Furstarter is a brand new blog created by Corbeau Fundhound. It describes itself as “A weekly look at furry and fur-friendly crowdfunded projects”. Here’s his announcement: “Howdy howdy – I’m working on a blog focused on upcoming furry and fur-friendly kickstarter projects. Just now beginning week 2, so no promises on longevity of this, but I’ve been working on other blog projects for several years now without totally blowing my deliverables. I’m still tweaking the look and feel of the place, it should be a little more visitor-friendly once some of the art commissions I’ve got in place come through, but since by definition the information is time-sensitive I wanted to get content up and running!” Check it out at http://www.furstarter.com.
Each in turn may call this a fairy story, a dog story, an allegory or a satire, but all will be moved by the beauty and the meaning--a beauty and a meaning that seems to live within the realm of those books that go on and on making friends and spreading enchantment. Gissing, its hero, is a dog who searches the world for an ideal, and then finds in the smoke of his own furnace fire a hint of the heavenly blue that he had been seeking. (blurb, slightly edited)
It is difficult to tell after ninety years just what an author was thinking, but I believe that Christopher Morley, a popular literary essayist and novelist, just wanted to have fun writing about a world of talking dogs. His last message to the public, written when he knew that he was dying in 1957, was, “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”
Mr. Gissing, a gentledog of leisure contentedly residing in Canine Estates with Fuji, his butler (a Japanese pug), on an income of 1,000 bones a year, becomes dissatisfied and leaves home to search for where the blue begins (a purpose to life).
Garden City, NY, Doubleday, Page & Co., October 1922,  + 215 [+ 1] pages, $1.75.
Jacques' series, spanning 22 books, was populated by a variety of anthropomorphic animals, including "noble" mice, moles, and badgers, and "vermin" rats, foxes, and weasels.
Soma's game, entitled Redwall: The Warrior Reborn, will be in 3D, allowing players to walk the cloisters of Redwall Abbey. On April 26, Soma Games started a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. As of May 1, the campaign has raised almost $8,000 in pledges from nearly 200 backers, of a $11,000 goal. Pledge rewards include the game itself, MP3 and PDF files of game content, and party and mailing list invitations, signed books, and sculptures.
Logo have published their therian documentary (41:47; YouTube), covered here in January.
Producers followed and interviewed several teenagers and young adults (and their parents), including the crew of FurCast and an otherkin forum administrator, Shiro Ulv.
In a poll of 120 therians/otherkin, a majority appear dissatisfied with the piece; fully 80% felt it was only slightly accurate, or not at all. The same proportion took issue with the inclusion of furries (including various fursuiters) in the documentary.
Similar numbers saw it as important for therians/otherkin to educate the public about themselves; however, views were mixed on participation in television documentaries. Most (83%) favoured the idea of therians/otherkin creating their own documentary.
The mention of an amputee flaunting a showy, bird-plumaged prosthetic arm should make the Furry connection clear, in this story about the work of the Alternative Limb Project (ALP) and it's director, Sophie de Oliveira Barata.
De Oliveira Barata is "challenging the belief that prosthetic limbs should aim to look as realistic as possible." Her career started in special effects for film and TV, before she moved to work with a realistic prosthetics company for eight years. In her opinion:
The dominant thinking is that a new limb should be as close a match to the previous limb as possible. But until technology gets to the point where you can have a realistic looking limb in movement and aesthetics, there will always be this uncanny middle ground. Having an alternative limb embraces difference and can help create a sense of ownership and empowerment.
The new option for limbs include crystal, stereo speakers, lighting, and simulated internal anatomy to tranform disability-concealers into creative, eye-catching fashion. What's next, hooves and paws?
Taking place during the Parisian flood of 1910, the two main characters are Emile, a shy film projectionist and amateur cinematographer, and his friend Raoul, a tinkerer who likes to invent gadgets and operates a delivery service out of the back of his truck. During a late-night delivery to an absent scientist's laboratory, Raoul plays with chemicals, unaware that his tampering accidentally creates a giant flea with a beautiful singing voice.
The "monster" is quickly targeted by Maynot, the Commissioner of police, who becomes obsessed with capturing and killing it as part of his campaign to become mayor. He's also taken an interest in a cabaret singer named Lucille, who disguises and hides the flea after recognizing its musical talents.
Raoul is an old friend/enemy of Lucille's, and soon he and Emile are in on her secret, trying to find a way to protect the flea from the Commissioner.
When I announced that Lex Nakashima and I were going to bring you news of new French anthropomorphic bandes desinées, I wasn’t expecting to mix that with animation. But Kairos has its own animated trailer, by Studio La Cachette in Paris:
So the main character is human! There are still lots of anthropomorphic characters in the world that he goes to. Lex & I will have a review of tome 1 of Kairos, published April 25 by Ankama, as soon as we can. [Until then, check out this preview.]
Lex Nakashima & I have started a project to inform YOU of the best untranslated French-language funny-animal adventure cartoon albums. The Blacksad series by Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido has found a good American home at Dark Horse, but there are others that Americans are not being informed of.
Lex & I recently brought you a review of the first two The Saga of Atlas & Axis albums by Jean-Marc Pau. Next up is The Sword of Ardenois by Étienne Willem, to be completed in four albums, the first two of which are now available.
