Anubis: Dark Desire – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

anubis-dark-desire-featuring-the-art-of-heather-bruton-dark-nata-204825Anubis: Dark Desire
St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, September 2015, hardcover $59.95, softcover $39.95 (189 pages).

Anubis: Dark Desire is intended for an adult audience only and contains explicit sexual material. It will not be for sale to persons under the age of 18. (publisher’s advisory)

Anubis: Dark Desire began as an adults-only comic book published by Radio Comix under its Sin Factory label in June 2002. It contained stories and stand-alone pages featuring the anthropomorphic animals and gods of Egyptian mythology, mainly Anubis, the black-furred, jackal-headed god of the dead, having erotic encounters. The short comic-book stories were by many of the most prominent artists in furry fandom: Dark Natasha, Heather Bruton, Sara “Caribou” Palmer, Terrie Smith, Diana Harlan Stein, and Michele Light. The black-&-white comic book was extremely popular, running for four biannual issues to June 2008.

There was an immediate demand from the furry fandom for somebody, anybody, to publish a collection of the four issues. Sofawolf Press announced that it would, but not in a black-&-white comic-book format. Sofawolf would contact the artists to get their permissions, and their collaborations to produce a full-color, high-quality volume. It took over six years. On March 6, 2015 Sofawolf announced a Kickstarter campaign to raise $18,000 to produce such a book. It reached its goal by March 15. By the time the one-month Kickstarter ended on April 5, Sofawolf Press had $32,413 from 413 backers. The additional money was used to commission 17 new pages by Dark Natasha and Heather Bruton (plus appropriate bonuses that only the backers got such as stickers, lapel pins, shot glasses, and T- and bowling shirts).

Production of the book (cover by Dark Natasha and Blotch) was unexpectedly delayed when Sofawolf Press couldn’t find any North American offset printer that would accept such explicit material, even if it was fantasy art with consenting adult anthropomorphic animals. Sofawolf finally had it produced by a Chinese printer, leading to further shipping delays. Despite the announced September 2015 publication date, it wasn’t until November that the first copies went out.

But it’s here at last! “A Scroll in the Hay” by Sara Palmer. (She’s married and is Sara Miles now.) “God, What a Night!” by Diana Harlan Stein. “The Great Treasure of Anubis” by Dark Natasha. “Offerings” by Heather Bruton. And seventeen others, plus standalone pages and the four original comic-book covers.

The stories are about ten to a dozen pages each. There’s not a lot to say about them other than they are about anthropomorphic animal adults having explicit erotic fun. Some are set entirely in Egypt’s past. Some feature a modern animal drawn by Anubis into the past. The lovers are usually North African and African animals such as jackals, cheetahs, lionesses, jaguars, servals, wild dogs, hyenas, fennecs, gazelles, rabbits, elands – one story features Sobek the crocodile, and another shows Anubis with an Egyptian human woman – but “Virtual Reality – Here I Come” by Diana Harlan Stein, and “No Photography” by Heather Bruton introduce Anubis to a North American red fox and to a Dalmatian dog. (The latter is male; it’s one of only two homosexual trysts in the book.) Four stories by Sara “Caribou” Miles feature the jackal lovers Duamutef (a son of Horus in Egyptian mythology) and Khaybat.

It’s well-drawn anthropomorphic animals, many with ancient Egyptian face-painting, having sex, with lots of both male and female full-frontal nudity. But always in good taste. Remember, furry fandom is primarily composed of adults. If you like the fine art of Dark Natasha, Heather Bruton, et al., showing adult anthropomorphic erotic action, you can’t do better than this.

Fred Patten