimation Entertainment

*Flash Video streaming, ensuring ease of use and cross-platform compatibility

*Same-screen video playback, without a separate pop-up window

*Expandable video player

*Advanced sorting features to make it easy to find what you are looking for

*Ad-free video clips

*Syndicated video player that allows fans to embed in blogs and social networking sites or allows fans to share with friends

Black Blood Brothers is being digitally distributed through the site in Windows Media down-to-own episodes selling for 1.99 each.

AZN To Be Discontinued

As of April 9th, Comcast will be discontinuing its AZN Television network. Comcast sighted its 13.9 million viewers and difficulty attracting advertisers as reasons for shuttering the network. Anime shows on the network, as listed by Anime News Network, included Kakurenbo, Last Exile, Mobile Police Patlabor, Record of Lodoss War, Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie, Saiyuki Reload Gunlock, Tsukuyomi -Moon Phase-, and others. It has also shown live-action adaptations of popular manga series such as Initial D and Nodame Cantabile, as well as Negadon: The Monster from Mars and Mamoru Oshii's live-action Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters film.

Upcoming Bandai Visual Releases

Bandai Visual USA will be releasing the five-part OVA Yukikaze in a Blu-ray Disc Box Set with deluxe bonus features, including never before seen footage, on April 8,2008. The 3 disc set retails for $149.99

Based on the award winning novels “Yukikaze” and “Good Luck”, Yukikaze tells the story of Rei Fukai, a young man who trusts his advanced armed tactical reconnaissance plane, Yukikaze, more than he does his fellow man. He comes into contact with the alien force known as JAM while gathering military data on board his beloved aircraft. JAM, showing interest in Rei and Yukikaze, begins to wage fierce battles against mankind with every means conceivable. Before long, JAM begins to launch an allout attack upon the Fairy Air Force.

Yukikaze Blu-Ray Disc Specs & Features:

Discs 1 & 2: Color / BD50G / AVC / 4:3 (1080i High Definition)
Disc 3: Color / BD25G / AVC / 16:9 (1080i High Definition)
Japanese and English Language Dolby TrueHD (5.1ch)
Optional Japanese and English Subtitles
Bonus features include: 6-minute Yukikaze Experimental Movie, 28-minute feature “Aircrafts in YUKIKAZE from pilot’s eyes”, 20-page full color SAF Flight Manual, and exclusively designed box.


Shigofumi: Letters from the Departed and True Tears both consisting of seven volumes with the first volumes to be released on DVD beginning in May 2008. Both titles are currently airing on Japanese television and will have a near simultaneous release with only a two-month delay from the Japanese release and only a five-month delay from the original broadcast airing.

Shigofumi: Letters from the Departed comes from a dream team of highly acclaimed anime creators including Tatsuo Sato (Stellvia, Nadesico), Ichiro Okochi (Code Geass, Planetes) and Kouhaku Kuroboshi (Kino’s Journey). The story follows Fumika, a not-so-ordinary mail messenger who delivers not-so-ordinary letters, which Shota, a 16-year-old rocket enthusiast, soon discovers when Fumika and her talking staff Kanaka suddenly appear on his rooftop workshop to deliver a letter from the father of his friend (and love interest), Asuna. However,
Asuna’s dad was dead when he wrote it…

And the other May release is True Tears a solid YA drama with a realistic storyline sensitively animated by veteran director Junji Nishimura whose resumé includes such titles as Simoun and You’re Under Arrest. True Tears tells the story of an aspiring picture book author, Shinichiro Nakagami, who meets Noe Isurugi, an eccentric girl who has lost the ability to cry which marks the beginning of inevitable and irreversible changes in their lives. Set in a provincial Japanese city, True Tears is the tale of a group of adolescents and their tribulations.

For further information please visit the Official Shigofumi Website at
www.bandaivisual.us/shigofumi and the Official True Tears Website at

Shigofumi: Letters from the Departed Specs and Features:

Color / MPEG-2 / DVD-5 / 16:9 anamorphic (LB) / CSS
12-page Full-Color Booklet
Japanese Language Audio (Dolby Digital Stereo) with Optional English Subtitles
Volumes 1-6 each contain 2 episodes, Volume 7 contains 1 episode and priced $29.99
Title: Shigofumi: Letters from the Departed Delivery 1
Format: DVD
Catalog #: BUDH0153
UPC #: 8 58604 00153 0
Street Date: May 13, 2008
SRP: $39.99

© Tomorrow Yuzawa / BANDAI VISUAL, GENCO All Rights Reserved.

