John Kerschbaum is a writer and illustrator we’re not familiar with, but evidently he’s quite well-known in the world of underground comics. Recently Fantagraphics published Petey & Pussy: Puppy Love, John’s second collection of black & white comic strips featuring the titular dog and cat… pets who have the heads of middle-aged men. Right… Here’s the official description: “John Kerschbaum’s Petey and Pussy, the stars of the cult classic 2008 book by the same name, return, and so does their unique brand of animal neuroses. Imagine a Secret Life of Pets where the animals hang out in dive bars. Petey is a compulsive dog that values his unchecked freedom and exemption from responsibility. Pussy is an irritable, self-absorbed cat, of course, with a gambling problem. They are joined by the obnoxious Bernie the bird, who has courted a new girlfriend (or is it just a mirror?) and their owner, a sexually frustrated geriatric who is more concerned with online shopping then her pets. Their darkly hilarious adventures include tracking down troublesome squirrels, barely taking care of a new litter of puppies, and avoiding the dreaded ‘snipsnip’ from the veterinarian.” Want to know more? Check out the review at The Comics Journal.
The Ursa Major Awards, established in 2001, are a recognition of furry media across several categories, only some of which are literary. Anyone in the fandom can nominate and vote. The Cóyotl awards, formed in 2012, are specifically literary, and are selected by members of the Furry Writers' Guild – although winners don't have to be in that group.
The Leo Awards have a different arrangement. It was founded by Furry Book Review, a multi-author blog started by Thurston Howl of Thurston Howl Publications (which is separate from the Awards). Nominations can come from the blog's reviewers, or from published authors with enough credibility. Reviewers aren't required to be writers themselves, so the prolific reader can have a say in nominating the stories they like the best.
The furry fandom has a problem. At least that is what is heard when you go onto Twitter, Youtube, or any other social media gathering on the internet these days. As the United States continues to have moments of harsh self reflection as to what their country and leadership represent, the frustrations of those in the fandom from the states has seemingly turned inward on itself.
Many are debating over free speech, its boundaries, and how it is under attack. There is one large article by Rakuen about it on this site, and another by the creator of Dreamkeepers on DogPatch Press. In addition, one particular furry comedian who has received heavy criticism as of late, 2 Gryphon, has decided to join the group of Alt-Furrys in posturing opposition to those that would oppose his views on what freedom of speech should entail.
However, my definition of exercising free speech is a bit different than most would see it. For to me, the meaning of exercising here is not the commonly defined physical exertion required to talk, but instead to expose and cast out the demons schakeling one’s soul and community in hopes of ousting it from the spirit and freeing them from those binds.
So in that sense, let’s strap in and prepare for the long and painstaking process of this exorcism of free speech and its relationship to furry fandom.
For the first time in eleven years, Bad Dog Books has added a new anthology title to its popular FANG and ROAR book series. FANG was started in 2005 for adult M/M homosexual erotic short stories, and ROAR appeared two years later as its non-erotic counterpart. Now we're getting CLAW, for adult F/F lesbian erotic short stories. Along with many other titles, CLAW will be released at the FurPlanet table at Anthrocon 2018.
Exploring New Places, a new anthology edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Anthrocon 2018 this coming week (July 5-8), and can be pre-ordered from FurPlanet! They should be at tables A13-A15 at Anthrocon.
This is an all-original collection of 19 short stories and novelettes of anthropomorphic animals venturing into unfamiliar places - in their own city, on their own world, in space, or in a different dimension entirely.
Whether by the power of music to send you right out of this world; or a rabbit spaceship captain who's searching for the creators of her species; a galactic police agent called to a new planet to solve murders; aliens entering a human university; a gorilla student wandering off in a museum; or two-tailed squirrels confronting interstellar explorers - these are stories for your imagination and entertainment, designed to appeal to fans of both science-fiction and fantasy.
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.
Monster Mind is a puzzle-solving, Pokémon-themed, flash game created by Argon Vile. It's available to play for free through Inkbunny or Fur Affinity. One might be tempted to immediately dismiss it as just another pornographic game, however not only is it very well-executed but it also contains deeper questions about sex and sexuality than you might expect.
A puzzling start
The main puzzles—as well as the title—are based on the board game Master Mind. In the classic version, you have to guess the colour and position of each peg in a row of four, usually with six colours to choose from for each slot. After each guess, you are told how many pegs have the correct colour and how many are in the correct position. Over multiple guesses, you can determine the correct pattern.
Monster Mind is slightly different. While you are still required to find the pattern, several guesses are already provided as clues. You must use those clues to determine the correct sequence; although in the most difficult puzzles it might be necessary to make assumptions about more than one peg at a time. You can choose between various difficulties starting from a pattern of just three pegs (although in this game they are adorable bugs instead of pegs) and going up to five pegs. There is also a secret 7-peg puzzle with some extra rules!
