Thousands of years after the fall of man, a young lion stalks the deserts of Chile…Franko: Fables of The Last Earth
Kickstarter ending 4/28/16[Note from the editor: Franko’s “Fables” is safe for work and none of the links in this post go directly anywhere that would raise an alarm, but they’re all one click away from some deep awkward.]
I hope my mate doesn’t catch wind of me writing this. He’s a hyena. They have a thing about lions. But I had to write about this one, because…
Because Franko is really cute.
There are other reasons. It’s an appealing character with a nice design; the artist, Cristóbal Jofré, consistently brings me joy when I see his work on FurAffinity; if I see the graphic novel in translation maybe I’ll finally learn what that damned squiggle on Franko’s chest is about; Franko’s friend Shin is really, really hot; every three or four hours a different picture of Franko and Shin turns up on my monitor, and I remember that I promised I’d write this one. Because, again, Franko really is that cute.
So, what’s it about? Besides lions in statistically insignificant amounts of clothing?
Franko: Fables of the Last Earth, published originally in Spanish in 2013 (That recently? huh!) is the story—well, stories—of the young lion Franko, his friend Shin (about whom see above, or here, or here…), and the various people, demons, spirits, and other strange things they encounter in their distant-future Chilean wilderness. The stories are framed as fables, little mythologies with messages. This is a storytelling mode that reaches as far back in time as the stories do forward: a modern mythological journey.
Obligatory name-drop: Franko is the work of writer Ángel Bernier and artist Cristóbal Jofre. Thanks to a lifeline thrown me by Sofawolf, I can say that Bernier is a writer and editor, working with comics and fanzines since 2006 (“Tinta Negra,” “Informe Meteoro,” and others.)
Of the latter, Jofre has worked on several titles, including the fascinating but frequently NSFW virtual anthology comic “Blanco Experimental,” art-mag/comic “Solar Storm,” and some previous work for Sofawolf. He’s been bopping around the fandom for quite some time, as Franko just celebrated his tenth birthday on FA (and here’s the original Franko! I love seeing how he’s evolved over the years!)
I’d love to know if there’s any common traits among the anthro artists in South America and Spain. Of course every artist has a unique style, but I’ve been so impressed by Juanjo Guarnido‘s stunning Blacksad, Oscar Martin’s dark Solo, and of course Jofre’s Franko…do they draw from a common well? Franko’s a different category, of course, charming rather than gritty.Helpfully, the upcoming translation of Franko will have some cultural notes to help unpack the story for its English readers.
(I’ve read that paragraph a few times now, and it just sounds worse each time I read it. Life goes on.)
Franko’s current Kickstarter and upcoming graphic novel in translation are both the work of the Kickstarter veterans at Sofawolf Press. They’ve had remarkable success with established product, with Vernon’s Digger and Bruton (et al)’s Dark Desires. Products which, interestingly, all incorporate some really powerful mythic elements. Does one of the happy canines at Sofawolf study Comparative Mythology? I hope so.
Sofawolf’s campaigns tend to be pretty generous on the physical reward front, and this one’s no exception. Plushies, a bandana-mask, stickers, and other oddments. Amazingly, there’s still a few pieces of original artwork left, for backers with only modestly deep pockets. There’s a chance that these aren’t moving as well as, say, the recent Anubis project did, since Jofre still occasionally takes commissions and is fairly approachable. And in fairness, it’s hard to compete with the combined star power of Dark Natasha, Bruton, Smith, Light, Miles, and Stein. (Whew!) But Franko’s absolutely delightful, and I’m so glad Sofawolf took a chance on him! Maybe we’ll see the second graphic novel, “Stories in Glorious Black and White,” at an upcoming con.
As of this writing the title is about $2000 under it’s 8K goal. The team can easily close this distance in the two weeks remaining, but it looks like it’s been a slow road to success. Unfortunate, I’d love to see the hardcover book happen, but the softcover translation alone is going to be a treat.
There are several ways to follow the illustrator. A few months ago Jofre (AKA Negger) kicked off a Patreon, but it never really got much traction, and seems to be inactive at the moment. You can get regular art updates from him on Tumblr (right this second worksafe, unless you scroll down a lot), FA (not remotely worksafe, you have been warned), and DeviantArt (Slightly more worksafe than FA but really that’s not saying much). Log on, +watch, and show some lion love!
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Illustration from Mutant Genlab Alpha, tabletop RPG now on Kickstarter
Time keeps slipping away…every year around Furry Fiesta my update schedule gets away from me entirely, this year’s no exception. So a brief update from pornfundingland, and a lot of projects I wish I could spend more time on…
Sort of an end of an era, but one that we could see coming—Offbeatr, arguably the most established adult crowdfunding site, shut its virtual doors. In fairness, they hadn’t had any viable projects in a long time, probably five this year, and that’s an optimistic guess.
For us, Offbeatr will be remembered as a very fur-friendly site. We were their favorite kink. Go us!
Is there an heir apparent? “CumFundMe” tried, but it really seemed to focus on live, female, human videos, with a splash page filled with smiling ladies, selfie-style. It kind of felt sleazy and not very conducive to fantasy-type creativity. Also their website is down, which doesn’t speak well for it. I recently got a message from “Yourotica.net” saying they were going into crowdfunding, but it’s a story website with only 30 members and less than 70 submissions. I can’t imagine they’d be a viable platform any time soon. We’ll see.
A cute and fast-moving card game with an arcade fighter vibe, mammals vs. reptiles. And this extremely cute cat. His name is Pumpkin. I love Pumpkin.
Fur Vs Scale is having a slow start, not even at 10% after launch, which is generally a bad omen for a campaign. But the art is solid. Game play? Hard to tell. I’m not familiar enough with their core concept to guess. Would love to see it in play.
I love Goldenwolf’s art, she’s always been one of my favorite anthro artists. I know she’s kicked up some controversy over the years, and that’s its own story, but as one of the few furry artists who’s had some success simultaneously in the genre and outside the fandom, she deserves at least a golf clap.
She’s also really solid on crowdfunding, with six listed campaigns on Indiegogo. She started small, with some stickers, then followed with more serious content. Now she’s releasing her third Indiegogo-funded sketchbook. Work that platform, Goldenwolf!
I don’t really have a lot to say about this one, it’s…turtles. This one’s a miniatures-based sewer crawl, with fun miniatures, a good cast, and Splinter, you almost have to love Splinter. Sadly, Splinter only comes with the Kickstarter edition of the product. I can hear the bills unfolding now.
This kickstarter started with a very high goal—$250,000!—and amazingly, it’s just under $500,000, and blew past many, many stretch goals (Splinter, Casey Jones, Old Hobb…) With eight days on the clock, will Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans of the world be able to add Bebop to the game? I suspect so.
More Mutants, Please
I feel like I’m missing a beat, because I’m not actually familiar with this tabletop gaming system. I’ve flipped through Mutant Year Zero’s recent edition. Never picked up the original, which was apparently published 30 years ago (!) and was a part of the 80s tabletop RPG boom. In fairness, it was Swedish.
This standalone/supplement is focused on the “furry mutant revolution,” escapees from dark laboratories. The art is pretty damned amazing, particularly for non-furry anthro work. The world looks entertainingly grim, but post-apocalypse games really should be! And it’s almost past $60,000, which is ten times its lowball goal of $6000. Woo! I don’t trust lowball goals, but with a legit game company that usually shows it’s more about pre-buy and gauging interest than actual funding. So there’s that.For a “complete” list of furry/fur-friendly crowdfunding projects, check out the Project Page New Projects Art
Fuzzy Colors (Ends: 3/5/2016)
Coloring-for-adults product with very furry content, from 11111.
Wilybeasts! (Ends: 3/8/2016)
Garden statues and possibly a children’s book, vaguely in the style of Where The Wild Things Are.
Inktober 2015 (Ends: 3/9/2016)
Art collection by Ishaway Friestad. Having a hard time summarizing the artist’s style, sometimes minimal, sometimes intricate and stylized.
Check the artist out on Furaffinity, her work is minimal, tribal, intricate, all kinds of words.
The Trial of the Majickal-Elders (Ends: 2/29/2016)
The third and final part of the Matlock the magical hare series, with spiraling and intricate art and vocabulary.
My opinions about the charm (high), art (good), and word-creating (strangleable) posted a few years ago…
The Pride of Parahumans (Ends: 2/29/2016)
Anthro sci-fi illustrated novel by Zarpaulus.
Unfortunately, the sales story on Kickstarter doesn’t show the product well :( Decent interior illustration though.
Compendium of North American Cryptids and Magical Creatures (Ends: 3/7/2016)
A humorous and cartoony field guide to north american cryptos (and Wyverns? Those aren’t North American!) now with TWO different werewolves!
Okay, my dog breed is sometimes misidentified as a chupacabra. Therefore, I have to like this product. Cards on the table.
Gears and Bones Graphic Novel (Ends: 2/26/2016)
Dark and gritty, sword-and-sorcery anthro title with a deadly rabbit swordsman as the lead.
I get this comic every month, but it’s not for everyone. Very gritty and over-the-top, in the Conan style.
Jonathin Quackup of the Planet Weralt #1 (Ends: 3/9/2016)
A mini-campaign for a duck superhero comic, with other anthro strangeness. A bit rough, but it has its charms.
Over goal. I’m on the fence about the art, it’s primitive but sometimes really works.
Pony D&D Charity Special (Ends: 4/9/2016)
A bid to get voice cast from My Little Pony together for a live Dungeons and Dragons play charity event!
