Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Opinion

Rukus movie review

by Patch O'Furr

This unusual movie got 5 support articles before I was ready for a personal review. It’s hard to nail down, so the work got really labored over, but it deserves the effort. – Patch  

Rukus was an artist from Florida who committed suicide in 2008 at age 23. He was a mercurial muse to his friends. Linear storytelling about him could make a sad movie, but Rukus comes from many directions. It overlaps documentary of him, with his boyfriend reflecting on their relationship, and his friendship with film maker Brett Hanover. His enigmatic presence weaves through Hanover’s personal life, which goes from trouble with OCD to finding completion in relationships and art. The life of Rukus becomes points on a trajectory of escape from pain.

The directing style frames lo-fi video with dramatized memories, daydreams and fiction from Rukus. They’re re-enacted by younger and older stand-ins for him, and voiced with animation. It’s one of those arty movies that doesn’t easily boil down to one commercial line, but it’s directed with purpose. When the pieces don’t fit together neatly, the negative space holds a chewy assortment of themes.

There’s repressed abuse, disconnection, and love outside of hetero norms. It touches on conflict with anti-gay religion in the Southern US, but it’s more involved with a setting in furry fandom. Furries have a loveably eccentric subculture of fans for talking-animal media that appears in fantasy art by Rukus, internet role-play, a hotel convention, and a stage play. Those feed the human connections in the movie. You also get to see a costumer called a “whore bear” and a moment of tender toes-in-nose contact that turns into crosswired love.

The movie is outstanding for merging fiction and documentary while drawing from a subculture rarely seen in any feature film. It premiered at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival, where furries came for group fursuiting (with full body costumes that make unique “fursonas”). That’s sort of like how Comic Con cosplayers emulate Hollywood superheroes, but those don’t keep their powers when the movie ends.

Rukus casts animal shadows behind misfits who play muses for each other, and delivers bittersweet satisfaction. You can see it now on rukusmovie.com.

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Murder: All Edge, No Cut — comic review by Enjy

by Enjy

Sometimes review books come here from outside of furry fandom. ‘Murder’ is a comic about an animal-rights antihero, where “animals mysteriously begin linking telepathically” and there’s a “powerful new plant-based badass”. It’s now in issue #2. “‘Murder’ takes readers into the darkest corners of animal agriculture, as one species at a time they begin to hear each other’s thoughts. Only one human, The Butcher’s Butcher, is able to hear their thoughts. As the animals revolt and the world’s food supply comes into jeopardy, the animal-rights activist is forced to decide between his vegan ethics and a world dependent on meat.”

Thanks to Enjy for big effort as always, check out her past writing, and remember we’re fiercely independent enough to be critical sometimes, but with hugs! – Patch

Murder: All Edge, No Cut

Murder is a comic created by the folks at Collab Creations (https://collabcreations.bigcartel.com/) which is billed as an “animal rights antihero” work centering on a vigilante activist and his wife, who fight to inflict the same pain on food company CEOs and ranchers as they inflict on animals ready for slaughter. It is written by Matthew Loisel with art created by Emiliano Correa, who also did work on the excellent Hexes series by Blue Fox Comics. We at DPP were given the first two issues for review.

The first thing you will do, when you open page one of Murder #1, will be laying eyes upon someone gassing an entire building of innocent people because they are working at a meat plant. In the next few pages, you’ll see something that’s meant to be taken seriously, but is unintentionally hilarious to the point where you have to read it over a few times to make sure there isn’t a joke being set up. The protagonist who just committed a literal war crime brutally murders a CEO with a steer, and then we’re led to believe this is the man we should be rooting for.

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The Masked Singer: One of those mainstream crossovers with furry appeal?

by Patch O'Furr

Crossover with the mainstream can make great furry news, like when dogwhistles to fandom pop up in things like Disney blockbusters. That’s why I did an interview with Vulture, the culture and entertainment site. Here’s their articles about the Masked Singer. This one’s worthwhile for fursona design inspiration: The Masked Singer’s Costume Designer Breaks Down All 16 Egg-cellent New Looks.

We barked about performances from Season 1, and sniffed at the costumes for Season 2. Looking at the lineup made me want to know more about them as characters. If they have a backstory with each other… Whose Egg is that? Does the Eagle hang out in the Tree? And who pollinates that Flower?

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Familiar Travels: A Sublime Subversion — furry game review by Enjy

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Familiar Travels is on sale until September 30! This post is timed to help Halftone Studios and Balin (with no compensation). Thanks to Enjy – Patch

Have you ever played a visual novel with characters that you might end up hating?

Familiar Travels is a furry visual novel created by the team at Halftone Studios for the PC. After success on Kickstarter it was recently released on Steam, and we at DPP were given a copy and a chance to review this game as it hit the market. This story follows a nameless human (you), who transfers from the world of Midgard, what we might know as modern Earth, to the world of Vanaheim in order to attend magical college. It is unknown why you as the human are accepted into this college, since Midgardians cannot use magic, but the player character surmises that it is because of his work in robotics. Your first night, you are plopped into a speak-easy bar and given a chance to meet the extremely diverse cast of characters, and that very moment is where this game begins to pull ahead in the seemingly over-saturated market of furry VNs.

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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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