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Webcomic review: 'The Abominable Charles Christopher'

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

The Abominable Charles Christopher There are so many webcomics out there to read, I'd like to direct your attention to one of my favorites: The Abominable Charles Christopher, done in an ink-wash style by Montreal artist Karl Kerschl.

Charles is a silent protagonist, a kind of skew-eyed sasquatch... yeti... thing, neither quite man nor beast. At the start of the comic he stumbles his way through the woods, until the guardian of the forest gives him a quest to mystically weaken the encroaching human city and its hunters who threaten the local balance of nature.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #12 ('Hack/Slash,' 'MLP' and 'TMNT')

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

In this issue, we have two finales; that of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arc “Krang Wars” and the series finale for Hack/Slash, which is even called “Finale.” Then, we have Rainbow Dash in her entry to the My Little Pony: Micro-Series. So, I guess, thematically, Dash’s pet Tank is a tortoise, which is easily confused with a turtle – so that’s kind of like TMNT, right?

Who cares; I’ve never worried about connective theming before. Let’s get to the reviews.

Review: 'The History of Sonic The Hedgehog', by Les Éditions Pix'n Love

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

The History of Sonic The Hedgehog This hefty, de luxe, full-color book is a translation from the French. L’histoire de Sonic The Hedgehog was published in May 2012. Les Éditions Pix’n Love are the corporate author; Marc Petronille and William Audureau are the editorial coordinators. Pix’n Love, founded in 2007 in Cergy, France, advertises themselves as “the world's leading publisher of books relating to the burgeoning and fascinating subject of the History of Video Games.”

The Sonic The Hedgehog video game was introduced by SEGA Entertainment in 1991. The feisty blue hedgehog was designed to be SEGA’s corporate mascot, and his popularity quickly justified that. This book was produced to celebrate his 20th anniversary (more or less).

UDON Entertainment Corp., January 2013, hardcover $49.99 (297 [+ 3] pages).

Review: 'Jane, Jill and Jasie', by Malcolm Cross

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (6 votes)

Jane, Jill and JasieThese stories concern the sex and/or love lives of three female anthropomorphic thylacine clones. Only read if you’re of legal age and interested in a long review, et cetera.

The first story in this collection, “Dick and Jane", deals with the disillusionment and despair of Jane, who must learn to live with the fact that the love she putatively shares with a human man is something altogether more depressing.

“Jill’s Forty-Ninth" (which, for my money, felt to be treading the most well-worn formal path of erotic fiction), tracks Jill, one of Jane’s “sisters", who works a dull office job during the week, but gets dressed up at the weekend to invite sex and other pleasurable indulgences from wealthy men. The story concerns her attempt to negotiate an agreeable arrangement with one man in particular.

The final story, “Jasie’s New Start” is a more straight-forward and minimal affair about Jasie, who seeks out a childhood sweetheart in an attempt to escape from the reputation of her kind as superficial and oversexed, and kindle a new, more stable life. [Bad Dog Books, 2013, $2.99.]

'Top Cat' theatrical feature coming August 2

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Frame from 'Top Cat'Was Hanna-Barbera’s Top Cat ever one of your favorite TV cartoons? It wasn’t one of mine, even in its original broadcast fifty-plus years ago – and there wasn’t much competition at the time.

Yet I am looking on this new theatrical feature more favorably. Thank Roscoe it hasn’t been given the CGI makeover that Yogi Bear got! Or Rocky & Bullwinkle, or the live-action makeover of George of the Jungle or Dudley Do-Right. (Can you imagine a live-action Top Cat played by Brendan Fraser?)

Fans answer call for fursuit-maker reviews, but room for improvement remains

Your rating: None Average: 4 (6 votes)

Image from Jillcostumes

A new resource for fursuit commissioners has been shared on Reddit's r/furry subreddit: a Google spreadsheet of makers maintained by open collaboration, to the surprise of the original sharer (who created it for personal use). The r/furry moderators have been asked to add it as a key resource on their sidebar.

