Dogpatch Press

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Category: Media

Furry Book Month – Some Recommendations

by Summercat

Welcome to guest poster Summercat! October is Furry Book month (better late than never). -Patch

Started in 2016 by an alliance of Furry Publishers, Furry Book Month is about showcasing the written word from the Furry Fandom. To support the efforts I decided to write up a list of Furry books I’ve enjoyed in recent years that are currently available for sale. These are just short blurbs rather than full reviews, and are in no particular order. 

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Sabrina Online: The Tail of Two Decades, by Eric W. Schwartz – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Sabrina Online: The Tail of Two Decades, by Eric W. Schwartz. Illustrated.
Keston, Kent, UK, United Publications, June 2017, hardcover, $22.95 (unpaged [148 pages]).

This large (8½” x 11”) collection presents the last half – the last ten years — of Eric Schwartz’s Internet Sabrina Online comic strip: four strips per page from November 2006 (annual collection 11) through the end of the annual collections with #14, and the following individual strips through the end of December (Xmas) 2016. “835 strips in 20 years? I guess it’ll have to do.” But wait! There’s more! The last 24 pages of this book are Schwartz’s history of Sabrina Online, gag strips of Sabrina’s Transformer toys, and some of the better art tributes by Sabrina’s fans like gNAW, Steve Gallacci, Shawntae Howard, Max Black Rabbit, and Brian Reynolds.

Schwartz explains in his “Brief History” that he began Sabrina Online in September 1996, after becoming a Big Name Fan in furry fandom thanks to his animation short films produced on his primitive Amiga computer (done partly just to prove that he could create animation on an Amiga). This is where his first popular character, Amy the Squirrel, appeared. He had ideas for a more detailed, continuing storyline featuring Amy and her best friend and roommate, Sabrina the Skunk, so Sabrina Online was born. It was a monthly comic strip in an unusual presentation; all four weeks online together on the first of the month. It was basically a comedic slice-of-life rambling story about Amy and Sabrina. Amy gets married to Thomas Woolfe and has a son, but Sabrina remains sharing her and Thomas’ apartment; Sabrina gets a secretarial job with Zig Zag, a producer of adult entertainment; Sabrina develops a long-term relation with her boyfriend, R.C. (a raccoon), and eventually moves in with him; and finally Sabrina and R.C. get married. Sub-themes and characters include Sabrina’s parents, R.C.’s parents, Sabrina’s collection of Transformers toys (which are often anthropomorphized), Zig Zag, an extroverted zebra-striped skunk (a tiger-skunk hybrid – Schwartz doesn’t have any trouble with interspecies romances and hybrid children), Amy’s infant son Timmy who Sabrina often babysits and Sabrina’s little sister Tabitha, Thomas’ workmates, R.C.’s workmates … lots!

“I created the Sabrina Online comic strip to tell the story ideas I had built up. These were used up after the first few years.” After that he continued the strip on a day-to-day basis for a long time. “That was when I noticed that the twentieth anniversary of the first Sabrina Online comic strip from 1996 was on its way, and looked into the prospect of finishing the strip. Suddenly I had a definite purpose and goal again.” Unfinished story ideas were finished; floating story lines were tied up; and Sabrina Online was brought to a final conclusion with Sabrina and R.C. (Richard Conrad) getting married.

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Fred Patten Interviews Rich Hanes – Author of Foxhunt!

by Pup Matthias

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

Back in April 2017, I reviewed Foxhunt! by Rich Hanes, a 2009 337-page science-fiction novel set in a largely-anthropomorphic “Wildstar Universe”. Foxhunt! is primarily about an interstellar nation of anthropomorphic foxes, but it refers to many other species. I was very favorably impressed by it, ending my review saying, Foxhunt! is superior both as space opera and as furry fiction. Don’t miss it!”

Rich Hanes, the author, e-mailed me to thank me for my review. I took the opportunity to ask him about Foxhunt! and his Wildstar Universe; how he came to write the novel in 2009 and why he hasn’t followed it with more Wildstar Universe stories. This has led to this interview, for anyone who is interested in anthro fox Captain Sebastian Valentino’s adventures in Foxhunt!; in Hanes’ larger Wildstar Universe; and in Rich Hanes himself.

