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Tag: graphic novel

The Suspended Castle – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Suspended Castle, by Fred. [Translated by Richard Kutner.]
NYC, Candlewick Press/TOON Books, October 2015, hardcover $16.95 (53 [+ 1] pages).

7655555The Suspended Castle (Le Château Suspendu) is Book 3 in the Philémon series by Fred (Frédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès, 1931-2013), serialized in the classic French comics magazine Pilote. The weekly strip was collected into 15 books between 1972 and 1987. Fred retired leaving Philémon’s adventures uncompleted, until he wrote/drew a 16th volume to finish the series just before his death.

Book 1, Cast Away on the Letter A, was reviewed here in January, and book 2, The Wild Piano, in June. Fred’s Philémon was/is a surrealistic cartoon strip in the tradition of Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat. Philémon is a teenage farmboy in the French countryside of the 1960s-‘70s who falls down a well and has psychedelic adventures on the literal letters ATLANTIC of the Atlantic Ocean of a parallel world. The series is only marginally anthro-animal, but it contains many imaginative fantastic animals in bizarre settings that lovers of top-quality newspaper comic-strip art, and furry fans, will want to see. Philémon, and Fred’s other works, have been hits in France for almost fifty years, almost constantly in print.

In the first two albums, teenager Philémon falls down an abandoned old well on his father’s farm in the French countryside and has fantastic adventures on the two A’s of the ATLANTIC ocean of a parallel world. He meets Mister Bartholomew (Barthélémy), an old Robinson Crusoe-like hermit from our world who was cast away onto the first A forty years ago. Philémon returns to his skeptical father Hector’s farm at the end of Cast Away on the Letter A, but he accidentally leaves Mr. Barthlomew behind. In The Wild Piano, Phil’s Uncle Felix (Félicien) turns out to be an amateur magician who knows how to return to the parallel world. (The “portal” is a different fantastic method each time.) He sends Phil back to rescue Mr. Bartholomew, which he does after more adventures on the letter N.

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French comic: Une Aventure de Chlorophylle – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Belgian, to be accurate. Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Une Aventure de Chlorophylle. T.1, Embrouilles a Coquefredouille, by Godi & Zidrou.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, September 2014, hardcover 10,60 (48 pages).

My thanks to Lex Nakashima again for this French-language bande dessinée.1507-1

So they’ve started another Chlorophylle series. Whoop-de-do. Raymond Macherot (1924-2008) began Chloro the dormouse’s adventures in the weekly Tintin comic-book magazine (1946-1993) in 1954, continued it through 11 or 12 adventures (depending on how you count), and wrote/drew his last Chloro story in 1966. Since then, his Chloro stories have been reprinted umpteen times, alone and in collections. Lombard has tried to continue the Chloro series, in Tintin serializations and in albums after the magazine’s demise, with new stories by a variety of cartoonists: Hubuc & Guilmard, Greg & Dupa, Dupa & Bob De Groot, Bom & Walli. Nothing really caught on. Now here is another attempt, by Belgian comics artist Godi (Bernard Godisiabois) and writer Zidrou (Benoît Drousie). Is this one any different?

Oh, yeah…

The other post-Macherot stories continued Chlorophylle’s adventures in the Belgian Tranquil Vale woodland. The supporting characters were Minimum the mouse, Mironton the dormouse and his wife Mirontaine, Torpedo the otter, Serpolet the rabbit, Clacky the crow, and the usual gang of Chloro’s friends and neighbors. The stories varied in quality, but they were all more of the same.

Complications in Coquefredouille, the first album in the new series, returns to the funny-animal island-kingdom where Chloro had his (arguably) most popular adventures. It’s the 33rd annual International Coquefredouille Film Festival; it’s opening with a new movie about when the kingdom was almost taken over by Anthracite the black rat and his two cannibalistic ferrets, and was saved by Chloro and Minimum (Les Croquillards); and King Mitron XIII of Coquefredouille sends invitations to Chloro and Minimum in the Tranquil Vale to attend. It’s a glitzy film festival; Chloro and Minimum get to meet the movie stars; the real Anthracite died in prison years ago so they don’t have anything more to worry about; so why not? But they arrive to find that there is a new terrorist movement that King Mitron’s government is trying to downplay. The FLF is trying to split Coquefredouille into two nations, the Kingdom of Coque in the west with its traditional capital at Le Fourbi, and the new (kingdom? republic?) of Fredouille in the east with its capital at La Turbine, the island’s second largest city and industrial center. The supposed revolutionists claim they want to stop the royalist government’s exploitation of the east, but nobody in the east seems to feel exploited or want to secede. King Mitron and his advisors suspect that the real reason for the FLF is that all of Couqefredouille’s mineral wealth is located in the east, and that independence for Fredouille would allow the “revolutionists” to set up a corrupt government to milk the eastern resources for themselves. Chloro tries to uncover the truth behind the terrorists, while at the same time dealing with the social complications at the film festival centering around the actors playing himself (Luigi Starletti, a mega-handsome small gray rat) and Anthracite (Antonio Caméo, a tall squirrel who specializes in playing villains).