Several fan-maintained lists exist to help find and review fursuit makers and commissioned artists. Earlier this year, an important Fur Affinity review account, fursuitmakerreviews, closed unexpectedly to the disappointment of many. As one Redditor explained:

… [it's] a bit of a long story (so I'm told). But basically involved a fursuit maker getting less than good marks and complaining to the admins, who promptly removed the "offending" account. They're trying to rebuild themselves on Tumblr.

Their new Tumblr account and a new, separate Fur Affinity account seem to be starting over from scratch, after losing much important data. It calls attention to the challenges they face. A list is a great resource, but a list isn't a system. Let's consider organizing a better system.

Review: 'Le jour des corneilles' ['The Day of the Crows']

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

French DVD cover of 'The Day of the CrowsLe jour des corneilles (The Day of the Crows) is a 2012 French-language animated film for kids. While I was initially intrigued by the anthros at the end of its trailer, it turns out the furry content is marginal at best. Still a good film though!

The running time is about 94 minutes. It was co-produced in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Canada, directed by Jean-Christophe Dessaint, written by Amandine Taffin, and was loosely inspired by a book written in 2004 by Jean-François Beauchemin.

Pittsburgh reacts to Anthrocon 2013

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

Anthrocon restaurant blackboardPittsburgh's appreciation for Anthrocon was proudly advertised on the active block of shops, restaurants and bars by the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Many had windows and signs marked with "Welcome furries!", cartoon foxes, and Furry-themed specials. Hanlon's, next to Fernando's even served breakfast in souvenir dog bowls. (Yum!)

One block over, I enjoyed a friendly lunch with Flayrah editor GreenReaper, and almost got away with joking about my stories without revealing they were mine, when someone else brought up San Francisco furry activity.

Identity confusion came from the fursuit I wore when we met earlier. Fursuits and furry names have confused me many times, too – it's a reason for badges, and nothing to be embarrassed about. This can lead to benignly playful and revealing situations. I experienced the latter on an airport shuttle.

Review: 'Pile', by Kandrel

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

PileWarning: “Pile” contains graphic sex. A lot of it.

Scott Beecham, a young U.S. soldier, is killed in action and brought back to life as a bioengineered part-human, part-jackal “dog-man” member of a secret team of government super-animal-men agents.

Las Vegas, NV, Rabbit Valley Comics, May 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (68 pages; preview).

In most stories, that would be just the setup for much action. In Pile, that is the story. This novella is a quiet mood-piece about Scott’s awakening in what he assumes to be his army barracks to discover that he is no longer human:

I was alive! I couldn’t feel much yet, but if I was thinking, it meant I was still here. Everything else was just going to have to follow. Right hand? Yeah, I could do that, too. In fact, I could feel my right hand. There was something in it. Something I could form a fist around and squeeze. I did that, and I felt whatever was between my fingers bend a bit. (p. 3)

I opened my mouth, and I could feel senses slowly filing back into place. I could taste the air. There were chemicals: bleach, ammonia, rubbing alcohol, and something sweet. I could smell them, too, every bit of them. I could also smell the dog-girl who was leaning over me. She smelled like the sharp smell of water on roofing tar that came in my window every morning after it’d rained.
I could even smell a cat somewhere around. Since when did the army barracks have a veterinary ward? (pgs. 4-5)

Review: 'Earthrise', by M.C.A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (5 votes)

EarthriseMaggie Hogarth sent me a review copy of Earthrise (she sends me review copies of all her books; hint! hint!) with a note that I might not want to review it for Flayrah since the main characters are a human and a Space Elf Prince, not Furries.

But there are plenty of bioengineered Pelted, and at least one genuine alien, as major supporting characters in this adventure set in her 25th century interstellar civilization. Hogarth has a lot of fans who read Flayrah, and who will not want to miss one of her Pelted Paradox novels. Earthrise is prominently labeled Book 1 of the “Her Instruments” trilogy, so expect it to end with more to come. Rose Point, Book 2, will be published late this year.

Tampa, FL, Studio MCAH, April 2013, trade paperback $15.99 (410 pages), Kindle $5.99.

Magic of friendship remains in 'My Little Pony: Equestria Girls'

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (7 votes)

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Morbid curiosity is a wonderful thing. So, sure, let’s watch My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. I mean, look at this thing. Look at it. It’s got to be a train wreck, and train wrecks are worth looking at, except this is only a metaphorical train wreck, so there’s less guilt about staring at a horrific accident where someone might have died. Nobody died because of Equestria Girls. So that’s a plus.

