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Tag: cartoons

Ponyville Confidential: The History and Culture of My Little Pony – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Ponyville Confidential: The History and Culture of My Little Pony, 1981-2016, by Sherilyn Connelly
Jefferson, NC, McFarland & Co., March 2017, trade paperback $18.99 (x + 254 pages), Kindle $8.99.
Order at McFarland’s Website – order line 800-253-2187

Ponyville Confidential doesn’t contain any artwork. That’s a tipoff that this book has not been authorized or approved by Hasbro, the copyright holder of the My Little Pony franchise.

Connelly emphasizes and re-emphasizes in her Introduction that although she is a fan of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic TV program and the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movies, she is not a My Little Pony (note the lack of italics) fan. As a child in the 1980s, she hated being talked down to, particularly as a girl-child, and this included all of the girls’ TV cartoons of the time; Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake and especially My Little Pony ‘n’ Friends. She didn’t watch it. She didn’t start watching My Little Pony until Friendship Is Magic in mid-2011 (after Season 1 had finished its initial broadcast), when friends had told her, “Hey, it’s a girl’s toy commercial, but there’s something here.” By then Connelly was a film critic for The Village Voice and SF Weekly (an alternate newspaper for the San Francisco Bay Region, not science-fiction), so she was prepared to study the entire My Little Pony phenomenon, including the Bronies, as both a professional outsider and as a fan – of the post-2010 MLP:FIM, anyhow.

“This book is divided into five parts. Part 1, ‘Family Appreciation Day,’ looks at the history of the franchise from the release of Generation 1 in the early 1980s through the late 1990s, showing how long after both the toys and cartoons had ceased production, My Little Pony continued to be criticized in the media as the worst of children’s entertainment in a way that similar brands marketed toward boys were not.” (p. 4)

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Q&A with Sherilyn Connelly, author of Ponyville Confidential: the History and Culture of My Little Pony, 1981-2016.

by Patch O'Furr

ponyvilleRecently, I posted “The history of My Little Pony and thoughts about growing up with cartoons” to prepare for chat with Sherilyn Connelly.  Sherilyn is a journalist local to the San Francisco Bay Area Furries. (She has given them notice in publications like SF Weekly.) Her first book is out this April: Ponyville Confidential, a pop culture history of the My Little Pony media empire. (Please like the book’s Facebook page!)

Hi Sherilyn, thanks for talking about Ponyville Confidential!  Let me start by asking – who needs to read it? Will it be manely for fans?  Will there be parts to tempt furry readers?

“Manely!” I see what you did there. Obviously everypony needs to read it, and it’s by no means intended just for My Little Pony fans; I hope that people who are interested in pop-culture history in general will give it a look as well. And there are many references to the Furry fandom, including shout-outs to Frolic, Further Confusion, and Anthrocon.

I know you as a committed, active fan who comes to Furry events and writes journalism about them (and movies, and more.) Can you give a brief intro about your background and writing?

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was old enough to want to be anything at all. I started writing professionally for SF Weekly in 2011 — within a few months when I started grad school and began watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, so it was a momentous year in retrospect — and wrote quite a lot about the the local Furry scene at the time. I began contributing film reviews to the Village Voice in 2012, and became the Weekly‘s permanent film critic in January 2013.

I hear this is your first book, congrats – how excited are you? Would anything surprise you about how it might be received?

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A brief history of who ruined furry.

by Patch O'Furr

fritz-the-cat-movie-poster-1972-1010196225Many people are to blame for ruining furry. This list isn’t comprehensive, and some of the jerks on it caused multiple problems at the same time.

1960’s – 1970’s:  Artists ruined furry.

Underground comic artists made a plan to stigmatize fans of funny-animal comics by putting adult stuff in ones like Robert Crumb’s Fritz The Cat and Reed Waller’s Omaha The Cat Dancer.  It worked well enough to keep fans from openly using the “furry” name until the 1980’s.

1985-1988: “Skunkfuckers” ruined furry.

