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Updated: 4 hours 41 min ago

Sonic Memes & Magic the Gathering – latest episodes from Culturally F’d

Fri 15 Dec 2017 - 10:00

Guest post by Arrkay from Culturally F’d, the furry youtube channel. See their tag on Dogpatch Press for more.

This week Culturally F’d returns from our brief hiatus to talk about internet memes inspired by the titular Blue Hedgehog. We wanted to talk about the franchise, without talking about topics that have already been covered at great length on YouTube (like the general history of the franchise.) This was a bit more fun.

It’s everything from Sonic OC’s to Knuckles Knuckles & Knuckles. Sonic or Sanic? Arrkay talks about the hedgehog that has inspired Meme after Meme all over the internet for almost 30 years! Sonic’s constant pop-culture presence makes his franchise chronically memeable, and we explore its history and influence.

Some info if you’ve somehow never heard of Sonic in its nearly 30 years of existence.

Originally, the script was going to be a collaboration. The Sonic theme was proposed to coincide with the release of Sonic Forces in November. Sadly, the collab fell through. Culturally f’d was left hanging with a script about Sonic Memes. So we cleaned it up as a regular episode.

This music in this episode was generously provided by insaneintherainmusic – Carlos Eiene. You can listen to the original here. (The last time we talked about video games, we used a jazz-cover as well. Our video on Star Fox Fan-Canon featured this awesome smooth jazz cover of the Star Fox 64 music.)

We also had some technical issues with our audio. I bet those with keen ears will be able to tell what, and how we fixed it.

Here’s some additional video links to help put some of these strange memes into context:

Music Clips:

The official Sonic Twitter (@Sonic_Hedgehog) is sublimely aware of its fan base and uses internet memes quite effectively.

Our patreon sponsors get to see the videos early, and have their characters in the thumbnail of the episode!

 

Previously, on Culturally F’d: MAGIC

 

We had guest writer Tempe O’Kun script us an episode he was very passionate about. Summoning Furries in Magic: The Gathering was so much fun to make. We pulled out some extra bells and whistles to bring life to the incredible paintings that are used in the collectible card game.

Culturally F’d looks at the extensive cat-people, the best-birbs Aven, the lizardly Viashino, and the miscellaneous handful of other magical mythical creatures that grace the planes of our worlds most popular collectible card game.

Just typical Culturally F'd work pic.twitter.com/CtPxTS1K0V

— Culturally F'd! (@CulturallyFd) October 12, 2017

We had the pleasure of meeting the creators of MTG Purple, at the YouTube Space Toronto. We proceeded to blow their freakin minds with this video, and educate them a bit on what Furries are actually all about.

 

Lastly, (late to the punch) we also filmed a Halloween video with Rusty Shacklefur’s very own fursuit come to life – “Tetanus”

 

We shot this at Underbite’s real birthday party. Not bad for something we filmed well into a buzzed party-mode. It was certainly a fun thing to end on as we entered into a break. Check out where we got Tetanus from, here in this compilation video.

Categories: News

The Book of Dust. Volume 1, La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman – review by Fred Patten.

Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 10:04

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Book of Dust. Volume 1, La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman. Illustrated by Chris Wormell.
NYC, Alfred A. Knopf, October 2017, hardcover, $22.99 (449 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $11.99.

The Book of Dust. Volume 1, La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman. Illustrated by Chris Wormell.
London, Penguin Random House Children’s/David Fickling, October 2017, hardcover, £20.00 (560 pages), Kindle £9.99.

This is Pullman’s long-awaited followup to his multiple award-winning His Dark Materials trilogy. Its volume 1 is known as Northern Lights in Britain and was published in July 1995. It was retitled The Golden Compass in the U.S. and not published until March 1996. A little over twenty years later, both the American and British editions of The Book of Dust are published simultaneously and with the same title. Yet they are not physically identical. The two editions are typeset separately, with American and British spellings and terminology as appropriate, and the British edition is over a hundred pages longer. The American edition has almost none of the interior illustrations by Wormell, which are just chapter-heading drawings that are frankly not worth missing.

It is not a sequel. The main character in His Dark Materials is the young woman Lyra Belacqua and her dæmon Pantalaimon. Lyra is 11 and 12 years old, not yet an adolescent, and her dæmon can still take any male animal, bird, or insect form, which he does. At the conclusion of the trilogy Lyra becomes an adolescent, and Pan’s form is fixed as a talking pine marten. But The Book of Dust is Lyra’s story before His Dark Materials. In La Belle Sauvage she is only a baby.

They aren’t really talking-animal novels. The Book of Dust is set in that alternate Earth where everybody has a dæmon, a talking animal personification of their soul, accompanying them. The dæmon cannot stray too far from its person.

