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Les Ailes du Singe. T.2, Hollywoodland, by Étienne Willem – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Les Ailes du Singe. T.2, Hollywoodland, by Étienne Willem.
Geneva, Switzerland, Éditions Paquet, June 2017, hardbound €14,00 (48 pages).

The Lex Nakashima-Fred Patten plot to make American furry fans read the best of new French-language animalière bandes dessinées strikes again. This is the second album of Étienne Willem’s over-the-top thriller Les Ailes du Singe (The Wings of the Monkey), set in a funny-animal America during 1933, the depths of the Depression. Things got so desperate at the time that there were serious worries about a Communist revolution. That’s one theme of this album.

The stars of Les Ailes du Singe are Harry Faulkner (macaque monkey), a top pilot in the Lafayette Escadrille during World War I, and the owner of his own barnstorming and movie stunt-flying Jenny biplane; his mechanic-friend Lumpy (pig), apparently Italian since he regularly swears in Italian; and his girlfriend Betty Laverne (deer), a newspaper reporter for the New York Herald-Tribune. In t.1, Wakanda, Harry gets involved in and prevents the skyjacking of the U.S. Army’s zeppelin Wakanda by unknown enemy agents led by a sultry night club singer, Lydia Lessing (jaguar). However, Harry could only prevent the enemy from unleashing poison gas over NYC by crashing the Wakanda into the Hudson River. He is blamed for wrecking the zeppelin and, to escape warrants for his arrest in New York and New Jersey, Harry and Lumpy flee to Hollywood where Harry becomes a stunt pilot for Paramount. (In real life I think he could be extradited – isn’t it illegal to cross state lines to avoid arrest?)

Hollywoodland contains so much hugger-mugger that, frankly, it destroys the suspension of disbelief for me. The Depression has gotten so bad that the South is threatening to re-secede, setting off a second Civil War – or, as Harry finds out, that’s what Communist agents are trying to make the public believe. There’s a plot to assassinate President Franklin D. Roosevelt that only Harry, Betty, and Lumpy can foil, in stolen Paramount stunt planes. There are lots of real famous people as funny animals: FDR is a goose (Willem seems to show him as unparalyzed, as he was popularly believed to be at the beginning of his administration; but take a close look at the bottom panel on page 46), Howard Hughes is a Doberman, Cecil B. De Mille is a Boston terrier, Douglas Fairbanks is a – cougar? (A Big Feline of some kind.) Marilyn Monroe wasn’t a star yet, so Hollywoodland substitutes a fictional Clara Palmer – that’s her on the cover. (There’s a nude shot of her in the story.) Willem takes advantage of the urban legend that Howard Hughes may have been a spy for someone, or at least working against America’s best interests, to put him into suspicious situations. There are car chases all over Los Angeles, gunfights, a major character is killed, and Harry’s & Friends’ pursuit in old World War I warplanes through the New Mexico desert of the presidential streamlined train to prevent the president’s murder

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Of Cloak and Fangs Vol.12, If It Isn’t You…, by Alain Ayroles & Jean-Luc Masbou – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

De Cape et de Crocs. Acte 12, Si Ce N’Est Toi…, by Alain Ayroles & Jean-Luc Masbou.
Paris, Delcourt, November 2016, hardbound €14,50 (47 [+3] pages).

The Fred Patten & Lex Nakashima plan to bring you the best French-language talking-animal comics has a real winner this time: Of Cloak and Fangs. Vol. 12, If It Isn’t You…, the twelfth & final(!) volume of De Cape et de Crocs, the 17th-century swashbuckling series parodying Cyrano de Bergerac, Molière, Montesquieu, and Co. that has been running since 1995.

