Oy, it's been a while since I contributed. And my first news report after months of absence is a biggie. POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE VOICE RECORDING COMPLETED PPG creator Craig McCracken posted to the GIRLTALK forum at powerpuff.com yesterday to announce, "The storyboard for the Powerpuff feature is finished and we recorded it with the entire original cast a few weeks ago." http://www.powerpuff.com/gt/ In related news, Kid Rhino will release MOJO JOJO RISING, "the Powerpuff Girls' first read-along adventure" on June 16th. It appears this title will be available only on cassette, unfortunately. http://www.rhino.com/features/76728p.html Also, a Powerpuff Girls action game is being developed by BAM Entertainment - http://www.bam4fun.com/ - for the Nintendo GameCube console. It will probably arrive in stores in conjunction with the theatrical debut of the PPG movie Summer 2002. BAM Entertainment has previously produced 3 PPG games for Game Boy Color: http://www.toonzone.net/store/games/powerpuff.html TOONAMI ROCKS WITH RHINO On May 15th, Rhino Records - http://www.rhino.com/ - released TOONAMI: DEEP SPACE BASS, a CD collection of phat, phunky and phresh grooves (by composer Joe Boyd Vigil) as heard on Cartoon Network's TOONAMI. The 18-track disc features music heard before TOONAMI's shows such as Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing, The Powerpuff Girls, and Sailor Moon. "This CD represents the best selections of the last three years," says Sean Akins, TOONAMI creative director. "Hopefully, it will be the first of many." This enhanced CD also includes, according to the AOL/Time-Warner press release: "a link that will give the fan access to an exclusive Web page. Once there, CD buyers can listen to an exclusive bonus track not included on the CD, as well as downloadable Toonami icons and wallpaper. Another feature, Toonami Movie Director, will allow Internet users to create their own music video using music and video images from Toonami." TOONAMI: DEEP SPACE BASS is currently featured on rhino.com with both RealAudio and Quicktime samples from the album, as well as liner and track notes: http://www.rhino.com/features/76730p.html THE IRON GIANT SPECIAL EDITION DVD We first broke news here last August that a special edition DVD release of Warner Bros highly-acclaimed feature film "The Iron Giant" was in development: http://www.toonzone.net/news/2000/aug/12/giant_dvd.html In the months following, I unsuccessfully labored to get official confirmation of this with Warner Home Video. And when it was announced that IG director Brad Bird was going to work for Pixar, many IG fans figured that was the end of it - that the project would be shelved. Without Brad at the helm, the chances of WHV continuing the project seemed impossible. In February, I was told by the same original source that production on the special edition had continued in spite of Brad's absence. What's more, that there were additional bonus features to be included. It seemed like a good April Fool's gag, but not in February. I was too skeptical of the news to believe it. And after personally speaking to a number of representatives at Warner Bros. and WHV who stated repeatedly that they knew nothing of such a project, I decided that it was just a rumor and did not report the news here. It seems that another source had better contacts than I, and on March 5th, Digital Media FX broke the news that said project was indeed in the works. 10 days later, they followed up with the report that a release was scheduled sometime between July and August, with a list of features to be included on this collector's edition DVD, which mentions outtakes and a director's commentary by Brad Bird. http://www.digitalmediafx.com/Newsletter/animation01.html#2 On May 30th, The Digital Bits - http://thedigitalbits.com - reported that "upcoming [WHV] titles for June, July and August will include ... [a] special edition of 'The Iron Giant.'" To date, I still have been unable to confirm any of these details with anyone at WB or WHV. Until there is an official announcement, we'll just have to hope for the best. Let's just hope they don't repeat history and wait too late to announce it, and that this time they give this great film the exposure it deserves -- supporting this release with an aggressive marketing campaign. MORE LOONEY TUNES CDS FROM RHINO Two new titles are listed on Rhino Records' list of upcoming releases in August: http://www.rhino.com/new/upcoming.html August 21 - That's All Folks! Cartoon Songs From Merrie Melodies & Looney Tunes - 2CDs August 28 - Crash! Bang! Boom! The Best Of Warner Bros. Sound FX (DVD-AUDIO) No other details are given on these titles, but I hope to have an update shortly. BATMAN AND MICKEY: KISSING COUSINS? There's a good possibility that Disney may acquire Hasbro, Inc. in the future. According to Hasbro's 2000 annual report, Disney has expressed interest in purchasing Hasbro: http://www.corporate-ir.net/ireye/ir_site.zhtml?ticker=HAS&script=700&layout=7 The first hint of this came last October when "Disney and Hasbro announced a broad multi-year corporate alliance that will allow Hasbro to develop and market toys and games associated with upcoming Disney-branded film properties," according to TheStreet.com. "Financial terms were not disclosed." With Pokémon sales (not to mention Star Wars) steadily declining, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see this merger take place. And you know what that means - Theme Park Batman action figure with Mickey Mouse cowel accessory. [Source: http://transformers.pitas.com/ ] ANIMATION FUN @ THE SAN DIEGO CON Many animation fans are eagerly counting down the days until July 19 - 22 for the San Diego Comic-Con International, "America’s biggest comic book and popular culture convention." A number of programming events and guests related to animated cartoons are scheduled, including panel discussions hosted by Cartoon Network, Walt Disney Studios, Nickelodeon (Invader Zim, The Fairly Oddparents), Don Bluth (Titan A.E. Dragon's Lair), The Simpsons, Futurama, and John Kricfalusi (The Ripping Friends). The first episodes from SAMURAI JACK, the new Cartoon Network series from Dexter's Laboratory creator Genndy Tartakovsky, will debut in a 90-minute "movie" format exclusively at the San Diego Con on Friday, July 20. (CN Online is offering a sneak peek at this new action-adventure series: http://cartoonnetwork.com/theater/ ) According to the latest issue of the Con's newsletter, "Cartoon Network will be showcasing a 2-hour event with the screening and a panel discussion featuring Tartakovsky and other creative talent from the show." The following day, CN "will host a panel and screening [of] SPACE GHOST COAST-TO-COAST." Attendees can "expect creative talent from the show and a brand new show material." C. Martin Croker, voice of Zorak and Moltar, is a confirmed guest. Also attending the San Diego Con: Bruce Timm (Justice League, Batman producer) Rick Burchett (DC Comics artist: Batman Adventures) Earl Kress (Pinky & The Brain writer) Marty Isenberg (Batman: TAS writer) Jesse Leon McCann (Animaniacs, P&TB comics writer) Greg Rucka (DC Comics writer) Eric Radomski (Batman: TAS and Mask of the Phantasm director) Michael Reaves (BTAS story editor, MOTP writer) Marv Wolfman (Batman, Superman writer) Neil D. Vokes (Superman Adventures comic artist) Mark Evanier - http://www.povonline.com - will be hosting a "Cartoon Voices" panel, featuring a handful of animation voice actor regulars, some known for their work in Warner Bros cartoons: - Bob Bergen - The Iron Giant, Space Jam, Tiny Toon Adventures, voice of Porky Pig - Gregg Berger - Men In Black: The Series, Garfield & Friends, Transformers - Greg Berg - Muppet Babies, Garfield & Friends Mark says that he is "waiting to hear from several others" he has asked to serve as guest panelists. It's also possible that Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls, Spongebob Squarepants, Rocko's Modern Life) will be attending the Con with some of his fellow cast members from the HBO TV series "Mr. Show", but it hasn't been confirmed yet. For more details on this HUGE entertainment event, visit the Con's official site: http://www.comic-con.org/ (Look for pictures from last year's con to be posted here later this week.) And who knows, maybe I'll see you there.