Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: May, 2015

Light: A Tale of the Magical Creatures of Zudukii, by T. S. McNally – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Light: A Tale of the Magical Creatures of Zudukii, by T. S. McNally.81g1ybUzOuL
Syracuse, NY, Bounding Boomer Books, February 2015; trade paperback $9.99 (151 pages), Kindle $4.99.

“Magical creatures” are the operative words here. I usually divide anthropomorphic fiction into either furry or funny-animal fiction, depending upon whether the anthro animals show some semblance of reality as to species, or whether they are “animal-headed humans”. In Light, though, the inhabitants of Zudukii are totally, blatantly fantastic. It is rare when two characters, say a brother and sister, are the same species, and all are basically humans. A bear has an otter sister, who has a kangaroo boyfriend.

Actually, he’s not exactly a kangaroo. While Garoo is usually called a kangaroo, he is more accurately described (disparagingly) as a kangabuck, a kangaroo with antlers; the son of a stag father and a kangaroo mother. See the cover by Selkie. But most characters do not display a mixed heritage. They are either one animal or the other.

Does Garoo hop or walk? The reader can’t tell. Does he have other non-kangaroo attributes? Page 29 says, “The crowd had grown to such a size that the kangaroo wrapped his tail around one of the posts as to keep himself from accidently falling into the water.” Kangaroo tails are not that prehensile.

Do the animals, including anthro birds, wear clothes or not? This is vague until page 31, when “Enveloped in a long green dress, a grey bushy form of a squirrel female […]” — although it’s still unclear as to whether all of the animals wear clothes or only some of them.

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Who Wacked Roger Rabbit? – book review by Fred Patten.

by kiwiztiger

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

Who Wacked Roger Rabbit?, by Gary K. Wolf.
Colorado Springs, CO, Musa Publishing, December 2014, trade paperback $14.00 (306 pages).

who-wacked-roger-rabbitThis is the third “Roger Rabbit” novel by Gary K. Wolf in 30+ years. The first, Who Censored Roger Rabbit? (St. Martin’s Press, October 1981), was bought by Walt Disney Productions and turned into the considerably different animated feature Who Framed Roger Rabbit (June 1988). (For example, there is no Toontown; Roger talks through speech balloons; does not spray his P’s; and he is killed in the novel.) The movie was a mega-hit, and Wolf wrote a second novel, Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit (Villiard Books, August 1991) that was not as much a sequel as a movie media tie-in. The title emphasized Roger’s distinctive stutter from the movie, and the dust jacket showed Roger and his wife Jessica as they appear in the Disney cartoon design in the movie. But the second novel’s new background was not that of either the first novel nor of the movie.

Now Wolf has written a third novel. Who Wacked Roger Rabbit? seems betwixt & between the first two. The date is 1947 or ’48, when “Walter Windchill” and “Luella Parslips” are still active gossip columnists.

Eddie Valiant, the private eye, is the hard-boiled narrator. “Me and my smog machine rattled our way down Sunset Boulevard to Columbia Studios, the toniest movie lot in Hollywood, where the bungalows are painted with the pixie dust that coats silver screens and the streets are paved with pure movie gold. A schmoe like me rarely gets an invite to a top shop like this. My gumshoes stick to the seamier sidewalks of Tinsel Town.” (p. 3)

Columbia is about to make a new movie starring Gary Cooper, but a deliberate change from his usual Westerns and sophisticated roles. Producer Barney Sands (a human) explains to Eddie that it’s to be set in Toontown, with Coop playing a low-class human living there.

“‘Coop will immerse himself in his role, actually living the life of the character he plays. I want him to hang out in Toontown. Get inside the heads of his Toon co-stars, find out what makes them tick. Use those emotions to structure his own performance.’ Sands flipped his Zip and lit another cigarette. I never saw a guy smoke so fast. Like he had a pair of suction fans inside him instead of lungs. ‘The end result will be sensational. The new Cooper. Crude, basic, and untamed. Giving a performance that delivers a punch straight to the gut.’
[…] Read the rest of this entry »

There’s furries in Peru too, sad mascot documentary, Furrycon article – Newsdump (5/28/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips are always welcome. 