Confusingly, volume 10 was originally announced as the end of the series. The main characters through vol. 10 are two wandering gentleman-swordsmen, Armand Raynal de Maupertuis (French fox) and Don Lope de Villalobos y Sangrin (Spanish wolf). They are introduced in 17th-century Venice, then a powerful Mediterranean nation. In the first volume they are betrayed and sentenced to serve as galley-slaves in Venice’s navy, where they meet fellow-slave Eusèbius, the cutest bunny-rabbit in the world. They escape, bringing Eusèbius with them. Eusèbius becomes their loyal squire-valet for the rest of the series, through adventures in Europe and on the Moon; so naïve and self-effacing that you almost forget he’s there. Volume 10 appeared to wrap everything up with a happily-ever-after ending, but the ten albums never said what the cutest bunny-rabbit in the world was doing as a Venetian galley-slave when they met him. Did readers demand an explanation? Volumes 11 and 12 answer the question.

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Léonid T. 2, La Horde, by Frédéric Brrémaud & Stefano Turconi – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Léonid. T. 2, La Horde, by Frédéric Brrémaud & Stefano Turconi.
Toulon, France, Soleil, May 2016, hardcover 10,95 (48 pages).

My thanks to Lex Nakashima, as usual for this French bande dessinée album.

Brrémaud is the author-artist of those French wordless “Love” animal albums that many fans collect, but in this case he is only the author. Turconi is the artist.

To repeat what I said about the first album, “The locale is the farming district of Deux-Sèvres, in central-west France. ‘Léonid is a cat, not yet an adult, but not a kitten, either. Just a young cat. He lives in a house in the district, in the midst of trees, pretty far from any city and close to a farm.’ Léonid is a young housecat, living with two other housecats (Hoa Mai, a Siamese, and Rosso, an elderly orange Pekinese) and a dog (Mirza, a toy terrier). His household is also the home of Atchi, a mouse constantly sneezing because he’s allergic to cat hairs. Léonid is allowed outside during the daytime to associate and play with the local feral cats; the female black-&-white Ba’on, and the males Bouboule (the fat one), Arsène (the nervous one), and an anonymous one (because he’s almost immediately killed). […] The Two Albinos is mostly the story of how Ba’on is kidnapped by the two albinos to be their slave, and how Léonid and Atchi, the sneezing mouse, venture outside to her rescue. They’re successful, but not really because Ba’on reveals that while she was in the albino cats’ power, they boasted that they are just the vanguard of ‘the horde’, ‘the avant-garde of the terror of Great Attila, our guide’ who will kill or enslave all the animals of the district.   Léonid, Ba’on, Aichi, Hoa Mai, Rosso, and Mirza are left wondering what to do when Attila and his horde arrive?”

In t.2, the Horde arrives. The animals in Léonid’s house – three housecats, Mirza the toy terrier, and Atchi the mouse are enjoying their daily life. Old Rosso, who is suffering erratic memory loss, sleeps most of the time. Young Léonid goes out each day to associate with the local feral cats, Bouboule, Arsène, and especially the female Ba’on. They are under the dubious protection of Zeus and Apollo, the farmer’s two large, fierce guard dogs who watch over his small flock of sheep. Before the coming of the Horde’s bloody outliers, Zeus and Apollo would tear apart any cat they could catch; but after the animals’ adventures together against the Horde’s scouts led by the two sadistic albino cats, the neighborhood pets and the guard dogs have made common cause against Attila’s coming Horde.

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How do you say “furry” in other languages? by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

My January 2016 call for information about furry conventions for my Furry Fandom Conventions book, announced on Dogpatch Press, contained a comment from Anonymouse that I didn’t address at the time.  He said:

“Russians needs to translate “furry” into their own language. For the last 20 or so years they have not been translating anything, and simply adopting more english words, writing them in Cyrillic letters. If this keeps happening, the Russian language will disappear in 50 years. Mark my words.”

Why do the Russians need to translate “furry” into Russian?  I may be prejudiced because I’m in an English-speaking country, and we take pride in the English language containing so many foreign words.  We call them “loan words”, but there is no sign that we’ll ever give them back.

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La Saga d’Atlas & Axis, t.4, by Pau – French comic review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

album-cover-large-31145La Saga d’Atlas & Axis, t.4, by Pau.
Roubaix, France, Ankama Éditions, September 2016, hardcover €12.90 (60 + [3] pages).

