Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: January, 2018

Housepets! Let Instincts Do Their Thing (Book 8), by Rick Griffin – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Housepets! Let Instincts Do Their Thing (Book 8), by Rick Griffin
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, November 2017, trade paperback $13.95 (52 pages).

Ta-Dah! Here is the latest annual collection of the Housepets! online comic strip by Rick Griffin. Housepets! has appeared each Monday-Wednesday-Friday since June 2, 2008. It has won the Ursa Major Award for the Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip for every year since! – for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and now 2016.

Book 8 contains the strips from June 8, 2015 to June 3, 2016; story arcs #91, “The Plot Against Spot”, to #100, “The 4 Animals You Meet In Heaven”, plus the one-off gag strips between these.

Housepets! presents the adventures of the dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and other pets of Babylon Gardens, a typical residential suburban neighborhood – in an alternate universe. The animals are larger than in our universe (but not human-sized), can talk, are usually bipedal, and address their human owners as “Mom” and “Dad”. Their status is somewhere between pets and children. Points established over the years are that humans can bequeath their belongings to their pets, who do not need a human guardian; human storekeepers are not allowed to sell catnip to cats; human police forces have an auxiliary of Police Dogs who are not all police dogs; the pets comment sardonically on how they can go naked in public but their human “parents” can’t; and – lots of other stuff.

But in Book 8, the housepets’ adventures often take them outside their suburban locale. Story arc #92, “All’s Fair, part 2”, is set in the huge back yard of the Milton ferrets’ estate, which Keene Milton has turned into a big amusement park and “Annual Foodapalooza Jamboree!”; maybe in Babylon Gardens but hardly part of a typical neighborhood scene. Arcs #93 to #95, “Housepets 5000 BC, parts 1-3”, introduce the large jackal Satau of the Merimde, Dragon’s second avatar, who gets sent from Ancient Egypt into the future and is drawn to Tarot the Pekinese dog, the demigod Dragon’s current (150th) avatar. Their attempt to send Satau home lands all of them (Satau and the dogs Peanut and Tarot, and the cats Grape, Maxwell, and Sabrina) in 5000 BC, the Neolithic Era, long before the building of the Pyramids and the Sphinx (to Max’s disappointment). There are rival kingdoms of the dogs and cats, and Grape is kidnapped by Ptah, the chief-king of the cats, to be his queen. (That’s Ptah and Satau arm-wrestling on the cover, with Grape and Peanut in the background.) #98, “Flip That Den!”, is in the forest outside Babylon Gardens, and #100, “The 4 Animals You Meet”, takes place in Heaven. Or a dream. Or somewhere.

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Jackal, by Joel Gallay – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Jackal, by Joel Gallay
San Jose, CA, Gallanic Media, November 2017, trade paperback $12.00 (321 pages), Kindle $4.99.

Don’t be misled by the title. That is not a jackal on the cover but the narrator, Jobe Pungushe (pungushe is “dog” in Zulu), a battle-scarred dog-human hybrid soldier in late 21st-early 22nd-century warfare in southern Africa:

“‘And in local news,’ a newscaster proclaimed, somewhat dimmed by the white noise in my ears, and I went for my tinnitus meds in my wallet pocket. ‘A crime advisory is forecasted in Bulawayo’s northeast burrough given the influx of refugees from former South African states. As we know, officials in New Salisbury announced that they planned to accept the old South African Western Cape province’s offer to join Rhodesia. Offers made by Northern Cape, Free State and Lesotho are still pending. Rhodesian law enforcement predicts that, with the current, nearly anarchic state of the former South African provinces, that by taking in said provinces too quickly may result in adverse effects, from simple crime spikes to the reactivation of extremist cells and assorted loyalist violence, and thus must be undertaken carefully. The final lift on Martial Law in Western Cape is said to go into effect on September fifth. As we know, remnants of the International Kingdoms of Man, the racialist paramilitary group involved heavily during the Independence War, linger in various balkanized South African provinces, and many fear that they still receive support from their overseas comrades in the Greater Argentine Federation to operate as paramilitaries here in Rhodesia and in result, tensions in southern Rhodesia, such as Bulawayo and New Beitbridge, are on edge, especially with the horrors of the Independence War still fresh in many a Rhodesian and South African mind, human or hybrid. Local police urge residents to above all remain civil, and to report all suspicious behaviors to the police and not seek vigilantism or violent organization.’