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The Three Jaguars: A Comic About Business, Art, and Life, by M.C.A. Hogarth – Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Three Jaguars: A Comic About Business, Art, and Life, by M. C. A. Hogarth. Foreword by Ursula Vernon.
Tampa, FL,, August 2015, trade paperback $15.99 (vi + 136 [+ 1] pages).

51wGE4NLrmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_M.C. A. Hogarth was one of the first creators in furry fandom. She had art as a young teenager in Yarf! #1, January 1990, as Maggie de Alarcon. Her first novel, a fixup of furry short stories, was Alysha’s Fall (Cornwuff Press, September 2000). Since then she has had over twenty books published, as trade paperbacks and electronic books, by furry specialty publishers and through CreateSpace, often under her own imprint as Studio MCAH. She has won an Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction of the year, and been nominated for a Gaylactic Spectrum Award for a fantasy novel with a LGBT theme. In May 2015 Hogarth was elected Vice President of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

She has also had an active online presence since the 1990s, often raising funds for publishing her books through Kickstarter and similar campaigns. She has regularly answered questions about how to become a successful creative artist or writer. In January 2013 she began presenting this advice/her experiences in the form of a Monday-Wednesday and sometimes Friday web comic strip, The Three Jaguars, which ran through that August. It took the form of conversations, and sometimes arguments, between three facets of her creativity personified as three anthropomorphic jaguars; Business Manager, Marketer, and Artist. Business Manager is the most practical of the three, trying to limit the creativity to what will sell. Artist is the most imaginative, wanting to create what she wants to create when she wants to create it. And Marketer tries to figure out how to make what Artist wants to create saleable.

The Three Jaguars: A Comic About Business, Art, and Life presents the totality of that comic, plus a four-page epilogue drawn for this edition. In an Afterword, Hogarth analyzes why The Three Jaguars did not work as a comic strip. Readers don’t read a comic strip for objective business advice, and the format of three separate characters kept segueing into dramatic storylines, which was fine for evolving the comic into an adventure serial but was not its original purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

French Anthro Comic: Intégrale Chlorophylle – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Chlorophylle Integrale tome 1Intégrale Chlorophylle 1, by Raymond Macherot.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, October 2012, hardcover 25,50 (208 pages).

Intégrale Chlorophylle 2, by Raymond Macherot.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, November 2012, hardcover 25,50 (208 pages).

Intégrale Chlorophylle 3, by Raymond Macherot.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, April 2013, hardcover 25,50 (206 pages).

Raymond Macherot (1924-2008) didn’t invent the French-language animalière cartoon strip. Hergé, the creator of Tintin, dabbled with it in his 1931 Tim L’Ésureuil, Héros du Far-West (Tim the Squirrel, Hero of the Far West), and again in his 1934 album featuring the bears Paul and Virginia, Popol et Virginie chez les Lapinos. (The Lapinos were a tribe of rabbit Indians, renamed the Bunnokees in an English translation. Hergé was a fan of early Western movies.) Edmond-François Calvo (1892-1957) created the first memorable animalière with his classic two-volume history of World War II with funny animals, La Bête est Morte (The Beast is Dead, 1944), which resulted in Calvo in France getting an invitation from Walt Disney to come work for his studio in Hollywood. (Calvo declined.) Calvo drew several other comics featuring adorably cute animals during his career, but they were mostly innocent pets. It was Macherot who established talking funny animals as a viable category of French-language comic strips from the 1950s to the 1990s when he retired. Macherot created several other popular series, not all featuring funny animals – his light adventures of human British secret agent Colonel Clifton are still reprinted – but his Chlorophylle the dormouse, serialized in the weekly Tintin magazine from 1954 to 1966, Sibylline the field mouse, Inspector Chaminou (pretty kitty) of Zooland’s Royal Secret Police, Mirliton the housecat (written by Raoul Cauvin), and other funny animals are what Macherot is most remembered for. Read the rest of this entry »

French Anthro Comic: L’Epée d’Ardenois T. 4/4, – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Épée d’Ardenois. T. 4/4, Nuhy, by Étienne Willem.L'Epee d'Ardenois cover
Geneva, Switzerland, Éditions Paquet, June 2015, hardbound €16,00 (64 pages).