Mary and the Witch's Flower (メアリと魔女の花 or Mary to Majo no Hana in Japanese) is the first feature-length film to be released by Studio Ponoc. The film was released in Japan in July 2017 and had a limited theatrical run in the United States in early 2018 prior to its home video release. It is based on the 1971 children's novel The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart (which I haven't read and cannot comment on how closely it follows). At a high level, the film could be described as a sort of Harry Potter meets Kiki's Delivery Service. Some anime fans have noted similarities to the anime series Little Witch Academia.
This is the third film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. It is no coincidence that the art style of the film closely resembles the works of Studio Ghibli, as Yonebayashi had previously worked there and was director of The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There. Producer Yoshiaki Nishimura and many others who worked on the film were also alumni of Studio Ghibli, which had largely disbanded its creative department following the release of Marnie in 2014. The characters of Mary, Madam Mumblechook, and Doctor Dee are voiced by Ruby Barnhill, Kate Winslet, and Jim Broadbent respectively in the English dub (Hana Sugisaki, Yuki Amami, and Fumio Kohinata respectively in the original Japanese).
Before going offline in March, Pounced.org boasted nearly 20,000 personal ads. That's impressive, but unlikely to make a dent in the amount of fan-on-fan relationships within the furry subculture - an online survey of 800 people in 2013 by the International Anthropomorphic Research Project found that nearly 80% of the respondents in relationships were in a relationship with another furry fan.
Feral Attraction is an advice column and podcast that seeks to address challenges, common and unique, that can arise at the intersection of fandom and dating. For hosts Metriko Oni and Viro the Science Collie, that means special focus on non-traditional relationship styles like polyamory and power-exchange relationships, with which they say the fandom is "uniquely enriched". This doesn't mean that others are left out, though - they also consider long-distance relationships and those new to relationships to be common in furry. Even those in completely traditional relationships get affirming, practical advice; there is no atmosphere that "traditional" means boring.
When you look up library books on a computer, typically you get a description that goes something like this:
|Title:||Out of position|
|Publisher:||St. Paul, Minn. : Sofawolf Press, 2014.|
|Description:||viii, 324 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.|
Gay college students--Fiction.
Have you ever had that moment at a convention? You know, that moment? You’re walking around, minding your own business when a random attendee walks up to you. They start chatting it up well enough, but several minutes later you realize that their story isn’t all that interesting. You’re bored and listening to an uninteresting person drivel on about their life story that you never asked for.
That experience is basically a summary of what you are in for with Netflix’s mockumentary Mascots. Scores of minutes wasted on backstories of uninteresting characters, going to an only slightly interesting competition, told in the most uninteresting way imaginable.
While some confuse fursuiting with mascotting, as some reviewers for this film have they are two completely different things. One fur on my twitter feed had requested if this was any good. To them I can say, no, no it is not.
I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get a feeling this year’s furry content is coordinating their themes. It’s always interesting when common threads start to show up near each other, especially when they were not intentional. I remember when Fred Patten’s anthology Furry Future was thought to have had prejudice as a subtheme by a non-furry reviewer. It might have seemed odd that all but one story in the anthology touched on the idea of social inequities without coaxing from the collection editor, but it was just coincidence that the writers felt like writing stories about that theme at the time.
It is surely strange coincidence that just after I played a game with a deeply ingrained theme of a protagonist diving head first into responsibilities to the point of self-detriment that there is an anime playing off this same subject released onto Netflix. However, unlike Yet Another Research Dog, which was a highly niche affair that probably only I had played of those I know, Aggretsuko was already slaying the fandom by the time I had gotten around to hitting the play button.
So what is all the hub about and is it worth the hype?
The Cóyotl Awards are awarded annually by the Furry Writers' Guild to recognize excellence in anthropomorphic literature. The winners and nominees for 2017, who were announced on May 25 at Furlandia 2018 in Portland, Oregon, are...
Bucktown Tiger, a well known musician in the furry fandom, faced regret in the winter of 2017 for not being able to attend what would become largest furry convention in the world in the unseasonably warm Chicago. The piano-playing feline had another, conflicting engagement: auditioning for the classic America trivia game show of Jeopardy.
This audition was fruitful, gaining the furry a contestant slot. Now a half year later, the tiger has risen up to the challenge of his rivals on the stage, winning three shows in a row in the first week of May, and bringing home a three-day purse of $82,866. And he’s not done yet; following the Teacher’s Tournament, he'll be returning this Monday (May 21st) to defend his title. Want to watch and see if he'll continue the streak? Use this webpage to find your local broadcast time and station.
Update 5/26: Game 8 did not go so great for the tiger, with two fresh and competitive contestants a weary tiger fell behind. Virginia got a mountain of cash as she aggressively bid on correct answers in all three daily doubles and final jeopardy. Bucktown however, should rest up, as the winningest contestant of this Jeopardy season he will be returning for the Tournament of Champions in the future. His final run: 7 days and $163,721.