A scowl met my face as I heard the name of the IKM once more, as my tinnitus subsided. I shuddered a little, despite the heat. My leg ached some more.” (p. 5)

Gallay says Jackal is set “in a world parallel to ours in the close future.” Jobe is a combat veteran, one of many returning to a civilian life in peacetime.

“‘Shit, Jobe.’ The foreman chuckled. ‘You were ready to slot that fucker, ain’tcha? Your fur’s all raised ‘n shit.” The foreman turned to look at me. ‘Kinda funny though. He kinda looked like you, didn’ he? You being a canid hybrid, I mean. Same color’a fur, spots ‘n all’” (p. 7)

But this prologue takes place about ten years before the main story. New Rhodesia has prospered since the war, and is more high-tech than the prologue makes it seem:

“Walking towards the convenience store, I brought up my holowatch, making a few motions with my opposite hand to bring up the display, haptic sensors spotting my movements. I brushed past the menus to my notes, seeing my shopping list. Carton of milk, smokes, dinner for the rest of the week. Frozen dinners were what I defaulted to. Maitabella pudding too, along with some cereal for breakfasts. I quickly paced my way inside, eager to get out of the coming rain. The store was manned by an older-aged draconic hybrid man with wrinkled red skin like dyed leather, wings drooping behind him as he eyed me with tired orange-yellow eyes. Draconics always seemed to draw my eyes, hard to be inconspicuous with those big wings of theirs stuck out like radar dishes.” (p. 8)

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Fur Health’s fitness training guide – and a mental health video from Taebyn pup.

by Patch O'Furr

Furry hugs are amazing medicine, but sometimes you need something more. Here’s two guest submissions from two awesome furries who love the community and have something more to give.

Eye candy is best to start an article, so check out this adorable puppy Taebyn. He’s silly but has something serious to bark about. Even a fantasy world of talking animals has members affected by suicide. It can even be a special issue because of how surveys show this fandom has many young and LGBT people. When I met Taebyn in person at Further Confusion, the local community of the con just lost a young member who took his own life, but I wasn’t able to share about it for privacy. So this post is for remembrance as well as help and good vibes.

The Fur Health Training Guide – a message from TaxBeast

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Rukus is a furry movie premiering on Feb 2 – here’s the trailer and a review by Marbles.

by Patch O'Furr

The director of Rukus wrote in with a new trailer:

I’ve been reading Dogpatch Press for a long time and am a big fan. The film is called Rukus and it’s a feature-length doc-fiction hybrid, centered around my friendship with a furry from Orlando, Rukus, who took his own life in 2008. It goes into his life, and childhood, and some of the people he was close to in the furry community, but then also goes into my teenage years in Memphis, and stories relating to mental health, sexuality, and the politics of documentary filmmaking.

I hope you enjoy it, and I would love to hear what you think!

Brett Hanover
www.bretthanover.com

Movie synopsis:

A hybrid of documentary and fiction, ‘Rukus’ is a queer coming of age story set in the liminal spaces of furry conventions, southern punk houses, and virtual worlds. Rukus is a 20-year-old furry artist, living with his boyfriend Sable in the suburbs of Orlando, Florida. In his sketchbooks, Rukus is constructing an imaginary universe – a sprawling graphic novel in which painful childhood memories are restaged as an epic fantasy. Brett is a 16-year-old filmmaker with OCD, working on a documentary about kinky subcultures in spite of his own anxiety. After an interview leads to an online friendship, their lives entwine in ways that push them into strange, unexplored territories.

facebook.com/rukusmovie/
bretthanover.com/rukus/

Written and Directed by: Brett Hanover
Assistant Directors: Alanna Stewart and Katherine Dohan
Additional Art and Writing: Rukus
Animation: Karolina Glusiec, Ben Holm, Eusong Lee
Original Music: Brian Saia

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Skeleton Crew, by Gre7g Luterman – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Skeleton Crew, by Gre7g Luterman. Illustrated by Rick Griffin.
Lansing, MI, Thurston Howl Publications, September 2017, trade paperback $11.99 (215 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $2.99.

The title page says Skeleton Crew. The cover says The Kanti Cycle: Skeleton Crew. The spine says The Kanti Cycle. 1 Skeleton Crew. Which is the definitive version?

