Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Personalities

Meet Robert Hill: Artist, performer, and history’s first sexy fursuiter.

by Patch O'Furr

Come my pelted pals, gather around… and look back to the distant, dusty past Before Furry Cons.  A time when seeing a sexy “fursuit crush” in public was as unimaginable as looking at them on a phone in your pocket. (A phone with the brightness dialed all the way down, of course.)

It was the 1980’s, when apparently everything was written by eye-blasting lasers with no dial-down button, so wear your raddest shades:

Let’s meet a pioneer. It’s not a label anyone chooses, but what else do you call the first fursuiter at the first furry convention? (ConFurence 0… actually a test before the first one). And they weren’t just a generic cute thing you could see at Disneyland, but a *look away kids!* pleather-clad dominatrix deer. Schwing!

Astonishing vintage VHS footage of this Bigfoot-like creature was unearthed by Changa Lion, archivist for the Prancing Skiltaire (the furry house run by the founders of ConFurence in Southern California.) When Changa posted Hilda’s 1989 con video to Youtube, it went viral outside of fandom (with over 75,000 views to date). Then he found an even earlier one that few have seen until now.

In a way, these are like the Declaration of Sex-Positive Furry Independence. (Obligatory disclaimer for subscribers to the squeaky-clean side of fandom: that’s just one kind of furry, not all of them.)

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“If an idea resonates with you, there’s absolutely an audience for it”- the furry world of Lobst

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with devoted curation by a fan doing exactly what they love. If you like this, give it a follow. And expect more syndicated content from Marfedblog reposted here. (-Patch)

Growing up on a diet of sci-fi and fantasy, transformation stories were the ones I loved and could always rely on the writers of most shows to fall back on one of it’s most loved tropes. For me they were always the most frustrating though, as characters spent their time trying either freaking or trying to change back, usually both. Frustratingly they almost never explored a person staying that way, gaining a new perspective on the world. It’s something I’d find renewed interest in when encountering the Furry Fandom and finally found quite literally in the works of Lobst, a furry comics artist who uses their anthropomorphic characters and an individual take on magical realism to express their unique experiences as a trans person.

As with the bulk of their work two of my favourites, both adult comics, prominently feature transgender characters and story lines. A Slightly Different Role follows the exploits of two huskies, Connor and Alex, the latter of which with the aid of a suitably gothic book of curses, magically endows the other with a vagina. The second, more science-fiction orientated That Curious Sensation takes the subject in an entirely different, rarely explored direction. Distracted from work by unwanted erections red panda Clover strikes upon the idea of nullification, quickly achieving his goal with an easily obtainable injection. In both instances the initial transformation is dealt with quickly and often humorously, instead shifting the focus onto how characters react and adapt to the changes, rather than the change itself as a way to explore other parts of a trans individuals experiences and struggles beyond the post surgery aspects that a lot of mainstream representations fixate upon.

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The Complexities of Problematic Kinks – guest post by Maybelle Redmond

by Patch O'Furr

This extra long article is published whole instead of by parts to preserve context. Quoted people were anonymized to protect sensitive personal info. Their ID was provided privately so I could verify it. Thanks to Maybelle for submitting this. – Patch

Maybelle Redmond’s content warning and disclaimer about The Complexities of Problematic Kinks

Before we even begin to touch on these things, we must first and foremost consider the victims, and ardent defenders of the victims, who have been susceptible to abuse that problematic kinks tend to surround or be on the border of. If you are a victim of, are close to a victim of, or feel passionately for victims of abuse, you are the people being considered up front. While we will discuss some details of some problematic kinks, you are being warned in advance with the opportunity to skip or avoid the provided details, and you are perfectly justified to close this article and not consume what you may feel is a potential excuse for abuse. It’s valid to ignore details of why others consume and perform problematic kinks, for the sake of your psychological safety or if you feel that it could legitimize them. Don’t engage in something you feel uncomfortable with. It’s not fair that it can be difficult to avoid abusive triggers within a community you enjoy. Your needs need to come first in this discussion. One of these needs may be to shield yourself. If you wish to do that, please close the article now.