True Tears Specs and Features:

Color / MPEG-2 / DVD-5 / 16:9 anamorphic (LB) / CSS
8-page Full-Color Booklet
Japanese Language Audio (Dolby Digital Stereo) with Optional English Subtitles
Volume 1 contains 1 episode, Volumes 2-7 each contain 2 episodes and priced $39.99
Title: True Tears Volume 1
Format: DVD
Catalog #: BUDH0160
UPC #: 8 58604 00160 8
Street Date: May 27, 2008
SRP: $29.99

© 2008 tt Project All Rights Reserved.

Ishinomori In Guinness Record Book

Anime News Network reports Guinness World Records has named the late Shotaro Ishinomori (Cyborg 009, Kamen Rider, Skull Man) the world record-holder for the "most comics published by one author." Over the course of his career which started in 1954, Ishinomori created 770 individual stories which were collected in a total of 500 volumes of manga

Worth Checking Out

Matt Alt notes that Super #1 Robot: Japanese Robot Toys 1972 - 1982 is onsale for $6.99 on Amazon

GONZO produced this Dream Theater music video

Anime Jump's Mike Toole talks Kannon and moe in ANN TV

Kevin Geiger from Animation Options has an article on the developing Chinese animation industry, specifically "Road To Home", on O-Meon

Cerebus creator Dave Sim appears online and responds to questions about manga among others things. Apparently, he isn't too impressed by the important gekiga anthology Garo

Peter van der Lugt (GhibliWorld.com) reviews Fear(s) of the Dark on Twitch

Slate talks The March of Pingu

An interview with Takeshi Miyazawa about trying to break into the Japanese manga industry

An interview with Appleseed: Ex Machina director Shinji Aramaki is on Twitch

Episode episode 59 of Right Stuf's ANIME TODAY podcast talks to FUNimation CEO Gen Fukunaga about the challenges of the current North American anime marketplace, the move toward online distribution and packaged anime collections, the advantages of having an in-house dub studio, and FUNimation’s plans for the rest of 2008.

Production I.G's Ryutaro Nakamura & Chiaki J. Konaka talk session and interview with Le Chevalier D'Eon producer Katsuji Morishita

Tiamat talks to Yen Press

Takehiko Inoue on creating his mural at the Kinokuniya book story in New York.

TOKYOPOP talks to Gakuen Alice's Tachibana Higuchi.

The Reason I Quit My Job as a Manga Editor Epilogue

Via An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla, part two of the jaPRESS interview with Aimee Major Steinberge is here

Twitch also collects links to media for the upcoming CGI Korean giant robot feature Robot Taekwon V

ComiPress on the history of NewType USA

Revoltech posted an amusing photoshop of their Yotsuba figures.

1up reviews One Piece Unlimited Adventure for the Wii.

3D Haruhi Dance from the PS2 game.

Via Danny Choo, very creepy Blythe Dolls

Also, anime group shot

Preview designs of the upcoming Birdy the Mighty anime.

Bleach alteration in the English edition of Shonen Jump.

The Gurren Lagann Olympics

Same Hat! Same Hat! posted the re-issue covers for Kazuo Umezu's Crimson Spider

Let's Anime looks at the secret history of anime parody dubbing

Culture Pulp has a comic interview with Persepolis creator Marjane Satrapi.

Super7 shows off their Valentine's Day Visighost

Iron Man Cartoon Promotional Image

Lucas of Butterboom fame sent me this scan from a UK licensing mag featuring all of Marvel’s big guns for the coming year, including a panel promoting an Iron Man cartoon… that I haven’t heard anything about. It makes sense that they’d have one in development, what with the live action feature building such an insane amount of buzz, but I don’t remember reading anything about it, and I definitely hadn’t seen any artwork from it before now.

Full ad available for your viewing pleasure (including a possibly new Wolverine and the X-Men image?) by clicking here.

New York Comic Con Apologizes for 2008 Passover Scheduling; Moves Back to Feb. in '09

In an open letter posted on the New York Comic Con weblog, convention organizer Lance Fensterman has publicly apologized for the 2008 convention being scheduled over the first few days of Passover in April, citing scheduling constraints at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center as the reason for the decision and assuring con attendees that no slight was intended towards Jewish comic book fans. He also states that the 2009 convention will also move back to February, again due to scheduling constraints.

