Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Books

Ironclaw: The Book of Monsters, by Tempe O’Kun and Ursula Vernon – Review by Sha

by Pup Matthias

Welcome to Sha of Red Furros — the Spanish language furry news site out of Mexico City, founded in 2009. Some articles will be translated for other readers to enjoy, with light editing to make it smoother. – Patch

Here’s an addition to our articles about Ironclaw, the anthropomorphic role-playing game in it’s 20th anniversary. Recently, Ironclaw’s “The Book of Monsters” was presented at Anthrocon. It’s a bestiary for the base game.

This book originally began its Kickstarter on Aug 21th, 2018 where it quickly reached its funding goal.

It’s a collaboration between Tempe O’Kun (Windfall, Sixes Wild) as the writer, and Ursula Vernon (Digger, Dragonbreath series) for illustrations.

For Sanguine Games Book Of Monsters, Tempo and Ursula reimagine the world of Ironclaw with the premise that in a world where animals can talk and form societies, why wouldn’t plants be able to walk and hunt?

Imagine a tree that can walk and transform into any other character, or fungi that attacks using toxic mist. These imaginative scenarios can make for very funny situations (like being chased by a maniacal, murderous onion), to very creepy ones with a tree-clone of a recently-deceased loved one following you around.

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What’s Bred in the Bone: Not Quite Reaching Liftoff — book review by Enjy.

by Dogpatch Press Staff

A request came in for furries to review a non-furry author’s book. Many thanks to Enjy for offering her thoroughly attentive writing. Find What’s Bred In the Bone at Amazon, see the author’s art and writing at her site or read a brief cover summary and another short review in the Twitter thread. (- Patch)

Enjy’s review:

Cover art by Jody A. Lee

What’s Bred in the Bone is a novel written by Jan S. Gephardt, a multi-talented artist and author who has been in the science fiction fandom for most of her long life.

The story, which is the first part of a trilogy, centers around canine police officer Rex Dieter-Nell and his human partner Charlie Morgan as they attempt to solve an explosion on a ship. Rex is a sort of genetically engineered canine resembling a German Shepherd, but much larger, called an “XK9”. Through harrowing and abusive training, he and his Packmates, the other XK9s, gain insane amounts of intelligence alongside their normal dog abilities. This all takes place in a campy future setting, as shown by the cover art done by Jody Lee. It has an aesthetic that reminds me of the old Mega Man boxart from the NES, so this sci-fi is less Alien and more Logan’s Run or Flash Gordon. It has outlandish alien species, gadgets like brain links and vocalizing collars for the dogs, and outfits for the higherups that are described as garish and colorful, Fifth-Element style.

While these ideas can all combine into something great, Gephardt leaves a lot of ends loose to the point where it can leave the reader feeling left behind as we are zoomed from half-idea to half-idea.

Indeed, Gephardt has put quite a bit of effort into world building. Aliens have their own pronouns, there are inter-stationary politics abound, and the author does an excellent job of setting a scene visually. One of the most frustrating things holding back this world building is that it does not seem that we, the reader, are ever allowed an explanation for things Gephardt knows, but we do not. For instance, she is very gender-inclusive in the book, in one instance having Rex address a gathered assembly as “Gentlepersons”. However, this also leads to a sense of confusion with the other aliens, with pronouns like “k’kir” and “nem” that are never fully explained and hard to keep track of. On top of this, there are concepts like a capital-F Family that seems to differ from what we now consider one, although how I could not tell you because it is not explained, and also an “Amare,” which I assume is someone you love, but this is also not delved into.

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Debunking Furry Misconceptions about Copyright — guest post by Grubbs Grizzly

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Welcome to Grubbs Grizzly, known for his “Ask Papabear” advice column and Greymuzzles group popular among the original generation of fandom. He started The Good Furry Award for furs who demonstrate outstanding community spirit, and is at work on The Furry Book where copyright has a chapter. 

(Editors note:) It happens time and again. Someone traces art, does a “recolor” or reposts without asking. Or perhaps without knowing, with all the memes and reposts on social media. There’s good ways and bad ways to fix mistakes and spread constructive awareness (something easily forgotten in fandom.)

First, DO: send a DM saying “hey I don’t know if you were aware about this but can you please credit/take it down?” — DON’T: Rush past doing a DM to brew up a nasty mob and grab that callout clout. (Especially if the art isn’t signed and it’s a super-generic meme used all over the place.)