Introduction

While attempting to Google exactly what is considered a problematic kink, a lot of its definition appears to be based in open-ended discourse.[1] Nonetheless, a very common theme arises: a “problematic kink” can be defined as “a kink derived from some kind of abuse or potential abuse situation.” While feminist-detractors may tell you that the concept of problematic kinks simply means “every kink is problematic,”[2] that’s absolutely not how it’s being used in common discourse. Multiple discussions regarding problematic kinks revolve around abuse and potential abuse situations, particularly these specific themes:

  • Bestiality
  • Incest
  • Pedophilia
  • Rape

There are many more potentially abusive and problematic kink scenarios, such as authoritarian coercion and human trafficking, but this brief list tends to be the hot button issues when it comes to problematic kinks. For good reason– these tend to be the abuse issues that enter people’s lives most frequently.

Furries can have a tendency to come from some kind of coercive environment. Some were bullied at school. Some had paternal abuse, neglect, or zero paternal support in our lives. Some were just so socially awkward they had no choice but to evolve online due to rejection felt by society. Nonetheless, regardless of why we came here, we have the freedom to explore our fantasies and minds in amazingly constructive ways that most other humans never get to experience. But of course, because these problematic fantasies aren’t always just fantasies, and ambiguity can only be clearly seen in hindsight as crossing a line — we do need a means of protecting the victims of said abusive scenarios, for the sake of maintaining a sense of protection often sought as part of this fandom.

That’s because abusers exist here too. And abusers consume problematic kinks as well. We’ve seen high profile abusers over and over again, from the graymuzzle memory of William Shaw (aka “DiveFox”) being publicly condemned for his child chasing and grooming patterns on Judge Mathis[3], to Frank Gembeck‘s arrest and conviction over extreme child pornography[4] and as recent as the revelations that Adam Wan (aka “Zaush”) is willing to accept the razor-thin legality of using legally-evasive photography of sexualized children as reference material.[5] This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of abusers in this community. In fact, these are merely the abusers that have been proven to demonstrate some sort of abusive behavior. More lurk in the community because they are extremely effective at silencing their victims– one of which we’ll be naming later on. To reassure the reader, their abuse will neither be excused nor glorified in this article.

Thus, we will first discuss the positives of problematic kinks; from how they relate to healing abuse victims, to how they relate to sexuality with abuse aspects abstracted, outright removed or controlled. To separate the positive aspects from potentially abusive or murky situations which could also be positive, there will also be a discussion of gray areas in problematic kinks; discussing how they can sometimes both be a therapeutic tool, a justification of one’s abusive tendencies, or a means of reinforcing one’s victimization.

Then finally, we will also discuss the negatives of problematic kinks, from how they enable abusers to justify their behavior, to how they use the content produced for their kink as a means of potentially grooming new victims. We will also discuss what can be done to protect victims, safe play of these problematic kinks and consumption of the content, while simultaneously attempting to discourage the real-world abuse situations these problematic kinks revolve around.

First, though, we need some primer before we begin: a clarification of terminology.

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SonicFox, world record Esports champion: fursuit “a peak thing in life for me”

by Patch O'Furr

It’s not every day that a POC furry pro gamer with 4 Guinness World Records wins a tournament in a fursuit. When I talked to a friend about interviewing SonicFox, I heard he was cool and didn’t have a big head about it. It was true, but the question lots of people are asking is how does he do it in a fursuit head? The best thing I do in mine is fit a beer through the muzzle. And SonicFox isn’t even quite drinking age while earning more than enough to pay for college.

Pro gaming is getting huge, and it has a juggernaut representing furries – but to SonicFox, it seems like the representing and hugeness is no big deal compared to the furry part. It’s like whether he was a rock star or just a guy next door with a cool hobby to share, he’d give it the same attitude. It’s about being friendly and as sincere as you can be in being who you want to be, especially if that’s a cute blue fox. He should win all the hugs.

Thanks to SonicFox for being so prompt and enthusiastic about an interview from a tiny furry blog – it was fast and good like his gaming. (And thanks for question suggestions from Chip, Summer, Matthias, Tempe, Codex and Tex.) Here’s some further reference, then the interview.

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Furry Fashion (part 2): Interview with the Furry Fashion Collective.

by Patch O'Furr

Cyan:
Hi Patch. We invited a few members of the F/F Collective board into this chat. Thanks for considering our project newsworthy.