This is part of Lex Nakashima’s & my project to bring American furry fans the best of new French-language animalière bandes dessinées. Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of this 4-volume series, which were 48 pages each, were previously reviewed. Here is volume 4, the 64-page conclusion.

All that I said about volume 3 is intensified here. Nuhy begins with Oddenburg, the capital of King Tancred the Younger’s realm of Bohan, under fiery siege by the vulture armies of Hellequin of the Cursed Wood (goat), the unseen Nuhy’s general. “The city can’t hold out for more than two days,” a lion knight reports. “Not to mention the starvation and sickness, our walls are crumbling; there are already skirmishes in several districts; and if the vultures take the St. Georges gate… it’ll be the end of the castle…”

King Tancred (lynx), and two remaining Companions of the Dawn (Lord Arthus, bear; and La Fouine, marten) are trapped inside Oddenburg. This final volume begins with Tancred’s royal advisors arguing whether he should lead a final, hopeless defense and die gloriously in the city’s fall, or escape with a handful of knights through the catacombs under the city to continue a guerrilla resistance in Bohan’s countryside. Escape and resistance are chosen, with La Fouine leading the King’s party from Oddenburg while Lord Arthus remains behind to mount a diversionary death-&-glory charge. Meanwhile in the countryside, Garen (young rabbit squire) and Sir Grimbert (fox) of the Companions are with the refugees from the Duchy of Herbeutagne (which has already fallen to Hellequin), who are trying to reach Oddenburg…

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French comics: Cerise, Vol 1-3, by Laurel – Book Reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Belgian, to be accurate.  Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

cerise tome 1Cerise. T.1, L’Avis des Bêtes, by Laurel.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, April 2012, hardbound €10,60 (48 pages).

Cerise. T.2, Smart Faune, by Laurel.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, February 2014, hardbound €10,60 (48 pages), Kindle €5,99.

Cerise. T.3, Le Seigneur des Animaux, by Laurel.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, July 2015, hardbound €10,60 (48 pages).

These three albums look at first glance like comics for little children. Well, they are and they aren’t. Mostly, they’re comics that little children should read, but they won’t get a chance to in America.

Cerise (Cherry, but the French is a common name in America, too) is a nine-year-old schoolgirl in Noticed by Beasts, the first album. She tries to save a snail from being crushed by a schoolmate. She fails, but the dying snail appreciates her effort and gives her the power to understand and talk with all beasts; mammals, birds, fish, bugs, you name it. The first album is mostly a collection of one-page gags around Cerise and talking animals: her pets (she has two cats and a ferret) and the local wildlife. No other humans believe her, and she boasts of her “secret ability”. In the last two pages, she meets Arthur, another boy who can also talk with animals. Read the rest of this entry »

Roi Ours, by Mobidic – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Roi Ours CoverRoi Ours, by Mobidic.
Paris, Delcourt, May 2015, hardbound 18.95 (110 pages), Kindle 13.99.

Thanks to Lex Nakashima for ordering this French cartoon album from and making it available to me for this review.

In a prehistoric Mesoamerican world, a human village is ruled by the animal gods and goddesses: the Jaguar god, the Fox god, the Stag god, and many others. The village is cursed by the Caïman goddess; to lift the curse, the chief is ordered by the tribal shaman to offer his own daughter, Xipil, as a sacrifice. Xipil is bound to the Caïman’s totem pole and abandoned to be eaten.

But it’s not the Caïman goddess who comes first, but the Bear god. “You look a little young to me for an offering… and not very meaty! Has she already eaten all her own priestesses?” “The shaman said that she is demanding greater sacrifices.” “Well, he should have offered his own daughter. Do you want to stop the massacre? Or do you prefer to go through with it?” “My father said…” “Your father is an imbecile! He’s not listening to the signs any more. I’m telling you that the Caïman is making fun of all of you; she’ll never raise her curse on you. You’ll have to do something else. Go tell your father.” Read the rest of this entry »

Kairos: Tome 3 by Ulysse Malassagne – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Kairos T 3 book coverKairos. Tome 3, by Ulysse Malassagne.
Roubaix, France, Ankama Éditions, January 2015, hardcover €11.90 (64 pages), Kindle $7.99.

