Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Reviews

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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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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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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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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