It was just starting to be OK to be furry in public. Then some bad apples got us kicked out of respectable science fiction fandom.  Look at these 1980’s convention room party flyers from Lance Rund and Sy – this is the kind of thing that made furries get isolated apart from other fans, with our own private shame-cons.

furpy3

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How did Disney inspire Furry fandom? A look at early influences by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

How Disney Influenced Furry Fandom is an artist’s thoughts shared in this week’s Newsdump.323px-Horrifying_Look_at_the_Furries

(Patch:)  Furry artist Joe Rosales focuses on California fandom in its formative years, including fursuiting.  It concludes that Disney should get major credit.  I liked it, but it doesn’t give enough credit for sci fi fandom, and misses early fursuiters like Robert Hill who were not professional (and not G-rated, either.)  The unnamed animator must be Shawn Keller, maker of the notorious Furry Fans flash animation and comic.  (If he didn’t want to be named, he shouldn’t have published “Shawn Keller’s Horrifying Look at The Furries.“)

I sent it to Fred Patten and asked for his thoughts.  In between, a similar media article happened on a psychic wavelength:

VICE: Furries Love Zootopia.

Here’s what Fred wrote in response to the first one.

(Fred:) This is very good, but you’re giving Disney credit for too much influence.

First, define early furry fandom. 1980 to … 1983? 1985? 1990? Don’t forget, by 1980 and for the next decade, Walt Disney and the Disney Studio were pretty much Old History. Carl Barks was retired. In comics, Marvel’s Howard the Duck (Steve Gerber), DC’s Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (Scott Shaw!), and Pacific Comics’ Destroyer Duck (Jack Kirby) were the New Wave; the new influences. In underground comix, there were Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton. In independent comics, there were Steve Leialoha and Michael Gilbert in Quack!.  … (Fred, what about the great Bucky O’Hare comic? – Patch)

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College Catastrophe, by Jan – comic review By Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

ccbookCollege Catastrophe, by Jan. Illustrated.
Hong Kong, Tiger Knight Comics, November 2012, trade paperback, $12.95 (unpaged [127 pages]), e-book $3.95.

This is the collection of the online comic strip that Jan (this book gives away his real name as Chun Yan Miu) published from November 2000 to January 2013. The early strips were remastered between 2009 and 2012, so they all look “current”. He retired it to concentrate on his later, more popular Medievalish fantasy Swords and Sausages strip, although he has just started a College Catastrophe sequel: Nine to Nine, showing what is happening to its cast one year after graduating from college, beginning on November 1, 2015.

If you want to know what Jan did before Swords and Sausages, here it is – all 202 strips, plus fillers unavailable elsewhere.

College Catastrophe is a slice-of-life college comic strip with seven anthropomorphized students as the main characters: Jan, a lion computer science major; Wolf, a wolf physics major and Jan’s roommate; Phil, a horse math major; Amber, Jan’s vixen girlfriend; Shiera, a lioness Japanese major; Tor, a tiger fine arts major; and Andrea, Tor’s arctic fox girlfriend. Tor and Andrea were added to the strip shortly before it ended, and have been reused as the main characters in Jan’s fantasy Swords and Sausages.

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The Art of Regular Show – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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


The Art of Regular Show
, by Shannon O’Leary. Foreword by J. G. Quintel. Introduction by Paula Spence.
London, Titan Books, September 2015, hardcover $29.95 (160 pages).Regular show Cover

Lavish coffee-table animation art books are usually the prerogative of theatrical features from major animation studios like Disney, DreamWorks Animation, and Pixar; not a TV cartoon series from a studio like Cartoon Network. Yet if any TV cartoon series has earned that accolade, Regular Show has. The prime-time (7:30 p.m.; new episodes on Thursdays, reruns the rest of the Monday-Saturday week) half-hour program of two 11-minute episodes began on September 6, 2010, and is still going strong with 195 episodes (nine seasons) scheduled so far, and a made-for-TV feature, Regular Show: The Movie, due on November 25, 2015. Episode #58, “Eggscellent” by Regular Show creator J. G. Quintel, won a 2013 Emmy Award in the Outstanding Short-format Animated Program category; and various other episodes have been nominated for Annie, Emmy, Teen Choice, and other American and British TV awards. There have been a Regular Show monthly comic book since May 2013; and video games, action figures, plush dolls, bobbleheads, T-shirts, and more. Read the rest of this entry »

