Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

The Fandom movie: Furry paws seize the media

by Patch O'Furr

Premiering JULY 3, 2020 at thefandomfilm.com.

When the media shows furries, do they get it right?

It’s a constant furry worry. In 2017 it was announced that CNN was making a show about them. Backlash rose about sensationalism, but few critics gave a fair shake to the producers of This Is Life with Lisa Ling. Then it came out and it was a flat-out advocacy piece on behalf of Furry“, said Joe Strike, a fan since the 1980’s who wrote a book that covers the subculture’s run-ins with bad media.

Joe Strike’s Furry Nation is the essential fandom history book.

Positive response didn’t satisfy every critic. Some asked why the 3 fans featured by CNN didn’t include more diverse people. But the show (with an asian-american woman journalist) got backlash while asking volunteers to raise their paws and be counted. That seems like damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

In answer to this, The Fandom is a documentary made by the fans. It features outstanding writers (like Joe), artists, animators, musicians, costume designers, event organizers and founders. It celebrates the roots with pro quality and appeal for outsiders who might not have given a fair look before.

For decades this subculture has thrived despite adversity. Bad media is one kind, but not the only kind. Some is internal. Some is homophobic. Some is happening right now with this screwy year. There’s even a villain to tell you about.

$10 million worth of trouble

Anthrocon is the 2nd largest furry convention, led by Uncle Kage (Dr. Sam Conway), the longstanding CEO and fandom public relations figure. It was due to bring $9.9 million to Pittsburgh’s economy in 2020. Now it’s among 70 furry cons canceled by COVID-19. The movie is launching anyways on the con’s dates, without opportunities that could have won distribution. (No film fests either.)

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Looney Tunes gets a reboot (Part 3): How an iconic cartoon forged a wacky and lovable side of the furry fandom — By Rocky Coyote

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Meet “Toon Furs” in Part 3: Charlie Tinn, Zen Fetcher, and Toothpick the Woodpecker. This story features the side of fandom where you can watch NEW cartoons with classic animal characters, and even turn into one! HBO Max has 80 eleven-minute episodes of fresh-but-faithful animation from WarnerMedia. Furries discuss their influence in this 3-part story by Rocky Coyote. (Rocky previously covered fandom in America’s biggest city on his tag here.)

Charlie Tinn is a monochromatic mustachioed mutt, self-proclaimed hat enthusiast and classic cartoon lover. He discusses how the toon side of the furry fandom drew him into it.

I grew up watching them a lot as a kid, they were on basic satellite TV during certain hours of the day usually in the middle of the day or late at night. The theme song was always memorable, you can always tell what kind of cartoon is about to play even if most of the ones I watched were Tweety and Sylvester. Anytime it was a heavy emphasis on Bugs and Daffy it was a delight.

I enjoyed the unique ways of slapstick and visual humor like with Wile E. Coyote and his signs along with the word trickery that Bugs would do to Daffy, just so Elmer would shoot him in the face. Duck Amuck is a really good episode, I loved how they broke the fourth wall and they did a lot of elements like that.

I wasn’t really fully interested in the fandom until I discovered there was a toon side to it. Definitely made me interact with more people and got more friends from it and all while getting to enjoy just the wacky and zaniness that is Looney Tunes.

Honestly so far it’s a perfect successor from what I can see from the two episodes. I was able to watch the Porky and Daffy cement short, and Bugs running away from Elmer Fudd. They seem like great honorary successors; they got the right slapstick comedy, and the pacing and timing of the gags are all great from what I’ve seen.

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Looney Tunes gets a reboot (Part 2): How an iconic cartoon forged a wacky and lovable side of the furry fandom — By Rocky Coyote

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Meet “Toon Furs” in Part 2: Billy the Collie, Clawy the Cat, Chaos Coyote, and Dunhall the Dingo. This story features the side of fandom where you can watch NEW cartoons with classic animal characters, and even turn into one! HBO Max has 80 eleven-minute episodes of fresh-but-faithful animation from WarnerMedia. Furries discuss their influence in this 3-part story by Rocky Coyote. (Rocky previously covered fandom in America’s biggest city on his tag here.)

Billy the Collie is an artist who grew up watching Looney Tunes with his younger brothers. He talks about the flexibility the toon world gives him when depicting his characters in various scenarios.

I do have strong nostagic feelings towards Looney Tunes, and as a result the show has played a significant part in developing my toon persona and toon art as a whole.

Looney Tunes is definitely the king when it comes to executing that classic ‘toon gag.’ The show wasn’t entertaining because it had silly slapstick, it was entertaining because it set-up a comical scene with wit and personality that concluded with silly and creative slapstick. That’s what I enjoyed about the show, and is a big reason why I do enjoy cartoon stuff to this day.

Considering my fursona is a toon border collie, I’d say that it’s had a pretty big influence on me! The creativity that toon-stuff lends me in playing around with the toon physics, effects and logic is highly entertaining as an artist. The toon concepts pioneered by shows like Looney Tunes has also been a fantastic way for me to connect with other furries in the community, as the majority of furries are familiar with a lot of these ideas and concepts so it’s been fun engaging with them on this innocent but silly level.