Lex Nakashima & I again present our conspiracy to get you to read French animalière bandes dessinées; in volume 4 ET DERNIER of the Saga of Atlas & Axis!

If you’ve been following Jean-Marc Pau’s adventures of the two talking dogs since t.1 was published in August 2011, here is the conclusion.

Frankly, this isn’t at all what I was expecting – so much so that I’m tempted to ignore this ending and leave the series hanging. For two reasons. Firstly, it’s much more somber and melancholy than I’d expected. I don’t demand a happy ending, but this is depressing. Secondly, the whole purpose of Nakashima’s and my conspiracy is to present French-language anthro-animal comics that aren’t likely to be published in English; and the publication of this whole series in English has just been announced! More on this below.

For three albums now, Atlas (Afghan hound) and Axis (terrier mutt) have wandered the world of Pangea, searching for the Magic Bone of Khimera (whatever that is) that would prove whether wolves and dogs were created independently, or whether dogs evolved from wolves. It was easy to see Pangea as a funny-animal 10th-century Europe, with Viking raiders and the “where did dogs come from” controversy standing for the religious debates within Christianity of that time. The only thing that didn’t fit were the exploding sheep, and that could be dismissed as Pau being humorous.

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The Suspended Castle – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Suspended Castle, by Fred. [Translated by Richard Kutner.]
NYC, Candlewick Press/TOON Books, October 2015, hardcover $16.95 (53 [+ 1] pages).

7655555The Suspended Castle (Le Château Suspendu) is Book 3 in the Philémon series by Fred (Frédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès, 1931-2013), serialized in the classic French comics magazine Pilote. The weekly strip was collected into 15 books between 1972 and 1987. Fred retired leaving Philémon’s adventures uncompleted, until he wrote/drew a 16th volume to finish the series just before his death.

Book 1, Cast Away on the Letter A, was reviewed here in January, and book 2, The Wild Piano, in June. Fred’s Philémon was/is a surrealistic cartoon strip in the tradition of Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat. Philémon is a teenage farmboy in the French countryside of the 1960s-‘70s who falls down a well and has psychedelic adventures on the literal letters ATLANTIC of the Atlantic Ocean of a parallel world. The series is only marginally anthro-animal, but it contains many imaginative fantastic animals in bizarre settings that lovers of top-quality newspaper comic-strip art, and furry fans, will want to see. Philémon, and Fred’s other works, have been hits in France for almost fifty years, almost constantly in print.

In the first two albums, teenager Philémon falls down an abandoned old well on his father’s farm in the French countryside and has fantastic adventures on the two A’s of the ATLANTIC ocean of a parallel world. He meets Mister Bartholomew (Barthélémy), an old Robinson Crusoe-like hermit from our world who was cast away onto the first A forty years ago. Philémon returns to his skeptical father Hector’s farm at the end of Cast Away on the Letter A, but he accidentally leaves Mr. Barthlomew behind. In The Wild Piano, Phil’s Uncle Felix (Félicien) turns out to be an amateur magician who knows how to return to the parallel world. (The “portal” is a different fantastic method each time.) He sends Phil back to rescue Mr. Bartholomew, which he does after more adventures on the letter N.

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French comic: Une Aventure de Chlorophylle – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Belgian, to be accurate. Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Une Aventure de Chlorophylle. T.1, Embrouilles a Coquefredouille, by Godi & Zidrou.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, September 2014, hardcover 10,60 (48 pages).

My thanks to Lex Nakashima again for this French-language bande dessinée.1507-1

So they’ve started another Chlorophylle series. Whoop-de-do. Raymond Macherot (1924-2008) began Chloro the dormouse’s adventures in the weekly Tintin comic-book magazine (1946-1993) in 1954, continued it through 11 or 12 adventures (depending on how you count), and wrote/drew his last Chloro story in 1966. Since then, his Chloro stories have been reprinted umpteen times, alone and in collections. Lombard has tried to continue the Chloro series, in Tintin serializations and in albums after the magazine’s demise, with new stories by a variety of cartoonists: Hubuc & Guilmard, Greg & Dupa, Dupa & Bob De Groot, Bom & Walli. Nothing really caught on. Now here is another attempt, by Belgian comics artist Godi (Bernard Godisiabois) and writer Zidrou (Benoît Drousie). Is this one any different?

