"Monkey is Back" - The rise of an Eastern legend

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Monkey_King_Hero_is_Back_Chinese_film_poster.jpgIf you were around in 1961, you may have seen an obscure animated feature titled Alakazam the Great, about three friendly monsters – Son Goku (monkey), Sir Quigley Brokenbottom (Pigsy), and Sandy – escorting Prince Amat from China to India.

This was part of the first wave of Japanese animated films, known as anime, to enter the United States. The other two features in that wave were Panda and the Magic Serpent and Magic Boy. They were box-office failures at the time, and because of this the anime film genre is still fighting to enter the American theatrical market.

Alakazam the Great was also America’s first cinematic introduction to the ancient Chinese story Journey to the West or Monkey King, as it is better know in America. This legend is over a thousand years old in the oral form. It was written into a novel, probably by the scholar Wu Cheng’en in the 16th century. The first Oriental animated feature, the Chinese Princess Iron Fan (1940), is an adaptation of part of Journey to the West. Alakazam the Great, more specifically, is a movie adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s 1952-59 My Son Goku manga version of Journey to the West.

Furry fans celebrate Zootopia's Oscar victory

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Ritwell's Zootopia Oscar picture
Art by Ritwells - Click Image for link to tweet
One year ago, Zootopia, a story about anthropomorphic animals in a modern setting dealing with the issue of prejudices in society, hit theaters. It was the most highly anticipated film for furries in the last decade, some having even rented out theaters for personal furry gatherings. In the days following Flayrah had a reviewing bonanza in which multiple prominent article writers gave their own reviews of the piece.

Heck, the Fur Affinity banner changed to a Zootopia theme when the movie came out and hasn’t changed since.

But on February 27th, the love for the film was continued to be shown well beyond the borders of furry fandom, as the academy elected it to receive the Oscar for Best Animated feature. It beat out nominees Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and the one that most had thought could take it away from Disney, Kubo and the Two Strings.

Newsbytes archive for February 2017

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Contributors this month include Acton, Ahmar Wolf, dronon, Equivamp, Fred, GreenReaper, InkyCrow, Kakurady, and RingtailedFox.

Review: 'A Left-Handed Sword', by Phil Geusz

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A Left-Handed Sword is a novella by Phil Geusz in which the characters used to be human beings. All of them have contracted a singular disease called the Lokiskur virus (Lokie for short), which has transformed them into animals. Lokie not only leaves its victims dehumanized and physically handicapped in their new forms, but often brain-damaged and depressed. They are also highly contagious; Lokie is an affliction that never lets go.

Legion Printing, September 2011, 80 pages. Available in eBook and printed versions from Legion, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

'The Nut Job 2' is coming

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The Nut Job 2 poster We covered animated feature The Nut Job thoroughly upon its release in January 2014. If you enjoyed it, I have good news: a sequel is coming August 18, entitled The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature.

The Nut Job was about a group of anthropomorphized city wildlife led by Surly Squirrel raiding an out-of-business nut shop while a gang of bank robbers are using it as a cover for their heist. The movie is semi-famous for having been almost universally reviled by the critics before its release – it got a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes – then getting a very favorable audience when it came out.

It was produced by ToonBox Entertainment in Toronto, and mostly financed by South Korean investors. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of the Republic of Korea got a credit. They even threw some love by having the animal cast plus an animated Psy, the popular South Korean singer-dancer, break into “Gangnam Style” over the closing credits.

Review: 'Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015', by Fred Patten

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Cover to Fred Patten's 'Furry Fandom Conventions'. Cover art by Yamavu.

First off, let me engage in an act of self-disclosure: I recently finished writing Furry Nation, a personal history of the birth and growth of our community and its treatment at the hands of entertainment and news media that will be published in the fall by Cleis Press. I interviewed numerous furs for the book, unknown and well-known, Fred included.

I found myself concerned it would be a conflict of interest for me to opine on Fred’s work, with the temptation to belittle it in comparison to my own. However I was happy to find Fred’s book unique in its own right. It is a work of scholarship I could never hope to duplicate. In fact, I wish it had been published a year or two earlier; it would have been an immense help to me in writing about furry conventions worldwide, a topic not covered in great detail in my own non-fiction work.

Furry conventions from A to Z

Furry Fandom Conventions begins with a brief overview of the various kinds of furry gatherings and a succinct timeline of the fandom’s origin and spread. Even though the timespan covered is in the book’s title, the conventions themselves are described not chronologically but alphabetically, from the first “Abando” convention in Brazil in 2008 (with 15 attendees), to the last “ZonieCon”, held in in Tucson, Arizona in 2001 (57). The decision to alphabetize makes perfect sense: if you’re curious about say, Further Confusion, it makes it a lot easier to trace its history in one place rather than flip through the entire book looking for each year’s summary.

Finally, after a long wait: 'Tai-Pan Universe #51'

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tp51-52-medium.pngTales of the Tai-Pan Universe #51, a furry science-fiction shared-universe fanzine that was announced in July 2015 as coming soon is finally here. It came out in July 2016, and is a double issue: #51 & #52. With a glossy cover and square binding, it feels more like a book than a fanzine.

As editor Gene Breshears describes it,

We're calling it a double issue, but at 162 pages and with 20 stories, issue 51-52 contains more than four ordinary issues' worth of tales!