Nicely asking is the way to start with fan-to-fan issues. Fake-legalese can sound threatening, but what’s the ratio of sad drama vs. real lawsuits you can name about furry art?  Unless there’s mass-production going on, that’s just likely to spread nastiness and waste time when you could have been constructive.

I once bought a warehouse of cases of a photography book for next to nothing, saving them from being put out in the rain. I tried contacting the photographer to see what happened but got no answer. But after starting liquidation, he found me with a nice letter saying “the distributor screwed me and went bankrupt without telling me, I could sue about ownership, but I made them for love and really want them, is there any way to work this out?” I could have told him to piss up a rope because it would never be worth the lawyer fees; but his approach got me to ship him a truckload for only my loading cost and his transport cost. Win-win. He was a Playboy photographer who now likes furries. Triple win!

This site started like many fan projects as a free wordpress.com blog, promotes countless creators as a not-for-profit community service, and costs me to run it. There’s hundreds of years-old articles that won’t get weeded and could have a few reposted files in them (I don’t know). It can happen with posts taking 4-12+ hours to write. If any issue turns up, send a DM or “Here’s my Paypal if you can do a modest fee.” It’s that easy to get a win-win.

Writers get paid peanuts, but at least guest submissions here now get thank-you pay above fandom-standard rate (compared to fiction publishing, as the only furry news site that pays anything at all). Plus there’s a new regular banner feature that commissions underrated artists — the upcoming one is a Mexican fur. For this guest article, I’m grateful to Grubbs for declining compensation, he’s a great fandom supporter. (My opinion is independent from his). Enjoy! – Patch

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“A book about joy:” the publishing of Tom Broadbent’s At Home With the Furries

by Patch O'Furr

“At Home With The Furries” is at US-based Amazon sellers now.

Sent by Tom via Furplanet

In early 2018 I wrote about a Kickstarter for a book of Tom Broadbent’s furry photography. These aren’t your usual convention photos. He stages them with characters in their homes like storybook pages. As soon as I saw what he was up to, I knew this would make extra special art. One publisher he approached was someone I knew, who I had already tipped that someone should do a furry photo art book. My copy sits on my desk where I write up crazy happenings in the fandom. Let’s hear from Tom how things went. – Patch

Hi Patch,

The book was officially published on 30th September last year. At the time I thought the Kickstarter was hard in terms of raising the backing. Producing the book was a whole different story, I could not be prouder of the finished product but it took a lot out of me. Essentially with the Kickstarter reaching its target I buried myself last year into producing the book to the absolute highest standard I could do. Not only because I felt a deep responsibility to the backers, but also the furries themselves, the furry community and ultimately myself. It’s only going to be published once after all, and it’s out there forever, sitting on people’s bookshelves, in bookshops, museums and a variety of National libraries (some of which I’ll come to shortly.)

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 3)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Part 1 looked at the roots of fandom, with fans being “fans of each other”. Stigma and undermining showed how the fandom didn’t just follow the path of least resistance, it broke out under pressure. A sense of outsiderness and self determination has stayed ever since.

Part 2 looked at conventions making a platform for industry and expression that keeps the group untamed. Relations with the media got better while making a certain fandom identity (instead of letting others make it). It can even connect to deeper identity of members, because it lets them be who they want to be.

Furries care about fandom identity with a kind of tribalism. When members say they’re prone to “furry drama,” it can come from conflict about who defines it or benefits from it. That’s how The Daily Beast noticed conflict about a luxury “designer fursuit” brand, which usually wouldn’t matter to anyone except furries.

I told the reporter: “I think it really struck a nerve. It really got to the root of this possessiveness that the subculture has about itself and what it built for itself.”

It’s a case for looking at resistance to commercialism. Backlash at the brand was provoked by tone-deaf marketing, where bringing a mainstream approach wasn’t workable with art based on unique personal identity. Also, luxury brands don’t get made from scratch when others go back 100 years. (Fans in-the-know could compare this with furry brand Hyena Agenda, whose stuff speaks for itself without rubbing the wrong way against a certain fandom identity.)