Patch:
Totally cool. I got the impression there’s a physical book happening with it?

Sol:
Yessir!

Patch:
I dig it – is it about furries-who-like-fashion, or fashion-for-furries? Like clothes + furries, or more specifically anthro costuming?

Steezy:
Furries who like fashion. Sometimes fursuit fashion.

Yazoo:
It’s an amalgam of both the fashion savvy and those interested in fashion, whether it’s fandom inspired or otherwise.  So there’s a very nice intersection of people looking for fashion who are in the fandom and creators that provide for the fandom.

Sol:
Its also about giving insight for furries who might want to get into fashion.

Patch:
Oh yay, inspiration. Honestly that would even help me, I love making cool outfits but know nothing about the kind of stuff that people who go to school for the design know.

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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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A present from furry fandom to Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Guess how many furries there are in the world? I’d say at least the population of a medium-to-large city. That’s a lot of members to remember for the holidays. Santa Claws couldn’t deliver all the plushies and bones you need with just one trip on Christmas Eve. Of course instead of Christmas dinner, some of you might be having lox or falafel (or fruitcake pizza). Anyways, whether this is your holiday or not, it’s a good time to look back at 2017 and appreciate things shared in common. I’ve been wondering what kind of gift to give the fandom for supporting this site and each other, for having a successful year of record-breaking cons, and for being my favorite thing. I decided that instead of pleasing everyone, let’s pick one furry who gives a lot and give thanks back to him.

That’s Fred Patten, who helped make it all happen. It started 3-4 decades ago when there were only handfuls of people who couldn’t get enough stuff like this…

Fred as The Flash at the 1962 World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago. Photo (c) William Schelly, from the Founders of Comic Fandom book. More Fred photos thanks to Kay Shapero.

Funny animal comics that were huge in the Golden Age but mostly went extinct (except in newspaper strips like Pogo that spoke to adults too.) 1960’s counterculture-inspired, untamed underground comix like Fritz the Cat. A renewal of Disney excellence that suffered in the 1970’s “dark age” of animation after Robin Hood. An adult side to anthropomorphics with action and sci-fi stories seen in anime, leading to 1980’s alternative comics like TMNT and Usagi Yojimbo. Those are roots that grew into a thriving scene that’s now full of young creative people who can learn from founders like Fred.

Fred’s fan activity started with comics in the 1940’s. He joined science fiction fandom in 1960, and in the 1970’s he helped import Anime to North America. It found a place at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society clubhouse where fans shared movies, writing and art. That led to funny-animal fan organizing. They gathered in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Chicago, with house parties, room parties at sci fi cons, and APA’s and zines. Fred’s 17 years of editing Rowrbrazzle put him at the center of it while furries started their first con in 1989 and expanded overseas. He’s won lots of awards, written countless book reviews and animation columns, and edited a dozen furry story anthologies.

Fred also makes Dogpatch Press what it is. He’s a keystone from the past to now, so the bookish beginnings don’t get forgotten with the rise of costuming, bigger events and social media. My part with the site is building “Furry Media” for a more direct line than what outsiders publish. That involves looking for the pulse of fandom, sometimes on the street level with fursuiting, partygoing and event organizing, as well as muckraking or occasionally even being featured in spicy rumors. But meanwhile, without playing a fursona, Fred tells the history, and dives into quiet concentration to review books that furries pour their hearts into writing.

Fred stays in a convalescent hospital and isn’t likely to be at cons (although he does see movies sometimes in a wheelchair), so I hope your messages are like a window on a happy view that you made for him. Smile and wave!

Many furs answered the request I put out. Whether it’s for Christmas or otherwise, it’s a birthday gift too – Fred turned 77 on December 11.