Andy Serkis Talks "Tintin" to Empire Magazine

Empire magazine briefly spoke with actor Andy Serkis, who states that he has just begun working on the Tintin movie, which will utilize performance capture technologies for the CGI-animated adaptation of the famous Belgian comic. Serkis said little about his experience, or even which character he was playing, but stated that the Tintin movie is being filmed on the same stages in New Zealand as James Cameron's ambitions Avatar movie.

Ratatouille wins PGA award

IHT.com reports that Ratatouille was named the best animated film at the Producers Guild of America awards on Saturday. No Country for Old Men was declared the best feature film of 2007.

Jim Henson Biopic in the Works

Empire Film Group, Inc. has acquired the motion picture production and distribution rights to Henson, an original screenplay by Robert D. Slane that chronicles the life and achievements of Muppets creator, Jim Henson. Empire has pegged the film for production in late summer with a $30 million budget to be funded through a consortium of international presales and co-production partners.

"This is a major project about an entertainer of legendary stature and worldwide acclaim," said Dean Hamilton-Bornstein, CEO of Empire Film Group. "The script is superb and should provide a terrific roadmap for a completed film that will satisfy both mainstream audiences and critics. We're very excited about this acquisition and the commercial caliber of this project."

Henson covers the life of puppeteer, filmmaker and entertainment mogul Jim Henson, from his early fascination with television as a teenager, through his spectacular career and life achievements. Empire anticipates hiring a major director, such as Penny Marshall, and hopes to attract notable star cast in key roles. Bornstein will act as Executive Producer, with Empire Home Entertainment President Eric Parkinson producing the film along with Xavier Mitchell.

"Jim Henson is one of the best known and most beloved entertainers of all time," said Parkinson. "His story is inspiring, tragic, heartwarming and epic, and will make for an important and entertaining motion picture. This is the sort of movie that Empire will be pursuing as we build the company into a leading independent studio."

del Toro NOT Locked Into Hobbit?

The news broke last week and we all rejoiced: Guillermo del Toro is directing the two prequel Hobbit films.

Well...not so fast!

del Toro was talking with Total Film and said while it's something he wants to do let's not all count the chickens just yet.

Says del Toro: "Well, the reality is that the Hobbit story has broken early because the negotiations have not ended and The Hobbit is not a sure thing.”

“The reality is, I will know that it's happening when we have the final word and I am fully and officially on board. I think what happens very often is that these rumors have a way of becoming real or not. I don't expect The Hobbit to be troublesome. But you know, then again, it may never happen... or it may!”

So let's just all keep them fingers crossed and hope it happens.

Video: THX - The audience hears a Who

To spread the word of their upcoming animated feature, Horton Hears A Who, 20th Century Fox has teamed up with THX to create a special Horton-variant of the famous THX announcement logo featuring the films’ main stars, Jim Carry and Steve Carrell as Horton and the major of Who-ville respectively. The video is currently shown in US theaters in front of features granted with the THX quality assurance. The promotional video can currently be viewed online on YouTube.

WALL•E site updated, new character revealed

The official website of Disney/Pixar’s WALL•E has received an update and now features (outside of the charming animated intro) an about the film section, a gallery, downloads and videos. Sections still under construction include Build-A-Bot, Mash Up and Games.

In other WALL•E-related news, Upcoming Pixar points to the films’ IMDb page wich now lists a new character called the Hoverchair Son, voiced by Garrett Palmer.

The Muppets launch new Disney XD site

The Muppets Newsflash points to the Muppets‘ official website, wich has undergone a major restyling and has now become part of the Disney XD network. The new site showcases an array of unseen Muppet-material with already more than 15-minutes of brand-new video content, while you can also enjoy classic clips from the Muppet Show DVDs, the Muppets’ New Years party and even listen to clips from the recent Muppet albums. The new site also features photo gallerys, polls, gags and games. Disney is planning to continue to add content and clips to the site on a regular basis. New content will continue to be added to the existing channels while Fozzie, Gonzo, Pepe, and Animal are in the pipeline to have their own channels launched in the future.

'Wolverine And The X-Men' Trailer Online

The trailer for the upcoming Wolverine And The X-Men cartoon is now online at Cyber-Animation.