FP: Let’s start with some basic information; date of birth, when & why you started writing, and so on.

RH: My name is Rich Hanes, which is my real name. I’m 32, born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, earned a degree in Computer Drafting from ITT Technical Institute in Canton, Michigan at the age of 23, then moved to Seattle to work for Boeing on the 787 Dreamliner for 6 years until being laid off. Now I live back with my parents in Detroit while searching for adequate employment, and earn money right now through writing and my YouTube channel,  L-1011 Widebody

FP: Your email address is richard.harlan.hanes, which I assume is your full name. How long has your YouTube channel been going? Is its main focus on your Wildstar Universe?

RH: No, it’s focused primarily on retro-gaming — a lot of it is doing Let’s Plays of games that I owned as a kid and still have the original CD for. But I do have two short videos there that I put together as an ‘introduction’ of sorts to my concept for Wildstar.  About 7 minutes in total. Perhaps that will help answer some basic questions, or if you want to link to the actual videos.

FP: Since this interview is mostly about your Foxhunt! and its whole Wildstar Universe, why don’t you tell us how you came to develop its galactic civilization and the Star Nation of anthro foxes?

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Itching for a furry dance party? The first Scritch Detroit is coming on 11/11/17.

by Patch O'Furr

Furclubbing: “A repeat/regular nightclub event by furries for furries.The concept has been spreading since the late 2000’s. It’s a dance party independent from cons. It builds on their growth but takes things farther. It’s more ambitious than informal meets and events that happen once. Those can stay inner-focused, but this brings partnership with new kinds of venues, and new support for what they host. It crosses a line to public space, so a stranger can walk in and discover their new favorite thing. It encourages new blood and crossover to other scenes. It makes subculture thrive. It’s a movement!

See the list of parties at The Furclub survey.  Any party that gives a Q&A will get a featured article. Featured here is a new event in Detroit, Michigan.  Here’s what the organizer sent:

SCRITCH DETROIT (2017)

Follow: Twitter and Facebook

 

The party launch: Scritch Detroit’s first event starts on 11/11, and plans to be hosted on the second Saturday of every month – as long as the turnout keeps us going. Please join us to make a big impression with our first event!

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Always Gray in Winter, by Mark J. Engels – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Always Gray in Winter, by Mark J. Engels
Knoxville, TN, Thurston Howl Publications, August 2017, trade paperback, $12.99 (178 pages).

Always Gray in Winter is one of those novels that is deliberately mysterious at first, and only gradually reveals what is going on. To avoid my own spoiler, here is the blurb on the author’s website:

“The modern day remnant of an ancient clan of werecats is torn apart by militaries on three continents vying to exploit their deadly talents. Born in an ethnic Chicago neighborhood following her family’s escape from Cold War-era Poland, were-lynx Pawly flees underground to protect her loved ones after genetically-enhanced soldiers led by rogue scientist and rival werecat Mawro overrun her Navy unit in the Gulf of Oman. Pawly’s family seeks her out in a desperate gambit to return [to] their ancestral homeland and reconcile with their estranged kinsmen. But when her human lover arrives to thwart Mawro’s plan to weaponize their feral bloodlust, Pawly must face a daunting choice:  preserve her family secrets and risk her lover’s life or chance her true nature driving him away forever.”

Pawly is Pawlina J. Katczynski, a mid-twenties Polish-American in love with Lennart “Lenny” Reintz, a mid-twenties German-American U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Security specialist. However, Pawly has become a were-lynx vigilante superhero in combat against Mawro, another werecat who uses his shapeshifting powers for sinister and unethical purposes: he is the leader and head scientist of the North Korean “ailuranthropic” R&D program. Here is Pawly, in text and also an illustration by Amy Sun Hee “inspired by the novel”, on the author’s website:

