Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Why furries should care about politics in 2018 – guest post by WhiteClaw.

by Patch O'Furr

There seemed to be a tipping point when outsiders started looking deeper into furry fandom, more than tapping on the zoo window and making lazy jokes. They started writing things better than “those freaks” or “Furry 101”. Then there was a change beyond warmer media (whose approval isn’t needed, anyways). Members started standing for a growing and more grown-up community by ditching some excess baggage. It was the best of both worlds – people caring more and all the fun and freedom too. Of course failures tag along when you have more people getting involved. For example, at Midwest FurFest 2017, there was drama about one guy being arrested for trolling. But that was just one. The real story was about success of the con heading towards 10,000 happy attendees.

Making room for more and better things means caring in many ways. Here’s a look at one way. Thanks to Whiteclaw for the guest post. (- Patch)

Why furries should care about politics – by Whiteclaw.

Politics + anthropomorphism = great art

“Keep politics out of furry.”

You’ve probably seen this type of comment. Maybe you’ve made it yourself. Given its polarizing nature, talking about politics is a fast way to lose friends and make enemies. And that’s just with regular people. So why bring it into the fandom?

Furries are a group of people that love anthromorphic animals. But the key word there is “people.” Because behind every fox/wolf/cat/badger/dragon/etc. is a person. And that person is affected by politics. The fact that we roleplay as animals online doesn’t change this.

“Furry is an escape. I shouldn’t have to talk about politics here.”

There’s a valid point here in that we can’t and shouldn’t be focused on politics every second of every day. Yes we sometimes need to take a break from the awfulness of the world and furry is a great way to do that.

But an escape in this sense implies a break or a time-out. It suggests that we’re involved in dealing with these issues at some point. And if we never do, if we’re always “escaping” politics, then furry isn’t an escape, it’s an excuse.

More than that, furry doesn’t have to be just something you do, it can be something you are. In the 1990’s there was a split between fans who only looked up to professional artists, and ones they looked down on as “lifestylers” for acting like their own community. Now it is one. Politics affects our community the same way it does any other. The sheer diversity of the fandom means that, in some ways, it affects us more.

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Rukus premiere at SF Indie Fest (2/2/18) – a furry movie says Lights, Camera, Anthros!

by Patch O'Furr

RUKUS at the 20th annual SF Indie Fest

February 2, 7:00 PM / February 5, 9:15 PM

Roxie theater, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco

RSVP at Meetup to join the furmeet – 2nd showfest info

Rukus – a fiction/documentary hybrid by Brett Hanover

Birth of an indie furry movie scene

Videowolf’s documentary Fursonas [2016] was a landmark, even if it split watchers between love and hate. (Wag your tail if good movie making comes before “does it make the fandom look good?”) It wasn’t the first feature-length indie production by furries – that was the only-fandom-seen Bitter Lake [2011].  It wasn’t the first high quality movie that had them in it – that was the German arthouse gem Finsterworld [2013].  But it was a movie that broke through to more than only a “furry movie” by aiming for a thoughtful, critical look at subculture and identity. It just happened to be directed by and about furries. Now they don’t just follow behind mass media that many claim not to depend on. They also make it and play on bigger screens.

At roughly the same time, Zootopia [2016] was a huge event. Animation may be the holy grail for furriness on screen, but a behemoth budget from Disney is light years from the cottage industry where fandom gets its strength. Zootopia was merely a “furry” movie, as in, one whose directors won’t let you call it that. Journalist Joe Strike had a story about that in his book Furry Nation (another first for publishing in 2017.)