Documentary: The Anti Mascot.

Lou Seal is the one Giants fans love.

Lou Seal is the one Giants fans love.

The story of the San Francisco Giants’ Crazy Crab, the most outrageous mascot of them all. The 1984 San Francisco Giants were dreadful. But the team’s ill-conceived “Crazy Crab” mascot endured worse.

Shared by Excelsior30 on FurAffinity … a cautionary tale of how anthropomorphic costuming could make you a magnet for abuse. Professional performer Wayne Doba documents his experiences with water balloons full of pee, and back injuries from a “macho” attack by players from a rival team.  (Get happier with Hulu’s mascot documentary series, Behind the Mask, that had an Emmy nomination for Outstanding New Approaches in Sports Programming.)

MNFurs becomes a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit.

News announcement. On FurAffinity, Aerak shares what it means to him: now the organization can officially host charitable activities like hospital fursuiting to brighten people’s days. MNFurs have a lot to be proud of:

In a matter of six years, with only the word-of-mouth advertising, MNFurs has gone from a small group of close friends and associates with a weekly meeting number of less then a dozen people to 40 to 60 people in the same room every other Saturday night. At the same time, we went from 20 to over 200 people on our mailing list.

Their growing presence in the world of fluffy stuff is bringing Furry Migration, “Minnesota’s first furry convention having its second year on August 28-30, 2015.”

Furrycon in Rochester gets a great media spokeskitty, Zeigler Jaguar. Read the rest of this entry »

Hero’s Best Friend; An Anthology of Animal Companions – book review by Fred Patten.

by kiwiztiger

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

Hero’s Best Friend; An Anthology of Animal Companions, edited by Scott M. Sandridge
Lexington, KY, Seventh Star Press, February 2014, trade paperback $20.95 ([iv] + 447 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Hero's best FriendHero’s Best Friend; An Anthology of Animal Companions is a fantasy anthology of “twenty stories of heroic action that focuses on the furries and scalies who have long been the unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire”. Superficially, this is not necessarily a furry book. The blurb cites comparisons with Gandalf’s horse Shadowfax, the Vault Dweller’s dog Dogmeat, and the Beastmaster’s “fuzzy allies”; all famously loyal animal companions, but under their human partners’ control. Those animals are no more anthropomorphic than the Lone Ranger’s horse Silver.

But these are stories by fantasy authors, and they emphasize the animals’ conscious partnership or dominance over their human companions. “[T]he unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire” is the operative m.o.

In “Toby and Steve Save the World” by Joy Ward, Steve is the human and Toby, a Pembroke corgi, appears to be his dumb pet. But the story is told from Toby’s view, and it’s clear that the dog recognizes the menaces and deliberately maneuvers his clueless human into taking care of them. The story is definitely anthro. It also wallows in self-conscious cuteness.

“Dusk” by Frank Creed is narrated by Dusk, a housecat in the future. Dusk is the partner of a man codenamed Whisp, but here the human is aware of the cat’s strengths, and they trust each other. Whisp and Dusk are undercover police agents seeking a criminal gang in 2038 Chicago’s Chinatown slums, and Dusk (among others) is bionically enhanced.

“I sniffed the alien scents on the shelves in my aisle – and also the faint charcoal bouquet of expensive whiskey – while Whisp did what the wanted. From the back of the shop I eyeballed inside the stairwell where sat a thin middle-aged yellow-skinned man on a stool. He wore suspenders over a plain white stained tee and held a cup. He looked at me, but it felt wrong.
Other eyes saw through his eyes, and the fur on my spine spiked.” (p. 18)

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Anniversary of the New Jersey FurBQ Hoax – this bullshit cost $185,000.

by Patch O'Furr

Update: read to bottom for new details of the $185,000 cost!

Remember this sad thing? On May 26, 2012, the final New Jersey FurBQ was held for nearly 200 attendees.  It ended seven years of a party loved by a community of friends.  But it didn’t just die – it was killed with controversy and nasty headlines.  The truth was buried under biased and false reporting.

It’s a tale of intolerance and ridicule. Misinformation and dishonesty. Exploiting and scapegoating.  Shaming and moralizing against “offenses” like having fun and serving alcohol to adults over 21.  A fake sex scandal, that provoked our own anti-sex hysteria. Beneath it all, dirty town politics.

