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Tag: funny animals

The Latte Segment, by Zoe Landon – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Latte Segment, by Zoe Landon
Portland, OR, Leporidae Media, February 2016, trade paperback $14.99 (282 pages), Kindle $4.99.

This is the purest funny-animal novel that I have ever read. Other than that the characters are all described as animals, there is nothing to differentiate this from any all-human novel.

Sarah Madsen is a young woman working as a marketing analyst in Portland, Oregon. Her boyfriend, Sean, is an unemployed computer programmer from Silicon Valley in California. Sarah relaxes alone almost every Sunday at the Deadline Cafe over an expensive latte laced with mint; her only vice.

“Sarah fidgeted and the corner creaked. She was worrying about money.

Her finances were safe, by most reasonable standards, yet there was a nagging sense that she should be doing better. Perhaps she could save a little more. She could go to fewer movies with Sean and their whole circle of friends. She couldn’t get rid of her television like Sean did; she relied on it too much for work. But she could stop coming to the Deadline Cafe every Sunday. It did feel like the lattes got more expensive the last year or so.

Everything in Portland felt like it was getting more expensive lately. Most of it was inevitable. She moved here when things weren’t very good anywhere, and now things were especially good here. New businesses were popping up in her neighborhood left and right. Businesses that, for one reason or another, she rarely went to.” (pgs. 5-6)

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A Brief History of Cartoon Animals Punching Nazis

by Arrkay

Dogpatch Press welcomes Arrkay of furry channel Culturally F’d.

Nazi-panic got you down? It seems these days everywhere you look there seems to be some sour racists ruining someone’s day. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Working on Culturally F’d gives me a great outlet to explore anthropomorphic animals throughout history and media. So after the public twitter discussions about whether or not it’s ok to punch nazis, I recalled some historical examples that helped. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, there was a huge push in propaganda on all fronts. They encouraged spending money on war-bonds, saving fats and scrap metals, starting community “victory” gardens, empowering a new female workforce, perpetuating false-optimism of a short war, warning against spies listening in, and attempting to shape public opinion and spark a sense of national identity. The military’s of the world commissioned animators to help influence public opinion during a time when Nazi Germany was beginning it’s invasions, and it was becoming clear to more and more governments that the Axis powers were not slowing down or stopping.

Propaganda like these were created to help sway public opinion, and to paint a caricature of the enemies. This was at times, incredibly offensive and racist, and it’s important we don’t forget that and that we don’t repeat it again.

We’re going to start with Animated Shorts, which were created to precede or follow newsreels of current events, often part of a pre-show for a larger, longer feature presentation in the movie theatre.

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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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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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Who Wacked Roger Rabbit? – book review by Fred Patten.

by kiwiztiger

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

Who Wacked Roger Rabbit?, by Gary K. Wolf.
Colorado Springs, CO, Musa Publishing, December 2014, trade paperback $14.00 (306 pages).

who-wacked-roger-rabbitThis is the third “Roger Rabbit” novel by Gary K. Wolf in 30+ years. The first, Who Censored Roger Rabbit? (St. Martin’s Press, October 1981), was bought by Walt Disney Productions and turned into the considerably different animated feature Who Framed Roger Rabbit (June 1988). (For example, there is no Toontown; Roger talks through speech balloons; does not spray his P’s; and he is killed in the novel.) The movie was a mega-hit, and Wolf wrote a second novel, Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit (Villiard Books, August 1991) that was not as much a sequel as a movie media tie-in. The title emphasized Roger’s distinctive stutter from the movie, and the dust jacket showed Roger and his wife Jessica as they appear in the Disney cartoon design in the movie. But the second novel’s new background was not that of either the first novel nor of the movie.

Now Wolf has written a third novel. Who Wacked Roger Rabbit? seems betwixt & between the first two. The date is 1947 or ’48, when “Walter Windchill” and “Luella Parslips” are still active gossip columnists.

Eddie Valiant, the private eye, is the hard-boiled narrator. “Me and my smog machine rattled our way down Sunset Boulevard to Columbia Studios, the toniest movie lot in Hollywood, where the bungalows are painted with the pixie dust that coats silver screens and the streets are paved with pure movie gold. A schmoe like me rarely gets an invite to a top shop like this. My gumshoes stick to the seamier sidewalks of Tinsel Town.” (p. 3)

Columbia is about to make a new movie starring Gary Cooper, but a deliberate change from his usual Westerns and sophisticated roles. Producer Barney Sands (a human) explains to Eddie that it’s to be set in Toontown, with Coop playing a low-class human living there.