“Her fangs bit into the fur below her lower lip. Pawly fell forward and thrust out her legs against the railing. Claws sprouted forth from the tips of her fingers with a flick of each wrist. She dove toward the car and yowled to goad the driver into turning her way. Her claws sank into the skin above the bridge of his nose as she slid across the car’s hood on her butt. With a grunt she yanked her hand free, tearing both of the man’s eyes free from their sockets. He screamed and crumpled to the pavement, cradling his ruined face, weapon all but forgotten. His partner whirled around with his shotgun in one hand, leaving his chest wide open. Before reaching the wall, Pawly raked the toe claws on both feet across the man’s abdomen. She pushed off with her legs and landed past the front bumper. When she spun around, the wide-eyed man stood before her, trembling as he stuffed his entrails back inside him with both hands. Pawly responded to his horrified whimper with but a shrug before he collapsed.” (p. 7)

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Legacy: Dusk, by Rukis – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Legacy: Dusk, by Rukis. Illustrated by the author.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, June 2017, trade paperback $1.95 (249 pages), e-book $12.95.

This is a mature content book.  Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region. (publisher’s advisory)

This is the sequel and conclusion to Legacy: Dawn, reviewed here last August and set in Rukis’ Red Lantern world. Rukis has said on e621, “Legacy is a story set in the Red Lantern world, and takes place roughly 20 years before the events of Red Lantern. You do not need to follow Red Lantern to understand this story, it can be read entirely independently, but if you follow the series, it will certainly enrich the world for you.”

But you do need to know Legacy: Dawn. This begins right after. Right after. Rukis serialized the complete Legacy online on Patreon, and you can’t help suspecting the two halves are meant to be republished as a single book someday soon. You should certainly read the review of Legacy: Dawn first and then this one together. That ends “Legacy: Dawn is about Kadar’s and Ahsin’s struggle for the freedom to be together, in a society where both are treated as property that can be casually separated. It is also about Kadar’s confused instinct to be a dominant personality in a society where he is of low caste, and those of higher caste do not hesitate to punish those below them who get ‘uppity’.” That’s more recapitulation than you will get in Legacy: Dusk.

Kadar (the narrator), a golden jackal, and Ahsin, a hyena, are homosexual lovers and indentured servants – read “slaves” – together. They have escaped from a plantation of the powerful Sura Clan in the desert nation of Mataa, following a slave revolt. Mataa is ruled by hyenas, but homosexuality is socially forbidden; especially for them, since the lower-caste Kadar is the dominant and the upper-caste Ahsin is the subordinate in their relationship. They can expect to be brutally tortured and then slaughtered together if they are recaptured. They and a few other Sura escapees had been taken in by a pride of free lionesses on one of Mataa’s oases, but bands of pursuers from the Sura Clan have made it too dangerous to stay there:

“We parted ways with Dela five nights ago, and we’ve been wandering ever since. She’d given us enough provisions to last at least a week, more than enough to make it out of the dunes, if we wanted to. But each time we neared a watering hole or a small town on the outskirts, we dipped our toes only to retreat back into the desert soon after. The pinpricks of civilization around the desert’s edge were bristling with hyenas from merchant caravans and plantations selling their wares, and we’re not sure how known we are to each of the clans, but we know there are hunters looking for us, and that’s reason enough to be cautious.” (p. 11)

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Monster Island, Directed by Leopoldo Aguilar – Movie Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Monster Island. Directed by Leopoldo Aguilar, from a script by Billy Frolick & Alicia Núñez Puerto. Sony Home Pictures Entertainment, September 12, 2017, 80 minutes, direct-to-DVD, $14.99.

Distributed in the U.S. & Canada by Vision Films (Sherman Oaks, California). Produced by Ánima Estudios (México City).

Is Monster Island worth an article for DP? How can we ignore any movie with a character like Verónica, the pig-girl?

This 80-minute CGI animated movie premiered theatrically on July 21st in the U.K. It got devastating reviews. Newspaper The Guardian said the day before, “… it’s […] dispiriting to encounter this ploddingly mediocre knockoff, with its budget effects, utterly uninspired visual design and flatlining dialogue. […] The whole forgettable movie looks as if it has been generated by ageing software.” As if that wasn’t enough, The Guardian followed it up with an even worse review three days later. “There are few things more unpleasant to look at than bad animation. And Monster Island’s Technicolor yawn of regurgitated influences is monstrous in all the wrong ways. The eyeball-melting colour palette is just the tip of the tentacle – this is a cobbled-together, plotless mess […]” It got a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s just been released theatrically in South Korea (September 7th) and China (September 9th). We get it in the U.S. as a direct-to-DVD “family entertainment” (kids’ movie) release.