Thanks once more to Lex Nakashima for getting this from and sharing it with me. This is in French, but it’s mostly cartoon artwork. Since there’s no sign of an English-language edition, here is the French original.

And so the saga is over.

To recap, Niils loves the mysterious Anaëlle. During a camping trip in the French countryside, she is kidnapped by dragon knights and taken through a dimensional portal. Niils follows them into the anthropomorphic dragons’ world. In t.2, it turns out that Anaëlle is the dragon kingdom’s princess; she escaped into our human world and took on a human form to escape a forced marriage to her own father; she was tracked down and seized by the dragon knights to fulfill her destiny; Niils goes after her and finds that the dragon commoners are ready to revolt against their royal family; and he leads a revolution even while he is turning into a dragon himself. Read the rest of this entry »

French anthro comic: L’Epée d’Ardenois – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

L’Épée d’Ardenois. T. 3/4, Nymelle, by Étienne Willem.
Geneva, Switzerland, Éditions Paquet, February 2014, hardbound €13,50 (48 pages).

downloadThis is part of Lex Nakashima’s & my project to bring American furry fans the best of new French-language animalière bandes dessinées. Volumes 1 and 2 of this 4-volume series were reviewed on Flayrah on April 29, 2013. Here is volume 3, Nymelle.

The warfare in the Medieval funny-animal realm of the three kingdoms has devolved into bloody chaos. Garen (rabbit), the young peasant boy who hero-worships the legendary Companions of the Dawn — four unstoppable knights who led the three kingdoms of Bohan, Herbeutagne, and Valdor against the demonic armies of wizard-king Lord Nuhy a generation ago, then retired – is eager to see them reunite when Nuhy’s army reappears under his “eternal captain”, Hellequin of the Cursed Wood (goat). But the Companions are old and out of training today, and Sir Godefroid (hound), who is Garen’s personal hero among the Companions, is carefully killed by Hellequin before he relaunches the war. The other Companions dubiously accept Garen as their squire to honor Godefroid’s memory, but they are all shocked to find that the three kingdoms of today are not what they were a generation ago. Then, they were three monarchies united by strong rulers working together. Now, they are three separate monarchies each under weak rulers who do not even have the support of all their own nobility and knights, and who are jockeying for leadership among themselves – divisions that Hellequin skillfully encourages. Hellequin is supposedly trying to find and collect the Black Armor of Nuhy, which was divided among the victors after Nuhy’s death in battle. Some believe that this is just Hellequin’s pretext to use Nuhy’s name and armies for his own benefit, while others believe that Nuhy had real demonic powers, and that he will be resurrected if Hellequin does find all of his Black Armor. There are more complications, and volume 2, The Prophecy, ends with Garen, the other three Companions of the Dawn (Sir Grimbert, fox; Lord Arthus, bear; and La Fouine, marten), and the peasant refugees left behind the Wall of Ambrosius where they are supposed to be safe, suddenly attacked by Skernovite pirate raiders led by their King Rothgard the Bald (hawk) and Hellequin’s lieutenant Sigwald the Rash (bull terrier).

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Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

maddy-kettle-100dpi_lgMaddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch, by Eric Orchard. Illustrated.

Marietta, GA, Top Shelf Productions, August 2014, softcover $14.95 (89 [+ 2] pages).

This is a softcover children’s fantasy in the tradition of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: a young girl has adventures in a magic world full of talking animals. It is in the publisher’s “Kids Club” series, but like all the best children’s fantasies, it is really for all ages.

Eleven-year-old Maddy Kettle was happy, living in her parents’ bookstore/house in the Western-looking town of Dustcloud Gap. Her pet musical floating spadefoot toad, Ralph (she tethered him on a string, like a balloon), made her popular with all of the other schoolkids. But one night Maddy woke up and saw the Thimblewitch flying away from their home, and when she went downstairs to investigate, she found her parents turned into talking kangaroo rats. Her father refused to let her chase after the witch to cure them, insisting that it was too dangerous. But after the witch’s spider goblins kidnap the kangaroo rats and Ralph, there is nothing to keep her from going after them.

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