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Three comic book reviews: Pull List #16 ('Guardians of the Galaxy', 'TMNT' and 'Wolverine and the X-Men')

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Welcome back to another exciting issue of Pull List! This time, we’re starting off with a review of a comic with a raccoon wielding a sci-fi gun on the cover, followed by the beginning of the “Cityfall” arc in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Finally, I decided to revisit Wolverine and the X-Men because some furry things are happening in it, and also it’s a lot of fun.

Review: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows'

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows' logo Back in the day, growing up in a lower middle class family, I didn’t have access to many games. Luckily, those that I did have a chance to play were enough to keep me entertained for many hours. Of the eight Nintendo games we owned, TMNT III: The Manhattan Project was one of the most played. Not only was it fun to play, but it was one of the few where a sibling could join in on the fun – well, ‘fun’ as long as you didn’t choose the game option where you could damage one another.

Since this was a staple of my childhood, and I hadn’t been exposed to many of the TMNT games since then, I had many expectations for this game. Could it keep the solid combat, the engaging environments, and yes even the comedic charm of that old classic had while bringing it’s own mark to the table? Or would it be closer to (shudder), that first infuriating Turtles NES game? I was about to find out.

Review: 'Housepets! Are Gonna Sniff Everybody' (Book 4), by Rick Griffin

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Housepets! Are Gonna Sniff Everybody Housepets! Are Gonna Sniff Everybody is the fourth annual collection of Rick Griffin’s award-winning (Ursa Major Awards, Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip, 2009 to 2012) Internet full-color comic strip, following Housepets! Are Naked All the Time, Housepets! Hope They Don’t Get Eaten, and Housepets! Can Be Real Ladykillers. Book 4 collects the strips from June 6, 2011 to June 4, 2012. These are the story-arcs #43, “The Great Water Balloon War” to #55, “The Trial in Heaven”, plus all the one-off gag strips between those.

Book 4 is back to lacking a real title page. Boo, hiss!

North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, August 2013, trade paperback $13.95 (53 pages).

Online security in furry fandom

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Hopefully, all Internet users have, by now, heard about the United State's widespread spying programme which has recorded huge volumes of data passing through America. Just as concerning is the looming, default porn block in the UK which will not only block porn by default but also violence, alcohol, smoking and Internet forums, among other things. These programmes should be of major concern to all Internet users. They are also a perfect opportunity to talk about online security.

Furry Movie Award Watch: August 2013

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Hey, it’s the two year anniversary edition of Furry Movie Award Watch!

However, I don’t feel much like celebrating; this wasn’t exactly a banner year for the column. Let’s see; I was late November, February, April and May. [This time, it was the editor's fault.] Oh, and there was the part where I only got one out of three awards I was supposed to guess right. And the movie that beat me was terrible; not even a fun terrible, like Avatar or Prometheus, but a boring terrible. I can’t even find myself really mad at the choice; I mean, it was a nice, safe pick, after all. Nothing interesting at all going on here.

So, anyway, no funny pictures of animals with party hats this year.

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

Your rating: None Average: 4 (7 votes)

Mindtouch It is unfair to compare Hogarth’s novel set at a university in her Paradox universe with Pixar’s recently-released Monsters University, but the superficial parallels are obvious. Instead of the no-two-are-the-same monsters, there are the seeming-dozens of different species of the Pelted, and some humans, wandering about prestigious Seersana University. Instead of a big green eyeball and a blue-lavender furry monster as main characters, there are a pale, tall humanoid Eldritch and a short, furry centauroid winged Glaseah.

The big difference is that in Monsters University, the cast all look different but are all from the same culture. In Mindtouch, the different species are from different societies. The students may know intellectually that they are in for some “different” experiences at S.U., but it is still a shock when they happen.