Lucas Frunk (voice of Philip Adrian Vasquez) is a stereotypical 13-year-old nerd at Brown Middle School. His best pal is also-nerdish Peter Kavinsky. They are both picked on by school bully Cameron (voice of Michael Robles) and made to do his science class experiments (the frog explodes). Lucas discovers the hard way at school social queen Melanie’s (Jenifer Beth Kaplan) Halloween dance that his “asthma inhaler” actually delivers a medicine that keeps him from turning into a towering orange ogre.

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Furry Drama(tic Arts) – The Forgotten History of the Furry Musical, Part 2: Furry Tales

by Patch O'Furr

Patch here, with Part 2 of the story submitted by guest writer Duncan R. Piasecki.

In Part 1, we mentioned the theatrical nature of anthropomorphism: how fursuiting is related to a world-wide love for humans performing as animals. In the mainstream, it’s in musicals like the stage version of The Lion King or Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. Then, as we discovered, there was even a small, overlooked chapter of fandom history with not one, but at least two musicals focusing on the furry subculture.

One of these unique projects was Yiff!/<furReality>, which was fading from memory until we rescued documentation from the director.  It can make you wonder… while the mainstream celebrates anthropomorphic performance, why haven’t such ambitions carried forward as fandom has grown?

Perhaps the ideas may get tried again, with bigger and better resources, stages and audiences this time. Looking into that may get you excited for a certain con in 2018.  More on that at the end. (-Patch)

Duncan R. Piasecki continues with the story of the other musical:

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Support Furry Nation by Joe Strike, out October 10 – with exclusive offer here for a free comic!

by Patch O'Furr

Previously posted – Review – Furry Nation: The true story of America’s most misunderstood subculture, by Joe Strike.

Finally, there’s a formally published book about furry fandom and its history. I think it’s overdue by a decade. It comes with excellent cred, being written by long time insider Joe Strike (who joined the fandom in 1989) and published by Cleis Press. Find out more from furrynation.com.

To support the book: sign up to their Thunderclap campaign. Join fast, the launch is approaching!

Signing up concentrates support with one blast on social media.  Why help? Success of the book will support more and better plans. One commenter asked why the book says “America’s most misunderstood subculture.” It has to do with an American publisher focused on domestic readers, and much of the early history is tied to a few American places.  The book had to be kept inside a certain length, leaving wider topics out, but if it does well…

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Furry Drama(tic Arts) – The Forgotten History of the Furry Musical, Part 1: Yiff!/< furReality >

by Patch O'Furr

Article submitted by guest writer Duncan R. Piasecki. (Part 2 is here).

Let’s face it: we furries are a pretty theatrical bunch. Fursuiting is, in itself, a form of performance art, dramatic and striking, and probably the most visible aspect of our culture to anyone looking in from the outside. (It’s certainly what is talked about the most in the media).

None of this should surprise anyone here, even those of you who stumbled into the furry internet after straying off the normal path. In fact, it’s not even that surprising to the outside world. One need only look at, say, ultra-successful Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats, or the stage musical version of The Lion King, to see that the visceral drama of humans performing as animals is widely acknowledged the world over.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. No, actually, we’re going into a deeper rabbit hole (har), one that many of you probably didn’t even know about: the furry musical.

No, not the ones with furries as the characters in focus. One with furries in focus. As in, us. As in, fursuiting, going to conventions, role-play, yelling at people online, and that sort of thing. More surprising to all of you, perhaps, is that there wasn’t one, but actually at least two musicals about furries being our regular old selves… both written by people not entirely within the fandom.

In Part 1, we’ll look at a musical where our request for documentation yielded a generous response by the director.  In Part 2, we’ll look at one that seems to be a fading memory with no record to be found – as well as an exciting happening to come in 2018.

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