The show will debut in the UK on BBC in the first quarter of 2008, but has no release date or network for the USA as of yet.

Here is how the series is described:

When an explosive event shatters the lives of the X-Men and takes away their mentor, the beaten heroes walk away from it all.

But then they're given a rare glimpse into the future, and see a world in utter ruin, ruled by giant destructive robots. A world that spiraled out of control because the X-Men had given up.

So now the most legendary of all X-Men takes the lead - Wolverine! Reuniting these broken heroes, Wolverine embarks on the ultimate mission - to prevent de world's destruction.

To rescue us from ourselves. To save the future.

"Tsubasa Chronicles," "xxxholic" Movies Get DC-Area Screening

xxxholic The Movie and Tsubasa Chronicles The Movie will get a special screening at the Japan Information and Culture Center at the Embassy of Japan on February 28, screening organizers announced today.

Both films will be shown in Japanese with English subtitles. Admission is free but seating will be granted on a first come, first served basis. throughout the year.

[Read the full press release here]

Cartoonist Gus Arriola, 90, created "Gordo" strip

Mexican-American cartoonist and former animator Gus Arriola, the creator of pioneering comic strip Gordo, died Saturday at his Carmel, California home, his publicist said. He was 90.

Arriola had suffered from Parkinson's disease, said publicist Alan Richman.

Gordo, about a Mexican bean farmer turned tour guide, was syndicated in as many as 270 newspapers and ran from 1941 to 1984. It was one of the first ethnic-themed cartoons for mainstream audiences in the United Staes.

In a 2002 interview, Arriola called his creation an "accidental ambassador" for Mexico. The somewhat pudgy anti-hero Gordo Lopez was partial to charro suits and female tourists.

Born in Florence, Arizona on July 17, 1917, Arriola moved to Los Angeles when he was 8. After high school, he got a job animating Krazy Kat at Mintz Studio.

Later, he did story-sketch work for Tom and Jerry cartoons at MGM, where he met his wife of almost 65 years, Mary Frances Sevier. They married the following year and moved to Carmel in the late 1940s; she was at his side when he died.

"Gordo wasn't my fault. Not in the beginning," he wrote in a first-person article that appeared in the Monterey County Herald in September 2006. "I was assigned to design characters for The Lonesome Stranger [a 1940 MGM cartoon short], and they wanted Mexican bandits, which were terrible stereotypes then. One of them was a fat little fellow, which sort of changed my view on the kind of character I wanted to do for my comic strip.

"I cleaned him up a bit, made him a bean farmer and named him
'Gordo,' which is a nickname I had heard for fat guys."

After three years at MGM, Arriola left to produce Gordo, which was purchased by the United Features Syndicate in 1941.

"When I got to United Syndicate, they said, 'What's your philosophy?'" Arriola wrote in the Monterey County Herald article. "I hadn't thought of that. I was just trying to be funny. So I left my portfolio behind and went back home to be an animator.

"Three months later, I was invited to produce a daily comic strip. I was frightened to death, but I signed the contract."

Just a year after he started the strip, his work was interrupted for three and a half years, when he animated training films for the United States Army during the Second World War.

Gordo's animal characters included Señor Dog and Pussy Gato. Gordo cared for them; in return, they offered him bits of philosophical wisdom.

Arriola was "honored" -- after a fashion -- in the 1960 Speedy Gonzales cartoon West Of The Pesos. In the cartoon, Speedy's friends are in jail. The opening sequence has the camera panning down the list of prisoners, including Arriola; however, his surname is misspelled "Ariola."

Arriola published the last Gordo strip on March 2, 1985.

Several years after his retirement, Arriola told the San Francisco Chronicle that he drew the strip for an audience that knew little of Mexico or its culture.

"My main goal was to maintain a positive awareness of Mexico through all the years, every day, without being political," he said in 1989. "When I started, words like 'burrito' were unknown in the United States."

Mexican-American readers viewed some early strips as stereotypical. Arriola changed Gordo's occupation (originally a bandit) and his appearance, making him thinner. Gordo also became more worldly, losing his heavy Mexican accent.

The youngest of nine, Arriola didn't visit Mexico until 1961. However, he learned about Mexican culture from his father, who was born on a hacienda in the Mexican state of Sonora. Arriola himself grew up about 120 miles northwest of the border.