The protagonist of La Belle Sauvage is Malcolm Polstead, the potboy at his father’s inn on the shore of the River Thames at Oxford:

“Malcolm was the landlord’s son, an only child. He was eleven years old, with an inquisitive, kindly disposition, a stocky build, and ginger hair. He went to Ulvercote Elementary School a mile away, and he had friends enough, but he was happiest on his own, playing with his dæmon, Asta, in their canoe, on which Malcolm had painted the name LA BELLE SAUVAGE. […]

Like every child of an innkeeper, Malcolm had to work around the tavern, washing dishes and glasses, carrying plates of food or tankards of beer, retrieving them when they were empty. He took the work for granted. The only annoyance in his life was a girl called Alice, who helped with washing the dishes. Se was about sixteen, tall and skinny, with lank dark hair that she scraped back into an unflattering ponytail. […] He ignored that for a long time, but finally rat-formed Asta leapt at Alice’s scrawny jackdaw dæmon, knocking him into the washing-up water and then biting and biting the sodden creature till Alice screamed for pity. She complained bitterly to Malcolm’s mother, who said, ‘Serves you right. I got no sympathy for you. Keep your nasty mind to yourself.’” (p. 2)

When he isn’t helping out at the inn, Malcolm does odd jobs for the nuns at the Priory of St. Rosamund on the opposite bank of the Thames.

Something unusual begins to happen when Malcolm is eleven. Three strangers come into the inn one evening. Malcolm’s father recognizes one of them as the former Chancellor of England, now out of office. While Malcolm is serving their dinner, they ask him seemingly casual questions about the priory across the river. Does it ever have any guests? Have any of them ever brought an infant with them?

The next day, Malcolm with Asta goes paddling down the Thames in La Belle Sauvage.

“The reeds [along the riverbank] were taller than he was as he sat in the canoe, and if he kept very still, he thought he probably couldn’t be seen. He heard voices behind him, a man’s and a woman’s, and sat like a statue as they walked past, absorbed in each other. He’d passed them further back: two lovers strolling hand in hand, their dæmons, two small birds, flying ahead a little way, pausing to whisper together, and flying on again.

Malcolm’s dæmon, Asta, was a kingfisher just then, perching on the gunwale of the canoe. When the lovers had passed, she flew up to his shoulder and whispered, ‘The man just along there – watch….’

Malcolm hadn’t seen him. A few yards ahead on the towpath, just visible through the reed stems, a man in a gray raincoat and trilby hat was standing under an oak tree. He looked as if he was sheltering from the rain, except that it wasn’t raining. His coat and hat were almost exactly the color of the late afternoon: he was almost as hard to see as the grebes – harder, in fact, thought Malcolm, because he didn’t have a crest of feathers.

‘What’s he doing?’ whispered Malcolm.

Asta became a fly and flew as far as she could from Malcolm, stopping when it began to hurt, and settled at the very tip of a bulrush so she could watch the man clearly. He was trying to remain inconspicuous, but being so awkward and unhappy about it that he might as well have been waving a flag.

Asta saw his dæmon – a cat – moving among the lowest branches of the oak tree while he stood below and looked up and down the towpath. Then the cat made a quiet noise, the man looked up, and she jumped down to his shoulder – but in doing so, she dropped something out of her mouth.” (pgs. 20-21)

The humans and their dæmons in La Belle Sauvage engage in a complex game of spying on each other, with young Malcolm and Asta at first as a neutral third party spying on both. After he learns what is going on, Malcolm joins what he considers the right side. Malcolm has an advantage in that his dæmon doesn’t have a fixed form yet. Asta can become anything small – a mouse, a squirrel, a ferret, a swallow, a goldfinch, a robin, a moth.

Or more:

British cover

“It was raining even harder now, and Malcolm found it difficult to see ahead. Asta became an owl and perched on the prow, her feathers shedding the water in a way she’d discovered when she was trying to become an animal that didn’t yet exist. The best she could do so far was to take one animal and add an aspect of another, so now she was an owl with duck’s feathers; but she only did it when no one but Malcolm was looking. Guided by her big eyes, he paddled as fast as he could, stopping to bail out the canoe when the rain had filled it to his ankles. When they got home, he was soaked, but all she had to do was shake herself and she was dry again.” (p. 38)

Adult characters have larger dæmons:

“Coram turned, careful and slow, and saw in silhouette against the lighted embankment the small head and hulking shoulders of a hyena. She was looking directly at them. She was a brute such as Coram had never seen: malice in every line of her, jaws that could crack bones as if they were made of pastry. She and her man were clearly trained at the business of following: because Coram was trained at the business of spotting it, and admired their skill; but as Sophie remarked, it wasn’t easy for such a dæmon to remain inconspicuous. As for what they wanted, Coram had no idea; if they wanted a fight, they’d get one.

