'Zootopia' ('Zootropolis'?) coming sooner than you think

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Disney's ZootopiaThe release date of Disney’s forthcoming theatrical feature Zootopia (Zootropolis in the U.K., Portugal, Turkey and other countries; Zootropola in Croatia and Zwierzogród in Poland) is March 4, 2016. But on January 19, 2016, the Disney merchandising machine will release a slew of tie-in books, published by Disney print subsidiaries or licensed by it. Most, but not all of them, will be juvenile-oriented. Some of them, such as the Disney Zootopia Ultimate Sticker Book or Judy Hopps and the Missing Jumbo-Pop, will be little more than picture books featuring the leading characters. Others, such as the Zootopia Big Golden Book, will also be picture books but will show a condensation of the movie’s plot. And a few, such as Zootopia: The Official Handbook, Zootopia Junior Novelization and DK’s Disney Zootopia: The Essential Guide, will be of interest to the adult enthusiast. No lavish The Art of Zootopia coffee-table art book has been announced yet, but there will undoubtedly be one by next March – or sooner.

Update 10/15: Cover art for most of the books discussed in this article have been revealed.

Fur Affinity forum staff abandon their posts, future of forum uncertain

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Fur Affinity is suffering from another round of staff resignations. This time the damage mostly occurred in the forums after one of the art site's disgruntled moderators, Renashe, left and leaked conversations and information which revealed a tool which moderators could use to search for their names in comment sections on the website, among other items.

Following the suspension of Renashe, Kalmor, a moderator on the Fur Affinity Forum followed suit. They wrote a resignation journal which was promptly removed by staff. Afterwords Kalmor posted about the incident on the forums and linked to his twitter at which time he was permanently suspended from the forums and main site for violating the 'privacy' or Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). An agreement that most of the Forum staff never signed in the first place, according to Kalmor.

Following Kalmor's suspension three other staffers left in rapid succession, bringing the staff page down from 10 to 6. The remaining six, according to sources, are mostly not involved it the operations of moderation of the forums. It is certainly a far cry from the site leader page in April this year.

Update (Aug 28) - Fur Affinity Forums host Carenath comes forth to talk about plans for the future.

Update 2 (Aug 31) - The staff page for the Fur Affinity Forums is down from 6 to 1. Carenath replaces the six originally listed.

Update 3 (Sep 5) - A poll has been posted with new name proposals.

Update 4 (Sep 13) - Fur Affinity no longer has a forum, the newly-named Phoenix Forums are now fully independent. Links have been updated.

Update 5 (Sep 22) - IMVU has allegedly issued a cease-and-desist order against Phoenix Forums, which was taken offline for several days.

Update 6 (Sep 24) - Former host Carenath claims FA, IMVU staff pressed for database transfer, deletion on data protection grounds.

Shakira to play a sexy pop star gazelle in 'Zootopia'

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GazellePop star Shakira revealed via Twitter that she would be playing the character of Gazelle, the world of "Zootopia's biggest pop star." Apparently, Gazelle is a ... gazelle (perhaps Shakira is a chinkara?). The pop star also revealed she would be performing a song, "Try Everything," for the movie.

The announcements were part of Disney's D23 expo, which was held to promote Disney's many upcoming movies. Footage from Zootopia was shown; it is actually the first footage of the movie shown (the previously released teaser trailer featured a unique scene). The footage shown featured duel protagonist fox Nick Wilde's and rabbit Judy Hopps' actual first meeting (involving a young fox in an elephant suit) and a scene at a sloth run DMV. Aquatic mustelid fans will also be pleased to note that the previously revealed "missing mammal" case that is the basis of the plot is actually a missing otter.

1,000 marching Pikachus

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This news is a year old, but I don’t recall seeing any mention of it on any furry newssite from then until now..

There was a Pikachu Tairyou Hassei Chu (“An Outbreak of Pikachus”) Pokémon convention in Yokohama on August 9-17, 2014 that included a march of 1,000 costumed Pikachus (according to original press releases; it appears considerably less Pikachus actually marched) through the city.