In the strip, Gordo had a nephew named Pepito whom Arriola identified with his only son, Carlin. As Carlin grew up, Pepito did as well.

Arriola said he stopped writing the strip partly because of the 1980 death of Carlin, who succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile accident. In the final cartoon, Pepito was heard as a voice on a tape recording. The strip ended with Gordo marrying Tehuana Mama, his housekeeper.

In 1957, Arriola received a distinguished artist citation from the Artists Club of San Francisco; the award recognized him as a pioneer of comic strip design and color. The National Cartoonists Society feted him in 1957 and 1965 with its Reuben award for Best Humor Strip.

Arriola won the Inkpot Award from the San Diego Comic Convention for Outstanding Achievement in 1981. Last year, CSU-Monterey Bay awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Also last year, the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley acquired the Gordo collection from Arriola. A reception honoring the work is scheduled for next month.

Accidental Ambassador Gordo: The Comic Strip Art of Gus Arriola was published in 2000.

Plans for a memorial service are pending.

Sony Debuts Toon Minisodes

Sony Pictures Television today launched an new animation block on its YouTube channel, The Minisode Network. Located at www.youtube.com/MinisodeNetwork, the channel now offers 4- to 6-minute versions of such animated favorites as Spider-Man, Dilbert, Voltron: Defender of the Universe and The Karate Kid.

This week’s slate of abbreviated toons includes the web slinger’s battle with Electro on Spider-Man, the ultimate search for Voltron on Voltron: Defender of the Universe, Lena’s office transgression with Dogbert on Dilbert, and Daniel and Miyagi’s adventures in Hong Kong on The Karate Kid.

Featuring bite-sized versions of episodes that retain the full-story arc, The Minisode Network debuted on Jan. 7 and has been the sixth most popular channel with YouTube subscribers, according to Sony. Other offerings include the live-action favorites Diff’rent Strokes, I Dream of Jeannie, The Jeffersons, Bewitched, Fantasy Island and other familiar shows from the Sony Pictures Television library.

Simpsons Scribe Creates American Migraine

Democrats face a socio-political dilemma as they try to decide between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama in “2008: Democrat’s Year of Victory,” the latest installment of American Migraine. The irreverent animated web series is created by Tim Long, who has written for The Simpsons and Futurama. He was approached by Huffington Post editor Roy Sekoff to do a series, and in turn enlisted the talents of Xeth Feinberg, the animator of Queer Duck: the Movie.

“The plan was originally to do one every two weeks,” Long tells us. “So far, we've done two in seven months, and only this last one was any good. Why so few? Mostly because I'm unbelievably lazy. But I'm now hoping to do them more frequently because I feel as if Xeth and I hit our stride on this last one, and also because there's probably going to be a lot more political stuff to make fun of as the year goes on. Plus, the Writers Guild is on strike, and my wife insists that I do something to keep from pestering her all day.”

Long knew of Feinberg from his work on fellow Simpsons writer Mike Reiss’ Queer Duck series. Feinberg gets the Migraine audio tracks from Long and does all the artwork, boards and animation over the course of about a week.

“I basically send him a completed animation to review, done the way I think it should be,” notes Feinberg. “We then banter directorial issues back and forth til we're both happy. But it's his baby, ultimately.”

You can view the latest American Migraine cartoon on AniMagTV.

Porchlight Gets Loopdidoo

PorchLight Home Entertainment has acquired U.S. DVD distribution rights for Cake Distribution’s animated children’s show Loopdidoo. Based on the popular Grabouillon comic books by Alexis Nesme, the series is aims to entertain kids three-five when it begins airing on VOOM HD Networks’ Animania HD in the U.S. this spring.

Loopdidoo is the name of a goofy dog whose best friend is a five-year-old named Petunia. Seemingly harmless situations soon turn into big adventures for the duo, especially when Loopdidoo’s well-intentioned enthusiasm gets out of hand. The show is already a hit in Europe and Porchlight hopes it will win over preschoolers in the U.S. as well. The show is co-produced by French house Blue Spirit Animation and France 5.

In joining the Porchlight Home Entertainment catalog, Loopidoo is in good company with the LeapFrog holiday special A Tad of Christmas Cheer and the Wheels on the Bus, Little Playdates and Travel With Kids series. The company also plans to distribute the classic PBS series Adventures From the Book of Virtues.

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