Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Opinion

The “New Paws” Hoax: How alt-right trolls piled on a disabled man to boost their failing careers.

by Patch O'Furr

A shocking accident.

In 2015 I met a furry who joined furmeets I organize in Northern California. He’s bright, enthusiastic and fun to host. It was a shock when he posted on Facebook about suffering an accident. There were graphic medical photos of extreme frostbite caused by dry ice.

Welp, I’m in the hospital with a life changing situation. It was my own damn fault. Been pushing myself so hard for so long, sleep deprived, pushing myself with arthritis in my wrists. Basically I fell asleep while icing my wrists last night. Woke up 6 hours later, hands were frozen. Went to the hospital, they care flighted me to a burn center in California. It was too late, damage had been done, it’s resulting in a bilateral hand amputation so things are about to get very interesting in my life. I’m doing ok, remaining optimistic. Honestly I’m anxious to get it over with and move on with my life.

To help with costs of hand amputations, one of his co-workers started a crowdfund. I shared it on Twitter, and added a light-hearted comment about helping him to get “new paws” with an article I wrote 6 years ago: Scaly, feathery alternative limbs leap the uncanny valley into the future of prosthetic design (2013). It was about improving the lives of amputees. Instead of hiding prosthetics, they can be featured, like transforming scars with cool tattoos.

I commented about “new paws” before I saw anyone else say it. The crowdfund was his co-workers idea. Those ideas didn’t come from him.

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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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Hail Satan: the original furry

by Patch O'Furr

Recently, furries are debating about appearing in ads, with fear of commercializing like a devil’s bargain with corporations. They’re saying “Keep furry weird“. Let’s help.

Pride month just passed. Yay, now it’s time for all the other sins!

Hey furries, go Envy some cute costumes. Have Greed for art you don’t need (but you deserve it). Be a Glutton for hugs. Lust for a fursuit crush. Give Wrath for bigots. Enjoy Sloth after a furry con. Why not? Does anyone actually want to go to heaven, the eternally boring place for goodie-two-shoes with no good parties?

Hell is where to find real fun and friends. It’s like a furry convention. If you go there for doing just ONE sin… you might as well go for broke.

Of course those places are fairy tales. Bronze-age sheep herders made invisible friends to herd the masses to serve powerful elites. Superstitious storytelling is only as worthy as the meaning it brings. (Bibles can be good story sources, no argument there). That’s one skeptical opinion, anyways.

That’s why Satanists we’re talking about today don’t worship a deity. They’re just atheists with a grin, and pranksters with a point. Satan isn’t real, but they’re all about owning the power of a symbol.

He stands for rebellion against hypocrisy, nonconformity towards injustice, individual freedom, and Luciferian enlightenment. Religion vilifies disobedience, but it’s healthy to think for yourself. If a serpent gives you an apple, go ahead and take a bite, because you know what they say about an apple a day.

If you think about it, furry fandom is based on symbolism and totemism. You can even say Satan is the original furry.

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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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The Sprawl: Review of the Sci-fi/Horror Webcomic – By Enjy

by Patch O'Furr

Welcome to guest author Enjy. Yesterday’s post was Enjy’s interview with comic creator Snowdon – now here’s how it rates for reading. – Patch

Now that we have spoken with the artist, we can look at his work and tell you, our readers, how it stacks up with the other furry webcomics out there. Is Snowdon’s dedication to his work and his storytelling skills enough to place The Sprawl at the top of the pile?

The Artwork

First and foremost, the most important thing about a comic is its artistry. This can go from amazing technical skills, such as the painting in Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido’s Blacksad, to the striking feeling of a style that is incomparable, like Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan. The Sprawl offers heaping helpings of both, especially in the latest chapters where Snowdon really finds his stride in creating a cohesive aesthetic. The amount of detail that goes into his backgrounds, the vehicles, and especially the space ships, is something to be marveled at and inspired by. I can only gape in amazement as I count every individual pipe, every screw, every seam of every piece of complex machinery that the artist created. Every character he creates, even ones that are used as cannon fodder in his Game Of Thrones-like glee for shredding people left and right, have personality and individualism that shows from their clothing, to their faces, to their body shapes. I believe this sets Snowdon quite apart from the crowd, because one trope I seem to see in furry media is that there is usually a character or characters in a central focus that seem to be always front and center, always paid attention to, like the world revolves around them. He also is quite proficient at the basics of comic paging, using great bubble and panel placement and lots of creative setups for his page layouts. You can tell at first glance that this comic was definitely created by an industry professional.