Besides, what if it was actually, you know, decent? I mean, it’s an hour and a half commercial for slightly creepy dolls. But I’ve been wrong before. How do you know if it’s good if you don’t try it? It might be good.

Guess what? Might happened.

Review: 'The Streets of His City and Other Stories', by Alflor Aalto

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

The Streets of His City and Other StoriesThis collection of two novellas and two short stories are prequels to Aalto’s first novel, The Prince of Knaves (Rabbit Valley Comics, March 2012). In that novel, Prince Natier of Llyra, a fox, escapes assassination in a plot to overthrow the monarchy. He disguises himself as Rivard, a commoner (a disguise that he has used often in the past), and observes quietly as a laborer while the palace announces that he tried to kill the king before fleeing, and that the badly-wounded King Rasdill is incommunicado while he is healing, leaving the kingdom in the paws of the Royal Secretary, the squirrel Riius.

Rabbit Valley Comics, Sep. 2012, trade paperback $20 (259 [+ 1] pgs.; illustrated by Fennec; on Amazon)

I would like to thank my sister Sherrill for buying this for me at Rabbit Valley's table at CaliFur IX. Rabbit Valley does not send out review copies.

Fred Patten's CaliFur IX con report

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (5 votes)

Califur IX intro screenSorry, but my CaliFur report this year is even skimpier than last year’s. That’s just the way it is.

Like every year since CaliFur V, CaliFur IX took place at the Irvine Marriott Hotel in Irvine, California, on May 31–June 2, 2013. This year’s theme was “FURtual Reality”. There were two guests-of-honor: Maxwell Alexander Drake, the Author GoH, author of the Moonbeam Young Adult Fantasy Award-winning novels in 2009 and 2011 (the first two novels in his Genesis of Oblivion Saga), and their publisher, Imagined Interprises, Inc. in Las Vegas; and NecroDrone, the Artist GoH, “BDSM Illustrator and Dominatrix extradiordinaire!” Official attendance was 1,178; an increase of over two hundred. Due to my continuing poor health, I was in a wheelchair, with my sister Sherrill pushing me. We could only attend for Saturday the 2nd.

First look: Furry play 'Fursona Non Grata' is the real deal

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

It's hard enough getting to know your fiancée's family at the best of times, let alone when they're a bunch of animals. Such is the premise of Fursona Non Grata, a two-act play read at Califur IX.

A woman raised by furries, brings her fiance home for Thanksgiving to meet the family for the first time. Fur-larity ensures.

The play was first read in June 2012, and was presented as a radio play at Wild Nights in April. In contrast to Furry Tales – which held a reading at Anthrocon 2007, and left furs amused, but with reservations about the show's groundingFursona Non Grata has actual research behind it.

Playwright Jeff Goode created Disney's American Dragon: Jake Long and wrote The Eight: Reindeer Monologues. While demurring to identify as a furry himself, he attended Califur I, and was guest of honor at Rocket City FurMeet 2007 and Oklacon 2008; from this, he's put together a story which is, if fanciful, at least more of an exaggeration of reality than an apologetic for CSI's fursuit fetishists.

Review: 'La chat du rabbin' ['The Rabbi's Cat']

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The Rabbi's Cat posterHad enough of French animated films yet? Don't worry, I'll run out of them soon! This week's review is Le chat du rabbin (The Rabbi's Cat), which came out in France in 2011 and only just recently got a North American DVD release. (Trailer). It's based on a comic book series by Joann Sfar.

The film starts in Algiers (North Africa) in the 1930s, with a rabbi, his daughter, and her pet cat. After the cat eats a parrot, he gains the ability to talk, and immediately gets in trouble with the rabbi because the cat's first action (of course) is to deny everything.

As the rabbi tries to keep the cat away from his daughter, the cat tries to get on the rabbi's good side by offering to convert to Judaism - although what he really wants is a bar mitzvah. Still, being a cat, he's an independent thinker and isn't shy about challenging the rabbi's religious teachings.

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