by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer. Part Two, Current Publishers, posts tomorrow.
This is to some extent a “define your terms” question. Furry fandom got started, depending upon whom you ask, with the amateur press associations (APAs) Vootie and Rowrbrazzle. Vootie, “The Fanzine of the Funny Animal Liberation Front”, run by Reed Waller & Ken Fletcher of Minneapolis s-f fandom, lasted from April 1976 to February 1983; 39 bi-monthly issues. Vootie self-destructed when its Official Editors, Waller & Fletcher, grew too disinterested to continue it any longer. A member, Marc Schirmeister of Los Angeles, tried to keep it going, failed, and started its replacement, the quarterly Rowrbrazzle, beginning in February 1984. Rowrbrazzle was designed so that, when the Official Editor steps down or is unable to continue, another member is selected to replace him. Rowrbrazzle is still going after thirty years; the current O.E. is William Earl Haskell of Houston, Texas. So it’s technically a current furry publication.
Vootie and Rowrbrazzle, and later furry APAs such as the Furry Press Network, Huzzah!, and Canada’s FURthest North Crew, exist(ed) as membership clubs averaging 25 to 30 members, whose members print their own fanzines in enough copies for all members, and send them all to the O.E. for assembly into a super-fanzine of 25 to 30 copies that are sent to each member. The only way to get a copy is to join the APA and publish your own pages. Private membership APAs are traditionally not counted as furry publishing.
The earliest generally available publication in furry fandom was the fanzine FurVersion, published by Kyim Granger (real name: Karl Maurer) of the San Francisco Bay area. FurVersion ran for twenty-one issues from May 1987 to November 1990. It began as a simple mailing list of furry fans’ names and addresses, so they could keep in touch with each other in pre-Internet days. Fans began sending in their sketches and amateur fiction for publication, and FurVersion quickly turned into an amateur magazine for furry art & fiction. It had a cover price and subscription. FurVersion was the first of many amateur magazines published by furry fans from the late 1980s through the early 2000s. The most famous and successful was Yarf!; the Journal of Applied Anthropomorphics, edited and published by Jeff Ferris of the San Francisco Bay area, with the help of Bay Area furry fandom. It lasted for 69 issues, from January 1990 to September 2003. Yarf! is currently being republished as five-issue volumes by Jarlidium Press of Seattle (see below).