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“You let your ghosties get the best of you”- Chatting with comics creator Mark Kalesniko

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with devoted curation by a fan doing exactly what they love. If you like this, give it a follow. And expect more syndicated content reposted here.  (- Patch)

“You can either stay and rot, or you can escape and burn. That’s OK; he’s a songwriter, after all, and he needs simple choices like that in his songs. But nobody ever writes about how it is possible to escape and rot, how escapes can go off at half-cock, how you can leave the suburbs for the city but end up living a limp suburban life anyway. That’s what happened to me; that’s what happens to most people”

High Fidelity- Nick Hornby

Years back, after heavily getting back into comics, I was gifted with the book 500 Essential Graphic Novels and surprised by the breadth and depth of the selection set about bookmarking and ordering a few dozen titles. Amongst them was Mark Kalesniko’s Alex, a character I instantly fell in love with and creator who’s work I quickly consumed. Having moved back to his home town of Bandini in Canada, with his tail between his legs, after abandoning his dream of animation at ‘Mickey Walt’, Alex wakes up on a park bench, groggy from another night of alcohol fuelled self destruction. Hungover, high school yearbook in his jacket and with an expressionistic painting of the town he has no memory of. The frustrated Alex fills his time wrestling with his past, struggling with artists’ block, hard drinking, and Gilligan’s Island whilst avoiding old school friends and facing up to the unthinkable. Having to be an artist, rather than a cartoonist. Freeway, drawn over ten years features a younger Alex in his animating career. Stuck in a seemingly never ending traffic jam he reminisces about his uncertain start in LA , whilst he imagines himself living an idyllic life, back in the golden days of animation.

Although optimistic now, I spent most of my teens and twenties as a shamefully stereotypically moody and sullen sod, even now I’m drawn to characters like Alex. Back then my favourite book was High Fidelity, which is the reason for the quote at the start of the review which pretty much sums up Alex’s story. Both books features a downtrodden lead character, stuck in their ways and unhappy with the way life turned out. Kalesinko’s work is great for wallowing in self pity and misery, in the same way that we’re drawn to sad songs, knowing full well they’ll bring us yet deeper into sadness. Tackling themes of depression, self destruction, inner peace and the death of a dream, they are both hugely moving and funny reads. Kalesinko can tease out the comedy of even the most disastrous and destructive events of Alex’s life, presented with his sparse fine line with the pacing and sense of movement that clearly comes from his own stint in animation.

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How furry animator Jib Kodi found his art: “When I saw that tail move, I was instantly hooked.”

by Patch O'Furr

I’m in love with this exclusive animation that Jib Kodi made for a B&A (Bark & Awoo) with me!  It was so cool of him to put the appeal and personality of his art on display with his words. He caught my eye, as I’m sure he did for many others, with his outrageously cool short .gif animations on Twitter. In a very short time (months) he’s built a massive 14K following based on how infectiously shareable they are. It’s a winning strategy for an artist, and as far as he’s told me, it just happened accidentally out of love for what he’s into. Kind of like furry fandom grew itself. – Patch

Follow Jib Kodi on FurAffinity and Twitter

Hi Jib, can you talk about how you got into furry, and what do you think about it?

Welp, here goes nuthin’.

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“Truly, my life is a low budget horror movie”- Scott Zelman’s Wilde and much missed webcomic

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with the devoted curation of a fan doing exactly what they love. It’s my favorite kind of writing – thoroughly researched, thoughtfully presented, in magazine style long form. I suspect it may be underexposed considering the high quality, so if you like this, give a follow. And expect syndicated content reposted here too.  (- Patch)

“Don’t be scared! He doesn’t bite. That’d be gauche”

Scot Zellman’s Buster Wilde first appeared on-line around the mid-nineties back in the prehistoric days of the internet. Following the exploits of our eponymous hero, lover and maybe most importantly, gay lycanthrope as we quickly discover the he twist in the familiar folk tale and pop culture staple. Sinewy, flamboyant party animal by night at sunrise Buster switches back to his beleaguered alter ego, Bernard. Stressed, uptight and again most importantly, straight. As Buster humorously and enthusiastically throws himself into his new life, navigating the gay club scene with its drama and clichés, Bernard struggles with a double life he doesn’t remember and more often than not waking up in other guys beds. It was among one of the first web comics I discovered when I finally got on-line and I quickly made my way through every strip on the now broken and mostly forgotten geocities site. You heard that right, Geocities. It’s been around fourteen years since the final strip was posted and it’s a testament to both the quality of the strips and Zellman’s considerable skills as a writer and gifted cartoonist that those who saw it at the time still hold it in such high regard over a decade later. Apart from one of two references that date them (Buffy, who Buster declares is a bitch because of her treatment of fellow werewolf Oz) the Buster Wilde strips have a timeless quick paced humour to them that’s still as funny today as when they were first conceived.

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