Following on from my review of Monster Mind, I metaphorically sat down with Argon Vile to discuss the game. The conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and consistency. Let's jump straight into it!
Rakuen: In the credits, you say Monster Mind was pretty much just done by you, although you took various assets from others. How long did it take to put everything together and what kept you motivated through it all?
Argon Vile: Development of Monster Mind began in January 2016 and finished in April 2018. When I first started the project, I tried to strike a balance between working on the game and working on my art. But after six months, I realized the scope of what I was creating, how long it would take. I decided to fully focus on the game, but I was still dissatisfied with the amount of progress I was making. I eventually adopted a motivational technique Jerry Seinfeld popularized, which is to take a physical wall calendar (being physical is important) and set a daily goal for yourself. My goal was to work on my game for one hour. Every day that I worked on my game, I would put an X on the calendar for that day. And eventually I would accumulate a string of five or 10 Xs in a row, and it would feel good. And that was my goal; don't break the chain.
Furry chairman of New Milford, CT resigns due to SoFurry profile mishap: How site design flaws were to blame, and were fixedPosted by Sonious on Sun 10 Sep 2017 - 10:01
The fandom is alight with conversation over a recent political ouster of a Chairman in the small town of New Milford, Connecticut. The story is that a furry by the name of Grey Muzzle had images of his SoFurry profile pages posted on the Facebook page of Rick Agee, a concerned grandparent in the local area. It included Grey's Likes/Dislikes pages which had tied the website tag of “rape” listed under the section of “tolerates”. As a result, this Chairman whose real life name is Scott Chamberlain, was pressured to resign from office and obliged by announcing that would do so on Monday, September 11th.
But why would a politician knowingly put such information that is so obviously going to be exploited into the public eye? The answer is this, he didn’t do it knowingly. Upon further investigation it was found that this was an issue of user error caused by poor graphical user interface design (GUI for short). In this article we go over the causes of this error and how furries can prevent themselves and others from falling into similar predicaments in the future.
Updated 9/10 3:10PM: The Like/Dislikes and Tag Filtering functionalities have been changed to be separated from one another and be distinguishable. The items discussed in this article have been resolved.
Update 9/16: Headline updated to reflect fixes had occurred.
I wanted to talk to people who are passionate. That was a good line to draw: if you’re going to go so far as to make or buy a costume, you’re passionate about furry. When I asked the people in the film if you consider furry a lifestyle, half of them said no.
JS: Other than the badges of the furries interviewed, there’s no furry art in the film. Do you think you should’ve included some art?
DR: The thing I knew when I went into this is everybody has a different way of experiencing and appreciating furry. There’s no way to please everybody or to accurately do justice to everything unless the movie was six hours. I had to be selfish and focus on what really mattered to me which is furry as an identity and as a community. I love art and you can show footage of people drawing; but I wanted to do something different, something I cared about. I wasn’t going to spend four years on something I didn’t care about.
When people say furry isn’t a lifestyle I understand that, but when they say it’s just a hobby I think they’re almost giving it a disservice. There’s so much wrapped up in it, and I think people in it take it seriously. I don’t want people to think [the fandom is] just freaks obviously, but it was important people cared about what they were talking about.
Journalist Maria Margaronis interviewed furry fans at a Cambridge Furs meet last month for next week's episode of The Why Factor, a programme exploring "the extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions" through the voices of those involved.
In stories, cartoons, advertisements and our everyday lives, we project human thoughts and emotions onto animals—and claim their strength and style for ourselves in the brand names of cars and cosmetics. Why do we do that, and what do we get out of it? Can we ever know what animals really feel? And are we as different from other species as we like to imagine? Maria Margaronis meets the furry fandom, who put on “fursonas” and cartoonlike animal costumes to meet and socialise. Neuroscientist Bella Williams upends some assumptions about animal brains and explains how to read a mouse’s facial expression; children’s author Michael Rosen sportcasts an insect race. Farmer Helen Reeve reflects on how she feels about eating her own cows. And historian Harriet Ritvo poses a thornier question: what makes our species think we are secure in our dominance over the natural world?
The 18-minute show "Animals Are Us?", which received input from furry artists, fursuiters, fursuit-builders and other fans, is to be broadcast on the BBC World Service on Friday 24 at 18:32 and 23:32 GMT (EDT+4, BST-1), with re-broadcasts on Sunday (21:32) and Monday (04:32, 12:32).
Update (23 April): A four-minute clip featuring several furs is available (transcript below).
Update 2 (24 April): The full episode has been published. There is no additional content featuring furries, but you may find the rest interesting, as it's all about anthropomorphism.
Image Comics have been proudly announcing their new fantasy graphic novel Hinges, written and illustrated by Meredith McClaren. “This graphic novel introduces the nuts and bolts of a city called Cobble, where one girl new to the city, Orio, must depend on help wherever she can find it. Her assigned familiar, Bauble, has his own agenda however. As the two explore the walls of the city, they find they are not the only new arrivals. ” Her “assigned familiar” appears to be a cat, and Orio herself appears to be… constructed. What does it all mean? Find out when Hinges comes to comic book stores this February. Or, take a read through the interview with the creator over at All-Comic.com.
It’s time we caught up with The Humans. Which is to say Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely’s new full-color comic book series from Image. Take the violent biker culture of the early 1970′s. Set it in dusty Bakersfield, California. And make the protagonists all walking, talking, humanoid apes. In leather. On big bikes. There you go. “The Humans is one long and twisted ride through biker gang warfare, drug running, corrupt cops, semi-truck hijackings, Vietnam flashbacks, Skin Fights (homosapien cockfighting), major ultra-violence, a strip club called The Forbidden Zone, and bloody vengeance.” Sounds like quite a party. Check out theinterview with the creators over at The Nerdist, and look for the first issue to come out this November.