Author/artist Willem has said in interviews that The Sword of Ardenois is his homage to all of the Medieval-setting talking-animal fantasies that have influenced him; notably the medieval Roman de Renard, the Disney 1973 anthropomorphic-animal Robin Hood animated film, and Brian Jacques’ Redwall novels.
Willem’s first volume, Garen, won a BD Gest’ Art 2010 award (in 2011, for the best bande dessinée of the previous year) for the Best Youth Album of 2010.
Shaun first appeared as a supporting character in Aardman's 1995 A Close Shave, and later got his own children's television series. Now, Aardman is to join with film-TV group Studiocanal to make Shaun's full-length claymation film.
Aardman will produce the film, written and directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton. The plot concerns Shaun's mischief inadvertently causing his Farmer to leave Mossybottom Farm. Shaun, Blitzer the sheepdog, and the rest of the flock must go to the big city to rescue him.
Fur the 'More, Baltimore’s first furry convention, took place on the first week of April. April is known for its rain, and whenever it rains, it pours. It was to be my first small convention, but it was certainly not as small as many other new conventions.
My own experience, compared to other furs, is limited: Anthrocon 2011 & 2012, and MFF 2011. Today I review this hatchling. I’ve included some personal stories – the greatest convention stories are personal. Besides, if you don’t have stories to tell, than what was the point of going on the adventure?
Back in March 2012, Flayrah had a post about the “Gag Me With a Toon 4” art exhibition at the WWA art gallery in Culver City, California.
Now the WWA gallery has “Gag Me With a Toon 5” coming up, on May 4–June 1, 2013. Over fifty artists will be represented with their tributes to the cartoon stars of their youths.
Past paintings have included Scooby-Doo with a gun to his head, Smurf orgies, Mickey Mouse defying the universe, Garfield and Odie on an Indiana Jonesish rollercoaster, Chip ‘n Dale as two realistic chipmunks in a Rescue Rangers situation, and more.
As always, the anthropomorphic animals will be outnumbered by the human cartoon pop-cultural stars like Superman, the Flintstones, G.I. Joe, Wonder Woman, Jem, etc., but there will be enough cartoon animals to satisfy Flayrah’s readers.
For this set of reviews, I didn’t deviate much from last month; I just swapped out one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of the Foot Clan issues for a plain old issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #4
If you were to chart the highs and lows of this first arc of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the trajectory would look like a single beat of a normal heart on one of those heart monitors. Issue #1 would be right down the middle, nothing too special, nothing too bad, then issue #2 spiking to grand heights of funny animal comics, before an equal spike in the opposite direction following issue #3’s needlessly dark depths. Finally, this issue comes and, well, it’s nothing too special, nor too bad.
Boston & NYC, Little, Brown & Co., March 2013 Hardcover $17.99 ([6 +] 285 [+ 7] pages)
Kindle $8.89. Illustrated by Charles Vess.
The age rating on this is “8 and up”. This is one of those “all ages” books like The Wind in the Willows that you will not want to miss just because it may be in the children’s section of your bookshop or public library. Seek it out! It is worth it.
Lillian Kindred is a little girl whose parents are dead and who lives with her Aunt on a farm at the edge of Tanglewood Forest. The book doesn’t say how old she is, so that’s probably not important. What is important is that she’s established as old enough to be allowed by other people to play in the forest alone, and young enough to look for fairies. One of the things that she sees is lots of cats wandering freely – feral cats and farm cats. She does not bother them, but she does put out dishes of fresh milk for them.
One day she falls asleep in the forest, and is bitten by a venomous snake. Vess’ illustration shows a coral snake; the worst kind. Wikipedia says that, “Coral snakes have a powerful neurotoxin that paralyzes the breathing muscles; mechanical or artificial respiration, along with large doses of antivenom, are often required to save a victim's life.” Lillian does not have any of that. She is alone at the foot of a tree, dying.
The Cartoon Brew has photos of the first advertising for Reel FX studio’s first CGI feature, Free Birds, due November 1. The advertising, at CinemaCon at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on April 15-18, included this 3D printed display.
Free Birds, previously announced under the working title of Turkeys, is about Reggie (voice of Owen Wilson) and Jake (Woody Harrelson), two odd-buddy turkeys who time-travel back to Pilgrim days to eliminate the present-day turkey-eating Thanksgiving feast.
Once upon a time, when the Wild West was still wild, a Cowgirl and a Werewolf travel the hostile land. As a chicken walks their way a fight about the appropriate use of it makes them forget the danger around, till it seems to be too late.
As the Franco-Belgian animated film Ernest & Celestine should soon be released on DVD, I thought this would be a good time to review A Town Called Panic (trailer), a movie produced by some of the same animators in 2009.
Actually, let's go further back to 2002, when Belgian animators Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier created a series of twenty shorts for TV called Panique au village (Panic in the village). Each was about five minutes long, and like Robot Chicken (2005), employed stop-motion animation with plastic figurines, clay and other objects.
Otherwise the two shows are pretty different. Robot Chicken enjoys mangling pop culture and doing random sketches; while Panique au village focuses on the bizarre daily adventures of a small, constant cast of characters. Something they both have in common is a joy of the absurd, and Panique is often more manic in this respect.