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 2)

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.

Fandom is big business in the mainstream – but furries have their own place apart. Why does this fandom grow independently? Let’s look at unique expression at the heart of it. Of course furries do a lot more things than this story can look at, but one aspect brings insight about decentralized structure.

Some subcultures rise and fall with media they consume. But the influences seen in Part 1 didn’t make one property in common for every furry. They didn’t rise with a movie like Zootopia. Instead, this fandom is fans of each other.

Part 1 looked at the roots and growth of their conventions. Furry cons make a platform for the specialized craft of fursuiting, with bespoke, full-body mascot costumes that cost thousands. They’re uniquely original expressions of identity. They’re tangible, huggable products of imagination. They put the fur in furry.

A lot of the fandom’s rock stars are fursuiters, who give it a photogenic face. Unlike stars of other fandoms, their original characters usually aren’t promoting something else — and fursuits can’t be downloaded or easily pirated — they’re for live experiences. It matters because online community can be temporary, but live events glue it together. They can show why this fandom is independent, here to stay, and not tied to certain media.

Rather than naming great works tied to their activity, you could say that the group is its own greatest creation. And if writing, art, or other creativity in the fandom didn’t rise out of a certain type of event, fursuiting did.

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 1)

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.

Why is commercialism a topic for an often disparaged subculture? Compare furry fandom today to its roots. Times change, and hindsight can help to see why. Let’s look at how industry and media influenced the American roots in the 1970’s, how it grew, and changes that come with bigger scale than ever.

The 1970’s could be a hungry time for fans with a taste for comics and animation of the 1940’s-50’s Golden Age. As it faded, funny-animal comics died off while the business suffered under the Comics Code. In movies, the fall of the studio system contributed to a dark age of animation. Hanna-Barbera reigned on TV with cheap formulaic product. Disney’s feature studio almost went bankrupt with barely any new artists hired for a generation. Robin Hood (1973) spread the furry virus before it had a name, but the movie wasn’t well loved by the studio. Then a new wave of artists (such as Tim Burton and Don Bluth) came out of Disney while it had a rebirth, peaking with The Lion King (1994), which launched a thousand furry projects. But by the early 90’s the furry fandom was already fully fledged to take off on its own. It happened under the influence of the ups and downs of industry, but also in spite of it.

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Avian Invasion – Children Of The Stars – Album Review by Enjy

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Matthew Ebel is a well-known fandom musician who has begun a new project that sees him shifting from his roots of piano-based lyrical works to what he has dubbed “progressive (bird)house” with hints of trance peppered throughout. Performing under the name “Bird One,” Ebel dons a masquerade-like beak and colorful outfits as he crafts melodies that have been played at such important venues as The Roxy and even the Grand Ole Opry. How well does Bird One’s musical prowess transfer from Elton John to EDM? We are going to take a look at his 6-song EP titled Children Of The Stars to find out.

We Looked Up is the first song on the EP. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, explaining in a narrative form over a pulsing, dark, bass driven beat that the world has transformed into a dystopian society of people who do not trust each other. “Now the people built only walls. The shadow whispered in their ears, told the people that only darkness could defeat darkness,” the narrator states, his voice tinged with flanges and pitch shifts that give it an eerie quality, as if maybe you cannot trust him, either. For those of you who wonder about Ebel’s piano work, it is front and center here, clean keys tapping out a spacey melody over the grimy bass and drums in the background, evoking images of a clean galaxy over a dirty megacity. Indeed that is where the narrative goes next, as the narrator explains that one man said he saw light, and the people looked up, hence the track’s title. The song breaks into a happy tone after a rise, painting the picture of the land being flooded with light as they break down the walls. This track is a master class in how to use texture and tone to create a soundscape, and Bird One did an extremely good job at telling the story with more than words. “Only the light can defeat darkness, and there is always light,” the line the song is closed with, is particularly powerful and important to remember in trying times such as these. Absolutely a 10 out of 10.

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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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