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Tag Archive: anthropomorphism


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The 1908 children’s book The Wind in the Willows is one of those fantastic books that belong on the shelf along with The Hobbit, Winnie the Pooh, and Huckleberry Finn.  Seven famous illustrators (and countless others) over the years have provided the visual representations of Kenneth Grahame’s famous Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger including Paul Bransom, Ernest H. Shepard, Arthur Rackham, Tasha Tudor, Michael Hague, Scott McKowen, and Robert Ingpen.  Tomorrow IDW Publishing is releasing its own hardcover edition, and we can add David Petersen to the list of great illustrators taking on this classic work.

The Wind in the Willows was a three-year project for Petersen, the artist who brought a new generation the anthropomorphic world of brave mice in his Mouse Guard series.  Petersen supplied twenty full-color illustrations and fifty pen and ink illustrations for this new edition of Grahame’s book.  Fans of Petersen’s mice will find similar themes here, including an unexpected journey, daring adventure, and humorous tales of the riverbank.  Check out a preview below courtesy of IDW Publishing.

You’ll meet Mole, tired of house cleaning and seeking adventures along the riverbank, who finds the accommodating and friendly Rat, and together they join up with the obnoxious but redeemable Toad, and the solitary Badger helps them all in the book’s exciting finale.  Content to enjoy the pastoral life of countryside England, but ready when called to protect their friends and show their bravery, these animals provide a guide for kids to be good to others, respect each other, and embrace the differences in others.  Friendship, living in a community, leaving each to his or her own activities or mixing in and having adventures together–there is room for everyone in the Wild Wood.

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As for the original story, the word choice is magnificent–each sentence of Kenneth Grahame’s narrative is pure, lavish artistry and a joy to read.  It’s no wonder President Theodore Roosevelt helped get the original edition published–he’d read the book over and over, and later said he considered the animal characters as old friends.

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Sing movie

We at borg.com are fans of anthropomorphic animals, whether they come in the form of Muppets or found in Alice in Wonderland or The Golden Compass.  A new movie coming from Universal Studios’ Illumination group, the studio that released Despicable Me, features animals pursuing their musical dreams in the city.  Sing features an all-star cast of actors’ voicing an American Idol-inspired competition.

A trailer released this week reveals a host of endearing competitors.  So endearing you cannot help but want to know… Who is going to win?

Sing stars Matthew McConaughey (a koala bear named Buster Moon who runs a movie theater in need of a kickstart), with contestants Reese Witherspoon (Rosita, a mother pig), Seth MacFarlane (Mike, a mouse), Scarlett Johansson (Ash, a punk rock porcupine), Taron Egerton (Johnny, a young gangsta gorilla), Tori Kelly (Meena, a teenaged elephant), and John C. Reilly.  The film is directed and written by Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

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Check out the trailer:

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We3 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

Commentary by Jason McClain (@jtorreymcclain)

I think the Internet exists at its core for three basic things: seeing people in various stages of undress to ogle beach bodies, looking at photos that proud parents post of their progeny, and single folk and childless couples with their pictures of pets.

When I watched the pilot of the TV series The New Normal, the choice to adopt a child by two men in a committed relationship hit a snag, so the couple at the core of the story looked at pet adoption.  I can’t call that cliché because that truth exists for a lot of couples and single people out there as pets fill that spot in so many lives of wanting to share unconditional love.  Yes, it is a well-trod joke and yes, as a plot device I wouldn’t call it “fresh”, but that’s because just like crazy in-laws or perceived infidelity, everyone can relate to it.  The key is finding the heart behind that moment and making the situation unique while relatable.  In the case of The New Normal, it was pushing around a baby carriage with a puppy inside.

We3 takes putting a puppy in a man-made object to a completely different level.  I recently finished the trade hardback that compiles all three individual issues of this series (written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely) as it tells the story of a dog, a cat and a rabbit outfitted with cybernetic exoskeletons that enables them to fight and battle with just about any enemy.  (Editor – would that make them Aniborgs?)*  Each animal brings its own specific skills to its cybernetic life and how the scientists created and augmented the animals draws out those natural abilities.  To get feedback in both directions, the animals even have automated speech systems to translate thoughts into words.  Their English communication is rudimentary, as you’d expect, but wonderfully written and the concerns of We3 exhibit how I believe animals would think about home, solitude and food.

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