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Associated Student Bodies 2019 Reprint – Review by Summercat

by Summercat

Associated Student Bodies Yearbook Softcover Collection
Lance Rund, Chris McKinley. 2019, Rabbit Valley $35

“…Everyone has their own story of how they discovered and engaged with the fandom. For myself after finally stumbling upon the fandom and discovering that this strange collection of interests had a name, Associated Student Bodies was one of my first experiences of anthropomorphic fiction that wasn’t connected to a TV show or a movie. The college based coming of age story told from the point of view of Daniel, a young lion away from home for the first time and discovering himself and reconciling his faith with his sexuality. In the early days and the rush of finding this new community it felt thrilling, exciting and deliciously naughty to read. I’d be the first to admit that it seems innocently and oddly quaint by today’s standards as well as indulging in a lot of tropes. It’s a little dated and my fondness for it stems from mostly nostalgic reasons…”

– Bessie, Marfedblog

“As someone who was a kid during the AIDS crisis, I was ‘taught’ that the role of a queer man was to get HIV and die. ASB was one of the first narratives I found that posited a life beyond bars, sex, and an inexorable spiral into illness and death.”

– Syn Fawkes, via Telegram

“It was the second comic I read in the furry fandom after I heard it inspired Circles. It’s honestly a classic read, I think it’s something almost every furry should check out as a part of furry history.”

– Linea ‘LiteralGrill’, via Telegram

“It’s a fun fantasy exploration of coming out, self discovery, and free love, but often feels like a coming of age story written by someone who hasn’t, yet.”

– Dralen Dragonfox, via Telegram

First published in 1998 and completed in 2000, across 8 issues and six artists ( Co-Author Credit Chris Mckinely, Baron Engel, Terrie Smith, Jonas Silver, Chuck Davies, Zjonni), there is little to say about Associated Student Bodies that hasn’t been already said over the last two decades.

Released to rave reviews, Associated Student Bodies helped shape the mold of Furry Comics within the fandom, inspiring many to take the college slice of life format that became common afterwards. At the right time, at the right place, ASB spoke to many people – and still speaks to people today.

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Tim’rous Beastie, edited by Amanda Lafrenais – review by Roz Gibson.

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Announcement – until March 31, vote for the Ursa Major Awards to support the best works of furry fandom!

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. This is Roz’s furry graphic novel review part 6. Read in order as they were posted: 1) Myre 2) Angelic Book 1  3) Marney the Fox 4) Shanda the Panda  5) Cinderfrost 6) Tim’rous Beastie. See Roz’s tag for the rest. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers.

Tim’rous Beastie

Edited by Amanda Lafrenais
Story and art by a whole lot of people

This is an anthology put out by a name that should be very familiar to older fans—Charla Trotman. She’s moved from being an anti-furry gadfly and troll to publishing indy graphic novels using Kickstarter to fund them, under the name of C. Spike Trotman or Charlie Spike Trotman. This particular anthology is not supposed to be furry per se, but closer to RedwallWind in the Willows and Watership Down.

The book has 18 stories, and I’m not going to give detailed reviews of all of them, just brief comments on the art and specific comments on the ones I did read. A lot of stories fell under the blanket of “too long; didn’t read,” (People really need to take to take to heart the ‘less is more’ school of storytelling.) There was also a repeated theme of cute animals with a “surprise!” twist ending where something awful happens, or the characters discuss profound philosophical ideas.

The first two stories, A Pig Being Lowered into Hell in a Bucket and Better Nature are both philosophical discussion. The first is exactly what the title says, with very toony style art, and the second has some nice art but a ‘meh’ story, unless you’re into philosophical discussions. The third story, Burrows, has some very nice artwork of Watership Down-style rabbits. This falls under the “Surprise! Something grotesque happens to cute animals” theme. The story after it, Chosen Ones, also follows that trope, but has dialogue spoken in rhyme which was kind of neat. That was one of the handful I actually did read.

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Cinderfrost (volumes 1 and 2)  Story and art by Demicoeur. – review by Roz Gibson

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Announcement – until March 31, vote for the Ursa Major Awards to support the best works of furry fandom!

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. This is Roz’s furry graphic novel review part 5 of 6 on the way. Read in order as they post: 1) Myre 2) Angelic Book 1  3) Marney the Fox 4) Shanda the Panda  5) Cinderfrost 6) Tim’rous Beastie. See Roz’s tag for the rest. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers.

Cinderfrost (volumes 1 and 2) 

Story and art by Demicoeur. 