They said they had photos of two costumers doing “simulated” public sex. Everyone freaked out and pointed at each other – but it was a wild rumor. The accusations failed burden of proof.  Accusers are responsible to give evidence, but they failed to produce photos or even names, when harm made it critical to be fair.   I say if it happened, we’d at least know names.  If you’re a furry, you know how rumors go. Sure, evidence could have been held for confidentiality – but there’s no credibility for that. Photos didn’t just fail to exist – there were extra allegations of lying, a money incentive, and an unreasonable rush to judgement that was too perfectly provoked. It’s way past time to call it a HOAX. This may be the first headline to do it. (I found support from this DJ who was there.)
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Scale’s paintings push the limits of furry art, with surprising mainstream crossover.

by Patch O'Furr

(NSFW – nude paintings below!)

In “Furry Good Ideas“, Scale commented on my suggestion about starting a Furry art gallery: 

scaleNot sure if the times are ripe for a dedicated furry art gallery, but for what it’s worth I’m having some success entering furry paintings in local art shows… I’m also making a bet that a market niche for paintings actually exists within the the fandom and that a decent number of fans would like to own furry art which can be displayed alongside other kinds of art. The results are very encouraging so far.

The article was meant to encourage feedback like this, revealing a cool new story. Nice to meet you, Scale!

Scale does classical style anthropomorphic figure painting.  Public display of his work puts him in a favorite focus of this blog: crossover.  He isn’t just showing regular fantasy art to the public, either.  It’s both painterly, and super hot!  It’s the best of both worlds.  Look at the dragoness below… the attitude, the pose, the voluptuous sculpted butt… excuse me while I fan my face for a minute.

I’m happy to share this as a nice surprise to the chairman of Eurofurence.  He commented on my article about Biohazard’s crossover art stunt:Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 5.43.25 PM

We’re seeing a little subcultural eruption, from as far across the line of “low art” as you can get.  Scale’s art is pushing limits.  His cool, thoughtful style speaks of Old Master sensibility, but the hot-blooded subjects are a weird combination that makes sparks.  Isn’t that what art is for?  The way people respond to it brings interesting thoughts about art meaning:

The bunny painting was accepted in the show without any problem. I keep finding evidence that most non-furries don’t read a picture like that one as a sexy pinup… I suspect most people just see it as a parody of human nudes.

OK, it’s sexy to furry fans (5,000 on his popular FurAffinity account), but he thinks it doesn’t communicate like that to the “normal” public.  Is that a failure?  Would they show it if it doesn’t speak to them?  It has to work as simply good painting.  It’s an example for furry artists: don’t make good furry art – make good art. Read the rest of this entry »

Escape from St. Arned, by Rose LaCroix – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Escape from St. Arned, by Rose LaCroixthreetails03
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, September 2014, trade paperback $9.95 (143 pages).

This title is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only.

As LaCroix’s Basecraft Cirrostratus (June 2010) ended, Elor (Prof. Elor Kaya, cougar), Vinz (Vinz Nivariya, wolf), and Laz (Y’Lazde Malek, fox) appeared to have escaped from the despotism of Occidentania, and hiding in its lawless Basecraft Cirrostratus giant flying airbase, to the freedom of a new life in Riverlea in neighboring Lyocia. But as Escape from St. Arnaud opens a year later, everything is suddenly falling apart for them.

Elor loses his new college job when Occidentania’s old false charges of immorality against him reach Lyocia, and the rumors of immorality make it impossible to get a new job. Also, crimelord Hannock Burrad’s gang from the Cirrostratus is trying to kill him. But the rival criminal gang of Kerro (stoat), which has relocated in Lyocia and is supplying weapons to all the factions in Occidentania, offers to protect Elor and give him a job if he will deliver a shipment for them. Meanwhile, Hannock’s goons rough up Laz while looking for Elor, and the hot-tempered Vinz blames the cougar for his lover’s being hurt. When Laz sides with Elor, Vinz storms out. Then Laz leaves Elor for a different long-term job.

