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Furry fanzines, comics and furry history

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The cover of Huzzah number 48, an APA from 2002, showing a rabbit in the woods with a bow and arrow.With $40 that I sent to a collector, I dove into the interesting pool of furry fanzines. Anyone can publish furry art and comics online these days, but back when the Internet was more BBS than WWW, it seems like any artist who wanted to get their name out there did a fanzine. There are an incredible number of them, and that's why in my opinion it's impossible to list them all. I know some have tried and failed.

"Bestiary", "Scrap", "Karno's Klassics", "Furplay" and "PentMouse" are just a very small number of what was out there. The quality of the art ranges widely, and so far I've come across more than one comic that makes absolutely no sense at all. But those are exceptions; most of what I've seen has been quite good.

For the most part, furry fanzines were published with anywhere between 8 to 50 pages. They're a really interesting view of the early days of the fandom. One thing I noticed - the style of art hasn't changed that much. But what has definitely changed is how furry fans have viewed their fandom.

Zines and APAs were two types of fan-made publications that were fairly common in furry fandom in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before fans could get furry art and stories over the Internet.

Zine is short for "fanzine" which is short for "fan magazine" - The quality ranged anywhere from a few photocopied pages stapled together, to nicely-bound, computer-edited works of varying thickness. Printed in limited quantities (depending on budget), if you couldn't buy copies locally, you paid extra to get them by mail, sometimes through a re-seller like Ed Zolna.

APAs, short for Amateur Press Associations, were exclusive zines. There would be a limited number of members, say for example, 20 people, who would be expected to contribute at least one page each (or more), every issue. Each member would create their page(s), make 20 copies, and mail them to the APA's editor.

The editor would collate and bind everyone's contributions together, then mail them back out to all 20 members. If you couldn't contribute to the APA on a regular, reliable basis (or pay your membership fee), you lost your membership and it was given to someone on a waiting list.

Besides APAs and Zines, artists would occasionally publish their work in small art collections, comics, folios or booklets, giving them different titles.

In terms of quality range, the best I've seen so far is the "Hey Neeters!" comic by Mike Sagara which plays out like a twisted sitcom. At the low end is Patrick Kelley's single issue of "Scrap", which has a space comic that is very hard to follow, let alone to understand. The super-small type makes matters worse. The rest of his furry art looks okay; I can only assume his art got better after 1994, when it was released.

The cover of Centaurs Gatherum number 28, a zine from 1993, showing a Japanese-style samurai centaur wielding a sword.Then there are unusual zines like "Centaurs Gatherum" by Ed Pegg Jr. which covers centaurs, of all things. Only having issue 25 to go on, there's very little information online, so it's really hard to know how long it ran, or even how many issues were printed.

I assume collectors have more zines, since I used to occasionally see them on Furbid. I was just lucky getting what I have on Facebook. But couldn't the people who collect them do an update on WikiFur? Even there, there's so little information, any more than you'd get from a Google search.

Take for example "Bestiary", and there is actually a Patreon page to make that magazine live. Not as a furry fanzine, but as an art magazine. Kind of like how FurScience made a video post called "Furloose", I can only assume those behind it have no knowledge that the title was used for a furry fanzine by Scott Alston. (I really love their furry take on the opening to "Footloose".)

It isn't like there's a source where you can find all the furry zines listed. I know Fred Patten included a list in one of the books he edited recently, "An Anthropomorphic Century", but even then, my understanding is that there are so many more out there.

I wish I could say these early furry fanzines are easy to find, but you really have to get lucky to find them, and at a fair price. I see numbers as high as $20 for a single issue, and at other times, the same issue being sold with several others for as little as $8 for a set of seven.

The cover of Yarf number 9, a zine from 1990, showing a cartoony furry singing on a stage into a microphone.More than once, I have said there should be a single place where artists and fans alike can go to and check out furry history. Young artists want to see these; I've been contacted over the years by several of them who really want to see how furry art has evolved. It's not like they can go to some museum and study furry art. You should go to reference libraries, is something I have been repeatedly told by those who object to my efforts in saving something that could be gone in a couple of years. These places are not easy to find, nor to travel to. For example, the closest one near my address is more than 300 miles away.

For legal reasons I will not say what my efforts are, but if you want to donate to something who really wants to preserve them, feel free to contact me. But the real reason you can't find these zines online is because of copyright. Everyone wants to be careful of the artist's or writer's copyright which expires in 75 years from the date of publication, and the only way to legally share them is to actually have a copy of the original issue.

But they won't last that long. I admit my knowledge comes from my local library, but unless these fanzines were printed on acid-free paper, they could only last another 10 or 20 years before they turn into dust. Even the experts I have spoken with seriously doubt any of them will last 75 years. When this happens, we will lose a part of our history.