Snow White vs. All Dogs Go To Heaven: A Look at How Kid’s Movies Encouraged the Founding of the Furry Fandom.

by Patch O'Furr

 Here’s a fantastic guest post by Amanda Riesling. Her blog’s recent post about Furries is highly recommended. – Patch

Note: This article concerns itself exclusively with fully animated feature films produced in America and released prior to 2000. The article’s scope is limited so narrowly mainly because it is a blog post and therefore too short to cover a wide range of media. If you care why the parameters were chosen, there’s a note at the bottom of the article.

Cartoons are a fantastic storytelling medium because all you need to do is make sure your story can be translated into visual images. That’s it. Once you tick that box, you can cast off the confines of reality and tell whatever story you want.

tumblr_mhhr8dPvpq1rmnmfuo1_250However, despite the visual freedom, a good storyteller still needs to tell a story the audience can relate to. In my opinion, this is the real key to why anthropomorphic stories encouraged the furry fandom.

An audience needs to see themselves in the hero. They need to be able to project themselves and relate to that character. If they can’t bond with the main character somehow, they won’t enjoy the movie. If your main characters are human, half the battle is done for you. In fact, the blander, more generic your human hero is, the easier it will be for the audience to relate. You can have the goddamn Matrix going on, but as long as your main dude is an expressionless white guy with a vague backstory, people can pretend to be him. For a more pop-culture version of what I’m saying, watch Cracked.com’s video.

If your main character is a human, this is great news for your film. Your character can be bland, and your story can be as shallow as a Petri dish, and people will still relate because they see a human face. (Not that all human-centered movies are shallow. I said can be. They don’t have to be.)

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Don Oriolo’s Felix the Cat Art Available Nationally – announcement by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Exclusive Felix the Cat Fine Artwork from Don Oriolo Coming Soon from Soho Prints (PRNewsFoto/Soho Art International/Soho Prin)We get mail. In this case, a press release with a cover letter.

Hi Fred:

Saw that you covered my client Don Oriolo’s Felix Art last year and thought you might like to see our press release from today and possibly cover that?  Let me know if you need anything on this.

Best, Scott

He must be referring to my book review on Flayrah last year, of Don Oriolo’s Felix the Cat Paintings.

And here is the press release. Felix was the first star of anthropomorphic animal animated cartoons in the 1920s, so it’s pertinent even if limited to modern art.

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Did the Axis Have Any Funny Animals? – WWII history from Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

  • SEE BOTTOM: At Fred’s request, a gallery of rare book illustrations from Van den Vos Reynaerde was scanned for this post by the UCRiverside Library.
  • Animal fables traditionally tell morals – this article shows a historically fascinating misuse of anthropomorphism for fascist and Social Darwinist goals.
  • “Dear Patch; This is basically rewritten from my article for Flayrah, Retrospective: Talking Animals in World War II Propaganda.

Did the Axis Have Any Funny Animals?

Yes. Whether the Nazis and Italians did is technically debatable, but the Japanese certainly did.

(Oops! I am reminded that many younger people today do not know what “the Axis” was. “The Enemy” during World War II. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy signed a mutual defense treaty on October 25, 1936 that Italy’s Benito Mussolini described in a speech on November 1 as putting Europe on a Rome-Berlin axis. Imperial Japan joined in 1937. On September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan signed a Tripartite Pact and formally declared themselves the “Axis powers”. They were joined during the next month by Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. “The Axis” during World War II meant Germany, Italy, Japan, and their allies.)

There were more funny animals assigned to them by American cartoonists for anti-Axis propaganda than there were of their own. The best-known today are probably the Leon Schlesinger/Warner Bros. animated short cartoons The Ducktators and Scrap Happy Daffy, and MGM’s Blitz Wolf.

In The Ducktators, directed by Norm McCabe and written by Melvin Millar, released on August 1, 1942, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis are ducks, Benito Mussolini is a goose, and “the Jap” (a stereotypical “Jap”) is presumably also a duck (although he looks more like a coot).

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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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