Probably the latter. Skeleton Crew is the first book of Kanti’s adventures. There will be at least a trilogy.

I am more uneasy about calling this a “First Edition, 2017”. I reviewed Luterman’s CreateSpace edition a long time ago. This new version contains minor revisions and all new illustrations by Rick Griffin, so it may be a preferred version. Thurston Howl Publications’ smaller type size has reduced it from 259 pages to 215 pages. But it is not so different that the plot synopsis in my earlier review cannot serve for this edition as well.

“This is the first hard science-fiction novel I’ve ever read with absolutely no humans in it. The cover […] shows two of the main characters; Commissioner Sarsuk, a kraken, holding Kanti, a geroo. All of the other characters in the novel are geroo. There are […] full-page illustrations […] by Rick Griffin of Housepets! fame, showing such geroo characters as Kanti, Saina, Tish, Captain Ateri, Chendra, and more.

The geroo are unclothed, with thick tails and fur. There are frequent mentions in the text of twitching ears, tail rings, and the like. Kanti is called Shaggy for his unruly fur.

Skeleton Crew is set entirely on, or within, the huge generation exploratory starship White Flower II in interstellar space. […] Four centuries earlier, the krakun came to the primitive planet Gerootec and offered to hire thousands of the overpopulated geroo as their starship crews. The geroo who went into space and their descendants would never see Gerootec again, but they would live in luxury compared to the backward geroo on their homeworld. Technically, the White Flower II belongs to the krakuns’ Planetary Acquisitions, Incorporated, with a mission of finding new planets that can be colonized.

New planets for the krakun. Never for the geroo.

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Red Is The Darkest Color and The Devil Was Green, by Brett A. Brooks – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Red is the Darkest Color, by Brett A. Brooks
Atlanta, GA, Pandahead Publishing, June 2016, trade paperback, $15.95 ([4 +] 280 [+ 2] pages), Kindle $2.99.

The Devil Was Green, by Brett A. Brooks
Atlanta, GA, Pandahead Publishing, January 2017, trade paperback, $15.95 ([3 +] 278 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Pussy Katnip owns and is the popular chanteuse at the Kit Kat Klub in Mutt Town. But she’s not reluctant to step outside her club to help someone in need – especially if this involves clashing with an old enemy:

“With more than a slight jag to his turn, Todd looked back at the stage, and then back to the bartender. ‘Does … well, that is to say, do you know if Miss Katnip ever sees any of the people who come to see her?’

Robby snorted softly. ‘Depends on who it is and what they want. You a fan?’

‘I … truthfully, I’ve never heard Miss Katnip sing before.’ He picked up the scotch and took a small sip. ‘I was hoping that I might …’ There was a moments [sic.] pause, followed by Todd taking a much larger sip and then looking Robby in the eye. ‘I’ve heard that Miss Katnip can help people. Sometimes at least. I was truly hoping that she might see me tonight.’

‘Oh.’ Robby nodded. ‘Well, y’see, Miss Katnip tries to keep a low profile, y’know? She’s not the type who goes out and gets in trouble herself.’ Casually, Robby scratched under his chin. ‘But, just for conversation purposes, what is it you was wanting to talk to Miss Katnip about? You got law troubles?’

‘What? No. No, nothing like that.’ Todd sat up straight. ‘The police and I … they haven’t been an issue. In fact, they haven’t been willing to talk to me much at all.’” (Red, pgs. 4-5)

When Todd Crocker comes into her club looking for help against a mob boss who is threatening him, he is told not to worry. Boss Dogg and his chief enforcer Mugsy are familiar adversaries. Pussy visits Boss’ rival night club, the Dogg House, during the day when it’s closed and persuades him and Mugsy to leave Todd alone:

“Faster than the eye could follow, Pussy grabbed the chair and raised it up, smashing it against the brute attacking her. Splinters of wood showered down as Mugsy flew up into the air, landing hard on the ground.

She was on him instantly. Grabbing him by the shirt, she spun around, flinging him over ten feet into the seating area. The table and chairs he met did not respond well, and the sound of cracking wood filled the space.

Pussy looked to Boss. ‘Don’t move.’ He didn’t.