I was invited to a Zootopia press junket the week before the film premiered and was granted one-on-one time with Byron and his directing partner, Rich Moore. I immediately — and perhaps not too wisely — asked if the teaser was a “dog whistle” to the furry community. Howard deftly dodged my questions, and not long after the interview I received an email from my upset editor, who’d been contacted by an upset Disney PR person. – (Joe Strike, Furry Nation, p. 333)

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Mascot Fur Life – movie reviews by Rex Masters and Flash Hound

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Rex and Flash for their reviews! Dogpatch Press welcomes community access writers – get in touch. – Patch

A review of Mascot Fur Life

I have just watched a film titled Mascot Fur Life (2016 German with English subtitles). To be honest I was a bit apprehensive to watch another “furry film/ documentary” – the last one I watched left me feeling betrayed and hollow inside. Anyway, on to this film.

The main character is a Lion named Willion Richards.  Willion’s dream is to be the mascot of a soccer team.  He trains very hard with the help of his coach Berk.  Life is difficult for Willion, who struggles as a greeter in a large hardware store.

The film is professionally made, with excellent editing, good camera angles, great sets, and most scenes being shot on location.  I’m sure none of us will argue that the costumes aren’t first rate!

Can Willion make the tryouts?  Will this lion be happy, or forever doomed to work at a hardware store?  Will he overcome despair and the prejudice against him? Can he even pay the rent for his flat?

I found this film to be most enjoyable; in fact, I highly recommend you see it!

It most assuredly receives a Five Paw rating from this old dog.

– Rex Masters

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Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, by John Crowley – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, by John Crowley. Illustrated by Melody Newcomb.
NYC, Saga Press, October 2017, hardcover $28.99 ([4 +] 442 [+2] pages), trade paperback $16.99, Kindle $7.99.

This is the story of Dar Oakley, “the first Crow in all of history with a name of his own” (blurb). It is told by a nameless human narrator in the time of death, when both humans and Crows are all dying. The narrator’s wife Debra has just died, and he is sick, delirious, and alone in his country house. He finds a sick, obviously dying Crow in his back yard:

“I approached it warily – those bills are sharp – and heard from several directions the calling of other Crows, so close I thought I ought to be able to see them, though I couldn’t. The sick one made no attempt to get away, and didn’t even watch me come closer. Or so I thought then. It would take me a long time to understand that Crows, courting or walking a field together, never turning heir heads to observe one another, aren’t indifferent to or unconscious of their neighbors. No. A Crow’s eyes are set far apart, far enough apart that he can best see very close things out of only one eye. Crows beside one another are, in their way, face-to-face.” (p. 4)

The narrator brings the dying Crow into his house on a shovel. But the Crow does not die, nor does the narrator. During the next two years the Crow and the narrator, always alone, both get well, and the narrator learn to talk to the Crow. The Crow, Dar Oakley, tells him his life story. All two thousand years of it:

“He tells me now that he can’t remember much at all of the worst days of his sickness, and the story that I tell – the backyard, the Crows, the shovel, the bathtub – will have to do for him as well as for me. The one thing he knew and I didn’t was that he wouldn’t die. That would take more than a bout of West Nile, if that’s what this was.” (p. 6)

Ka pages 13 to 442 are Dar Oakley’s story. It starts long before the days of Julius Caesar, in the lands of the Celts in northern Europe. One day the Crow who would become Dar Oakley was boasting to a wandering Vagrant Crow:

“‘You’d probably not believe me,’ Dar Oakley said one day to the Vagrant, ‘if I told you how far from here I’ve been.’

The Vagrant, poking in the mud of a pond’s edge for larvae or Frog’s eggs or whatever else might turn up, said nothing in response.

‘I’ve been where there are no Crows at all,’ Dar Oakley said. ‘None anywhere but me.’