Bad Zoo (Ends: 4/16/2016)
Adults-Swim style cartoon series pilot: ‘What if a bunch of circus animals were retired, and ended up in a zoo, and were all drug addicts?’
Not in love with this one, but it was too on-topic to skip entirely. Check their website for the poster.
WeLink (Ends: 3/11/2016)
Okay, this is technically a dog tag and owner pendant, but I’m sure a lot of furry couples would like it as one of those two-part necklaces. Now, who’s the dog and who’s the owner?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past (Ends: 2/25/2016)
An intricate TMNT sewer-crawling board game with nice miniatures Splinter stretch goal unlocked :)
Almost double its high goal of $250,000. Wow!
Escape Room in a Box – The Werewolf Experiment (Ends: 3/4/2016)
Part mystery box, part one-night party, a cooperative game modelled after the escape room concept. But this time, it’s a countdown to becoming werewolves.
Way over goal. How do you play this game with furries? ‘Oh, wait, he wants to make us werewolves? Should we be scared?’
No Mercy: Kitty Vs Aliens Card Game (Ends: 3/13/2016)
Cute artwork and humor bring a lot of life to this game loosy based on the simple card game ‘War.’
Fur Vs Scale: A Fantasy Card Game with Arcade Fighter Themes (Ends: 3/18/2016)
A high-energy card game with a cast of anthro characters, mammals vs reptiles. And arguably the cutest of a long line of cat mages from the last year.
FNAF Lego Minis (Ends: 3/12/2016)
If you’re still riding the Five Nights at Freddies wave, perhaps these lego mini figures will creep you out?
Sunny Side Up Eggs Cat Mold (InDemand Ongoing Funding)
Charmingly dumb mold for setting up a creepycute fried egg kitten. This one’s open-ended through Indiegogo InDemand.
This would be even creepier if you put a lid over the pan so the poor thing got cateracts :(
Nobody Likes a Cockblock (Ends: 3/18/2016)
In the spirit of “Go the F*ck* To Sleep” but perhaps not quite as polished a gem. But with more aminal people.
Letter Stories (Ends: 4/13/2016): Cute and colorful children’s book series with lots of animals. A cheerful flashback to the kiddy books of the early 80s.…Meh
Gurgle: A Vorish Trading Card Game (Ends: 4/17/2016): Well, the title says it all, a vore-based trading card game. I’m really putting this in ‘meh’ because of its high goal, first-time nature, and flexible funding. It’s hard to imagine this not turning out as an accidental scam. Also, with a topic this niche, will you ever find anyone to trade cards with?
Illustration from Animal Superheroes, now on Indiegogo
It’s nice to know there are other economies as undervalued as the furry commission scene. I got a “Follow” from a startup company called Backerhack, which offers a really cool product: reviews, feedback, retweets, from Kickstarter “power backers.” Get your campaign reviewed by someone who’s got a lot of experience working with Kickstarter. Love it! Gigs for Kickstarter “experts.” Theoretically Indiegogo’s also on their list, but clearly they’re a distant second.
For future reference, on a platform that’s only run for four years, it’s pretty easy to be an expert :)
There’s a HUGE “buyer beware” thang happening here, of course. Theoretically there’s a review system for the experts, but in practice, the site’s saturated with providers. Most of the featured reviews are scandalously cheap: a good editor’s services in the real world are $25-50/hour, but most of the reviews and such are $5, $10…I listed mine at $65 for three hours, and it looks like that’s the highest pricetag on the platform for that kind of service :( It seems like the number of people that are interested in this service would never meet the demand…For a “complete” list of furry/fur-friendly crowdfunding projects, check out the Project Page New Projects Art
Animal Superheroes Posters (Ends: 3/11/2016)
Superheros reinterpreted as non-anthro animals. Weird little coffee shop art project.
This one’s got a very slow start, $0 in first 10 days, so probably a nonstarter.
The Adventures of Sir Winston (Ends: 1/26/2016)
Two scotty dogs travel through time in space in this supercute kiddy book
My Bad Bad Dog (Ends: 2/9/2016)
Cute line-art children’s book about a very bad dog.
Faux Paws (Ends: 2/2/2016)
Cute abstractly animal-patterned socks to match your fox, wolf, or kitty alt-self!
LED Fursuit Accessories (Ends: 2/16/2016)
A small collection of LED harnesses and colors with a remote control.
May be an over-saturated market for this project? Not a lot of support.
Shirts are the Art We Walk In (Ends: 2/21/2016)
A beautiful nerdy lion tee, but with very little support looks like a nonstarter :(
There She Is!! #6 (Ends: 2/11/2016)
Since 2003, this cat and rabbit have been making slow progress toward marriage equality. A fun anime-ish music video series. DVD coming soon!
I did NOT know they were up to episode 5.
On Kickstarter through 02/02/16
Just a little callout for a cute project! Rick Hamilton has run at least one other Kickstarter that was cute and on topic for this blog: his cutiemark socks. “Faux Paws” are his latest project, cute little fursona-styled half-calf stockings. Each one has animal patterns up and down their length, in most cases a stylized color gradient resembling the paws of a wolf, fox, or cougar (these are, respectively, the paws of Walker, Fiona, and Chloe). Presumably they’ll want their paws back someday.
Oh, wait, update: Stretch goal #1, Derek the Drake, unlocked! Dragon-socks. With a stretch goal at every $1000, there’s an excellent chance that one of a dozen or so stretch species will make the cut and receive the ultimate immortality of being made into socks. On the shortlist, red and blue birds, pink kittens and puppies, bears (panda, polar, brown), bunnies, a few different dragons, and horses.
I don’t have a lot to say about this one, because it’s hard to write 200+ words about socks. Check ’em out! The kickstarter’s past goal and unlocking stretch goals already!
Follow @furstarter on twitter for the latest fur-friendly crowdfunding projects!
There She Is! Episode 6 and DVD
Indiegogo running through 2/11/16
Meet Cute (N): A scene, typically in film or television, in which a future romantic couple meets for the first time in a way that is considered adorable, entertaining, or amusing.
It’s kind of amazing that this sweet, awkward couple—Tokki Doki the rabbit (her name means rabbit, which makes sense…) and Goyang’i Nabi the cat (the words mean “butterfly” and “kitty,” more or less) have been chasing each other around for 12 years, a relationship that started back in 2003 or 2004 with the Korean musical animated short “There She Is.”
Even without YouTube, the short film went viral. It’s pretty charming. Doki and Nabi are—or become—lovers in a world that fundamentally does not approve of cat-bunny relationships, with some awesome ska music background. The allegory for gay marriage is transparent, and neither of the Koreas is particularly gay-friendly (South Korea is the nicer of the two, gays are only sometimes conscripted by the military or arrested for a year or so. Homosexuality isn’t technically illegal in North Korea, but it’s considered “against the socialist lifestyle,” and that can be an executable offense.)
It’s tempting to outline the entire series, but I’m not sure there’s any point to that exercise except to roll in cute, and no sense in spoiling. Trying to cope with a societally forbidden love, the two deal with angry family members, personality conflicts, mobs, social protests, depression, reunion. There’s interesting tie-ins with the music, colors and character design, and episode title, read through the Wiki article on the series for some of these little bits that might be lost on English speakers. The rest of the series is the awkward first date Cake Dance, growing relationship piece Doki and Nabi, Empire-Strikes-Back-esque Paradise, and the uplifting Imagine. Apparently, the pair also gets a walk-on in SamBakZa’s “Hot Fish.”
After three years of false starts, the animators launched the campaign to fund Episode 6 on IndieGogo, It’s a little flashback to the history of the strange, pointy gang of mean bunnies (the Jjintta Set) their history, their change of heart.
The DVD has a few special bits on it—right now, the story of the Jjintta Set is listed as a DVD exclusive (that’s contradicted elsewhere in the project description, but who knows); alternate versions of “Doki & Nabi” and “Hot Fish,” a children’s episode set before Doki and Nabi met, director-commentary type pieces, some other random stuff. It’s a little out of my personal price range, but the $400 reward level is a porcelain doll of Doki and Nabi, which sounds awful cute. The Indiegogo campaign itself has some fun, self-deprecating cartoons, totally worth a skim on its own merits.
What’s the future look like for “There She Is!!”? For a film that’s won several awards and had a remarkably long life on its local animation site, it’s not doing too well. The goal of $20,000 is totally within reach, but right now, it’s less than half funded and the campaign’s been running a week. That’s not a fantastic beginning, so here’s hoping it gets some of the word of mouth it needs to succeed!
The Indiegogo page has high-definition links to the videos, or watch them in their dazzling original flash, just watch them again. It’s a sweet story!
Follow @furstarter on twitter for the latest fur-friendly crowdfunding projects!
This week’s illustration is from the art-print project, Octopedestrians, now on Kickstarter
I usually call these entries “Furfunding Highlights,” but I think this is going to be the “lowlights” episode. Where do I start…The Beast’s Fury Mess
Haven’t really been keeping up with Beast’s Fury, it was a big bucket of excitement back when it first launched, a 2D fighting game with a lot of snexy characters. That was back in 2012, pretty close to when I started reviewing kickstarter projects. And I was impressed with their 2014 campaign that brought in over $40,000. The third campaign…that one set off some alarm bells. Now, apparently, the campaign’s folded, “gone dark.” There’s a lot of negativity that’s looking for a place to ground on this project. And I don’t think there’s only one side to this one. In part, it boils down to “making a legitimate video game is a high-budget proposition, you’ll need at least $150,000. Probably more.” That, and “crowdfunding isn’t a business model.”