[…]

‘Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to drop everything that Mr. Crocker owes you. You aren’t going to bother him, or even remember that he exists. Your dealings with him are through. Am I clear?’   She stopped inches away from him.

‘Yeah. Yeah, sure.’ He nodded rapidly.” (Red, pgs. 20-22)

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Intimate Little Secrets, by Rechan – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Intimate Little Secrets, by Rechan
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, March 2017, trade paperback $9.95 (163 pages), ebook $6.95.

Intimate Little Secrets is a collection of nine “sensual” short stories by Rechan, published for Furry Fiesta 2017. The book is publisher-rated NC-17, for adult readers.

Robert Baird describes the nine stories in his Introduction as “alternately touching and titillating; tantalizing and tender. They invite us to explore the inner lives of characters consistently defined firstly by their refreshing believability.” (p. 7) Some of these stories originally appeared online, on Rechan’s SoFurry and FurAffinity accounts.

Indeed. I have complained before about authors whose characters are only funny animals; animal-headed humans. Rechan never lets that happen. His characters are anthropomorphic animals; a blend of humans and the species that they are described as.

“Fanservice” features Robin and Dean, two shy young mink, office workers on their first evening date. Robin dresses as Veronica Tamas, a TV actress she knows Dean likes. “Part of the problem was Tamas, as a deer, had wonderful legs put on display by the mini-dress lab coat and the sleek knee high black boots. With the longer torso and shorter limbs of a mink, Robin wasn’t pulling it off.” (p. 9)

Robin tries to make it up in other ways:

“For a moment Dean only squeezed her shoulder, then his digits inched up to graze her throat. A faint chirr bubbled up as he stroked her so-soft fur, and she reached out to caress his wrist and forearm.

When his touch moved up to her cheek and muzzle, Robin closed her eyes and tilted into it, a soft breath escaping from her. The scent of him drew her in, her body easing closer to his until they bumped.

That caress lasted only a moment longer before he cupped her cheek, her whiskers brushed his, and she instinctively moved into the oncoming kiss.

Their teeth knocked together.” (p. 14)

They eventually get it right. They never get out of their office that evening. The most unrealistic aspect of “Fanservice” to me was that Robin would go all the way on a first date.

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Ground control to Major Paws – Space Camp party is coming in March.

by Patch O'Furr

Furclub: “A repeat/regular nightclub event by furries for furries.” It’s a dance party independent from cons. The concept has been spreading since the late 2000’s. It’s a movement! See the list of parties at The Furclub Survey. Featured here is a new event in Alameda, CA. 

Space themed costumes, dancing, DJ’s, fursuiting, craft beer, and waterfront views on San Francisco and the Bay Bridge! This is happening at a massive 1200+ person hangar converted to a brewery.  There’s 10,000 sq. feet of indoor fursuit-friendly naturally cooled space, free secure parking, and a huge outdoor patio with food trucks. Space Camp joins Frolic party, Wild Things, and Party Animals as events for SF Bay Area furry night life.

For San Francisco Pride 2017, I organized with the Burning Man art car “Unaverz” to be our furry float in the parade. They’re coming to Space Camp as a mobile sound system with DJ and upper deck hang out space. Not just furries, but Burners and anyone who wants an amazing party should come check this out. Tell your friends!

@NachoHusky (contact on Telegram or Twitter) is the organizer. Roman Otter, the volunteer coordinator, wants to hear from anyone interested in volunteering. (A short shift gets free entry – sign up on the main site). Those interested in doing photos or videos should get in touch.

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Magnus Diridian asked for an interview, so we talked about an attack on a convention.

by Patch O'Furr

An unresolved issue

You may know Magnus Diridian (AKA Rob Shokawsky) as “The Confederate fursuiter” who’s banned from furry conventions. What happens after being arrested for trespassing at Midwest FurFest 2017, and featuring in a news article about troll activity? How about a challenge to clear the air and explain things. That is, if a simple case of people being bothered by unwanted behavior needs any further explanation at all.

There don’t seem to be many people asking for it. But long story short, Magnus got in trouble and wanted to explain. I took the opportunity to talk, but not in the way he hoped. Honestly I’m not interested in rehashing what everyone already read about the 2017 arrest. He’ll have his day in court.  Something else was an open and bothersome issue, and I focused on that instead.  The previous article only hinted about it. Now I’m going to be really direct.

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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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