Oh, yeah…

The other post-Macherot stories continued Chlorophylle’s adventures in the Belgian Tranquil Vale woodland. The supporting characters were Minimum the mouse, Mironton the dormouse and his wife Mirontaine, Torpedo the otter, Serpolet the rabbit, Clacky the crow, and the usual gang of Chloro’s friends and neighbors. The stories varied in quality, but they were all more of the same.

Complications in Coquefredouille, the first album in the new series, returns to the funny-animal island-kingdom where Chloro had his (arguably) most popular adventures. It’s the 33rd annual International Coquefredouille Film Festival; it’s opening with a new movie about when the kingdom was almost taken over by Anthracite the black rat and his two cannibalistic ferrets, and was saved by Chloro and Minimum (Les Croquillards); and King Mitron XIII of Coquefredouille sends invitations to Chloro and Minimum in the Tranquil Vale to attend. It’s a glitzy film festival; Chloro and Minimum get to meet the movie stars; the real Anthracite died in prison years ago so they don’t have anything more to worry about; so why not? But they arrive to find that there is a new terrorist movement that King Mitron’s government is trying to downplay. The FLF is trying to split Coquefredouille into two nations, the Kingdom of Coque in the west with its traditional capital at Le Fourbi, and the new (kingdom? republic?) of Fredouille in the east with its capital at La Turbine, the island’s second largest city and industrial center. The supposed revolutionists claim they want to stop the royalist government’s exploitation of the east, but nobody in the east seems to feel exploited or want to secede. King Mitron and his advisors suspect that the real reason for the FLF is that all of Couqefredouille’s mineral wealth is located in the east, and that independence for Fredouille would allow the “revolutionists” to set up a corrupt government to milk the eastern resources for themselves. Chloro tries to uncover the truth behind the terrorists, while at the same time dealing with the social complications at the film festival centering around the actors playing himself (Luigi Starletti, a mega-handsome small gray rat) and Anthracite (Antonio Caméo, a tall squirrel who specializes in playing villains).

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French Anthro Comic: Intégrale Chlorophylle – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Chlorophylle Integrale tome 1Intégrale Chlorophylle 1, by Raymond Macherot.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, October 2012, hardcover 25,50 (208 pages).

Intégrale Chlorophylle 2, by Raymond Macherot.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, November 2012, hardcover 25,50 (208 pages).

Intégrale Chlorophylle 3, by Raymond Macherot.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, April 2013, hardcover 25,50 (206 pages).

Raymond Macherot (1924-2008) didn’t invent the French-language animalière cartoon strip. Hergé, the creator of Tintin, dabbled with it in his 1931 Tim L’Ésureuil, Héros du Far-West (Tim the Squirrel, Hero of the Far West), and again in his 1934 album featuring the bears Paul and Virginia, Popol et Virginie chez les Lapinos. (The Lapinos were a tribe of rabbit Indians, renamed the Bunnokees in an English translation. Hergé was a fan of early Western movies.) Edmond-François Calvo (1892-1957) created the first memorable animalière with his classic two-volume history of World War II with funny animals, La Bête est Morte (The Beast is Dead, 1944), which resulted in Calvo in France getting an invitation from Walt Disney to come work for his studio in Hollywood. (Calvo declined.) Calvo drew several other comics featuring adorably cute animals during his career, but they were mostly innocent pets. It was Macherot who established talking funny animals as a viable category of French-language comic strips from the 1950s to the 1990s when he retired. Macherot created several other popular series, not all featuring funny animals – his light adventures of human British secret agent Colonel Clifton are still reprinted – but his Chlorophylle the dormouse, serialized in the weekly Tintin magazine from 1954 to 1966, Sibylline the field mouse, Inspector Chaminou (pretty kitty) of Zooland’s Royal Secret Police, Mirliton the housecat (written by Raoul Cauvin), and other funny animals are what Macherot is most remembered for. Read the rest of this entry »