For two very different perspectives on Beast’s Fury, I’d suggest reading over the author’s explanation first, and then one of the YouTube breakdowns of the situation. The truth is probably somewhere between them. It looks like the Beast Fury team made some serious errors in attacking this project without a strong budget plan (total amount needed, how to get it), and then the day-to-day realities of an ongoing financial meltdown changed the situation from bad to crowdfunding horror story.
Personally, having spent years in a failing business with no better option than to go down with the ship, the dev team has my sympathies. There is nothing good here, but it’s got to be nightmarish on the inside. On the other paw, they do point out “look, you got what you paid for. A demo.” And that brings up a point that’s going to sour people on crowdfunding other large projects: the unsuccessful success story of a partially funded big-budget project. I’m looking at you in particular, SWAT-KATS, where $141K went to fund a 2-minute teaser and the dev team called it a success—or worse, the Don Bluth “Dragon’s Lair” kickstarter, where at $350,000 they’re looking at the stretch goal of “we’ll get the script written.” Let the buyer beware: it’s very difficult to crowdfund these large-budget productions, even with a name as big as Don Bluth.Brand Without a Product
I’d like to take a few moments out to look at two projects…if you can call them that…fail in the opposite direction, starting a campaign without a product. There are two out there in furrycrowdfundingland at the moment, and they’re both, honestly, pretty terrible. I want to share them with you so I don’t have to rant about them to my mate, he’s started wearing earplugs.
Kick-a-GoGo has thrown some mysteries at me in the past. Fake Horse/Slaughter Horse (both NSFW), that was a weird one. Or Mulmino. These aren’t that strange, I can see where the creator’s coming from, but there just doesn’t seem to be any kind of plan.
Carrot Cake: Stacey, we need to talk about your rabbit.
The video for Carrot Cake is about four minutes of kids dejectedly swiveling around to the song, “Do Da Carrot Cake.” Carrot Cake is “A new character dedicated to kids to help them imagine, vision, and live their dream.” That’s really all I know about her. Your $250,000 (did you get that?) will help the creator get pictures made of the character. Challenges: Kids may not like Carrot Cake. That doesn’t matter, though. Carrot Cake will continue, with or without the children.
You can’t stop Carrot Cake.
Carrot Cake: At the rare intersection of “business model” and “comedy farce.” I’m not entirely sure this isn’t a scam page set up by one of Stacey’s many business rivals.
I don’t care very much for Carrot Cake. But I really hate Techibears.
Techibears: Half as appealing as the weird-ass mascots of the 2012 Summer Olympics, Techibears are two weird little lumps of mint chewing gum that exist to be covered with brands. A webcomic series: “Two super-toys of the future drift, alone, through space, existing only to entertain.”
Summarized from the video: “Don’t you wish you’d had your logo slapped across Mickey Mouse from day one? Wouldn’t that be awesome?”
No, not really. Also, Mickey is kind of cute. He doesn’t look like mint-flavored chewing gum that wants to sell me something, but won’t, because I’m terrified of slack-jawed monsters. Check the “Concept” link at their website. Never sleep again.Breathtaking Artwork
This one just doesn’t hold together well: SOLON is the story of a scientist who learns how to extract transcosmic levels of energy from a calcium-eating virus (?), borrows Glinda’s Bubble, and goes to fight dragons.
I’ve written this and rewritten this, and I don’t want to be too snarky about something that’s a heartfelt project with some real work behind it. Unfortunately, the plot sounds kind of incoherent (no more so than the origin story of any superhero, but when you emphasize “science” several times in your marketing copy…), and the illustrations just seem like bad photoshop work. Some of the illustrations in the background of the video are really really good. But they just don’t make it into the final product, and the overall feel is of a product that’s completely disconnected from the comic industry as a whole.Oh, Another One Of Those
I have very little to say about Project Ovary. It really is just your basic oviphilia/scat/bukakke/Preg/Fox-Fairy Metroidvania 2-D platformer.
Lord knows, we’ve seen enough of those.Self-Reflection
“I’ve heard of you: the ready-made connecting with the ever-ready, yeah.
The never-was, talking about still-trying. I got it:
Forever bitter, gossiping about never-say-die
May I inquire what you’ve been doing, mister?
William Shatner, “Has-Been.”
Remember, above all else: art is very hard. Hard to get right, hard to put into the world. I salute you, creators, and your work, high art, low art, and artless. But not you, Techibears.
Reviews this week—write-up and mild hero envy of furry card deck “Untamed” and its creator.Project Page! New Projects Art
Octopodestrians (Ends: 1/21/2016)
A poster project of busy urban octopi bustling around town.
Sinful: A Seven Deadly Sins Coloring Book (Ends: 1/31/2016)
Quirky animals in an Art Nouveau style fill this 21-image coloring book.
This looks more like grayscale art than coloring book. Is that going to work? I’m not familiar with the adult coloring book genre.
RoboCatz vs ThunderDogs (Ends: 2/3/2016)
Amusing graphic novel project with cats and dogs in mecha suits. Some fun, if rough, art.
Carbon Wolf: Stainless Steel, Brass, Carbon Fiber Cards (Ends: 1/22/2016)
Shiny metal cards with a bit of a “Game of Thrones” look to them.
It’s not very furry, but would make a sweet gift for a classy sort of wolf, griffin, or dragon.
Cats (Ends: 1/22/2016)
A cat-eat-bird predatory game with a quirky sense of humor.
The company says they’ve made two other games, but I’m concerned about a $1000 budget. I hope they have other funds.
Gametasia (Ends: 2/1/2016)
Complex playing cards with a chess/poker element and fantasy illustrations.
Just barely furry enough to count. That $16K goal is seems really high for a deck of cards, though.
Untamed (Ends: 2/5/2016)
A rough-and-ready furry poker card set with historical characters, art by Fek.
Fek’s also done a series of erotic video game widgets, you can read about them on his FA account. He’s also done very well on Patreon.
CHiP: The Robot Dog (Ends: 2/6/2016)
The latest robot dog, this time out of canada. Cute stuff.
I wish this wasn’t Flexible Funding, that never looks good. Almost at its $100K goal though.
Leonard Saves the City (Ends: 2/8/2015)
A sandbox video game with a perky non-anthro dog hero and lots of anthropathic characters.
Project Ovary (Ends: 2/6/2016)
Hmm. A 2-D platformer with elements of bukakke, ovaphilia (eggplay, I had to google for that one), scat, birth/pregnancy. Oh, and fox-girl fairies. I believe that just about covers it.
Carrot Cake (Ends: 1/31/2016): I’ll make a not-terribly-interesting character with no context, you’ll fund it. What could be the problem?
Techibears (Ends: 2/1/2016): What is this horrid thing. For $3500 you can put your logo on a bear character that nobody cares about. This has been a good week for pointless, whorish projects. I try to stay positive, but dang, this is bottom of the barrel.
SOLON (Ends: 2/7/2016): A remarkably rough photoshopped dragons and modern scientists graphic novel. I kind of want to back this one ironically.
Untamed Playing Cards
Kickstarter ending 2/5/16
Okay, I’m torn. I want to talk about this nice little playing card project, it’s got great lines and amusingly sturdy characters. But I really want to talk about the project creator, Fek, who has had remarkable success with crowdfunding in the last few weeks. What to lead with? Um…um…Here’s a picture of the Jack of Diamonds. Hold onto it while I ramble about the creator.
Fek, who is some sort of giant cat thing, is one of those talented artist-types who’s managed to build enough of a supportive fan base to make a living wage through Patreon.
Friends, the world is a dark place. There are terrorists, and computer hackers, and Kardashians. It is proof that there is still a little magic left in this century that an artist can make a living wage without necessarily churning out hundreds of commissions. Good on you, Fek!
I wasn’t familiar with Fek’s work until a week or so ago, when I found him in my weekly review of Indiegogo projects. He had a pretty typical ask, “help me upgrade my system so I can develop more, better, animated porn games.” He wasn’t even offering rewards, it was pure artist support. The campaign—it’s still running, BTW—has been quite successful, and there’s still a month on the clock. Amazing! He’s way into stretch goals now.
I’ve been reading Indiegogo for almost three years now, and I have never seen a project video with as much sex as Fek’s video has. It’s massively blurred, granted, but there are some gyrations, jiggling, and thrusts going on there. Always fun to see the boundaries being pressed…
It cannot be entirely surprising that Fek’s mighty empire is based heavily on porn. He’s got a number of flash games on FA and other sites, you can glance over them on his homepage, interactive flash sexy-sex sextime toys.
Okay, enough already, let’s talk cards :)
“Untamed” is a more or less standard set of poker cards, informed by tarot, history, and historical costumes. The suits—spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs—are tied to their corresponding tarot suits (swords, cups, coins, staffs), and some of their related associations—coins, for instance, are associated with industry in the tarot, and the royalty on the court cards in Untamed comes from the rising business class, traders all. Swords are all African species, and all warriors. There’s even a little esoteric symbolism woven into the aces themselves.
Serious card purists may have some trouble with this deck, there are some very minor differences between the “Untamed” artwork and a standard French/Bicycle deck (for instance, the King of Diamonds usually has an axe.) None of this is deal-breaky, but if you whip your “Untamed” deck out at Vegas you might get looks. There are a LOT of card deck projects on Kickstarter, and some of them have been judged on how closely they match the standard deck. Casual players and art fans won’t notice a thing.