“‘Coop will immerse himself in his role, actually living the life of the character he plays. I want him to hang out in Toontown. Get inside the heads of his Toon co-stars, find out what makes them tick. Use those emotions to structure his own performance.’ Sands flipped his Zip and lit another cigarette. I never saw a guy smoke so fast. Like he had a pair of suction fans inside him instead of lungs. ‘The end result will be sensational. The new Cooper. Crude, basic, and untamed. Giving a performance that delivers a punch straight to the gut.’
[…] Read the rest of this entry »

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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Funnybooks: The Improbable Glories of the Best American Comic Books – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Funnybooks: The Improbable Glories of the Best American Comic Books, by Michael Barrier. Illustrated.
Oakland, CA, University of California Press, November 2014, hardcover $60.00 (xxi + 407 pages), trade paperback $34.95, Kindle $19.49.

download (1)“Way back when the idea of a ‘comics scholar’ sounded like the punch line to a bad joke, Michael Barrier was a serious historian, a discriminating aesthetician, a trustworthy guide, and a impassioned lover of… funnybooks,” says Art Spiegelman in his endorsement. With this book, Barrier has started filling in one of the last important gaps in comic-book scholarship. There have been recent de luxe collections of the classic works of the best funny-animal artist-writers, and studies of their individual works. There have been serious histories of the superhero comics, the romance comics, the Westerns, the horror and crime comics, and others, and of their creators like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. But there have not been any serious studies of the children’s fantasy/funny-animal comics as a genre. Funnybooks is the first of these.

There is much still to be done. Barrier recognizes this in his Preface. “My initial plan was to cast my net wider, but eventually Funnybooks became a history of the Dell comic books, concentrating on the years before comics of all kinds fell under the censor’s axe and with only a nod to great cartoonists like Harvey Kurtzman and Will Eisner whose work was for other publishers.” (p. xiv) My own favorite hero of funnybooks in my childhood, I learned later, was Sheldon Mayer (1917-1991), the writer-artist of Dizzy Dog, Doodles Duck, McSnertle the Turtle, Ferenc the Fencing Ferret, the Three Mousketeers, and his most acclaimed series even if it did feature human babies, Sugar and Spike. My earliest comic-book character who I wanted to grow up to be just like, when I was about five years old, was Mayer’s Amster the Hamster. He could fast-talk his way out of any situation; a talent that at five years old, surrounded by bossy adults, seemed very desirable to me. But Mayer spent his lifelong career writing and drawing for DC Comics, one of Dell’s main rivals; so he is not mentioned here. I could name other favorite funny-animal characters and their writer-artists, such as Superkatt by Dan Gordon, who was earlier a great writer-animator at the Fleischer Brothers studio and later was one of the first great writer-animators for Hanna-Barbera; or the alley cat Robespierre by Ken Hultgren, an ex-Disney animator. (Gordon and Hultgren are briefly mention in a chapter on Dell’s rivals.) But the point is that there is still much to do.

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USAGI YOJIMBO gets a successful pitch for a feature film

by Patch O'Furr

The indie comic by Furry favorite artist Stan Sakai is a “funny animal series set in 17th century feudal Japan”. The rabbit samurai has never appeared in animation, except for brief appearance in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV cartoon. (A TV show pilot from 1995, Space Usagi, never aired because of lack of toy company backing and bad business involving the Bucky O-Hare comic; “anything with a rabbit in space was considered off limits”.)

Now, Usagi is in a short film that was made to present to Stan Sakai, the TMNT-affiliated creator who’s been guest of honor at a number of Furry cons. It earned his approval for feature film rights.

… And it’s intended to be stop-motion animation!

Lintika Film Studio made the pitch video.  They’re a shoestring-budget collaboration of local San Francisco Bay Area animators.  Executive production is from Fon Davis. Fon gave me a tour of his local studio (Fonco), and showed me the original, iconic spiral hill from Nightmare Before Christmas that he animated.  He’s an incredibly generous supporter of indie productions, known for hosting panels at San Diego Comic Con.  Lead animator on the pitch is Justin Kohn, known for working on all of Henry Selick’s features and supporting the Bay Area animation community.

The short’s director from Lintika says:

It’s still a work-in-progress and about 90% complete. We’re currently working on the sound mix and refining the film for the DVD release which will include behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, deleted scenes, and interesting details regarding the making of the featurette.

Furry artist in finals of San Francisco Public Library card design contest

by Patch O'Furr

Flayrah news: 10/19/12

Library card designWalter Ringtail’s comic strip Paw Valley features a gang of cartoon animal friends who often end up in ticklish situations.

Now, patrons of San Francisco’s Public Library may be tickled to have his art work in their pockets.

According to this cartoon illustrated tour, seven million people a year pass through SFPL’s main branch alone (one of 27 branches in the city). Library membership is over 350,000, with over nine million loans circulated per year. That’s a lot of patrons who could become card-carrying appreciators of furry art!

3,000 submissions were received for the SFPL card design contest. Judges selected ten finalists in each of five age-based categories. The top vote-winners will be printed on SFPL library cards in 2013.

Walter Ringtail’s submission “The Bedtime Story” was chosen for the adult level finals. Now, it’s up to the public to vote for the winner.
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