‘No such place,’ the Vagrant averred,

‘Oh no?’ said Dar Oakley. ‘Go as far as I have,’

The Vagrant stopped his hunting. ‘Listen, fledgling.’ He said, in a low but not soft voice. ‘Long ago I left the places where I grew up. I was run out. Never mind why. Always between then and now I’ve been on the wing.’” (p. 17)

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2017 Ursa Major Awards nominations open now!

by Patch O'Furr

On Sunday evening at Further Confusion, I chatted with Mark Merlino and Rod O’Riley of the Prancing Skiltaire furry house, founders of ConFurence, the first furry con. We talked about how a certain fandom controversy today is dragging on one that started all the way back with the divide between fans and “lifestylers”. That is, people who only liked furry stuff – vs. people who dared call themselves Furries, with a community beyond simply being a consumer for anthropomorphic animal media. It looks out for its members like any other.

This community recognizes contributors with annual awards. The awards are funded by Rod and Mark, and they need help. It’s a modest 3-digit cost… but still the help has to happen. We discussed the monthly model of Patreon vs. a one-time cost of GoFundMe or IndieGogo. Expect more info on that soon. Furry readers: is this something you would contribute to? Please speak up in the comments! – Patch  

Fred Patten tells more about those awards:

Nominations for the 2017 Ursa Major Awards opened on January 11, the first day of Further Confusion 2018. The awards celebrate the best anthropomorphic literature and art first published during the previous calendar year.

Visit their site to participate: http://www.ursamajorawards.org/

The awards are selected through a two-stage process of nomination and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the twelve categories. The top nominations in each category are then presented for a public vote.

Award categories:

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Arcana: A Tarot Anthology, Madison Scott-Clary, ed. – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Arcana: A Tarot Anthology, Madison Scott-Clary, ed. Illustrated by Joseph Chou.
Lansing, MI, Thurston Howl Publications, November 2017, trade paperback, $17.99 (xi + 423 pages).

The tarot cards, according to the Preface by editor Scott-Clary, were introduced to Europe in the 15th century. They have been used for fortune-telling since the 16thth century, if not earlier. There are four suits of 14 cards each, plus 22 “major arcana” cards. The arcana have individual names: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Hierophant, and so on. Arcana: A Tarot Anthology presents 22 stories, one for each arcana card, featuring anthro animals. Each is illustrated by a full-page portrait in the style of an anthro arcana card by Joseph Chou.

The first story, “The First Step” (The Fool) by editor Madison “Makyo” Scott-Clary, is less a story than a tutorial on how tarot fortune-telling works. Avery, a shy young mountain lion, is sent by his mother to a nameless older badger fortune-teller by his mother. Avery, the narrator, is just about to leave home for college, and his mother insists that he find out from the tarot cards what the future will bring. The motherly badger is as much a lay psychologist as a fortune-teller. “The First Step” is unusual in being narrated in the present tense:

“She leans in close to me, stage-whispering, ‘I’ll let you in on a secret. None of the cards in the swords suit – in any suits – show blood. Death, yes. Change, definitely. But no blood.   It’s hardly hacking and slashing.’

‘But they’re still –‘

She holds up a paw. ‘They’re still swords, but they’re tools. Swords show work. Strife, sometimes, sure; striving toward a goal. But what they is show work. These swords aren’t working right now, they’re just standing there. So where is the striving?’

‘Behind them?’ I ask. “They figures are all facing away from something.’

‘Or toward something.’

‘So,’ I say hesitantly. ‘I’m going to go on a journey?’” (p. 11)

“Cat’s Paw” (The Magician) by Mut is narrated by a nameless desperate were-dog who accosts a lion-man wizard and his date in a bar to get his curse removed. But nobody is what they seem. Very sardonically amusing:

“So here’s the secret to spotting a wizard: look for the one with a body that’s just too perfect. There’s a stud who’s six three, muscles fighting to escape his shirt, not a hair out of place? Wizard. Or a porn star, maybe, but probably a wizard.