Overall, this seems like a low-risk product. While you can get a Your Character Here card at the highest backer level, it’s an additional card, not a change to the set itself. It looks like the art is largely complete, this is primarily a preorder-type campaign to lower print costs to a manageable level.
This is a nice, slick furry card deck. The illustrations are sharp and clean with a no-nonsense style (well, except for the hyena, he’s kind of comedy relief) that feels like modern comic book art. It’s not a playful deck, only the hyena Jack of Spades cracks a smile, but it well fits the mood of the poker table.
Follow @furstarter on twitter for the latest fur-friendly crowdfunding projects!
Illustration from “Ice Dragons and Arctic Creatures,” now (successfully) funding on KickstarterLast Ladies of 2015
I’m from Texas. And that means that, while technically it’s winter, what these ladies are wearing, or failing to wear, is perfectly appropriate for our 75-degree days. They might want to put on a little something at night, but it’s down to personal choice really.
Furry art luminary Rukis ran her latest “Menagerie” portfolio through Kickstarter. It sounds like it’s a bit of a gamble for her—male pinup and imagery is a strong seller in the furry fandom, and she’s been putting the men in “Menagerie” for five years now as her annual subscription portfolio. The female portfolio follows a similar pattern—a subscription building up to the final portfolio. There ARE a few changes though, like going color (not full color, but at least a handful of the images will be created as full-color illustrations.)
At the challenging stretch goal of $7000—currently that’s only $2000 away, achievable but uncertain—Furplanet will release the book in hardcover!
A little less furry, but still vaguely on topic, the Buff Babes Zine project, is starting “Heiresses of Atalanta,” their next Zine project: a trade paperback-sized collection of art and short stories featuring buff women from the worlds of fantasy: centaurs, orcs, oni, and elves (though the idea of a sturdy elven woman really throws me somehow, since even the men are kind of willowy. Maybe they’re like hyenas?)
As a ‘zine style publication, there’s a lot of contributors, over 40 of them, so any discussion of the art quality would involve going into a LOT of artist portfolios. But overall it seems like appealing stuff.The Bigger They Are…SizeCon
A quick callout to SizeCon, New York City’s Micro/Macro convention, spun from their local meetup community. This is scheduled for April 23, 2016, but they’re kickstarting through New Year’s Day, so you can buy your tickets and swag on Kickstarter.
This convention is interesting. They’re trying NOT to go full furry in their marketing copy, which I can understand. Most of the world does not care about furries or is generally fur-positive, but the internet geekdom is still run the “Tyranny of Small Differences,” and closely related fandoms (read: ALL INTERNET FANDOMS, they’re as incestuous as a Tudor Dynasty family reunion) tend to get their jollies by taking potshots at each other. So while you can find SizeCon on FA, they downplay their furry ties.
As a way of trying to find middle ground, you can pick up stickers and fair for your badge at SizeCon, showing your interests (or topics of avoidance), so if you DO have a “Giants” sticker on your badge, that’s a topic you want to engage in. If you have a “no sex talk please” sticker, you’re not in the con for the fetish elements. One immediate problem with this is that it’s an optional system, so you can’t know if the lack of a micro sticker means “Never mention micros to me” or “I don’t care about the sticker game,” but it’s still an interesting idea.
After hosting both King Kong AND Godzilla, I’m pretty sure the Big Apple has enough convention space for these guys…Corbeau Tries Crowdfunding
After something near three years of talking about crowdfunding, I’ve finally opened my own page on Patreon! Well, it’s exciting to me, anyway. It’s not for Furstarter, but for my other favorite topic, thrift stores. Specifically, thrift store art from my wonderful home town of Austin, Texas. You can see the blog over at TAMONNATAOA, on Twitter, and the Patreon page. I need to work on that body copy, though, it’s awful short. I’m pleased with the reward levels and goals, though. I’m also experimenting with Google Adwords, another tool to work with and learn about. An expensive tool…For a “complete” list of furry/fur-friendly crowdfunding projects, check out the Project Page! New Projects Books/Print
Ice Dragons and Arctic Creatures (Ends: 1/20/2016)
Playing cards and books with a blue and white and frost theme from the successful maker of Fire Dragons and other dragon-themed lines.
Over goal! The artist has 18 Kickstarter campaigns, it looks like they’re all success stories. Check her book catalog.
Book of Ominiue: Starborn (Ends: 1/29/2016)
A Sci-fi/Fantasy crossover novel, a little magic, a little space, a little Frank Herbert’s “Dune.” Some nice maps and worldbuilding in project page.
Just a little bit furry, but novels with low graphics content are kind of borderline anyway.
Sound-Reactive Mask (Ends: 1/24/2016)
A Jaguar-patterned, vector/line art sound reactive mask for festivals and raves.
NYC SizeCon (Ends: 1/1/2016)
A Macro/Micro meetup convention in New York City. I guess NYC has had practice with giant creatures. You can also meet SizeCon on FA.
Very little furry content. The con is very inclusive, and there’s a lot of overlap, but they may be trying to minimize the furry fandom to keep more doors open.
Heiresses of Atalanta ‘Zine (Ends: 1/17/2016)
Buff Ladies of Fantasy, art and pinup. Lots of very sturdy species: centaurs, oni, and orcs, to name a few.
Digimon Live Action Short Film (Ends: 2/5/2016): Well, the title says it all! A short animated Digimon fan film from Italy, with great CGI, but sadly no big blue wolf thing.…Meh
Ziggy Zig-Zag the Light and Dark Fantastic (Ends: 1/13/2016): Part of this graphic novel project is compelling: Pembroke corgies, with their orange saddle shapes, were originally steeds for elves. Let’s take this story and run with it. But the Kickstarter has very little art (well, some in the updates). The author is heavily from the world of “Oz,” kind of interesting.
What’s Corbeau Backing This Week?
Corbeau needs to remember, in between spending $200 on Google Adwords and god knows what on Christmas presents, that he has no job. However, I couldn’t let this kickstarter for the Voynich Manuscript reprint slide by without putting a dollar in the tip jar. One problem the project has is that the project creator has no credibility at all, and hasn’t bothered telling us why he’s qualified for this project or what his business plan is. But the manuscript is a fascinating artifact, particularly if you’re into codes and cryptids. I’d love to have a copy on my coffee table!
Illustration from French animated series “The Crumpets,” now on Kickstarter
It’s AMAZING how many new projects there are, even in the December Kickstarter slowdown period, when you only update once a month. Trying to pick up the pace on this, but it’s been a challenging, wow, six months. Anyway…
First, check out Indiegogo’s nifty project calendar template. No matter what your campaign is, this won’t fit it precisely, but it’s a REALLY GOOD thought exercise, in terms of when to update, checkmarks to mark off, and your responsibilities as a creator. Worth a look. It’s not perfect, it can’t be. But the density of “to-dos” is spot on.
Secondly, a super-quick look at a small anomaly: two furry-ish comics from Canada in the same week.
“Auric of the Great White North” is a miniseries about a pretty traditional hero in spandex, with a couple of twists. The character’s in his declining years. In 1912 he was a mine worker who rescued many of his friends from a strange mine explosion and bizarre body-transforming gas. Most of the gas’s victims turned into monsters (and future antagonists), but through the intervention of the Northern Goddess, our hero became Auric, a lion-warrior.
Over a hundred years later, Auric has been in retirement for a decade, but new monsters are re-emerging. Auric must assemble a new team of heroes, but is he still the hero he once was?
Pros in this one: lots of transformation, a decent lion character, and some interesting story ideas. Cons: To me, at least, the art has a bit of a webcomic look—I’m not sure I’d personally invest, I’d borrow this one but I’m not sure I’d pay for it. That’s me. Transformation and lion fans may likely get a kick out of it. Regardless, good idea, great covers, worth a look.
“The Canadian Beaver” is pretty heavily bilingual, French/English. The art varies wildly, the characters are cartoony and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
But I really do like the vampire beaver.
Plot: Our hero, American Beaver, is on an epic quest to win art contests across the world, in an attempt to win back his family’s love.
Various villains thwart his efforts, including a lot of anthro bees, and of course vampire beavers. His supporting characters are the world’s most popular DJ, and a buffoon handyman.
I want to like this one, because the art’s cute. Also, vampire beavers. But I just got through watching “Nanatsu no Taizai/Seven Deadly Sins” and I’m overly sensitive to the “World’s Greatest Snowflake” trope: attempting to make someone special by making them The Greatest, rather than making them intrinsically interesting. It looks like Canadian Beaver substitutes ludicrous over-the-top situations and bigger-than-life comedy characters for development and, well, strong writing.
I can’t really talk about the business plan because there isn’t one. This is kind of a tack-on project to an existing grand scheme of a 3D CGI film with the same characters. The business plan boils down to “the movie isn’t working out for us, so we’ll try this instead,” and it’s obvious that the comic project is secondary to their ultimate goal of a CGI movie. This is another ding against this project for me. That, and using the longest possible campaign time (60 days) for a campaign with a tiny $4,000 goal, indicates a lack of Kickstarter savvy, of attempting to use crowdfunding to raise awareness of the project, rather than crafting a campaign around the project itself.
My $.02 anyway, the art on this one has some really fun stuff and it’s worth skimming through the video.For a “complete” list of furry/fur-friendly crowdfunding projects, check out the Project Page! Children’s Products
Kit Coyote: A Tale of Hope (Ends: 12/29/2015)
Children’s storybook about a young coyote in foster care. Cute art, a little outsidery but appealing.
