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dragons

Movie review: 'I Am Dragon'

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (14 votes)

The dragon swoops down on Mira to carry her away from her town. She never stands in that location during the film.I Am Dragon (trailer) is a Russian fantasy/drama film that came out in 2015 and yes I know it's technically a wyvern. When I showed clips of it to dragon furries, that's the first thing they said, in a tone of voice like I'd gotten their hopes up and then betrayed them.

For a live-action film, it uses a lot of computer graphics (around 85%), and looks pretty good! The setting felt very real to me. Production costs were about $18 million, and it flopped at the box office. As movies go, it's... ok. I say this with some reluctance. If you're a fan of dragons, you're not missing much.

Back-story: A line of dragons lives on a secluded island, and in a medieval town, the people perform a ceremony and song with which they offer their maidens as sacrifices. This summons the dragon who flies off with one of them, until one day a warrior decides he's going to rescue the woman he loves. He finds the island (too late to save the maiden), slays the beast, and the sacrificial rite is turned into a local wedding ritual, minus the dragon.

Review: 'The Dragons of Krynn' ('Dragonlance Dragons' #1) anthology edited by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

dragonsofkrynn.jpgAlmost 30 years ago, Dragonlance exploded into the role-playing world with new sets of player characters and a fresh take on monsters. In my circle of friends, reading about Dragonlance proved more interesting than actually playing in the setting.

It's my understanding that there are over 200 novels and collections in the Dragonlance universe. I believe the last new Dragonlance novel was released in 2010, with the last reprint released in 2011. Along with Dungeons & Dragon's world of the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance was one of the most popular shared worlds in fiction. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more of these books waiting for us in the future.

When I last set foot on Mount To-Be-Read (what I call my queue of unread books) this old classic was waiting for me. I have had mixed experiences with the Dragonlance books and I hesitated at reading it for a moment.

But then I wondered how the dragons of Dragonlance would stand up to a furry eye? That made me curious as I tended to read the TSR novels as I would read any other fantasy novel. Maybe I shouldn't have a different mind set when reading different sub-genres but I do. I look for more logic and more relationship in furry stories either with the environment or with other people/creatures. While in a different sword and sorcery fantasy realm, I care more about mood and the character's struggle to reach his goal.

So, I set out to read The Dragons of Kyrnn with a furry eye, looking and hoping for anthropomorphic tales that elevated a dragon from monster to character.

Interestingly enough, some of the best of the stories had very little dragon in them. Still, there were five stories in the collection that I will recommend to my fellow furries and scalies.

Wizards of the Coast (TSR), March 1, 1994; trade paperback (390 pages, 15 stories, 3 poems).

Review: 'dʒrægɛn: A game about a Dragon'

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d?ræg?n: A game about a DragonAs I was looking for a furry game to review this month, I didn't have to go too far before I ran into a promotional video that caught my attention. Despite the simplistic voice acting there was something about the aesthetic and the sense of humor that dʒrægɛn: A game about a Dragon held about itself that seemed to garner immediate interest and curiosity.

So what is this game about a dragon? Let's take a look and find out.

Big News from Dreamworks

Dreamworks Animation have released the first preview of their new How To Train Your Dragon tie-in TV series, Dragons: Race to the Edge. It’s coming to Netflix on June 26th. Interestingly, it’s all coming on that date: All 13 episodes will be available at once. In this latest iteration, “Hiccup and Toothless lead the Dragon Riders as they soar beyond the borders of Berk and discover the mysterious Dragon Eye — an ancient artifact filled with secrets that will lead them to new lands filled with undiscovered dragons. But the heroes find themselves pursued by marauding dragon hunters, who will stop at nothing to seize the power of the Dragon Eye.” Check it out over at Comingsoon.net. Meanwhile, just today came another Dreamworks announcement: Kung Fu Panda 3’s release date has been moved. Again. This time they’ve moved it up from March 18th to January 29th. We still gotta wait until 2016, but at least it’s coming sooner!

image c. 2015 Dreamworks Animation

image c. 2015 Dreamworks Animation

They Will Change the World of Dragons

Here’s another one of those “how did we miss this?” young-adult fantasy book series. Tui T. Sutherland is part of the author collective that, under the name Erin Hunter, created the Seekers and Warriors series of cat-based fantasies. In 2012 though, she returned to her own name to bring us the Wings of Fire series, beginning with The Dragonet Prophecy (published by Scholastic, Inc.) “The seven dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting, with the help of a prophecy — a foretelling that calls for great sacrifice. Five dragonets are collected to fulfill the prophecy, raised in a hidden cave and enlisted, against their will, to end the terrible war.” As you can well imagine, things don’t turn out as planned when the five young dragons escape. Their adventures have thus far lead us through six books in the series, and at least two more books are being written even now. Check out the first book over at Barnes & Noble.

