Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Reviews

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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Sorry To Bother You: this dystopian comedy is off the hook.

by Patch O'Furr

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

RING RING. Did you ever get a scam caller who needs money immediately? One time I answered one of those and played along with a “dumb voice” (it was method acting) while I pretended to walk to Wal-Mart to send them a wire transfer. My friend played store noises in the background, and announced “Sir, you can’t be here without pants!” The caller persisted until I pretended to get lost and fall in a duck pond and couldn’t stop laughing at the quacking noises. Of course the dumb prank only tied up time (and maybe reduced scams), but now let me tell you about movies that are very worth the time. They’re wake-up calls that deliver truths about society while being artful and entertaining too.

VIDEO Q&A with director Boots Riley below. SPOILER WARNING – watch the movie before reading!

Sorry To Bother You (2018) is the debut movie by Boots Riley, a satire set in a worker strike among telemarketers. The story device that gets it going is code switching with different voices. The main character is a black guy (Cassius Green) who uses an absurdly ethereal “white voice” – when the actor Lakeith Stanfield opens his mouth, the voice of David Cross comes out. The trick makes him super successful at telemarketing. It gets him out of poverty that sucks down everyone around him, but sets him up to pay a horrible cost.

At first you think it’s a story about underpaid workers fighting for respect. Then it aims higher at capitalist dehumanization. Then it goes over the top with a hallucinatory sci-fi reveal that transforms the characters. The screenwriting is eccentrically formula-defying. Hollywood likes to play safe with big budgets and crank out polished turds, but this movie takes chances with a modest budget for a gloriously gutsy indie production with a message.

It looks like an odd choice to cover on a furry site, so why’s it here? The answer is in the reveal we’ll get to.

I saw Sorry To Bother You with Fruitvale Station (2013) at a small library screening for this program– RESISTANCE, RESILIENCE, & ANTICIPATION: ​ a fresh look at the Black Arts Movement in Oakland. It was more than an ordinary show, it was a special community happening, so let’s look at how the movies connect. (It’s also the second Dogpatch Press story from the same neighborhood after the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland.)

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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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Angelic book 1: Heirs and Graces – 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 2 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.

Angelic book 1: Heirs and Graces 

Story by Simon Spurrier
Art by Caspar Wijngaard

Comics giant Image has been dabbling in the furry genre. First with the excellent Autumnlands series, and now with Angelic.  The first story arc was collected in a graphic novel last year, which I finally got around to picking up. The basic premise is a familiar one — uplifted animals in the ruins of a human civilization trying to discover what their purpose is. But just because something’s been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done again if it’s done well, which this is. 

The protagonist is Qora, an adolescent winged monkey (yes, just like from Wizard of Oz) living with her tribe in a ruined city by the seashore. They fight occasional skirmishes with mechanized dolphins under the control of equally mechanized manatees. Qora chafes under all the rules and rituals of her tribe, including the suppression of any dissent or questioning of why things are done a certain way. While all the monkeys are born with wings, the females lose their wings when they become adult and mate, something that (obviously) Qora is not looking forward to. 

With that unpleasant fate looming over her, Qora is talked into a dangerous journey into the toxic city by the manatees, with one of them accompanying her. The majority of the book is the duo going deep down the proverbial rabbit hole, as Qora slowly discovers the history of her people and what happened to ‘the makers.’ They are followed by a dangerously unbalanced ‘Fazecat,’ whose motives and designs towards Qora are unknown. 

Other creatures encountered are giant squid augmented into fighter planes, and cormorants that work as fishers for the monkeys. There’s lots of action as the war between the monkeys, dolphins and manatees heats up after Qora leaves, and the plot contains a number of twists to keep things interesting. 

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Contraindications by Pen Darke – Book Review by Summercat

by Summercat

Contraindications by Pen Darke. Illustrations by Ash FinleyPublished by Furplanet

TLDR: Erotic gay muscle growth. If that interests you at all, I 100% recommend this.

Matt Stafford is a perfectly normal looking otter, lithe, slightly toned, and adorable. He hates it. Several years at the gym have been for naught, and even his libido is weak. His boyfriend Stetson, a more muscular rabbit, sticks with him, but both wish that Matt’s sex drive was bigger.

One accident at a nutrition supplement store, Matt’s question of when will he start growing quickly changes to “Will I stop?”

Contraindications, by Pen Darke, is a story of muscle growth, some character development, wish fulfillment, and just about everything I love in a story. Originally published on Sofurry, the story got an editorial revamp and illustrations from artist Ash Finley. Illustrations that are wonderful, incredible, and mesh well with the author’s lovely use of descriptive language for Matt’s growth and larger form.

As a writer of muscle growth erotica myself, Contraindications has been one of the gold standards I wish to someday equal. Each chapter drives both the plot and the growth further, without a single wasted scene or moment.

I may be a bit biased because like Matt, I too am a small twig of an otter who wishes to be big, but this story has been one of my favorite stories for years, and I am glad to see it in print.

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So You’ve Become A Taur, by Johannes Knapp – Book Review by Summercat

by Pup Matthias

So You’ve Become A Taur, by Johannes Knapp. $6, Jarlidium Press, 2018. Webcomic Archive #13. 24 pages, color.

Statement: I received a free copy of this comic for the collection of the Furry Library. My review was not influenced by this.

A comic about the challenges a taur face in a world meant for bipeds,  Johannes Karpp’s (aka Cervelet) takes us through the challenges a newly-taured individual faces, mixing in humor and well thought out and reasoned solutions to problems that would result from suddenly having an additional set of legs.

Originally posted online in 2015, this 2018 release from Jarlidium Press’s Web Comic Archive line includes new material, such as a backstory showing how our hapless hero became a taur, as well as a few new still images.

The worldbuilding is right up my alley, and something I think about constantly just for bipedal characters with tails. How do mass-produced store-bought pants work for digitigrade legs and tails of all sorts of shapes? What about chairs or vehicles?

Cervelet extends this “Well, what about” question to taurs and those with six limbs, and does so interestingly. It is something I will consider in the future.

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