The Canadian Beaver (Ends: 2/3/2015)
Animal-stuffed product loaded with beavers, reindeer, and an epic struggle against…I’m not really sure. But there’s a lot of critters.
This one’s definitely sufering from a poor business plan. It seems like their print costs are high, but there’s no information about this, or how their film project interacts with the project.
Kingdom of Dog (Ends: 12/20/2015)
Graphic novel: in a world where humans have apparently wiped themselves out, dog knights search for and guard their absent masters.
Art on this one is a little rough, but it looks like an interesting project.
Man-Muth (Ends: 12/27/2015)
Muscle-bound anthro action elephant comic series.
Slow start and low goal. This one seems kind of rocky.
Auric of the Great White North (Ends: 12/31/2015)
Comic mini-series. A herioc mine worker is transformed by the Northern Goddess into a lion warrior. He’s caled ito service again in 2015, but isn’t in his prime anymore.
Interesting premise, beyond the whole transformation thing. The art’s a little rough, but if the writing is good that would make up for it.
Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales (Ends: 1/15/2016)
A comic anthology focusing on Asian fables and folk tales, with a generous helping of foxes and tanuki.
Decepta Con I (Ends: 12/15/2015)
It’s a convention focused mostly on Werewolf. Really. I don’t know how its funding model works, but that is a LOT of Werewolf.
Reynaert the Fox (Ends: 12/23/2015)
A stop-motion animation version of the fables of Reynard the Fox.
This one’s probably for the SERIOUS medieval fox fans, the animation and style is pretty rough.
The Crumpets (Ends: 12/26/2015)
Not quite furry, not quite human, strange French comedy-animation about a deeply weird family.
Intercept: A Sci-fi Short Film (Ends: 1/2/2016)
Live-action/CGI film with a robot dog and a futuristic thief. The video in this is a lot of fun, with snipets of previous projects (a lot of live-action FPS shooter scenes, ect.)
Chernobyl Journey, Chernobyl Horses (Ends: 1/20/2016)
A mixed-media documentary about the wild horses of Chernobyl. Animation, live action, horses.
Goat Army (Ends: 12/25/2015)
Silly boxed card game about armies of goats struggling for teritories. NSFW edition as well. Light and cartoony art.
This one’s from Spain, which is kind of neat. The artwork is lively and fun, solid card game stuff. Glad to see a game that’s not about kittens!
Bellus Morten (Ends: 11/20/2015)
Another feline wizards-themed video game, with strange little cat-gnomes throwing spells in a claustrophobic arena.
Poltergus: An Adventure in Reality Television (Ends: 12/18/2015)
Point-and-click weirdness, a dog detective and his ghost friend solve spooky mysteries.
Carnal Souls (Ends: 12/30/2015)
Erotic furry video game RPG, mostly text-based, lots of macro and inflation and a certain rough-and-ready approach to biology.
More about Carnal Souls here. It really feels like a video game RPG based on FAPP.
Bearplus – Medicine Dispensing Toy (Ends: 2/8/2016): It’s a kid’s product, a bear that coughs up pills and such. Children must kiss the bear to receive medicine. I’m not sure what we’re teaching our kids in Finland. The video’s got some moments of horror in it. Worth a look, it’s fun.
An online CCG with literally all the cats.Catamancer
On Kickstarter through 11/29/15
Catamancer, now on Kickstarter, isn’t specifically a furry product. If anything, it’s an internet culture product. Cats are natural meme-generators, and many of the ideas in this virtual collectible card game draw from the strange synergy between net.geeks and cats. But with tons of original art—no photography here, much of the funding for this project goes straight into the pockets of the art team—it’s got furry fandom paw prints running across its DNA. I suspect that if I were a member of the Northern European furry community, I’d be following more of these artists. There’s a lot of names from Russia and the Netherlands there.
At its heart, Catamancer is a simulation of a Magic: The Gathering style CCG, with some board game elements. You play a powerful wizard—a Catamancer—with summoning magic and strange feline-based abilities at your disposal. The source of your power is your Catalyst (kind of like the logo, above), and you must protect it. It’s a combination summoning circle and life bar.
Each round, you start off with a fresh pool of magical energy to summon critters—kitters, I guess, and send them scurrying across the board to attack your opponent’s minions and catalyst. Some of your cats have special powers and animations (when the powerful Cathulhu, for instance, throws down, devouring jaws open up under your opponent’s side of the board, chomping every minion they can.) There’s a pre-alpha match up on YouTube if you want to see game play. As the game progresses, your pool of magical energy gets larger every turn, so you can call up bigger, flashier cards.
The game is modeled after collectible card games, so if you’re into the game, you’ll probably choose to buy the occasional card pack—although the game is free to play and apparently it is possible to collect everything without spending a dime (or a Euro). Each card pack is themed, the game is launching with Intercats, Hell Cats, and Ninja Cats themes—and there are a few kickstarter-only cards.
With this one, “Artists” and “Business plan” seem to go hand in hand. Their artist’s pool covers a huge range of cartoony, fantasy, and realistic styles, with too many artists to do a guided tour of their work, But check the galleries of the team: Petr Passek Aleksandrovich, Autogatos, FlashW, JoJoesArt, Lhuin, Maquenda, SceithAilm, sharkie19, Skirtzzz, TamberElla, TsaoShin, and Yel Zamor.
The project video and text suggests that most of the money realized from the kickstarter is going to be going to fund the art team’s work–that the game will be launched at €2,600 with sketch art, and as they expand their pool of funding, they’ll wrap each card in color and posssibly animations.
The team has some game development experience, as they operate the online game platform Board Game Online and have five years’ experience in the field.
Not surprisingly, the high-end rewards for the Catamancer kickstarter lean heavily on kickstarter-unique content and custom materials. One of the cuter cards they describe is the “Cat Conjurer,” a mythical cat that summons random cards from a stockpile of user-supplied kittens, a nearly endless supply of “Your Cat’s Name Here” to draw cameos from. But there’s also unique Catalysts, skins, and the opportunity to design your own card.
Potentially, this game has the potential to help a number of talented artists get their art into the world, and that’s exciting. At least three of the art team is on FurAffinity (search for “Catamancer” and see what turns up!) It’s well worth a look.
Illustration from The Octavius Bear series, now on Kickstarter
So, it’s always been my intent to keep Furstarter weekly-ish, and over the last few months a combination of work/life balance and somewhat slower trickle of exciting projects has kept me a bit off my posting schedule.
So…this one’s really late!
I’d like to put in a quick call-out for two portfolios now on Kickstarter. One that’s an artist I happen to be a fan of, one for a sense of history of the pornfunding platform, Offbeatr (NSFW).
First first, second second.
Fans of were and therian art might be aware of the artist Wolfskulljack, AKA Karzrave on Furaffinity. Her work is beautiful, savage, and so very detailed, mostly intricate linked lineart and a lot of werewolves (and a lot of eerie necrotic imagery).
Personally, I think she’s a compelling artist to watch. She may have flown under the furry radar because, like a lot of the amazing artists in the were community, she aims for realistic over cute. So there’s lots of drama and rage in her work, not a lot of smiling dog boys (and her content’s only “adult” in the “contains violent and disturbing imagery” sense of the word, not to stereotype our community but pornographic work seems to to be a big way to break out in the furry fandom.)
But! The necrowolf fandom has spoken, and the Wolfskulljack Portfolio Kickstarter is currently very successful, crossing the $10K mark. This is an 80-page portfolio of Karzrave’s work, dark and beautiful and a little bloody. As I’m writing this there are two days left to get in on the action and support this artist—although in fairness she’s also on Patreon, so if you’ve missed your chance because of a slacking blogger, there’s always that.
Turning to an ENTIRELY different artist, fans of, well, porn, might be interested in the Impulse erotica collection. Gotta say, the project page on this one isn’t particularly compelling, as it’s almost entirely image-free, and that may be hurting his backer numbers. The artist is Tojo the Thief, and you can see his cuter stuff on Deviantart, or his adult work on Furaffinity. It’s:
- Mostly guys
- Mostly dragons
- Mostly spooge
But it’s not like any of that ever hurt an artists’ fan base.
My interest in Tojo’s work is purely platonic, I promise. When I started working on my article, Crowdfunding for Adult Projects, I researched Offbeatr pretty heavily (no jokes, please, totally research.) Tojo was the only furry artist that seemed to use Offbeatr as a selling platform. Since one of my occasional theses on Furstarter is “Offbeatr: Why furries (used to) love it and why it’s dead,” seeing Tojo launch his collection on Kickstarter is substantial proof that it’s not a competitive pornfunding platform. But i think he played this one too safe. Sex sells, presumably Tojo sells sex, and this blog post has more erotic dragon content than his project page does. Not sure that was the right way to go, but I think people are reluctant to put too much sex on Kickstarter. With good reason.
Tojo’s also on Patreon, you can share the love there, too, so to speak.
Reviews this week—a quick write-up of Culturally F’d, a fun and well-produced video podcast, now on Patreon.For a “complete” list of furry/fur-friendly crowdfunding projects, check out the Project Page!
The Octavius Bear Series (Ends: 11/22/2015)
“Imagine if Sherlock Holmes was a bear.” Anthropathic animals solve crimes in a furrier version of the modern world.
Just One More (Ends: 11/26/2015)
This lemur-themed kids’ book may be the cutest kid’s book of the year.