Many people took videos of the marching Pikachus, added music including heavy metal tracks, John Williams’ Star Wars Imperial march and old Imperial Japanese Army military marches, then posted them to YouTube.

Disney to produce new 'Lion King' direct-to-TV movie in November

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Whoa; we didn’t see this one coming -- so soon, anyway. Multiple sources (abc.news.go.com; Animation Scoop; ComingSoon.net; Variety; etc.) announced yesterday that the Disney Channel will present a brand-new Lion King direct-to-TV short movie in November: The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar. The movie will be a prelude to a new The Lion Guard TV series that the Disney Channel will present in early 2016.

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar will be about the adult Simba and Nala’s juvenile son Kion, and his forming a new Lion Guard team – traditionally the pride’s bravest adult lions, to police the African savannah – with his own juvenile friends: Bunga, a honey badger; Ono, an egret; Fuli, a cheetah; and Beshte, a hippo. Their adversaries will include the juvenile sons of the evil hyenas in The Lion King; from the teaser, it’s obvious that the crazy hyena Ed has a son.

Further details are in the articles. More will be presented at Disney’s D23 expo in Anaheim on August 16.

Update 10/15: A new trailer has revealed the date will specifically be Sunday, Nov. 22.

Upcoming furry comics for September 2015

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Furry comics making the top 100 list for May 2015 include:

2015 Anthropomorphics Reading List: August 8 update

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by Heather BrutonThe Anthropomorphics Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), which administers the annual Ursa Major Awards, has updated the 2015 Anthropomorphics Reading List to include the titles recommended by furry fans through August 8. This list is often used by fans to nominate in the next year’s Awards.

All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, short fiction, other literary works, graphic stories, comic strips, magazines, published illustrations, websites, and games) first published during 2015, if they are not already on the list. Send in your recommendations to recommended@ursamajorawards.org, and read the List to see what other fans have recommended.

Nominations for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, in the same eleven categories, will open on 14 January 2016 (the first day of Further Confusion 2016) and will be accepted until 28 February. Don’t miss this opportunity to nominate the titles that you felt have been the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips and books, websites, games, etc. of 2015 for the Awards. And don’t forget to vote when the polls open on 15 March.

Three coming Russian animated features with anthro animals

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Sheep and WolvesThe Hollywood Reporter announced on May 13 that Wizart Animation in Moscow (business office) and Voronezh (animation studio) is producing The Snow Queen 3 for release in late 2016. Presumably this is in Russia, and it’ll come to the U.S. in 2017. Also presumably the cast will include Orm the troll and Gerda’s pet ermine Luta, since they were so popular in The Snow Queen and The Snow Queen 2: The Snow King.

The same Hollywood Reporter article announces that Wizart is pre-selling its own Sheep and Wolves featuring anthro wolves and sheep – it’s titled Volkii I Ovtsi (wolves and sheep), in Russian. Here’s the the English language for Sheep and Wolves.

The article continues, "Wizart will also be […] offering pre-sales for Urfin and His Wooden Soldiers (by Melnitsa Animation)."

Trailer: 'Rock Dog'

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So, Disney goes out of there way to advertise the very anthropomorphic nature of next animated movie (you couldn't resist the awful fur pun, could you, Disney? It's okay, we know how it is.), and it turns out everyone and their Rock Dog has chosen to come out with similar movies within months of each other. Rock Dog, though a Chinese production with no American release date (it does have an October 1 Chinese release date), is meant to be the movie that breaks Chinese animation into America.

And it's every bit as anthropomorphic an animal world as Zootopia or Kung Fu Panda 3, and, at the very least, it looks much more promising than Legend of a Rabbit.

LionsGate releases information about upcoming animated furry movies

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LionsGate Entertainment, best known, at least furry and animation-wise, for Alpha and Omega and its various direct to video sequels, has released a trailer for its January 15, 2016 theatrical movie, Norm of the North, which features a polar bear taking a trip to New York City to save the Arctic ice cap.