It's available for $15 from Rabbit Valley, or from the Tai-Pan Literary and Arts Project. Back issues can be ordered, too - again from Rabbit Valley and also from Second Ed, at a discount. But the news isn't all good...

Review: 'Capricious: A Texan Tale of Love and Magic', by Julie Cox

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Book cover with a satyr-like silhouetteHere's a book that you might not immediately think of as furry. Capricious: A Texan Tale of Love and Magic, by Julie Cox.

At first, the book cover resembles the Kokopelli rock-drawing designs from the American Southwest. But if you look closely, you'll note that there are hooves and horns and, by gosh, that's furry enough for me!

Luke loves two things: his land and Sally. He pours a lot of magic and effort into one of them. The other he pretends to just like as a friend. Nobody is fooled except Luke.

Circlet Press, June 2014, 305 pages, ebook $6.99, paperback $14.95 (US). An audio version can be heard on the Nobilis Erotica podcast.

Newsbytes archive for January 2017

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Contributors this month include dronon, Equivamp, Fred, GreenReaper, Greyflank, InkyCrow, Patch Packrat, Rakuen Growlithe, RingtailedFox, and Sonious.

Editorial: Furry - Our deliverance or our destruction?

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When perusing written news articles about furries written outside the fandom you’ll usually run into the typical faire. Some articles will talk about furries and try and introduce their unknowing audience to what the fandom is. Others will talk about the local convention in town and why the denizens will be seeing all these costumes about. Heck, some will not even be about the fandom at all and will just be using the term to talk about pets or the band Super Furry Animals.

However, 2017 has started off on a very interesting foot as two articles showed up on the feed which don’t take the tired and treaded routes. Both looked at pieces of the fandom and their relationship to the recently inaugurated president, Donald Trump and what he stands for in society in general.

One article from Slate covered a Kyell Gold book and discussed how the virtues with in could counter Trump. The other, from Motherboard, describes another piece of fandom and their alt-right tendencies and pondering if crass anonymity can lead to crass actors acquiring power.

So let’s go over these two articles and what they have to say about furry fandom.

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic licencing woes caused cancellation fears

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Freedom Fighters Emblem / Archie Sonic Online, by DrawLoverLaLa

A mainstay of the Sonic and Furry Fandoms for the past quarter-century was feared no more.  The Sonic the Hedgehog series of comic books published by Archie Comics Publications since 1993 have not been cancelled, thankfully, only delayed.  As of December 2016, the comic has reached 290 issues, and is the longest-running licensed comic in history (surprassing Conan the Barbarian's 275 issues), the longest-running sci-fi comic (surpassing Star Trek's 212 or so issues), and holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest-running comic book based on a video game.

Time to nominate the 2016 Ursa Major Awards!

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Ursa Major Awards logoFrom January 12 to February 28, 2017, it's time to nominate your favorite furry creations for the 2016 Ursa Major Awards!

Is there a furry comic, story, movie, video, podcast, or anything else with furry content that brightened your day last year? Nominate it – don't put it off until the last minute!

You can nominate up to five things in each of twelve categories. If you're unsure what to nominate, check out the 2016 Recommendations… and you can nominate titles that aren't on that list! It's there to give ideas, to help you find furry stuff that you might not have heard of.

Sometimes, a Nomination or a Recommendation feels like it fits into more than one category. You can browse previous years (like the 2015 Recommendations) to see where something should go. As of 2016 there's a new category: Best Anthropomorphic Non-Fiction Work.

Spike "Boss Pony" Nico, founder of club Rainbow Tiger, passes on

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On Janurary 13, Equino Faukland, a friend of Spike Niko, posted about the passing of the founder of Rainbow Tiger to the club's group:

Hello my friends from Rainbow Tiger. I wish I was coming to you with something other than bad news, but with a heavy heart I must inform you that yesterday Spike Nico, the Boss Pony of the Rainbow Tiger passed away. Some of you might know that Spike was sick back in June with some lung issues and was in pretty bad shape. However, always the fighter Spike pulled through and was in full recovery. However his illness resurfaced this winter with a vengeance. He died in his bed yesterday from complications of his illness.

Review: 'The Secret Life of Pets', Cute and colourful fluff

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A dog sits in front of a door, waiting for its owner to come home.The Secret Life of Pets [trailer] is the first of two animated movies released in 2016 from Illumination Studios, most known for its films Despicable Me and Minions.

Compared with their competition at Disney and Pixar, Illumination relies less on strong storytelling and instead leans more heavily towards pure charm to make their movies successful. In the past, they've accomplished this with cute and colourful characters, and a child-friendly sense of humour.

With that history in mind, The Secret Life of Pets continues its studio's charm offensive, compensating well for a bland and forgettable story.

VancouFur 2017 drops art show after failing to find new staff

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VancouFur 2017 logo Canadian furry convention VancouFur will have no art show at this March's event, due to a failure to replace departmental staff who resigned mid-October.

We are very sorry to announce that VancouFur's Art Show has been cancelled for 2017 due not being able to secure adequate staff and leads for the department. We thank everyone who put time and effort into the department this year and we hope that it can resume in future years!

Artists who paid for panels in the show are being contacted to arrange refunds.

The news follows the resignation of art show lead Mesa and her partner Silvermink, following their attempt to get a fan alleged privately of attempted rape banned from VancouFur, which led to intense debate for several weeks.

From the Yerf Archive