Pillgrim: Okay, I think we are ready to go. First of all, I would like to thank you for your decision to give an interview for our magazine - it is very awesome! So, I've met lots of singing dogs and can say I like howling myself, because I am a wolf you know, but what makes you NIIC, the singing dog? Please, tell us your story - when, how and what for you've discovered furry fandom and a dog in you.
NIIC: Well, I discovered the fandom back in February 2013. It began as a research project of sorts - I had recently graduated from The University of the Arts and loved working on unconventional music projects for different audiences (before NIIC, I was working on a puppet music episode series for college kids working at Starbucks, with a similar crude but charming vibe to BBC's Mongrels). I was given advice by a music professor of mine to get my feet wet in one of the East Coast's underground music scenes, specifically the emerging Nerdcore scene. But after getting a bit sidetracked and with an accidental click on the internet, I stumbled upon the world of furry animal avatars! But I suppose it was only an accidental click if we don't believe Fate played a part in all this.
I had written a couple of short fantasy musicals while I was in college, so I was already getting a thrill out of constructing larger-than-life characters. But a whole subculture where its members re-invented themselves through humanoid animal characters? I was instantly intrigued by what new world I had stepped into!
Animator Mike Kunkel returns to comics in a big way with the first new Herobear & The Kid series in over ten years. Young boy Tyler and his large flying friend are back in Herobear & The Kid: Saving Time, a new full-color 5-issue mini-series coming this month from Boom! Studios’ Kaboom! imprint. “Henry, the family’s magical butler, is missing!! It’s up to Tyler and Herobear to figure out what happened to their friend…only they might learn a lot more about Henry than they initially thought…and be forced to get help from an unsuspected source.” Check out the interview with creator Mike over at Comic Book Resources.
Those pictures were drawn by Ookami Kemono. Since then, he has continued to entertain his thousands of watchers and, on 31 August this year, began a webcomic entitled Lucid's Dream. I got in touch with him to talk to him about his art and his latest project.
The Cartoon Brew has an interview with Jordan Reichek, the director/producer of Animal Control! for Cartoon Network Asia, located in Hong Kong for broadcast throughout Southeast Asia. Animal Control! is a series of 1’47” dialogueless cartoons featuring Ya and Ba, two hapless Animal Control officers and the anthropomorphized animals whom they are supposed to control, especially surly, troublemaking Mr. Koala. Reichek describes it as “kinda like the Crocodile Hunter, but dumber.”
Animal Control! is produced by Reichek at his Perky Pickle Productions studio. What will really make the interview of interest to Flayrah’s readers is that links to PerkyPickle.com, where all ten episodes produced so far can be seen. Plus other goodies, such as the Invader Zim pilot, which Reichek worked on. Check it out.
Jordan Reickek is an animator and storyboard artist with a long and storied career to his name: He worked on the original Ren & Stimpy series as well as The Simpsons early on; he directed the pilot episode of Invader Zim for Nickelodeon; and he worked on storyboards for DreamWorks films like Monsters vs Aliens, Megamind, and Kung Fu Panda. Cartoon Brew recently interviewed Jordan, and he spoke about his newest creation: Animal Control, which he produced for Cartoon Network Asia. The series follows the adventures of a pair of hapless and not-too-bright game wardens as they try to keep a lid on the silliness of their animal charges. The premier episode is up on Vimeo as well. Recently Jordan re-launched his production web site, Perky Pickle, which includes production art from many of the projects he’s worked on over the years.
A new art form is being developed in the furry fandom. It is like a soap opera in that a central cast of characters tells story arcs in chapters within a larger consistent setting. When one story arc is over, another begins. But unlike a soap opera, at the end of each chapter or episode is a covered song or parody song that relates to the chapter or episode. Each chapter averages eight minutes long. The production is titled The Beach Bears.
After listening to the a few chapters, I wanted to know more of the story, and more about how this exciting work came to exist. The Beach Bears was created and is produced by Max DeGroot. Mr. DeGroot was kind enough to grant me an interview to satisfy my curiosity.
TG: Could you tell us a little about yourself?
MDG: Well I have been active in the Furry Fandom for many years as a furry convention chair, a puppeteer, and a musician. One of my current labors of love is an audio drama series titled The Beach Bears.
TG: I have listened to The Beach Bears and I must say it is a very unique and entertaining format that has me hooked. How did you come up with the concept?
There's been much discussion and speculation about a casting call for Furries to appear on MTV's reality show, True Life. The casting VP at the show's producer Asylum Entertainment was nice enough to give 30 minutes to answer questions about it.
The phone app I used didn't record (I blame an app update), so this is paraphrased from notes. I would say that the answers were very, very on-message. I did ask personal stuff to make it relatable - perhaps some responses would boil down to "just doing a job", or it might have caused shyness about getting personal. (Understandable, considering that the casting call has gotten hate mail.)
I aimed to ask tough questions, balancing sympathy towards the challenge of putting out professional media with being a Furry fan who's shamelessly obsessed with fursuiting.
There's a new blog about music by furries, that follows an ongoing podcast: Fuzzy Notes, run by Potoroo. This article led to an invite to contribute, so expect more there soon. (Can anyone suggest fun puns that cross furry animals and music? - like "fuzzbox".)