Above the Clouds (Ends: 12/10/2015)
A colorful and so-very-detailed journey to a world of magical flying fluffballs. Children’s book.
Reminds me of the old Serendipity books from my personal childhood, which overlapped the 1970s more than some of yours did.
Tell a Tale Faces and Feathers (Ends: 11/25/2015)
Animal-themed jewelry and accessories, carved and decorated wood. Artsy and subdued.
The Battle for Bedtime (Ends: 12/1/2015)
YA action/fantasy series about stuffed animals waging war for a child’s dreamland.
Did you know that ‘Stuffed animals waging war for a child’s dreamland’ is its own legitimate subgenre in graphic novels? It is, absolutely.
SkyHeart (Ends: 12/3/2015)
A surreal fantasy young adult graphic novel with a lot of furry elements, including a foxy main character and a flying pig.
Oh. And a skywhale. I shouldn’t leave off the skywhale. Close to its $78000 (!) goal!
Werewolf MuzzleMasks (Ends: 11/26/2015)
ABSOLUTELY HORRIFYING masks fo dogs that will turn your dog into a slavering monster.
Angels with Scaly Wings (Ends: 11/27/2015)
A dragon dating sim and virtual novel. You are a human swept away into a world of dragons, and need to date one.
I was going to say “I’m not sure how a human dating a dragon would work,” but I’ve spent enough time on FA to get an idea. Over goal :)
Shepdoog (Ends: 11/27/2015)
Silly little first-person puzzly game where you take the role of Shepdoog, a time-travelling genetically modified sheepdog, trying to find your chronologically scattered flock.
Catamancer (Ends: 11/29/2015)
So many cats! It’s an entirely cat-themed online CCG-themed video game :) Wide variety of art styles!
Impulse: An Art Collection (Ends: 11/27/2015)
Colorful 100+ page art/erotica collection by Tojo the Thief, dragon/erotica artist.
I first encountered Tojo’s work on Offbeatr, the only furry artist using that platform for ongoing sales. He’s pulled his work from the site, but glad to see him using Kickstarter.
Funding on Patreon
But I’m not sure there are any other furry journalists on Patreon. I checked. Flayrah? Nope. [Adjective][Species]? Nope. Dogpatch Press? Nope. That one extremely niche blog that focuses on furry crowdfunding including Patreon? (crickets) Knotcast? Well, yes, but that’s a…different category.
Okay, so, it’s just Culturally F’d then, that’s okay! If you haven’t seen this quirky video podcast, it’s a series of features—mostly short 5-10 minute bits, some longer—focusing on…
Well, they don’t focus on furry culture, not quite, that’s too incestuous. Mostly Culturally F’d focuses on the intersection of culture and furry. Pieces like The Old Gods and the New dig into myth and religion, and YIFF vs MURR focuses on, of all things, the birth of the 30-minute cartoon commercial (He-Man and other shows that exist just to push a product). Some pieces are furry-internal, like Furry Dialect and Lingo.
Influences? There’s parallels between the dense, highly edited PBS Idea Channel, and if I’m not off base, part of the inspiration of the show might have been PBS’s Idea Channel’s friendly callout to the Furry Fandom back in 2013 (or their more recent episode which pops the question, “will there ever be a furry politician?“) Both video casts have a style that tends toward research boiled down into rapid-fire bullets, a host that’s cut and spliced so fast that you start to hold your breath just in sympathy, image pop-ups and references. Both condense ideas into very short, bite-sized podcasts that you can eat with lunch.
Although if you donate through Patreon, you can access Culturally F’d After Dark, which addresses some of the adult themes of the fandom. I don’t think Idea Channel goes there, diverse though they are.
Season One is wrapped up now, and they channel is getting ready to launch Season 2. I’d start with the episodes themselves, there’s a “season wrap” episode but it’s really very “two guys on a couch”…literally! Nope, start with episode one, which touches on the series big concepts. Though I’m going to spoil it for you here: furries are a product of their culture. We’re wrapped up in history and popular media, even if we style ourselves as outsiders.
Illustration from Pop Cats on Kickstarter
Well, I got to say, this is bold. In a world where refugees simply cannot find a place to escape the horrors of their homeland, a remarkable campaign—and not just one person with a paypal account and a half-baked idea, but a legitimate, multimedia, workshops and encounter groups, five-year-plan campaign—to CROWDFUND A NATION comes to life. A place for refugees to find a home.
I love you, Indiegogo.
That’s crowdfunding news, that is.
For some reason they’re using a combination of GoFundMe and Indiegogo, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, but this is really a magnificent enterprise, check it out.
There is a certain fear that this large-hearted effort will turn dark somehow, in a “history does not favor nation-shaping altruism” sort of way. But I’m still amazed at the scale of this idea.
Reviews this week—mini-reviews of three video games that are having a hard time reaching their goals. One of them is exceptionally cute.Project Page! New Projects Art
Pop Cats (Ends: 11/13/2015)
A book of watercolor illustrations of cats dressed up as pop culture characters. It’s kind of artmeme.
Cerebus pages 1-10 (Ends: 11/21/2015)
I have NO IDEA what Dave Sim’s Kickstarter business model is. I’m just leaving it at that. But he’s one of the older proto-furry comics. What are you getting? What is the plan? Argh. Cerebus.
Faun: The Short Film (Ends: 12/15/2015)
Nicely-illustrated student animated film about a wolf-satyr and cat-creature, well worth a look.
It’s a pity this one has no traction at all, the creator may not have been pushing it. It’s really pretty.
Legends of Gyo (Ends: 11/15/2015)
MMOPRG with tall, dragony anthro lizards and bird folk, very anime.
Not a lot of action on this one.
Ripost (Ends: 11/18/2015)
A “Smash Brothers”-esque fighting game with stompy little dragon games, online component, for the PC.
ZompireWolf (Ends: 11/24/2015)
Just in time for a Halloween launch–an “endless runner” vid game about a zombie-vampire-werewolf.
OMG THE CONCEPT ART IS MIND-BLOWINGLY CUTE
Little MachineHeads (Ends: 12/12/2015): ARGH. It’s a frumpy teddy bear that turns into a robot. I’m alarmed by this project on a base level.
What’s Corbeau Backing This Week?
Zompirewolf. It’s so cute.
Three anthro-oriented games that you might have missed…
A big problem in the “Kickstart your Indie Video Game” world—as covered in A No-Name Developer’s Guide to Succeeding on Kickstarter—is that the indie market is frankly saturated. Lots of titles to play, not enough time to play them, let’s not even talk about how money enters into the picture. It may be that there isn’t room for another big furry video game success story this season, after Them’s Fightin’ Herds beat its goal by $100,000 (yay!)
So here’s a look at a few titles that are struggling on their goals. Maybe wrong place wrong time, maybe the difficulty of crowdfunding an indie product. But they’re fun projects and deserve a look.Legends of Gyo
Indiegogo through 11/15/15
A MMORPG with an elegant art style and a mythic storyline. Legends of Gyo is a game very much about dragons–they rule the world, and your character is one of that illustrious species. Looking at the concept art on the project page, playable characters are willowy and so-very-serious, giving the game an anime-inspired feel.
There’s not a lot of material on the game on the project page, but there’s a few vids on the team’s Youtube channel, including a very pretty sweeping tour of the game’s maps and some of the odd magical features of the landscape.
Sadly, the game developers don’t really seem to have a fan base, and there just isn’t a lot of information specifically about game play, size of the world, all those crunchy things. I feel more than anything else Gyo may be suffering from poor marketing—a lack of a good outreach department to tell the world how awesome the product might or might not be. The dragons are pretty—haughty and cold, but that’s kind of the style.
A concern I have is the budget breakdown, which seems very spare. $2000 for a project launch is pretty tight, and while a lot of the game seems to be already built up, $700 for art is hard to wrap my head around. Scrolling down, their real goal is more like $4000 (a second player class, a second map…) and I’d question whether the game can be playable without it. The goal just doesn’t look honest, and then it’s “Flexible Funding” on top of that. It’s hard for me to recommend a project with the red flag of a fundamentally if unintentionally dishonest financial plan…it doesn’t even mention “$200, funding platform fees.”
But the dragons are pretty.ZompireWolf
Kickstarter through 11/24/15
“The hero is a 600-year-old werewolf that got into a fight with a vampire…and lost. If that wasn’t bad enough, he tried to befriend a zombie, got infected, and became…ZOMPIREWOLF.” His enemy? The Professor, armed with a guillotine gun.
I think I’m kind of sold right there :)
This mobile app game is an “endless runner” game, a mad dash away from the professor, trying to find enough blood, brains, and meat to “survive” (whatever that means for someone who’s died twice) and swapping between the powers of zombie (slow and unkillable), vampire (fast, can fly), and werewolf (strength, carnage, really fills out those pants.) A selling point for the game is a “junior mode,” with less gore and a sturdier character.
Is there a plot? I do not know. Almost definitionally an endless runner seems like it’d have a hard time reaching a resolution. There’s a hint on one of creator company Durtbird’s subpages: “..all through his life, he thought he was the only one…but he just found out he’s not!” So it’s an endless run for self-discovery, kinship, maybe romance.
No, probably not.
I was kind of taken by the game’s main character, he’s appealing, if perhaps a bit of a loser. But the game puts him in the “victim” role, being pursued by a monster hunter, so that kind of makes sense. The concept art is all kinds of cute (art by the highly versatile Ciaran Lucas), with goofy grins and cartoony style on the more sales pieces, and a lean, loping werewolf on the storyboard art in the Kickstarter vid. Snappy dresser, too.