Of everything reviewed here, this is the type of book people think of when you mention ‘furry comic:’ slick digital art with a distinct manga influence, and lots (and lots) of dick. Along with cock, more dick, and one naked chick. Artist Demicoeur has an extremely successful Patreon, which has been serializing Cinderfrost for years, along with other stories that are outright pornography (or ‘erotica.’ Choose your label). 

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Shanda the Panda #50, by Mike Curtis and Razorfox – review by Roz Gibson

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Announcement – until March 31, vote for the Ursa Major Awards to support the best works of furry fandom!

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. This is Roz’s furry graphic novel review part 4 of 6 on the way. Read in order as they post: 1) Myre 2) Angelic Book 1  3) Marney the Fox 4) Shanda the Panda  5) Cinderfrost 6) Tim’rous Beastie. See Roz’s tag for the rest. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers.

Shanda the Panda #50 

Written by Mike Curtis 
Art by Razorfox 

Part of the furry comics boom in the early 1990’s, Shanda the Panda recently published its fiftieth and final issue. Written by Mike Curtis, illustrated by a dozen or so artists over the years, it was one of the longest-lived furry titles. Following the life and loves of the titular character and featuring a large cast of friends, family and neighbors, it was the quintessential slice-of-life furry comic. Each issue featured a main story, with one or two back-up comics focusing on the supporting characters. 

Over the 50 issue series there was a lot of stuff going on, with side plots and a cast of thousands. The main story followed Shanda (the panda) and her courtship with Richard (a Cajun raccoon). This is complicated by her lesbian best friend Terri, who wants to be more than just friends, and Richard’s very vindictive ex-wife.  Shanda works as a movie theater manager, and the other employees (mostly high school kids) provide a lot of the supporting cast. Shanda’s very traditional Chinese family, who doesn’t want her dating anyone other than another panda,  Richard’s nasty ex-wife and a misogynistic panda from Hong Kong provide some antagonists to keep things interesting. 

And “interesting” is certainly a word to describe this series. A furry soap opera is probably closer to what Shanda the Panda is than simple slice-of-life. Among the issues the characters deal with: domestic abuse, incest, unplanned pregnancy, kidnapping, murder and alcoholism. There’s also lots of sex among the cast, particularly the randy high school kids and the lesbian Terri. One of the kids is nicknamed “Tripod” because he has an enormous penis, and the main character attribute for a rabbit girl is that she’s extremely promiscuous.  

Characters grow and evolve over the course of the series. Enemies become friends, couples break up and form new relationships, people die or move on.  Despite the lack of plausibility with some of the events or character motivations (Richard is unrealistically tolerant of Terri’s pursuit of Shanda, for example) I always found the book to be extremely readable. There were several distinct multi-issue story arcs, as well as stand-alone issues that made it easy for new readers to jump into the series, with the back-up stories adding extra depth to the world. 

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Marney the Fox, by Scott Goodall and John Stokes – review by Roz Gibson

by Dogpatch Press Staff

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. This is Roz’s furry graphic novel review part 3 of 6 on the way. Read in order as they post: 1) Myre 2) Angelic Book 1  3) Marney the Fox 4) Shanda the Panda  5) Cinderfrost 6) Tim’rous Beastie. See Roz’s tag for the rest. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers.

Marney the Fox 

Story by Scott Goodall
Art by John Stokes

I discovered this by accident in the local comics shop. Other than the fact it’s about a fox, it probably wouldn’t appeal to the average furry fan. All the characters are ‘regular’ animals (although the fox does have thoughts and can talk to other foxes), the traditional pen and ink art is in black and white, and I’m sure it all looks terribly dated to people used to slick digital work. It was originally done as a magazine serial in the UK during the early 1970’s, so it plays fast and loose (to put it mildly) with real animal behavior, and some story elements may grate on modern politically correct sensibilities. 

Still… considering the success of the modern French “Love” graphic novels about realistic animals, there may be a place for Marney the Fox.  The book reads very much like one of those endlessly ongoing manga comics—short story arcs that end with weekly cliffhangers, but with no particular goal until the writer simply decides to end it. 

Poor Marney is subjected to just about every injury and indignity a fox could experience during the course of the book. His mother and siblings are killed by hunters in the first few pages, and that’s just the beginning. A partial list of things he endures includes: nearly drowning (several times), being attacked by dogs, otters, birds of prey, ferrets and weasels, bitten by a poisonous snake, being buried alive, snared, trapped, shot at, blinded by chemicals, captured by evil gypsies and nearly blown up by the military. 

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