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“Unbelievably cute:” True-Tail animation series, from Skynamic Studios.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Wallpaper_004

Back in August 2013, Rod O’Riley’s In-Fur-Nation brought us the first news of Skynamic Studios’ “True-Tail” Adobe Flash animation series in preproduction.  “A place where six unruly mercenaries must learn to work together … Or succumb to an ancient dark magic.”  The six are Caleb, a kitten squire; Brutus, a bear warrior-knight; Viktor, a fox thief; Melody, a rabbit bard; Doh-Li, a half-dragon, half-deer priestess; and Kanikus, an ancient phoenix wizard.  The art design is – unbelievably cute.

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Amazing BLFC report, Hug Permits, furries in national art shows. Newsdump (5/21/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips are always welcome. 

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Mainstream sightings and fandom news

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VICE parties hard at Fur-eh!

The article gets super friendly, and stays refreshingly non-judgemental.  It can be hard to broadly cover an event with immersion in a tight circle of friends, so it’s only a small slice of the experience.  Not all furries are way into parties.  Some feel like it ruins think-heavy sci-fi focus.  However, sci-fi cons with no parties are a world I don’t want to live in. You can make a furry con anything you want it to be.  When they do party, nobody does it better!

Impressions from Biggest Little Fur Con.

I confess to partying too hard to cover this with it’s own article. (Thanks Vox for a great vid!)

  • It’s really amusing to see someone get covered head to toe in shaving cream.  (It takes about 4 cans.)
  • Favorite shirt I saw: “I’M FAT – LET’S PARTY”
  • Thank-you’s for blogging? You might as well thank me for eating! Someone joked that it must take drugs to pound these out.  Nope.  Fursuiting is my drug.
  • Attendance of 2400+ makes BLFC the 6th largest con. (AKA “Biggest Medium Fur Con.”)  That’s impressive to build in 3 years. The subculture is rising!
  • With the future Dystopia theme, a lot of fan interaction means they succeeded. Many said it was the best use of a theme they had ever seen.  High praise.
  • More interaction I loved were the unofficial “Hug Permit” officers.  They were funny, engaging… and helpful with secret wing-man encouragement. (See “code 90944?”)  Come on… with 2400 adults together for a once a year celebration, how could that NOT happen? No judging. Further proof that “Hugs are the handshake of furries.”

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Funny-animal comics retrospective: The History of Hi-Jinx and the Hepcats – by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

6a00d83451c29169e20192ac126c01970d-450wiI would like to thank Perri Rhoades for giving me the inspiration for this article and for making most of it easy. I used to have a complete set of Hi-Jinx, but when I had a paralyzing stroke in 2005 and was permanently hospitalized, some friends boxed up all my books, magazines and comic books and donated them to the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy at the UCRiverside Library. I have not seen them since. Fortunately, Rhoades has called my attention to the fact that much about Hi-Jinx and the Hepcats has been posted online since 2005. She has scanned all but one of the seven issues of Hi-Jinx for her LiveJournal, and she gave me her URL so that I could reread them at leisure for this retrospective. Even more, her scans have included the different covers of the Australian edition of Hi-Jinx, which I never knew about. Thanks, Perri!

Much of the remaining information is from The Comic Art of Jack Bradbury, a website created by his son, Joel (http://jbrad.org/index.html); and from Dave Bennett, a Hollywood animator and funny-animal fan for decades who knew Hi-Jinx’s artist Jack Bradbury personally. Bennett says, “Jack told me himself that all the Hepcats stories he drew were written by Cal Howard — he raved about how good he thought they were!  Other than those stories and the Disney work he did, Jack wrote all of his ACG/Nedor/Pines/Standard stories himself.  They were lettered by Tubby Millar.” And after I had thought that this retrospective was completed, Alter-Ego #112, August 2012 came along with “‘Something … ?’; A Study of Comics Pioneer Richard E. Hughes” by Michael Vance, containing never-before-published information about Hi-Jinx’s obscure publisher.

The American Comics Group’s Hi-Jinx, “Teen-Age Animal Funnies”, only lasted for seven bi-monthly issues in 1947/48. But it was – different. It was the only comic book to mix funny animals with teenage humor.

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