He tightened his grip on the fighting stick; Sophie [Sophonax, a cat dæmon] readied herself to spring. The hyena dæmon came forward a little, emerging into a full silhouette, and the man stepped silently forward after her. Coram and Sophie both spotted the pistol in his hand the moment before he flattened himself against the wall of the alley and disappeared into shadow.” (pgs. 58-59)

The Book of Dust. Volume 1, La Belle Sauvage (cover by Chris Wormell) may not be a furry novel, but there are plenty of fully-intelligent furry secondary characters, with those who are pre-adolescent being shape-shifters as well. And the story is gripping. This is volume 1 of 3, so you know there will be a cliffhanger ending.

– Fred Patten

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

Mark of the Tiger’s Stripe, by Joshua Yoder – book review by Fred Patten.

Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 10:43

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Mark of the Tiger’s Stripe, by Joshua Yoder. Maps by the author.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2017, trade paperback, $15.00 ([3 +] 397 pages), Kindle $4.99.

Reading Mark of the Tiger’s Stripe is an exercise in frustration. There is a detailed map of the world of Amarthia, but it’s so reduced as to be illegible. There is considerable exciting action, but it’s wrapped in such extensive descriptions as to become almost boring.

The beginning of the novel is what would be a tense dramatic sequence anywhere else. A team of six big-game hunters, loaded for monsters, moves into a secretive nighttime kill mission in a deserted slum district in Kairran, the capital of the desert nation of Pytan. Yet it goes on for forty pages!

“Vincenzo Nieves only averaged 165 centimetres, but the long ears poking out through the crown of his worn white fedora with its faded black band made him appear much taller. As he hop-stepped along, they bobbed and swayed, twitching now and again like electrified antennae.

The jackrabbit had a melodious baritone honeyed by the southern strains of upper-class Banton, far away in the bayous of the West United Kingdoms. Or at least it would be melodious if it was not constantly ringing in the ears of his teammates.

‘So there I was, just enjoyin’ a nice breakfast salad. Actually, it kinda reminded me of the carver’s salad they serve at this quaint café in Clairmount, but never mind. I’m sittin’ there, and in from the kitchen walks this absolutely gorgeous leopard girl, I mean you’ve never seen spots like she had. She had this cute little bob cut that showed off her earrings and a cute top that … well …’ He trailed off with a lascivious gleam in his golden-brown eyes, but no one was actually paying attention to him.

Most of his stories tended to end this way. Only Vince’s appetite for food rivalled his appetite for women. He was not the guy with a girl in every town; he was the guy with a dozen girls in every town. Still, Mohan [the tiger leader] had to admit that, for all his boasting, at least he kept the stories relatively clean. And his behaviour wasn’t entirely without cause; he was a handsome fellow who kept his wavy blond long-fur trimmed short and proper, as befitted a southern gentleman, and had dyed and groomed the fur on his chin into a matching goatee.” (pgs. 10-11)

That’s not all. Vince’s description goes on for another page. And this is just for the jackrabbit. Kittina “Kitty” Katral the tigress, Rizzo Vega the basilisk, Mohan Katral the tiger leader (Kitty’s father), Victoria Littlepond the “petite female bullfrog”, and Ezekiel “Zed”, a desert nomad badger, are described at equal length. So is the monster/fiend they are up against:

“Beneath the city streets, cloaked in the dark and damp, something stirred.

It was aware of many things all at once: the distant lap of water against the shore, the whistle of air through its underground sanctuary, the taste of fresh blood in its mouth, the sounds of its new prey stalking above it.

It could not understand the beings, though the echo of their speech was clear to its ears. It knew from their movements that they were not following the path it had laid out for them.

With swift and stealthy purpose, driven by a hunter’s instinct, it slithered into the maze of tunnels that branched off from its lair.

It sensed something different about these intruders, a peculiar scent that sparked ancient genetic pain and fierce battle. They would not stumble into its trap like the others. It had been long since prey had offered such a challenge.

It could not express emotion like the ones it stalked, yet it felt a thrill shudder through its body. It had not felt anything like it since the days of its ancestors.

The hunt had begun.” (p. 21)

There is the description of the monster’s lair, an abandoned slum hotel … But let’s just cut to the fiend:

“Tiamats averaged eight metres from head to tail. Tw ridges of serrated bone ran parallel down the broad back from the base of its neck to the tip of its thick short tail, which had another ridge of bone running from the base to the tip. Despite its short length, a tiamat could use its tail quite effectively; flanking the creature was always a risky strategy. Four massive legs supported its barrel-like body. Each ended in a five-fingered hand tipped with claws 15 centimetres long. Unlike an ahuitzotl, it did not have webbing between the toes. Its skin was covered with thick diamond-shaped scales couloured a mottled greenish-brown. The scales pulled tight against ribs, joints, and spine, giving the creature a skeletal appearance that belied the incredible strength within its powerful limbs. Many of the major muscles, particularly the anterior and posterior muscles of the legs, protruded through the skin like dull red blisters.” (p. 29)

Etc., etc., etc. – it goes on. When the story finally gets around to the hunters’ confrontation of the fiend, it’s a doozy, but it seems all too short compared to the buildup.