Guide the Dragons of the Sun

More new dragon fantasy books: Spirits of the Sun, Book One in the new Diego’s Dragon series by Kevin Gerard (published by Crying Cougar Press). “An eleven-year-old Latino boy wins a district-wide writing contest for sixth graders. When an author visits his school to award his prize, Diego Ramirez has no idea how much his life is about to change. Nathan Sullivan hands Diego his statue, a handsome, glistening black dragon. After hearing the name Magnifico spoken aloud by family and friends, Diego awards it to his new dragon. If he only knew how fitting the name was, he might have known what lay ahead: Magnifico is the leader of the Sol Dragones, dragons that live within the magical fires of the sun. Nathan Sullivan is the earth’s connection to the mysterious creatures. It is his task to find Magnifico’s guide. As Magnifico comes to life he becomes quite mischievous, playing tricks on Diego to embarrass him. As he discovers his bloodline, however, Diego assumes greater control over his dragon and his destiny.” There’s a video on YouTube introducing you to the series, and more information over on the official web site.

A Boy Becomes A Man… And A Dragon?

He Walks With Dragons is the first book in a new fantasy series of the same name by author and poet Stanley S. Thornton. As he points out, unlike your average fantasy series this does not take place in a fantasy land — it imagines dragons in our actual world, influencing human history and human evolution. “Draig, a boy on the verge of his manhood, is summoned to the majestic mountain by the Great Ones. There he finds out he is about to transcend the ages and risk his life to prevent the destruction of mankind. Born into the naïve innocence of ancient man, Draig lives a simple pastoral existence in a quiet, small village. But one day he is flung on a magical journey into a forbidden new world. There Draconos, a dragon, befriends the boy, training him in the art of warfare. From this day forward, the young boy finds himself in awe at the wonders the world holds for him. Not only has Draig become a man, but he is living like a dragon and learning their mystical powers… And when the time comes, will Draig be willing to lay down his life for the sake of saving the dragons? And when the dragons are gone, where will he go?” He Walks With Dragons and The Staff And The Orb, the 2nd book in the planned 4-book series, are available now. Visit the author’s web site to find out more about the series and when the next books are coming.

Review: 'The Art of Hibbary', by Hillary Renee Luetkemeyer

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

The Art of HibbaryThis is the fifth volume in Sofawolf Press' Artistic Visions series of art-sketch format albums. The first four each showcase one (or two) of the best artists in furry fandom; Kenket (Tess Garman), Brian and Tracy Reynolds, Ursula Vernon and Henrieke Goorhuis. Each is a professional artist, but is especially well-known in furry fandom for convention conbook covers, badge art and other commissioned art, and trades with other Furry artists; many of which are posted on DeviantART, FurAffinity and other art websites.

Hibbary (Hillary Leutkemeyer) has been a member of DeviantART for over a decade, and she was Artist Guest of Honor at Furry Weekend Atlanta 2013, but otherwise she is little known in furry fandom. This large (8½” x 11”) volume of Artistic Visions should change that.

St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, July 2014, trade paperback $14.95 (99 pages).

'Freedom Planet': a furry platformer inspired by furry platformers

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Freedom PlanetWhat would happen if Sonic the Hedgehog and Sparkster from the the Sega Genesis game Rocket Knight Adventures had a love child? Well, apparently it would produce a purple dragon.

Most people would point out that this makes absolutely no biological sense. They’d be right. I was talking metaphorically about game mechanics.

Yes, Freedom Planet is a platformer featuring anthropomorphic characters in high speed platforming antics. There are certainly plenty of those to go around. But what makes this one stand out is that it really does capture the essence of what made those titles that inspired it successfully, all while creating a style of its very own.