At least the scene where titular polar bear Norm meets a man in a polar bear suit is interesting from a furry standpoint.

Perhaps more exciting than the trailer itself is the announcement of the release date, which sees the movie go up directly against The Nut Job 2; it seems release date power plays aren't just for superhero movies, anymore. It may be interesting to see if either movie "flinches" in this cinematic game of chicken.

Update (8/8): A Cartoon Brew commenter has pointed out Nut Job 2 has already apparently flinched; its listed IMDB release date has changed.

Review: 'The Laputan Factor' by Tristan Black Wolf

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The Laputan FactorTristan Black Wolf's The Laputan Factor opens with software developer Night O'Connell enjoying a well-earned rest in the company of his hyena boyfriend. Or with fighter pilot 1st Lt Ambrose Bierce Kovach about to enter a simulated exercise aboard the star cruiser Heartwielder. As scenes and viewpoints switch, which of these almost-identical, head-hopping tigers is the real one? Both? Neither?

The story that follows is a science fiction gay romantic comedy mystery caper, with two realities' worth of characters helping or hindering the increasingly urgent quest to work out what's going on and how to fix it.

That's about as much as I can write about the plot without the risk of ruining readers' enjoyment by blurting out spoilers. I can't even be specific about which cult 1960s TV series turns out to be vitally important. However, I can and will say that I enjoyed The Laputan Factor very much, and that if you like your furry fiction with buff, wisecracking characters, action, and a touch of mystery, you'll probably enjoy it too.

AuthorHouse, June 2015, trade paperback $16.95 (202 pages), Kindle $3.99. Illustrated by Dream&Nightmare.

Newsbytes archive for July 2015

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Contributors this month include crossaffliction, dronon, Equivamp, GreenReaper, InkyCrow, Patch Packrat, mwalimu, RingtailedFox and Sonious.

Trailer: Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

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After all the recent 2016 movie trailers last month, we're going back to the present of 2015 with this month's movie trailers. Though a teaser was dropped last month, Pixar's first ever second movie of the year, The Good Dinosaur, has a brand new trailer. It neither confirms nor denies the possibility of migration.

Anthrocon: Furry convention becomes staple of steel city

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When Anthrocon started in Albany in 1997, the humble gathering went by the name of “Albany Anthrocon”. Two years later the convention found itself moving out of New York State and into Pennsylvania. Through that was learned the first major mistake a fledgling convention could make. Naming your new convention after the city it is hosted in is like someone getting their lover’s name tattooed to their arm. Ironically, it’s a mistake that other conventions still make to this day.
 
But living through mistakes is what makes one stronger in the end. It has now been about one decade since the largest furry convention had made its home in Pittsburgh. At this point I think it’s a much safer bet to commit to being inked.
 
As there were 6,389 recorded attendees to this convention, there are just as many stories and perspectives on the convention. So this review will focus on three sections I focused my experiences around: fursuiting, performances, and writing. It is essential to note that reviewing a convention is unlike reviewing any other medium where you can experience a full package. Many panels run concurrently so one has to make a choice, usually based upon one’s preferences.
 

'Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe' #51 is coming

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Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe #50Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe, launched in January 1992 by a consortium of Seattle-area furry writers, artists, and editors, and the oldest on-paper furry fanzine still being published, released its fiftieth issue in September 2012. Despite its website’s continued online presence with its semi-annual schedule, the long delay since number fifty was published has resulted in a growing doubt that it is still in existence.

Now editor Gene Breshears has stated that issue number fifty-one is finally ready for the printer, and should be out by the end of this month, or August 2015 for sure. The delay has been partly due to the requirement that all stories in Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe must be consistent with that fictional universe’s 36th-century interstellar storyline. With over a hundred stories by different authors, making sure all details, references, and characterizations are consistent, and the need to get illustrations for those stories, all on a volunteer basis, means it is getting increasingly difficult to prepare an issue.

But Tai-Pan fans can relax with the expectation that issue number fifty-one is about to appear.

From the Yerf Archive