The Art of Ferdinand (Titan Books, $40) puts the colorful world of Blue Sky’s latest release into your hooves, with 160 pages of behind-the-scenes art and insights. Author Tara Bennett (The Art of Rio) deftly guides readers on a visually rich journey through an animated Spain, from Ferdinand’s quiet farm to the bustle of the big city. Plus, foreword by Carlos Saldanha. Little ones will love the Viking Books re-issue of Munro Leaf’s The Story of Ferdinand with adorable plush toy ($19).
Released a few months ago, Awakening Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle (Weldon Owen, $50) is a must-have for fans of mid-20th century animation and artwork. Assembled by The Walt Disney Family Museum in conjunction with a commemorative show, about a third of the book is dedicated to Earle’s work on Disney films like Sleeping Beauty. Much of the written information will be familiar to readers of his autobiography, but the artworks are beautifully reproduced.
With his latest project Blade Runner 2049 released, it’s a great time to get re-acquainted with The Movie Art of Syd Mead: Visual Futurist (Titan Books, $50). The 250+ page hardcover is the most comprehensive collection yet of Mead’s visionary conceptual work over the past 40 years. With images, sketches and never-before-scene material, each page gives fresh insight into the master’s creative practice.
Our stocking-stuff pick this year is the new boxed set of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: The Flipbooks (Disney Edition, $60). Introduced by Pete Docter, each little gem features a line-drawn scene originally animated by legends Ub Iwerks, Norm Ferguson, Bill Tytla, Ham Luske, Art Babbitt, Grim Gatwick, Freddie Moore, Hal King and John Sibley.
DELUXE TOY BOX
Spoil the Star Wars fans on your list! Big kids (like us) would love to unwrap the Jedi Challenges AR Experience kit from Lenovo ($200, Best Buy) or an App-Enabled Droid from Sphero ($150), available in BB-9E, BB-8 and R2-D2 flavors. And for lucky little Jedi-in-training, you cannot beat the Landspeeder 12 Volt Ride On from Radio Flyer, a mere $500 at Toys R Us.
For unstoppable indie animators, gamers and VR pioneers, nothing could beat a full-body suit of Enflux Motion Capture Clothing, a relative steal at just $500. The gear includes free Unity SDKs and Blender motion-capture plugin, plus free email support and a 12-month guarantee. Available in figure-flattering black!
If you were thinking about a holiday marriage proposal with a flashy ring, can we suggest instead the fantastic, interactive, fully mobile and app-enabled Tachikoma from Cerevo? At $1,800, it’ll show the Ghost in the Shell fan of your dreams that you really care. (available at gstore.cerevo.com)
How Marvelous! Bodyfriend Inc. has come out with striking Massage Chairs inspired by Captain America, Iron Man and Spider-Man ($1,580, bodyfriend.com) to unwind after a long day of crime fighting. Logan Hollowell has sparkle covered with the Thor: Ragnarok jewelry line, including Hela Green Agate Constellation Ring ($350, loganhollowell.com). More practical is Ukonic’s Thor Hammer Tool Kit ($99, thinkgeek.com). It’s true, you really can license anything.
HOME (ENTERTAINMENT) FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Calling all anime-niacs! Gift-worthy new releases include Project Itoh’s dystopian meditation on terrorism and security Genocidal Organ (Funimation, $35 BD | $30 DVD); Sentai Filmworks BD box sets of The Squid Girl S1 & 2 ($200) and Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto! ($170) packed with goodies; Bayview BD Ultra Edition sets of Revolutionary Girl Utena 20th Anniversary ($230) and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing ($270); and the third season of Sailor Moon Crystal (VIZ, $80 LE BD | $40). Gift cards can go towards the two-movie Barefoot Gen set, out Dec. 26 (Discotek, $30 BD | $20).
Brush up on your superhero lore with the limited edition DC Universe: 10th Anniversary Collection Blu-ray box (WB, $300 SRP). In addition to 30 animated DCU movies and five shorts — from classic comic-book arcs like Superman Doomsday to toon originals like Gods and Monsters — the set includes over 20 hours of brand-new and classic bonus content, exclusive collectible coins and a 40-page adult coloring book. (No, not the “I left ‘safe search’ off doing a Google image search for Harley Quinn” kind of adult.)
Take home the interlocking action of The LEGO Ninjago Movie on DVD, BD, BD 3D and 4K ($29, $36, $45, $45) from WB, and relive Green Ninja Lloyd’s (Dave Franco) struggles against the forces of ultimate darkness — lead by his dad! The upper echelon releases tack on tons of extras, including behind-the-scenes featurettes, mini-movies, music videos and deleted scenes.
Feed your visual sweettooth with the pure eye-candy of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Lionsgate, $40 BD). Adapted from the popular French comics, director Luc Besson takes full advantage of cutting-edge animation and vfx to follow Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Loreline (Cara Delevigne) on a frenetic interstellar adventure. Also on 4K Ultra HD ($43) and DVD ($30).
For a touch of European eccentricity, we recommend Stéphane Aubier & Vincent Patar’s cult-hit stop-motion series A Town Called Panic: The Collection (GKIDS, $25 BD), and enjoy the antics of plastic heroes Cowboy, Indian and Horse, who never fail to attract chaos.
LOOK TO THE FUTURE!
Peanuts 2018 Day-to-Day Calendar
Rick and Morty 16-Month 2018 Calendar
Wallace & Gromit Official Slim 2018 Calendar
Disney Villains 2018 Calendar
…AND LOOK GOOD IN THE FUTURE!
Game of Thrones Dragonstone Tee ($25, store.hbo.com)
My Neighbor Totoro Cosplay Dress ($41-43, hottopic.com)
Nickelodeon X Love Tribe Collection (lovetribeapparel.com | Macy’s)
Steven Universe Jacket ($60, cartoonnetworkshop.com)
Stranger Things Team Barb Tee ($29, boxlunch.com)