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Tag: graphic novel

Housepets! Will Do It For Free (Book 6), By Rick Griffin, Book Review By Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

HousepetsHousepets! Will Do It For Free (Book 6), by Rick Griffin.
North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, November 2015, trade paperback $13.95 (52 pages).

Another year passes, and here is the new annual collection of the Housepets! online comic strip by Rick Griffin. Housepets! has appeared each Monday-Wednesday-Friday since June 2, 2008. It has won the Ursa Major Award for the Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip for every year since! – for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Umpty million thousand furry fans can’t be wrong.

Book 6 contains the strips from June 19, 2013 to May 30, 2014; story arcs #70, “Mice To Meet You” to #77, “Heaven’s Not Enough, part 1”, plus the one-off gag strips before and between these.

Housepets! is the story of the dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and other pets of Babylon Gardens, a typical residential suburban neighborhood – in an alternate universe. The animals are larger than in our universe (but not human-sized), can talk, are usually bipedal, and address their human owners as “Mom” and “Dad”. Their status is somewhere between pets and children. Points established over the years are that humans can bequeath their belongings to their pets, who do not need a human guardian; human storekeepers are not allowed to sell catnip to cats; human police forces have an auxiliary of Police Dogs who are not all police dogs; the pets comment sardonically on how they can go naked in public but their human “parents” can’t; and – lots of other stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

French Comic: Léonid. T. 1, Les Deux Albinos – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

91pzQz5K1xLLéonid. T. 1, Les Deux Albinos, by Frédéric Brrémaud & Stefano Turconi.
Toulon, France, Soleil, August 2015, hardcover 10,95 (48 pages).

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

At first glance, Léonid looks like a cute funny-animal comic book featuring cats, roughly similar to Disney’s 1970 The Aristocats. But its story, full of blood and terror, is closer to the German Felidae, either the 1989 novel by Akif Pirinçci or the furry-convention-favorite 1994 animated feature. (Both are good, but the movie simplifies the complex story.)

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).

Two newborn lambs are slaughtered at night, apparently by a wild animal. The cats inside a house are presumably safe, but the feral cats who spend nights outdoors worry that a fox may have moved into the neighborhood – or (for those who fear the less-probable predators) a wolf or an ermine. Léonid finds out that it was two bloodthirsty albino cats, but at first he can’t convince anyone else. They think that he’s exaggerating to make himself look important; then, when the two albinos kidnap Ba’on, they say that it’s every cat for himself. Meanwhile, the farmer has set Zeus and Apollon, his two killer hounds, loose to safeguard the rest of his flock, and the dogs run bloodily through the neighborhood as a savage danger to all of the cats who aren’t safe in houses.

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, Rossi, and Mirza are left wondering what to do when Attila and his horde arrive? Read the rest of this entry »

French Comic review by Fred Patten – Ocelot: Le Chat Qui N’en Etait Pas Un.

by Pup Matthias

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

Ocelot coverOcelot: Le Chat Qui N’en Était Pas Un, by Jean David Morvan & Séverine Tréfouël [writers] and Agnès Fouquart [art].
Paris, Delcourt, August 2015, hardcover €12,50 (48 pages), Kindle free.

Thanks once again to Lex Nakashima for this fine example of the French bande dessinée.

If you think that this story is familiar, it should be. The publisher itself says in its catalogue that Ocelot: The Cat Who Was Not One is “in the fashion of Lady and the Tramp”. Amazon.fr compares it to The Aristocats. (Les Aristochats.) You are advised “To read it with an empty mind and enjoy it”. (A lire pour se vider l’esprit et passer un bon moment.) In other words, just read it for fun. Tour modern Paris, the City of Lights, with a quartet of free-living cats.

Ocelot opens with the titular ocelot looking at the Eiffel Tower, all lit up at night. He hears another cat fighting with dogs and races across the rooftops to watch. He saves her, a fluffy white cat (“Une ragdoll!!”) with brown ears and tail, more by accident than design. The cat, obviously a sophisticated lady, is more amused than grateful. “You’re rather bizarre…” “I’m UNIQUE. That’s different.” She’s Olympe. He’s “Doudou de la Gür Gandine!” (Gür Gandine’s Cutie). She laughs in his face. (More specifically, a doudou is a young child’s favorite toy or plush doll, usually well-worn.) Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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).