I dare you, go ahead and look anywhere you like and try to find any information on why - let alone how - the first furcons took place, or why they folded. It's impossible, and as time goes on, we will lose those people who were a part of those early days. I have been told on social media that some of those involved in the early furcons and fanzines are no longer alive. Since I can't verify this information, I won't say who was mentioned. Except those whom I've contacted like Kjartan Arnórsson who said to me on Fur Affinity, "I'm so old, I'm historic, huh? What the hell - go ahead."

Of those whom I've been able to contact, none of them has ever said no. Even they know this is history, and we are running out of time. Did you know the Vatican has been scanning historic documents before they disappear? Why can't we furries, critics and all, get together and search out anyone and everyone from those early days and share what knowledge they have, before it is gone.

That's a statement of fact: Unless we make an effort, we will lose our history.

[Editor's notes - Scattered information on furry publications can be found in a couple of places:
WikiFur - Category:Fanzines,
Anthropomorphic Arts and Education's anthropomorphic fandom repository catalog,
Lynx and Felyne32K's Incomplete Listing of Zoomorphic Publications (2002),
Captain Packrat's A Not Quite Complete, but None the Less, Very Thorough Furry Comic Book List (2005),
The Fred Patten collection on Science Fiction and Animation, at the Library of the University of California, Riverside.]

The cover of Furversion number 21, a zine from 1990, the all skunk issue   One of the covers from Rowrbrazzle number 39, which was so thick it was split up into four parts. An APA from 1993. This cover shows a bat sneaking up on a mouse who is holding a gun.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

We have been making some effort in trying to make early convention history available at the Conference archive:

https://confurence.com

We have also just put up two issues of Touch magazine:

https://confurence.com/category/fanzines/touch/

Despite the copyright this stuff is really falling to dust and getting eaten by silverfish. Our collection at the Prancing Skiltaire does have these sorts of problems and we are trying our damnedest to get much of this stuff at least scanned.

We want to get in touch with some artists to get very early APA's available (within reason) so people can see the extremely larval stage of the fandom.

Most of what we are pushing on the archive is more the ephemera of the early fandom instead of the fanzines but we do have a few examples. In the case of the Touch magazines we were the original publishers of that zine. But for the most part we are sticking to fliers and posters letters and other convention history.

I also thing we should have a push to have some of this stuff published in ebook format on Amazon at least at reasonable prices.

Please can we get things like Associated Student Bodies on kindle?

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (9 votes)

He left out the parts about stealing stuff when told not to, forcing publishers to resort to DMCA's, and consistently making himself unwelcome to numerous communities by sheer dumb assery and failure to comprehend the etiquette of being a contributing member. You can see it happen like clockwork from reading his own whining about it and never getting why. The cherry on the sundae of dumb is how he already had a tantrum and left this site before this posted.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (9 votes)

Shut up.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

Well, Ahmar originally wrote this article back in September of 2016. It's been part of the backlog I've been working on posting to Flayrah. (Even one of my own articles came out many months delayed and late.) It's sad timing that by the time I got around to cleaning up Ahmar's article, that disagreements about other things had broken out.

Here's something though: Regardless of your personal opinions about Ahmar, this article doesn't rip off anyone's content. (I added the images, side text-box explanation, and links), and it makes some valid points about historical preservation. How about instead of insults, we stick to the topic, not its messenger.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

This was sitting in our to publish items since September, to be fair. We are finally down to one page of backlogs, and most of those (the older ones anyway).

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

This article defines all furry publications as either fanzines, traditionally meaning a fan's own publications, or APAzines, collections of personal contributions. This leaves out one of the most important categories of all, the furry magazines. These were published like a regular magazine; they had an editor -- Jeff Ferris for Yarf!, Karl Maurer for FurVersion, Brian L. Miller and later Byron Havranek for FurryPhile, Conrad "Lynx" Wong for PawPrints Fanzine, etc. -- and fans submitted their stories & art to that editor. If they weren't good enough, he rejected them. He and his assistants laid out the magazine and published it. So these magazines were generally much higher in quality than the fanzines of individual fans, which did not have as much quality control.

The examples here of Yarf! and FurVersion are magazines, not an individual's fan's fanzines. Rowrbrazzle, Centaurs Gatherum, and Huzzah are APAs -- not Individual APA contributions, but complete issues of those APAs.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Not sure Centaurs Gatherum would qualify as an APA. I had a subscription and bought several issues at conventions but don't recall ever submitting anything to get a copy.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Ed Pegg was very generous with contributor copies. He'd send one to people who simply wrote him a letter, or people who contributed once. But sending art would always get you a copy.

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Jarlidium Press is reprinting Yarf! today, in bound volumes of five issues each, so the material in it is available again. North American Fur from #30 on is also available from Jarlidium Press. Second Ed and Rabbit Valley also have much of this

https://store.jarlidium.com/collections/complete-yarf/products/complete-yarf-vol...

https://store.jarlidium.com/collections/complete-yarf/products/complete-yarf-vol...

https://store.jarlidium.com/collections/complete-yarf/products/complete-yarf-vol...

https://store.jarlidium.com/collections/north-american-fur/products/north-americ...

https://store.jarlidium.com/collections/north-american-fur/products/north-americ...