French Anthro Comic: L’Epée d’Ardenois T. 4/4, – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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


L’
Épée d’Ardenois. T. 4/4, Nuhy, by Étienne Willem.L'Epee d'Ardenois cover
Geneva, Switzerland, Éditions Paquet, June 2015, hardbound €16,00 (64 pages).

This is part of Lex Nakashima’s & my project to bring American furry fans the best of new French-language animalière bandes dessinées. Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of this 4-volume series, which were 48 pages each, were previously reviewed. Here is volume 4, the 64-page conclusion.

All that I said about volume 3 is intensified here. Nuhy begins with Oddenburg, the capital of King Tancred the Younger’s realm of Bohan, under fiery siege by the vulture armies of Hellequin of the Cursed Wood (goat), the unseen Nuhy’s general. “The city can’t hold out for more than two days,” a lion knight reports. “Not to mention the starvation and sickness, our walls are crumbling; there are already skirmishes in several districts; and if the vultures take the St. Georges gate… it’ll be the end of the castle…”

King Tancred (lynx), and two remaining Companions of the Dawn (Lord Arthus, bear; and La Fouine, marten) are trapped inside Oddenburg. This final volume begins with Tancred’s royal advisors arguing whether he should lead a final, hopeless defense and die gloriously in the city’s fall, or escape with a handful of knights through the catacombs under the city to continue a guerrilla resistance in Bohan’s countryside. Escape and resistance are chosen, with La Fouine leading the King’s party from Oddenburg while Lord Arthus remains behind to mount a diversionary death-&-glory charge. Meanwhile in the countryside, Garen (young rabbit squire) and Sir Grimbert (fox) of the Companions are with the refugees from the Duchy of Herbeutagne (which has already fallen to Hellequin), who are trying to reach Oddenburg…

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Doc Rat Vol. 13 and 14, by Jenner – Book Reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Doc Rat. Vol. 13, Lucky for Some, Doc, by Jenner.
Melbourne, Vic., Australia, Platinum Rat Productions, June 2014, trade paperback A$16.00 (unpaged [76 pages]).

Doc Rat. Vol. 14, Prey Tell, Doc: Son of Fortenflanck, by Jenner.
Melbourne, Vic., Australia, Platinum Rat Productions, December 2014, trade paperback A$16.00 (unpaged [88 pages]).

Vol-13-cover-front-proof-Small-450x316These are the latest two pocket-sized volumes of Jenner’s Doc Rat online daily comic strip. They are especially desirable right now when the Doc Rat website is having electronic problems, so you couldn’t read these strips for free on its archive if you wanted to. But even when the archive comes back online, these thin booklets are extremely handy for carrying around with you. They are only available in one bookshop in Melbourne, and by mail order over the strip’s website for A$16.00 or US$12.95 each. They are highly recommended.

It’s no secret today that Jenner is Dr. Craig Hilton, a general practitioner in a suburb of Melbourne. Dr. Benjamin Rat M.B., many etc.’s, is also a GP in a suburb of the Australian animal city of Fornor. Jenner began Doc Rat in June 2006, and like any long-running comic strip, it has a wealth of backstory and supporting characters by now. It helps if you are familiar with them, but it’s not essential; just as it isn’t essential to be familiar with the medical profession to appreciate all the technical references that Doc Rat and his staff plus others (Gizelle Thomson, his Thomson’s gazelle office receptionist; Mary Scamper, his motherly rabbit nurse; and numerous pharmaceutical high-pressure salesmen) casually throw around. Doc Rat has his own GP practice, and most of the situations that he faces are shared by any small business: billing, paperwork, keeping up with the latest developments in your specialty, and so on.

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