Despite very clearly being computer-drawn, I do appreciate that the reboot keeps the original character designs rather than going down the current animation trend of using a “Cal-Art” inspired art-style. I do worry that the show will overly-focus on slapstick and cheap throwaway jokes, rather that the wit and personality which made the silly slapstick far more entertaining. But, I think the show is worthy of a chance to prove itself.

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Looney Tunes gets a reboot (Part 1): How an iconic cartoon forged a wacky and lovable side of the furry fandom — By Rocky Coyote

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Meet “Toon Furs” in Part 1: Duino Duck, RomeTwin, and James the Duck. This story features the side of fandom where you can watch NEW cartoons with classic animal characters, and even turn into one! HBO Max has 80 eleven-minute episodes of fresh-but-faithful animation from WarnerMedia. Furries discuss their influence in this 3-part story by Rocky Coyote. (Rocky previously covered fandom in America’s biggest city on his tag here.)

Looney Tunes gets a reboot: How an iconic cartoon forged a wacky and lovable side of the furry fandom.

Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang found a new home on May 27 as WarnerMedia launches its newest streaming service HBO Max.

Looney Tunes Cartoons is the latest show to marquee the iconic characters that have entertained viewers around the globe for over 80 years. Unlike recent reboots such as The Looney Tunes Show (2011) and Wabbit (2016), HBO’s series will closely resemble the format and art style of the original shorts crafted by the likes of Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and Robert McKimson.

Naturally, the show’s wacky yet lovable characters have had an influence on the furry fandom, but this goes beyond the cartoon’s anthropomorphic nature. Shows like Looney Tunes paved the way for a subculture within the subculture, where furries create their own characters in the ‘toon mold.’ This includes big eyes and exaggerated body proportions, personalities that range from goofy to outright insane, and a penchant for slapstick comedy aided by an endless supply of mallets, dynamite and anvils.

To get a better idea of Looney Tunes’ impact on the furry fandom, Dogpatch Press reached out to a number of self-identified toon furs and let them describe how the series influenced their love of cartoons and helped them find a place within the fandom.

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Capital City Fur Con’s Nitro-powered crash and burn

by Patch O'Furr

Contact-starved furries are having a bad year. Only a few conventions opened before COVID-19 made so many cancel and cut off the hug supply. (Quick, send emergency plushies before the furries go rabid for hugging anything that moves! Or set them loose in riot zones and tell them the cops need hugs.)

Capital City Fur Con was among the few that happened successfully, and it was a first-year con… so months later, it’s extra noticeable to see it blow up with a mushroom cloud of absurd drama. At least it makes a show. It also makes a lesson about a fandom full of DIY power. Uncritical nerdy love is good for starting your own art, stories, or even a sexy furry news site — but not just any dummy should start a con.

The dummy of this story is CCFC’s (ex-) chair, Nitro. He may now be hiding out in a luxury yiff bunker, with hopes to be forgotten in the furor about a pandemic/recession/uprising, because he allegedly took thousands of dollars for charity but failed to give it to them. That’s illegal.

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The Sprawl volume 1-3 — graphic novel review by Roz Gibson

by Dogpatch Press Staff

The Sprawl was reviewed with a creator interview a year ago: “my favorite furry webcomic and certainly ranks among my favorite webcomics of all time” — so enjoy a fresh take. Welcome to Roz Gibson, furry artist and animator in Southern California. Roz was guest of honor at Confurence and created the Jack Salem comic character that first appeared in Rowrbrazzle in 1987. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers. See Roz’s tag for more reviews.

The Sprawl volume 1-3 
Written and Illustrated by Snowdon
Published by Ringtail Café productions

I picked these three volumes up at AnthroCon last year. There are not a whole lot of new furry comics coming out, particularly if you’re looking for something other than porn, slice-of-life or gay interest, so I decided to give this series a try.

The back blurb describes this as “Sci-Fi/Horror meets Dark Fantasy on a dead world. It’s only inhabitants are  the descendants of an ill-fated colonization mission, now huddled together in an ever-growing mega-city known as The Sprawl.” But the story turns out to be closer to Bladerunner meets The Thing, with something from the original Heavy Metal movie thrown in for good measure.

Volume 1 is pretty simple: a survey team is sent to a distant part of the dead planet (referred to as the “South Pole”) to look for another survey team that vanished. You see boobs early on, as the female characters are either topless or wearing really skimpy clothing. The two female surveyors are apparently along solely to hump the guys, which they get to doing as soon as they leave on the mission. When there’s an explosion on the ship and they have to evacuate, the guys are all fully dressed, but the bunny girl bails out wearing nothing but bikini panties. When they arrive on the frozen, snowy surface of the South Pole, someone gives her a jacket that she never bothers to zip up, so she’s wandering around Antarctic cold in panties and an open jacket with her boobs hanging out. I think this is known as ‘pandering to the audience,’ which might have worked if the bunny girl was attractive, but all the characters are squishy lumpy with big Bugs Bunny-type feet.