Orientation began, as he had half expected, with a speech by the associate dean of the College of Medicine, of which the xenopsychology school was a part. He was one of the Seersa, the foxine Pelted who’d given the world its name, a lean and grizzled elder with salt-and-pepper fur and the intensity of a medic. Jahir listened to his monologue while marveling that he was actually here … sitting in a chair in an auditorium filled with aliens. The woman in front of him had silk-furred ears that were trembling from the effort of catching every word. The ends of the rows had spaces for centauroids to recline, or the more avian aliens to perch. He was, very definitely, no longer home, and if the stress of his danger at being so crowded was giving him a headache, well … it was worth it, for the newness of it. (pgs. 28-29)

Studio MCAH, July 2013, trade paperback $16.99 ([3 +] 408 [+ 7] pages), Kindle $5.99.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #15 ('MLP')

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Like a Rainbow in the dark, whoops, that's not Pink Floyd song ...I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”
- Pink Floyd, “Brain Damage

Wait, oops. Sorry about that.

The song quote is my My Little Pony DVD review shtick, not my comic book review shtick. I got confused for a moment because, for this set, I decided to review three My Little Pony issues. That way, all you pony fans can get excited, while all you non-pony fans have one convenient place for all your one-stars! Everybody wins! Yay!

Furries share worries about pay-dating fraud: spotlight on FurFling.com

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (15 votes)

A Flayrah exclusive investigation for Furry public interest
Pounced
Josh is a 22-year old single wolf looking for a mate on Pounced.org. He describes himself as "friendly, honest, caring, and fun." He warns other hopeful romantics about another dating site, that he says overcharged him after he canceled service: "Save your money, and avoid frustration."

FurFling.com will turn one year old in late 2013. After nine months of activity, it boasts 21,000 users in posts to Twitter- an amount called into question by evidence later in this article. It's by no means the first dating site that targets furries. Others, like Pounced (established in 2003) offer free service by and for fans. But FurFling differs by bringing new methods to entice payments, usually seen on commercial sites like Adult Friend Finder that attract allegations of fraud.

Review: 'The City of Ice', chapters 1-8, by Roz Gibson

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

Fourteen years ago, comic artist and animator Roz Gibson published the first chapter of The City of Ice. At Anthrocon 2013 she brought the series to a close with The City of Ice #8.
The City of Ice #8
Roz Gibson’s background is in classical sequential and animation art, and her major influences are classic science fiction and the political realism found in works like Frank Herbert’s Dune. Graphic novel and science fiction aficionados should find her work especially appealing, as will anyone intrigued by a hard-edged, politically and economically credible world inhabited by both humans and sapient animal-based non-humans.

The events in The City of Ice take place immediately after those of Gibson’s early novel Jet, 2350, and fifty years prior to Jack Salem’s career. Fans of the Jack Salem series will learn how Jack’s world came into being, and even meet a familiar character.

Review: 'Endtown 3' [and] 'Endtown 4', by Aaron Neathery

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)
'Endtown' volume 3
'Endtown' volume 4

Endtown has been a black-&-white Monday-Friday webcomic since January 18, 2009. Its popularity has grown fast, and it was shortlisted for the 2011 Ursa Major Award in the Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story category. A rave review by Bill Sherman in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (June 24, 2011) [originally on Blogcritics] began:

A snappy blend of Boy and His Dog sci-fi plus funny animal comics, Aaron Neathery's Endtown is one of the underseen gems in web comics. Originally debuting on the Modern Tales site - and more recently migrated to GoComics - the weekday series charts the travails of the beleaguered underground survivors of a mutant spawning radiation plague.

Endtown is set six years after a cataclysmic war has destroyed almost all life on Earth, leaving only a lifeless, desertlike surface and a few subterranean towns. The survivors are divided between the airtight-suited Topsiders, ruthless 100% human purists who kill other survivors on sight because they may be mutants, and the mutants and “impure” humans who try to survive in the underground enclaves. The “mutagenic plague” transformed its human victims into horrific monsters or, what makes this strip of Furry interest, anthropomorphic animals.

“Endtown 3”, by Aaron Neathery. [Introduction by Chad Rocco.] Bellevue, WA, Jarlidium Press, July 2013, trade paperback $15.00 (131 [+3] pages).

“Endtown 4”, by Aaron Neathery. [Introduction by Steve Gallacci.] Bellevue, WA, Jarlidium Press, July 2013, trade paperback $15.00 (131 [+3] pages).

Are we scaring away potential furry fans? Google says yes.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (16 votes)

Google suggestions: Furries are ... sick, weird and creepyI detest unnecessary wordiness, but keeping it short just doesn't work.