[…]

I’d been trawling through bars for a wizard all evening, ad it was getting close to the deadline. I’d found a couple of almosts and one obvious poseur, but nobody with real magic. This guy, though, he was unmistakeable. He hadn’t even bothered to keep it human – too green to know better, or too powerful to care. He was a lion, with a mane and golden fur and whiskers and everything. There was even a tail flicking away under the barstool.” (pgs. 21-22)

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Myre: Chronicles of Yria, Vol. 1, by Claudya Schmidt and Matt W. Davis – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Myre: Chronicles of Yria, volume 1, by Claudya Schmidt and Matt W. Davis
Berlin, AlectorFencer, January 2017, hardcover €35,00 (unpaged [172 pages]), softcover €29,00. Shipping to North America: add €8,00 for the hardcover; €5,00 for the softcover.

Claudya Schmidt and Matt W. Davis are better-known in furry fandom as the artist AlectorFencer and the stand-up comedian 2, the Ranting Gryphon. They, primarily AlectorFencer with 2’s help in plotting and writing, have been working on Myre for seven years. Now, thanks to long work and the financial aid of many Crowdsourcing supporters, the first volume of a planned trilogy is out. It’s only available from AlectorFencer at her home in Berlin, but they have published the English edition first. A German edition will be available in 2018 at the same prices.

Myre is a monumental undertaking. The hardcover edition is 13” x 9”; the softcover is almost as large at 12” x 8”. It is in full glossy color, 160 pages of story and 12 pages of concept art. Both editions come wrapped in cellophane. The hardcover has a sewn-in ribbon bookmark. The total price (book + shipping) is about $US55.00 for the hardcover or $US40.00 for the softcover.

Myre is a cigarette-smoking, hardbitten maned-wolf wanderer who comes out of Yria’s desert. She rides her dragon-mount Varug. Obviously, “dragon” here means something other than traditional flying, fire-breathing reptiles, although just what Varug is will be developed in the story. She is more than a Yrian horse, though. She and Myre are close friends. Yria is a huge world. This part of Myre’s adventure takes place in Yria’s desert wastelands; there is much more elsewhere.

(Well, AlectorFencer says in the FAQ on yriachronicles.com that Yria is a fantasy world. Many characters look like anthropomorphic Earth animals, and many are completely original. So calling any of them a maned-wolf, a badger, a lion, or any other Earth animal is too simplistic. For practical purposes, though, Myre is a red-haired anthro maned-wolf.)

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Project Anthro, by Dallin Newell – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Project Anthro, by Dallin Newell
Raleigh, NC, Lulu Press, October 2017, hardcover $28.80 (264 pages), trade paperback $12.00, Kindle $9.00.

I am confused. This book says both that it is printed by Lulu Press and by CreateSpace in North Charleston, SC. It also says “First printing, 2017”, but the Barnes & Noble website shows it with a different cover (but the same blurb), published by Page Publishing, Inc. and dated December 2016. Newell has a Facebook page devoted to Project Anthro, where it is described as “A Book Series”. Newall says, “Project Anthro 2 is written and ready to go out to publishing,” and that it is a planned quartet.

Whatever. The premise as described in the blurb seems furrier and more exciting than the novel itself. “During the Cold War, a project that was introduced during WWI has been revived, which involves weaponizing and creating anthropomorphic animals to become operatives, known as anthros. Chance Logan is a red fox, standing at five eleven, born in Australia [Newell says on Facebook and in the novel that Logan was born in London and raised in Canberra], and worked for ASIS (Australian Secret Intelligence Service). […]”

Chance learns that a high-placed American CIA executive, John Lance, has gone rogue and is planning to use America’s secret agentry “to completely obliterate the two world superpowers, the USSR and the USA.” Lance is also a human supremacist who believes that all anthros are bioengineered to “do nothing but kill.” Logan recruits “a whole team of anthros” to stop Lance and prove that anthros are more than killers dominated by their animal instincts.