While I waited for the bunny girl to either die of hypothermia or her bare feet to turn into frozen blocks, the team reaches the prerequisite spooky mysterious abandoned ruins with dead bodies. The previous survey team is dead and one of the characters– without even touching or examining the bodies–declares that they killed each other.

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Meet the artist behind the site banner — Roku Doggo

by Patch O'Furr

From time to time, Dogpatch Press commissions new banner art — check out a gallery from past months. Past artists have come from Mexico, Argentina, Chile, the Philippines, England, Quebec, North Carolina, California, and Texas. Get in touch if you want pay and a feature article. Today it’s for Roku Doggo.

Hi Roku, love your banner art! Especially the way you made it a funny action moment.

Thank you so much.

Where are you from and how much furry activity do you do?

I’m from Texas, and the only furry activity I do is, well drawing furries and I do it almost every day.

What’s your favorite part about being a furry artist?

My favorite part will have to be the interactions I have with my followers. It makes my day just to see them happy about any of the work I make.

Can you link your social media profiles?

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Oldest science fiction book store burns in Minneapolis uprising, fandom feels the heat

by Patch O'Furr

Dr. Peter Venkman This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.

Mayor What do you mean, “biblical”?

Dr. Raymond Stantz What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.

Dr. Peter Venkman Exactly.

Dr. Raymond Stantz Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!

Dr. Egon Spengler Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…

Winston Zeddemore The dead rising from the grave!

Dr. Peter Venkman Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Mayor All right, all right! I get the point!

– Ghostbusters (1984)

Can you feel it? The Covid-19 pandemic makes it dangerous to give hugs (the furry handshake.) A new Great Depression might be on the way with millions unemployed. People are rising for justice while cities burn.

Uncle Hugo’s burned. It was a book store in Minneapolis, the oldest independent science fiction book store in the USA. One of the furry fandom’s original members worked there since it opened in 1974. Ken Fletcher was co-founder of Vootie, the voice of “The Funny Animal Liberation Front”, which helped to launch the furry fandom. He’s out of work for now (and might do a Q&A with me soon).

Directly south of the store, nine blocks down Chicago Street, was where the fire got a reason to start. On the corner at East 38th, Officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. Viral video of the incident showed bystanders begging for help while other police stood in the way. It spurred national outrage against a white-on-black power flex. Soon, nothing could hold back the wrath of half a city rising against injustice, and burning a police station and more.

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More Animal Impersonators From Theater History

by Patch O'Furr

Don’t miss the series of stories about animal impersonators.

George Ali as Nana in Peter Pan (1924)

Yesterday’s article revisited the history of animal impersonation for theater. It’s the study of how animals move and behave, for acting with emotion and character. Beautifully crafted costumes were used on live stages before cinema matured, from artists forgotten by time. It’s deep rooted “Paleofurry” inspiration.

Previous stories here looked at British Panto-animal actors, but overlooked other actors in American Vaudeville (which fed talent to Hollywood). An expert covered some of them to round out this history. (Thanks to Trav S.D. who is linked here; a theater director, producer, and author.)

George Ali: Critter for Hire, and Arthur Lupino

Trav’s short article adds a little about George Ali, who played the dog in the first filmed version of Peter Pan. But in 1904 the role was played by an actor who I haven’t found much about. There’s just a very short blurb from Encyclopedia Brittanica saying Arthur Lupino was an “incomparable animal impersonator” and chosen personally by Peter Pan playwright JM Barrie.

Fred Woodward: What an Animal

Mules and creatures from Oz. It’s another short mention of how “Animal impersonation was a whole sub-specialty in vaudeville… This was an era when fairy tales were frequently presented on stage for audiences of children and their families, so it’s not as odd as it may seem at first blush.”

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Animal Impersonators of Vaudeville and Pantomime: call them Paleofurries.

by Patch O'Furr

Check out this “fursuit” acting from 1924. That’s George Ali as Nana the Dog in the first silent-movie version of Peter Pan. (Here’s a longer clip).

In 1924, there were no archives for movies, so many were destroyed or disappeared when they stopped making money from screening. The first Peter Pan movie was believed lost, but two copies were found including one at Disney Studios (who must have studied the innovative special effects.) A restoration in 1994 was added to the US National Film Registry. It makes a rare recording of this kind of performing.

George Ali was an Animal Impersonator — much more than just a costumer, but a specialist artist. There must be tons of forgotten lore about this. It was featured in my furry history series about Panto-animals (with beautiful photos, but no videos I could find until now!)

What were animal impersonators?

Fred Conquest and Charles Lauri appear in those stories as British Pantomime theater players. Panto had roots as old as Shakespeare — a mash-up of clowning, burlesque, satire, and lower-class popular theater for the masses. It was for live stages, not permanent Youtube-ready media, so the actors may be barely remembered today. They were huge stars in their heyday 100 years ago. Most were known as human characters, but ones like Ali, Conquest, or Lauri won stardom in their own right as animals.

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