I’d love to be able to say more about this one, but it’s up against one of the very fundamental problems with crowdfunding video games: how do you get footage from a game that’s in development. And if you do, will it be so rough that it hurts your chances at a final product? Using some cute storyboard and really, really charming concept art may be the best way to go.
The project’s goal seems sound for a mobile app, and their rewards make sense. For a reasonable price, you get the thing. There’s some good swag at the higher levels, but mobile apps tend toward simplicity, so there’s not a lot of +1s you can add to the game itself. I’d love to go to the Ireland kickstarter party (they ran Ghostbusters at their launch party, so they’ve got taste.)
I’ll be backing this one, but it’s a hard road to goal. Good luck, guys!Riposte
An honorable mention for Riposte, a 4-player arena brawler for the underserved online PC market. The look and feel of the game is at this point very “Smash Bros,” although I cannot stress enough the challenges of launching a video game on Kickstarter: “I can’t fund the development of the product until I have a good-looking version of the product.” So it’s hard to say what the final will look like.
The characters on display are a beefy wolf-badger, a quick bug thing, a Samurai-esque owl, and a dragon warrior with an admirable minimal approach to clothing. All of them can be customized with different uniforms (a sci-fi look, power armor, the “Beyond Thunderdome” style, or enigmatically, chef hat and Spatula of War. The game does have an element of comedy.) Overall, it’s a world-hopping sci-fi smashup, and fans of that genre that have restricted their brawling to the console in the living room will be happy to have the PC option.
The game is very smash Smash Bros, down to the sound effects and slightly comical approach. That may be hurting its marketing a bit, its main selling point is that it’s not tied to a console, but that’s hard to express in a quick lookover.. It’s got some unusual play modes, like a sporty two-team “footbrawl” mode.
Follow @furstarter on twitter for the latest fur-friendly crowdfunding projects!
A care package from space, and the week’s projects.
Illustration from “Fantasy Squish Playing Card Deck,” now on Kickstarter.
I am a bit of a ditz. I accept this and embrace it. I also have a bad habit of ordering things on Kickstarter and forgetting about them—and the “surprise, it’s Kickstarter Christmas!” is a part of the lifestyle. And then I got this in the mail.
“What is it,” I thought? The layers of stamps, California address, and the general “I can’t tell if this was sent from a friend or from fairies” look to the envelope made me immediately get my partner and housemate for an opening experience.
A few weeks ago I’d been listening to an NPR article about a company—the Mysterious Package Company—which had gotten a recent very successful start through Kickstarter. Their product was stories.
As a marketer and a storyteller—and as a human being (well, sort of)—the idea was compelling. A company that makes narratives that people want to buy into! Buy someone the gift of an experience! And I do have a few friends that are as much into this sort of thing as I would wish to be. Maybe someone got me one?
Or maybe I’d just forgotten about another Kickstarter.
So…I opened it.It got even weirder,
I had no idea what the hell I’d gotten.
Wow, that’s a terrible photo! But hopefully you can see the weirdness–stickers that look very much like mysterious bumper stickers from the Bavarian Illuminati’s rock band, and a mysterious golden disc with a big-breasted sphinx–quite heavy for its size–with the mysterious text on the side:
MARSCO30018 CIV. TOGGLE. IF FOUND, DESTROY. DATA WILL BE TRANSFERRED TO OWNER’S REPLACEMENT.
We pondered this for a while. There was no obvious input device for a big-breasted sphinx (really, the mind boggles). Putting it to our foreheads didn’t help. The code number wasn’t terribly useful. Banging it against a rock and then throwing it in the air so that it turned into a satellite? No (and it’s been done.)
Weirdest care package ever.
As it turns out, I’d completely forgotten that the nice people behind HC SVNT DRACONES had sent me a bundle of swag as a backer reward, but…LABELS, people :)
On the other hand, it’s rare that you get a care package from space aliens. So, no regrets :)
Reviews this “week”: We are having a run of 1930s retro lately! Check out Ironclaw publisher Sanguine Games’ new fur-noir project, “Urban Jungles,” and fight sky pirates with a wrench and RAW GUMPTION in Wild Skies!For a “complete” list of furry/fur-friendly crowdfunding projects, check out the Project Page New Projects Art
Project Manimals (Ends: 10/29/2015)
An art project and cause, very realistic commissions to buy the artisst’s mother a kidney. Remarkable artwork!
I’m not a fan generally of using Indiegogo to farm commissions, but this one is unusually nice AND unusually successful, almost $3000 raised.
Otter Twin Magic (Ends: 10/27/2015)
For children. And otters. A talking-animal book about otters. This blurb is going in circles…
Boots and Cats (Ends: 10/31/2015)
A Child’s Garden of Beat-Boxing, two kittens dance and bass their way through a primer for kiddies who want to make MORE noise. But more interesting noise :)
THIS IS SO CUTE
Chirault II (Ends: 10/24/2015)
A dark and moody epic fantasy graphic novel, with strange monsters (and the obligatory cat girl)
Lloyd and the Bear (Ends: 11/7/2015)
Graphic novel of the Lloyd & the Bear comic series, with lots of extras.
Cheerful and minimalist art, kind of reminds me of the world of Designer Toys.
Torchlight Lullaby (Ends: 11/11/2015)
Kids/tweenies graphic novel featuring anthro koalas, a raven/kenku, and one of the cuter foxes of Kickstarter 2015
Oklay, some shots of the fox are cute, others are rough. It’s a little bit Indie Comic and your mileage may vary.
Feral vol. III (Ends: 11/13/2015)
The third installment of the intense FERAL comic series by DrDubz, Hayley Rosa’s trials in the FERAL fighting circuit, old school martial arts movie plot in the modern urban jungle.
Molly’s Follies (Ends: 11/4/2015)
A 2D animated webseries featuring a modern witch and her evil, evil devil cat.
Fantasy Squish Playing Card Deck (Ends: 10/28/2015)
Chibi bunnies, dragons, ponies and jesters decorate this adorable playing card deck.
Cute! I don’t know what a squish is, it’s clearly meaningful to the creator…
Le Chat Rouge (Ends: 11/9/2015)
Mardi Gras/Italian Renaissance style royalty on these elegant cards, but the jester is a very pretty anthro cat, well worth a look just for those two cards.
That, My Lad, was a dragon! (Ends: 11/11/2015): Beautifuly done, semi-anthropomorphic dragon miniature, detailed and nicely muscled.
Mental Illnes Plushies (Ends: 11/14/2015): This is a quirky project–stuffed and strange versions of mental illnesses, one part thoughtful, one part silly.
My 8Bit Story (Ends: 11/30/2015): Graphic novel–a child world-hops through the worlds of her game boy. +1 Megaman, Pokemon, would read again!
A fur-noir game from the makers of Ironclaw…Urban Jungle: Anthropomorphic Tabletop Role-Play
Kickstarter ending 11/8/15
Urban Jungle is Sanguine Games’ latest entry into furry tabletop role play, and it’s unusual in a number of different ways. First, it’s a new anthro setting by Sanguine Games, which alone is pretty exciting–their “Ironclaw” world has been leaning heavily on reprints, and “Myriad Song” is an interesting space opera setting, but doesn’t really target their furry base.
Secondly, fans of Ironclaw and Myriad Song will be able to jump right into character creation, since Urban Jungle uses the Cardinal System. Since Ironclaw is a solid gateway to tabletop RPG for many furries, this opens up a new world that isn’t medieval fantasy. Modern role-playing is, literally, a different world, a new world with a lot of new story potential.
Thirdly, the setting itself—anthro characters aside—is unusual. Jazz age games, Prohibition-era stories, and stat blocks for flappers? They’re rare. The game that comes closest would be the dark horror “Cthulhu” setting, which gets frequent Tabletop RPG treatment because that’s when Cthulhu’s creator H.P. Lovecraft lived and wrote. Interestingly, it’s a strong time for furry fiction, with Blacksad, Lackadaisy, and the steampunky Grandville in or around that time period.
Urban Jungle is set in the rise of “gangster as hero” in the American popular perception. Smugglers with contraband alcohol hiding from the law. The rise of organized crime brings tommyguns and sleazy charm into our fictions. Jaded flappers shoot their husbands and sing about it for an hour and a half, and all that jazz.
It looks like Urban Jungle is a one-off project, a single book to slide alongside your Ironclaw collection, so grab it while you can! It’s not a book that’s going to sit in stores. It is the sort of project that crowdfunding makes possible—Kickstarter is a great place to source one-off projects and limited release gems. And the Stretch Goals open up more quirky one-offs from the pulp era—Cthulhu (of cthorse) (that was funnier if you know how to pronounce “Cthulhu”), Buck Rogers, and an “It Came From the Drive In” series that gets a little fourth-wall-breaky, maybe a little more in the spirit of “Big Trouble In Little China” than “Great Gatsby.”
Sanguine has a very strong track record with Kickstarter projects, lots of success stories and an EXCELLENT history of treating their backers well. I had the chance to sit in on a talk by Sanguine’s CEO Rafferty, he really knows his Kickstarter! Consistent elements of Sanguine kickstarters are a low and attainable goal (in many ways, these are as much “preorder” campaigns as fundraisers), and a general no-frills approach to backer rewards. There’s a lot more ways to get your character onto the pages of Urban Jungle, with cameo opportunities still available, so that’s a plus, but you aren’t going to be able to fill your pockets with swag. That’s neither a good or bad thing, though personally I don’t want to spend dollars on tee shirts and buttons that don’t add to game play.
