SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A former Sioux Falls man is making his mark in Hollywood.
Tony Fleecs has made a name for himself as the artist for the “My Little Pony” Comic books.
But now he’s branching out in Los Angeles as the creator and writer of a new comic book series that could eventually end up as a movie.

Tony Fleecs started working on My Little Pony in 2012. Drawing My Little Pony has given Tony Fleecs steady work in the comic industry and allowed him to finally create his own comic book series. It’s called Stray Dogs. It’s described as All Dogs Go to Heaven meets Silence of the Lambs.
And one thing you should know right off the bat, the comic is not meant for kids.

Tony came up with the idea while watching a TV show about a serial killer, who just happened to have a dog.

Brian Ernst works at Rainbow Comics and has known Tony for 20 years.

“Stray Dogs is five-issue miniseries from image comics and it’s got one of those easy-to-remember taglines, it’s a serial killer who takes his victim’s dogs as his trophies,” Brian Ernst said.

The story is told from the viewpoint of the dogs. Like movies, some comic books come with their own trailers.

Brian sets it up for us.

“The serial killer wasn’t as careful this time, and this dog witnessed it, so then she comes into the group and she’s the only one that knows the secret,” Ernst said.

Although Tony is an artist, on this project he’s the creator and writer. His partner Trish Forstner is doing the artwork.

Tony used to hang out at Rainbow Comics in Sioux Falls, so his friends here came up with the limited edition with a unique cover, which is only sold at Rainbow and JJ’s Comics.

One of the cool things about the rainbow version is you are going to see actual dogs from Sioux Falls.

“So it’s got the logo where it says the name of the store, and then it has the store owners dog and it says JJ’s Comics, and it has JJ’s dog, and it says the radio show or podcast host’s dog, and it’s the podcast host’s dog. It was just sort of a nice way for us to say thanks,” Tony Fleecs said.

Not only is the series being well-received nationwide in the comic book world, but Hollywood has also come calling. Paramount Pictures bought the rights to Stray Dogs.

“And so they give us a certain amount of money to just try and develop the movie at Paramount Animation for 18 months. And at the end of that 18 months or anytime in the middle, they can go like, ok this is cool let’s make it. And if they do that then they give us just a ton of money, so that’s awesome,” Fleecs said.

If they don’t follow through, Tony and his partner Trish can sell the movie rights to someone else.
He says he doesn’t want to jinx it, but Tony feels pretty good about the chances of seeing Stray Dogs on the big screen.

And that has a lot to do with Covid , and production being weird. You know, like, it’s really hard to get a whole crew together to make a movie, but animation they can make from people’s homes,” Fleecs said.

As Tony waits for news of the movie deal, he’s as busy as ever. Doing the artwork for a Rick and Morty series and his next project is a My Little Pony – Transformers crossover.

“I’m just happy for my friend, he’s so deserving, he’s worked so hard and to finally get this kind of level of success it just makes me so happy for him,” Ernst said.

“It feels greedy to hope for anything else, it’s being published by my favorite publisher and it looks exactly how I wanted it to look, the artist Trish just nailed it. Paramount Pictures bought it and gave us a nice check, I could not ask for anything else. It’s gone amazing,” Fleecs said.

Stray Dogs is available at comic book stores around the country. The rainbow edition sells for $5.