Read the rest of this entry »

The Three Jaguars: A Comic About Business, Art, and Life, by M.C.A. Hogarth – Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Three Jaguars: A Comic About Business, Art, and Life, by M. C. A. Hogarth. Foreword by Ursula Vernon.
Tampa, FL, mcahogarth.org, August 2015, trade paperback $15.99 (vi + 136 [+ 1] pages).

51wGE4NLrmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_M.C. A. Hogarth was one of the first creators in furry fandom. She had art as a young teenager in Yarf! #1, January 1990, as Maggie de Alarcon. Her first novel, a fixup of furry short stories, was Alysha’s Fall (Cornwuff Press, September 2000). Since then she has had over twenty books published, as trade paperbacks and electronic books, by furry specialty publishers and through CreateSpace, often under her own imprint as Studio MCAH. She has won an Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction of the year, and been nominated for a Gaylactic Spectrum Award for a fantasy novel with a LGBT theme. In May 2015 Hogarth was elected Vice President of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

She has also had an active online presence since the 1990s, often raising funds for publishing her books through Kickstarter and similar campaigns. She has regularly answered questions about how to become a successful creative artist or writer. In January 2013 she began presenting this advice/her experiences in the form of a Monday-Wednesday and sometimes Friday web comic strip, The Three Jaguars, which ran through that August. It took the form of conversations, and sometimes arguments, between three facets of her creativity personified as three anthropomorphic jaguars; Business Manager, Marketer, and Artist. Business Manager is the most practical of the three, trying to limit the creativity to what will sell. Artist is the most imaginative, wanting to create what she wants to create when she wants to create it. And Marketer tries to figure out how to make what Artist wants to create saleable.

The Three Jaguars: A Comic About Business, Art, and Life presents the totality of that comic, plus a four-page epilogue drawn for this edition. In an Afterword, Hogarth analyzes why The Three Jaguars did not work as a comic strip. Readers don’t read a comic strip for objective business advice, and the format of three separate characters kept segueing into dramatic storylines, which was fine for evolving the comic into an adventure serial but was not its original purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

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…

Read the rest of this entry »

French comics: Cerise, Vol 1-3, by Laurel – Book Reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

cerise tome 1Cerise. T.1, L’Avis des Bêtes, by Laurel.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, April 2012, hardbound €10,60 (48 pages).

Cerise. T.2, Smart Faune, by Laurel.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, February 2014, hardbound €10,60 (48 pages), Kindle €5,99.

Cerise. T.3, Le Seigneur des Animaux, by Laurel.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, July 2015, hardbound €10,60 (48 pages).

These three albums look at first glance like comics for little children. Well, they are and they aren’t. Mostly, they’re comics that little children should read, but they won’t get a chance to in America.

Cerise (Cherry, but the French is a common name in America, too) is a nine-year-old schoolgirl in Noticed by Beasts, the first album. She tries to save a snail from being crushed by a schoolmate. She fails, but the dying snail appreciates her effort and gives her the power to understand and talk with all beasts; mammals, birds, fish, bugs, you name it. The first album is mostly a collection of one-page gags around Cerise and talking animals: her pets (she has two cats and a ferret) and the local wildlife. No other humans believe her, and she boasts of her “secret ability”. In the last two pages, she meets Arthur, another boy who can also talk with animals. Read the rest of this entry »

Roi Ours, by Mobidic – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Roi Ours CoverRoi Ours, by Mobidic.
Paris, Delcourt, May 2015, hardbound 18.95 (110 pages), Kindle 13.99.

Thanks to Lex Nakashima for ordering this French cartoon album from Amazon.fr and making it available to me for this review.

In a prehistoric Mesoamerican world, a human village is ruled by the animal gods and goddesses: the Jaguar god, the Fox god, the Stag god, and many others. The village is cursed by the Caïman goddess; to lift the curse, the chief is ordered by the tribal shaman to offer his own daughter, Xipil, as a sacrifice. Xipil is bound to the Caïman’s totem pole and abandoned to be eaten.

But it’s not the Caïman goddess who comes first, but the Bear god. “You look a little young to me for an offering… and not very meaty! Has she already eaten all her own priestesses?” “The shaman said that she is demanding greater sacrifices.” “Well, he should have offered his own daughter. Do you want to stop the massacre? Or do you prefer to go through with it?” “My father said…” “Your father is an imbecile! He’s not listening to the signs any more. I’m telling you that the Caïman is making fun of all of you; she’ll never raise her curse on you. You’ll have to do something else. Go tell your father.” Read the rest of this entry »