In some ways, the “lowball” approach is one of the negatives of Sanguine Press. Their projects tend to have a 1995 feel, black and white with coarse pages. The modern TRPG industry is a lot more style over substance (ideally, you can have style AND substance, but mainstream gaming has gone for glossy color illos.) Sanguine makes a joke about it—of course in a Noir setting the illustrations would be black and white!—but to my mind it’s more of a dated look and “keep the cost low” publishing decision. Games like HC SVNT DRACONES show that in the era of print on demand gaming you can have great graphical content without breaking your personal bank. But the arguments about reasonable sales price and reasonable publisher profit are hard ones. There are no right answers. However, in the current indie RPG scene Sanguine is going to be strong inside the fandom, but at a disadvantage outside of it. The game isn’t terribly inviting if you didn’t already drink the furry kool-aid. My $.02 anyway.
Follow @furstarter on twitter for the latest fur-friendly crowdfunding projects!
An Action/drama tabletop RPG soaring over a war-torn Europe…Wild Skies: Europa Tempest
Kickstarter ending 10/31/15
Short and sweet: “Wild Skies” is the first in, ideally, a series of tabletop role-playing games, set in an alternate-history, anthropomorphic world. The concept: World War I never really ended, it just slowly shifted toward a series of unstable national alliances, restless nations, and conflicting loyalties. A world where your allegiance to your comrades-in-arms is worth more than your ties to queen and country. It’s a Dieselpunk universe, where everybody’s got crude oil stains in their pelts that aren’t ever going to come out, and you can bet that even Granny knows her way around a 3/4-inch pinckney flange.
The single best quote in the video, that really summarizes the world for me, is “In russia, the Bear Tsar officially rules from his flying palace…”
I’m joking a bit with the title of this article, but it does seem like a darker version of the “Tailspin” world, where private agents loosely contracted by governments can skirmish with air pirates, and the occasional Gentleman Adventurer who hasn’t quite realized the Age of Empire is in the past can strike off looking for the Hollow Earth in Nazi-held Antarctica…
Okay, so it’s not World War II yet, but one of the planned supplements is set in Antarctica, and if you don’t address the serious issue of Nazi hollow earth theories you are seriously missing a beat in your alternative histories.
And, of course, there are animals–30+species to play with, each with their own tailored abilities.
Interestingly, Wild Skies is not a furry project, it’s an entry into an anthro world from the tabletop gamer community. Unlike the recently successful WWII Ponies game “Roan,” these folks are gamers first, fuzzy animal fans second (if at all). In some ways this is a very Good Thing. The writers have credits in the Tabletop RPG hobbistry (don’t know what they are, but hey), and the artists I recognize from Palladium’s “RIFTS” games and other tabletop properties (see the galleries for Chuck Walton, Mike Mumah, Brian Manning, and Amy Ashbaugh for a sense of their quality).
This creates some odd little “dings” for me when going through their project. Using animals as shorthand for human stereotypes and qualities is old hat for the furry fandom, it’s kind of what we do, and it’s not really a new thing, but furry gaming is so very niche…there’s an odd little disconnect in the writing of the project (“Who better to outfox the authorities than a fox? What about an elephant bouncer who never forgets a face?”) that sets the project apart from standard furry games (our fandom wouldn’t think this was unusual, that’s what we expect, it’s unstated!)
The art—and there’s not a lot of it available, unfortunately—has a feel of old-school gaming. It looks like a lot of the artists involved have worked for Palladium projects, a company that hasn’t evolved since its 1980s origins. There’s a look to their product and art that’s unmistakable. In an industry that’s gone slick, glossy, and airbrushed, they’ll stick with their line art, thanks. I’m overstating it, but I wish I could have a comparison point…well, look at this google search of Palladium Art (which is probably weighted toward The Good Stuff) vs HC SVNT DRACONES. Gaming is high design these days, and this product feels a bit like something from when I was in high school (and, statistically, most furries weren’t born…)
The mechanics sound interesting, a minimal set of rules for cinematic resolution, “percentile dice +1d6 to 5d6 for skills vs. a target range.” Straightforward, and the pure randomness of the percentile dice will lend itself toward cinematic, rather than realistic, rules (more randomness, less smooth bell curve).
I wish we had more art, there’s only a few pieces. I like the setting, it sounds like a rewarding read. The development team has their Quick Start Guide ready to go if the campaign is successful, which seems a little backward—put that sucker out and show how awesome you are, and see if that helps the money come in.
From a kickstarter perspective, the low goal of $8000 makes me nervous, I know that’s not enough to publish a book, even using Palladium’s remarkably cheap-ass publication methods as a model. On the other paw, they’ve got some ideas that I DO like–a “social stretch goal” (more species for more backers, even if those backers are only pledging $1; releasing materials based on retweets and facebook “likes.” That’s neat, it gives a sense of participation and community-building.
Anyway, I’m a little on the fence on this one. It’s outside the fandom, which in many ways is good, in-fandom games tend to have really rough rule sets and a simulationist feel that’s out of place in the new, rules-light-character-heavy indie gaming world. But there’s just not much to go on, it’s a new company, and they’re playing with their cards close to their chest. We’ll see.
Follow @furstarter on twitter for the latest fur-friendly crowdfunding projects!
Wherein Kickstarter makes a promise to do more good…
Illustration from “Air Dragons and Other Sky Creatures” on Kickstarter
With politics, war, and terror in the news 24/7, it’s a rare thing for me to turn up the volume on the car radio, but the sentence “Kickstarter Inc. is no more” kind of stood out. And, yeah, that wasn’t the whole story, or really the story at all. Kickstarter will continue funding cat-based card games, minimalist wallets, and Baby’s First Vampire Novel until doomsday, but the company has a new mission, and legal responsibility. It’s become a Public Benefit Corporation.
What’s that mean? I’m a little hazy on the precise consequences of this decision (and the subject is a little hazy, too), but to the best of my understanding, a standard corporation’s primary (but not exclusive) duty is to provide financial benefit to its shareholders. Does this mean “maximize profits for our owners at any cost?” Well, no, not technically, but anybody that’s been laid off to make a company’s apparent profit higher will tell you that profit is king, and any decision that lowers the company’s financial returns had better be looked at very carefully. Nobody wants angry shareholders.
A Public Benefit Company has more than one bottom line. Part of their company’s stated purpose is to provide a material, positive impact on society and the environment, and may be further refined by committing to serving low-income communities, promoting art and science, or any other benefit to society as a whole. And legally, a third-party group will review them, and make sure they’re making the kind of positive difference they committed to. By making this kind of positive change a powerful part of the company’s structure, the company ensures that they must put their funds and effort toward the greater good of society and the world, and won’t be torn apart by angry shareholders for this sort of behavior.
You can read about Kickstarter’s new business model on their blog. Amazingly, there were no “nays” on the vote to reincorporate under this new structure (I can’t say it was a unanimous decision, because “abstain from voting” is a thing). I’ll be curious to see if Indiegogo follows them down this path–Indiegogo’s already very pro-nonprofit, and it wouldn’t be out of character for Indiegogo to follow suit. I’m actually surprised that they didn’t beat Kickstarter there.
Reviews this week:Two loooong articles about the new 2D fighter Them’s Fightin’ Herds that used to be “My Little Pony, Fighting is Magic,” and a ramble about three virtual novels funding on Patreon, each with a strong sci-fi theme.
For a “complete” list of furry/fur-friendly crowdfunding projects, check out the Project Page New Projects Art
Air Dragons and Other Sky Creatures (Ends: 10/14/2015)
A book, art set, and illustrated card deck of colorful dragons, griffins, and other flappy things.
Way over goal!
Fantastical Creatures Discovered By the Airship Dracwyn (Ends: 10/18/2015)
A quirkly clip-art derived world of bizaare fictional animals, and the neo-Victorian voyage that discovered them.
Confession: I have a thing for Victorian clip-art.
Aww, Feathers! (Ends: 10/22/2015)
A young feathered lizard thing goes to college in the ‘Mormon Bubble’ of Provo, Utah. Slice of life comic.
Oddly, this is the second Mormon furry webcomic I’ve stumbled across in this gig.
Little Pig (Ends: 10/22/2015)
Tabletop card/board game in a fairytale world, wherein pigs defend themselves from the Big Bad Wolf. Nice storybook illustrations.
Wild Skies: Europa Tempest (Ends: 10/31/2015)
A story-driven dieselpunk tabletop RPG with anthro animals fight in the skies over 1930s Europe
Sky pirates! This really is a gritty version of TailSpin, isn’t it?
Silicon Valley’s Gray Foxes (Ends: 10/18/2015): Building a wildlife corridor for California’s gray foxes. This is a cause DESIGNED for the furry community!…Just for fun
Gig Bridge (Ends: 10/13/2015): A fun social networking site connecting DJs and mixes, venues and gigs, dancers and party-goers. A LONG way from goal though.
DustyZahrt NES Metal Arrangements (Ends: 10/23/2015): A project from the world of video game remixes, album-length metal soundtracks to classic 8bit games.
What’s Corbeau Backing This Week?
Patreon projects are like radiation in your body, you just keep acquiring. I added two Patreon pages to my monthly money disbursement this week–the e-book Laika Doshi and GeekDad, the parent organization for the nerd-music podcast, Hipster, Please. I need to clear out these monthly payments, they’re starting to add up, but…what to cut? :(