Dragons Call Her Mom

Andrews McMeel publishing presents Dragon Girl: The Secret Valley, a new trade paperback graphic novel written and illustrated by Jeff Weigel. “Eleven-year-old Alanna and her older brother Hamel are orphans and doing their best to take care of each other until one day Alanna stumbles upon a cave full of dragon eggs. When the eggs hatch with no mother dragon in sight, Alanna decides to take care of the babies herself, even creating a clever costume so that the babies think she, too, is a dragon. With their large appetites and accidental fire burps, Alanna learns that dragon babies are hard work! And when a mama dragon finally comes to claim the babies, Alanna’s costume is so convincing that she is swept along for the ride as they journey to Dragon Rock, a mysterious magnetic force that draws dragons of all shapes and sizes to a magical, untouched valley.” It’s available now, and over at Comic Book Resources they have more of the story.

image c. 2014 Andrews McMeel

image c. 2014 Andrews McMeel

Review: 'The Hobbit 2: Hobbit Harder'

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug I went back and forth on whether I was going to review this movie for Flayrah. I meant to when I watched it, as I knew it would contain quite a few talking animals, including the titular dragon, but then I got behind, and I wrote my top ten list, where it fell at number eight, so I figured that was good enough.

Then it was nominated for the Ursa Majors (which I called early, by the way), and wound up as the second-most-furry nominee of the year (after the still-not-very-furry My Little Pony: Equestria Girls), so I decided to review it for Flayrah after all. Better late than never. That doesn’t mean I’ll be reviewing the other nominees, even though I did enjoy three quarters of them (and, surprisingly, it’s not the Pixar movie I’m hating on here); I just didn’t find them sufficiently furry, or even furry at all, and am a bit perplexed at their nomination over furrier fare like Ernest and Celestine, Epic, Turbo, Free Birds, or even The ABCs of Death.

Of Bears and Pots and Deep Deep Thoughts

Psycologist, hypnotist, and philosopher, A.B. Curtiss is also and accomplished author with several award-winning books to her name.  And several of her fiction books just happen to be of interest to furry fans. Legend of the Giant Panda (illustrated by Mirto Golino) is exactly what it sounds like: A mythic telling of how pandas got their distinctive black and white markings.  Hallelujah, A Cat Comes Back is a “cat book of virtues”, where a young tom gives us the feline wisdom brought down to him from his wise granny-cat. Illustrated with a collection of Victorian feline prints. Dragons Guard The Zoo is a collection of poems on many subjects, including animals real and fanciful. And In the Company of Bears (illustrated by Barbara Stone) has been described as a “children’s philosophy book”, in which bears are used to illustrate soothing rhymes about accepting people for what they are. All of these and more are available on Amazon and at Ms. Curtiss’ web site.

image c. 2014 A.B. Curtiss

image c. 2014 A.B. Curtiss

Hamsters and Dragons. All Right!

James Cartwright is a comic creator and writer who has recently started releasing his material on the Internet. Hamsters (illustrated in full-color by Mike Ratliff) is described simply as “Two hamsters venture outside their cage to escape from the clutches of their evil owner, a nine-year-old girl.” Gotcha! Then there’s Rocky Mountain Fire Lizard (also in full color by Pellegri), which goes like this: “As railway tracks are laid across Colorado’s rocky terrain, a dragon awakes from its slumber. A farm boy and privileged girl chase after the monster to be the first to collect the bounty on the creature’s head.” You can find out more about Cartwright Comics, including links to buy them, at the Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society (whew!).

image c. 2014 by Cartwright Comics

image c. 2014 by Cartwright Comics

 

Art from Oregon

Here’s how this artist describes himself: Matt Doering is an Illustrator/Concept Artist based in Eugene, Oregon currently working as a Production Artist and UI Designer at Disney Interactive for mobile and social games.  Matt also works as a freelance illustrator, most recently completing his first children’s book The Story of Magic Kringle, written and created by Alice Cosgrove.” His web site also has numerous examples of his character design work, as well as some of the animation he’s worked on. Of note: Matt did color design and visual development on The Girl and the Fox, an award-winner short animated film written and directed by Tyler J. Kupferer.

image c. 2014 by Matt Doering

image c. 2014 by Matt Doering

The Ladies and Their Dragons

The Art Lair is the official web site of writer and artist Jessica C. Feinberg, “a quirky writer and illustrator who is best known for mixing mundane and magic in her paintings of trees, dragons, faeries, and clockwork creatures” (her own words). Dragons seem to be the primary motif here — that is, dragons and the pretty human ladies they seem to hang around with a lot. Jessica has created both illustrations (many available as prints) as well as illustrated books like Dragon Scale: A Guide to Dragons and Dragons in the Library.

image c. 2014 Jessica C. Feinberg

image c. 2014 Jessica C. Feinberg