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

I see it was already pointed out that this was quite surprising to see considering Ahmar has his own site and was saying how terrible Flayrah is. One might wonder why if Flayrah is so terrible and his own site gets so many views he chose to post something here.

On another note, it reads like a forum post or personal blog, not like a posting on an online magazine. I particularly raised my eyebrows at the "donate money to me but I can't tell you why" part.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

Fighting the Flayrah Monster, by Ahmar Wolf. You have a second thing coming, if you can just figure out whatever it is he's trying to say with the half baked rambling.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Lol, that was hilarious. I know someone just as delusional as him that used to be on the South African forums though. I dunno how they cope with daily life.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Since it was requested at the link: Flayrah as a whole averaged 14,000 sessions and 20,000 page-views per month, last year. It varies considerably, though - April saw over 40,000 views, and that was the average traffic in 2013-14 as well. In general, the more news posted, the more views, as you might expect.

Pageviews aren't everything. Links posted as a newsbyte result in few views, because the only story they contribute to is the monthly summaries; but they are distributed as separate posts over our our Twitter and Facebook, where they are often more convenient for our readers to consume, judging by the stats on those platforms.

In any case, it's not something we're trying to be secretive about. We used to have pageview graphs for every story, visible to all registered users; the only reason we don't now is that Google changed their API, and the graph module using it broke.

Looking for popularity in news is a fool's errand - WikiFur has close to five times Flayrah's traffic, while Inkbunny has ten times that.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

This article was sitting in our backlogs and needed quite a bit of effort to get it ready for publication.

Sort of like your foreign convention one, so this was submitted well before they were angry at Flayrah.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

“More than once, I have said there should be a single place where artists and fans alike can go to and check out furry history.” Well, there’s my “Retrospective: An Illustrated Chronology of Furry Fandom, 1966-1996”, published here back in July 2012.

https://www.flayrah.com/4117/retrospective-illustrated-chronology-furry-fandom-1...

“It isn't like there's a source where you can find all the furry zines listed. I know Fred Patten included a list in one of the books he edited recently, "An Anthropomorphic Century", but even then, my understanding is that there are so many more out there.”

I did? It’s news to me. There's one in my first anthology, “Best in Show: 15 Years of Outstanding Furry Fiction”, published by Sofawolf Books in July 2003. It contains stories from just about every furry magazine that included fiction from 1989 to 2003: Anthrolations, The Ever-Changing Palace, Fang, Claw & Steel, Fantastic Furry Stories, FurryPhile, FurVision, Historimorphs, Morphic Tales, Mythagoras, North American Fur, Pawprints Fanzine, Steam Victorian, Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe, Yarf!, and Zoomorphica. Also APAs like the Furthest North Crew and Rowrbrazzle. But there were many fanzines that did not contain fiction, such as the American Journal of Anthropomorphics, which was a furry art fanzine. Yes, a comprehensive list is needed.

I collected all of the literary furry fanzines. When I had my stroke in 2005, my whole collection was donated to the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy at the Rivera Library of the University of California at Riverside. The UCR has probably the biggest collection of furry literature and ephemera in the world. Joe Strike came from New York to do research in it for the history of furry fandom that he’s writing.

“if you want to donate to something who really wants to preserve them, feel free to contact me.” Or feel free to contact the Eaton Collection at the UCR, which already has a very large furry collection; but it’s not complete – my own collection didn’t have Furplay, PentMouse, and Scrap, to mention just three fanzines that Ahmar mentions. Please do keep the Eaton Collection in mind if you're donating anything.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Ahmar talks of a Patreon-funded Bestiary Magazine; however, I suspect the shared name is nothing more than a coincidence. There are, after all, several publications with that name within furry fandom alone - I own a set of the cards myself.

As for his general thrust of his argument - history is never perfect. There is always some information lost; much of furry fandom's pre-date digital records; even where they exist, they are incomplete and subject to link rot and other forms of loss. It was a non-trivial effort to convert archives of T.H.E. Fox into a format viewable on today's computers - and it was only possible because others kept the originals. Similarly, Yerf's archive started off incomplete, and remains subject to copyright.

I certainly agree that now is the time to gather and record information, though, while it is fresh… and most of furry fandom's founders live.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

That is exactly why I gathered the historical information about furry conventions that went into my Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015. I wish that I could have gotten more information; some is already lost, because nobody bothered to keep details. As one committee member said, "Our purpose was to have fun, not to engage in bureaucracy." (or words to that effect).

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

I need to check Flayrah more often.

I'll be doing a panel on Furry Comics and Zines from the 80s and 90s at Anthrocon, 1:30PM on Friday, in the Westin. I'll have almost 700 items for people to look through. The entire collection is also marked up on furryarchive.librarika.com .

(I also take donations of 'zines and comics for my collection)

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