Before I begin, I would like to present an apology of sorts to Patch Packrat. I very much dislike to be misunderstood, but also cannot stand to be the source of said misunderstanding. I guess I should have been more clear with my choice of words.

Now, with that out of the way, today's topic.

Throughout the years, I have been around the various reaches of the web, and met a ton of really good artists. Many really liked to draw humanized animals (for fun and profit). For some, the subject made up most of their galleries; some drew furries exclusively. As we conversed, the topic of furries inevitably arose. Aside from the occasional "yep, I'm a furry", most replies went something like this:

  1. I like drawing talking animals, but I don't have a fursona/fursuit, so I'm not a furry.
  2. I like drawing talking animals, but to me it's not a "lifestyle", so I'm not a furry.
  3. Furries are creepy, and I don't want to be associated with them.

Answer #3 was the most prevalent.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #14 ('Avengers Arena,' 'MLP' and 'TMNT')

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Art by kunaikeI recently learned that Marvel’s superhero MMO Marvel Heroes will feature a playable Squirrel Girl (as well as Rocket Raccoon), voiced by Tara Strong. That means that Doreen Green and Twilight Sparkle have the same voice, and that’s awesome. So, since I’ve got a Marvel title and a My Little Pony title this time around, I decided to share that tidbit, and dig up some ”Squirrel Girl as a pony” art to go with it.

GaymerX convention a hit for furries, gamers, gay and "geek culture"

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (9 votes)
Fursuiters with 'free hugs' signs at GaymerX
Corron, Patch, Harley, Fry, and Gravy take a furry message to the street

Acceptance between cultures makes them thrive. At the GaymerX convention on August 3-4, acceptance was a basic idea for a popular panel- "Natural Allies: Gaymers and Furries".

GaymerX, the first gaming convention focused on LGBT themes, won media buzz and crowds through active inclusion. Inviting allies in "geek culture" to an "arms-open party for anyone who wants to join", it drew over 2,000 to San Francisco's Japantown (a heavy turnout for a first con, compared to established furry conventions.) Founder Matt Conn called it "just the start".

A fringefur's review of Anthrocon 2013

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

Time for another fringefurry report on Anthrocon. Yes, rather belated. The intended audience includes both furries and National Puzzlers' League members, if you wonder about the choice of content.

The last time I did a report for Flayrah, someone complained that being mostly interested in furry comics and webcomics doesn't make one a 'fringe' furry. Well, there wasn't a single comic-related event in over 160 program items. A couple of panels on making cartoons, and two or three categories in the Ursa Major awards for 2012, which were announced at the con, but that's it. Still plenty for me to enjoy, though.

Review: 'The Darkness', by Eddie Drueding

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

Cover to 'Arraborough: The Darkness'The Darkness, a.k.a. “Arraborough, Book 2”, has a two-page “The Story So Far” synopsis of Book 1, The Unimaginable Road, but it seems more confusing than enlightening. Basically, The Darkness jumps right into the story in progress. If you have not read The Unimaginable Road, you should start there. If you have, even when Book 1 was first published over a year ago, the events will swiftly come back to you.

The Darkness is a darker story, no joke intended. In Book 1, the community of Arraborough is created with high hopes for its success. Unknown forces are clearly working against it, but there is a feeling that if the animal community will continue to trust each other and work together, they will prevail against the shadowy obstacles. In Book 2, that unity is broken. Deaths occur, some possibly natural but ominous, and others definitely murder. The Arraboroughans now wonder who is the murderer in their midst; which of their close friends is secretly working to sabotage their community. And the agencies opposed to Arraborough seem stronger.

Tust and Kelly are in earnest discussion with Slither. Fespin, Hillany, and Inkwell are playing with Taj as Arlafette looks on proudly. Albin is sharing some opinion with Mander. Breth and Barelle are setting out plates and cutlery. From the kitchen, Hylan is bringing out a large garden salad. Dhenzi and Brady are whispering to themselves, glancing covertly at Spiny, who sits off by himself. Slick’s face hardens as he realizes that one of these people is a traitor and a murderer. (p. 37)

Melange Books, June 2013, trade paperback $13.95 (203 [+ 2] pages), Kindle $5.99.

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