That’s a great premise. Unfortunately, Newell develops it as a substandard Mission Impossible action thriller with funny animals. It’s wacky enough without wondering why funny animals? Chance Logan is introduced in the midst of a firefight with the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. He’s one of only two anthros (the other is a cougar) in a U.S. Army unit caught behind enemy lines. They don’t do anything that human soldiers (like John Rambo) couldn’t do, plus Chance gets his bushy fox tail caught and he has to be freed. Under what conditions is a bushy fox tail an asset in jungle warfare? This also makes the reader wonder if Chance is wearing a complete Army uniform with a tail hole, or (as the cover implies) only a helmet and Army jacket, and nothing below the waist?

Whoa! Here’s the answer. “‘By the way,’ he [a human lieutenant] said, ‘you guys may want to try on some pants when we get back to the States. Just try it.’

‘Nah,’ Kay [the cougar] said as he swiped the air with his paw. ‘We’ve got fur to cover our junk, right Chance?’

‘Yeah, right,’ I agreed with a forced chuckle.

All of us anthros never wore pants; it was a lot more comfortable to go without them. Even Katie [Chance’s girl friend, an Army nurse; also a red fox] wouldn’t wear them.” (p. 15)

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Jack Wolfgang T.1, l’Entrée du Loup, by Stephen Desberg and Henri Reculé – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Jack Wolfgang. T.1, l’Entrée du Loup, by Stephen Desberg (story) and Henri Reculé.
Brussels, Les Éditions du Lombard, June 2017, hardcover €13,99 (62 [+ 2] pages), Kindle €9,99.

Thanks, as always with French bandes dessinées, to Lex Nakashima for loaning this to me to review.

The Jack Wolfgang series looks like it’s designed for the Blacksad market. The main differences are that John Blacksad is a private investigator, and his cases are crime noir with excellently drawn anthropomorphic animals. Jack Wolfgang is a C.I.A. secret agent, and his adventures are, well, too light and too exaggerated for the James Bond market. Say they’re Kingsman clones, with a mixture of funny animal and human secret agents saving the world from megalomaniac funny animal and human villains.

The introduction states that the four Brementown Musicians in the late Middle Ages were the first animals to be recognized as having human intelligence. “They were the first animals to receive a charter from the local authorities guaranteeing their autonomy and freedom among humans.” (my translation)

 

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Furry artists among top highest-paid Patreon creators, but face threats to their livelihood.

by Patch O'Furr

This article went out in January 2017 titled “Yiffing for Dollars”. Here’s a re-edited update a year later, to coincide with a bump in notice and a concerning situation. 

Furries have built their own small industry on creativity worth millions. Their membership is rising and it’s likely to see the “furry economy” grow with it. You can see what’s up by watching the small slice who are devoted enough to make a living in the fandom – Profans.

Adult art can have an edge in dollars because it has more of a niche quality. Clean art is perfectly valid, but perhaps the mainstream is where it succeeds most – making an apples/oranges comparison. This look at indie art business will focus on the naughty stuff, but doesn’t exclude other kinds, and it applies outside of fandom too.

Check the list of top creators on Patreon and play Find The Furries!  

When first looked at in January 2017, fandom member Fek was earning $24,000 per month for making furry porn games. (Quote: “Ditch the dayjob and live the dream.”)  He had the stat of #2 best-paid per-patron on all of Patreon.  (See his art on Furaffinity.) Others were in or near the furry ballpark (dogpark?) Most of the NSFW entries in the top 50 had furry content. #12 was the Trials in Tainted Space NSFW game, earning $27,000 per month. #30 was the kinda-anthropomorphic-NSFW artist Monstergirlisland, earning $20,000 monthly.

I haven’t checked these numbers since early 2017, and I think the list changed from “amount of money” to “number of patrons” which knocks furries down the list, but… Artists are getting rich from this, no joke.

Older news:

  • Cracked – We Draw Furry Porn: 6 Things We’ve Learned On The Job. “Every artist agreed it would have been impossible to make a living doing this as recently as 10 years ago. But today they constantly have multiple projects going and portfolios with hundreds of completed works, and they find themselves in ever-increasing demand.”

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