I haven’t mentioned the main character at all yet, who doesn’t enter the story until page 42. He’s Sedric “Ric” Barnes, a lynx investigative journalist, in Kairran with Ed Sanders, his fox photographer. They’re in Pytan to cover the reports of illegal gladiatorial games and slave trading being held there almost openly, and have found the rumors of grisly murders and a nightmarish fiend loose as well.

To condense the plot, the rumors are true. The whole Sultanate of Pytan is run by the Assad Alabwaq, the Black Horns, who continue to run the technically illegal but still popular gladiatorial fights to the death and slave trading. But the kill-crazy fiends are something new. As long as the crimes stayed in Pytan, the other nations of Amarthia are willing to ignore them; but when there is evidence that Assad Alabwaq is trapping the fiends and releasing them in Pytan’s rivals and enemies – a form of biological warfare – that’s going too far. So there are Alabwaq – the criminal organization and its crime lord — trying to trap the fiends; the six hunters trying to kill the fiends first, and a secret running battle between the hunters and Alabwaq; and Ric Barnes and Ed Sanders out to expose the truth.

Mark of the Tiger’s Stripe is unusual in furry fiction in making its lead villain not a predator:

“The man calling himself Assad Alabwaq was short-statured – not uncommon for a mouflon – but he appeared immaculate and confidant in a white and gold linen suit with a purple feather pinned to the lapel. He was approximately in his mid-forties, and kept his slate-grey long-fur, streaked with white at the temples, swept straight back from his high forehead. Alabaster horns – clearly Black Horns was just a euphemism – sprung out from either side of his narrow skull, curving down and forward until they made almost a full turn onto themselves. He had capped them with gold and purple tassels. Despite the dark brown of his body-fur there was a large white patch at the end of his long thin snout, and the long greying goatee on his chin was neatly brushed and trimmed.” (p. 78)

Yoder uses many Middle-Eastern words in his descriptions of everyday life in Kairran. His third-person narration and the tigers’ dialogue is full of Britishisms – spellings such as metres and coulour, lorry for truck, journos for journalists, arvo for afternoon, “If things get bodgie”, “Bonza!”, “Bugger all!”, and so on.

And with many questions still unanswered, this review of Mark of the Tiger’s Stripe (cover by the author) is being brought to a close. How many different sides are in the hugger-mugger in Pytan, and is Assad Alabwaq really the worst of the lot? What is the six-hunter team a part of? Where are all the monsters/fiends coming from?

What is the Mark of the Tiger’s Stripe?

– Fred Patten

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

Calling all furries: FurScience / IARP launches international furry survey.

Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 10:03

Paws in the air if you like science!

The newest, international FurScience survey needs your participation. They will use the data to help the fandom and those outside it to learn more about it. They have been doing surveys for years, and this is their largest and most ambitious one yet. They’re hoping to blow previous records out of the water by getting 10,000 furries worldwide. At the end, results will be available to all, and it’s sure to prove fascinating for anyone who’s curious about what goes on inside the fluffiest fandom. Please spread the word about it to other furries you know!

Take the survey here:  https://psychologyuwaterloo.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_39LTMxBo27VJMl7

This is a great time to help increase knowledge, with conventions hitting record attendance. In December 2017, Midwest Furfest grew larger than any con before by a difference that equals a small con itself.  The more participants a survey can gather, the better it can represent them.  Furscience / IARP has brought data in the past that has immensely helped raise understanding about why and how people come together in this very unique group – a reason why the media is doing less and less mocking and taking more time to tell real stories. Instead of waiting for slower media to catch up, put some science in their faces to neutralize the clickbait. That’s just one reason to help, and there’s probably 10,000 reasons and more, one for every unique furry. So don’t wait, click that link!

International Furry Survey is open - please retweet and participate! https://t.co/ez9aNW4YjF pic.twitter.com/9kjUWeVxZG

— Furry News Network (@furrynewsntwk) December 7, 2017
Categories: News

“Confederate fursuiter” Magnus Diridian arrested at Midwest Furfest – what’s the story?

Tue 12 Dec 2017 - 08:45

Magnus Diridian on Wikifur

Midwest Furfest 2017 broke the attendance record of all furry cons by the margin of a small con itself. It raised an eye-popping $86,000 for an animal charity that was previously in the red and is now funded for years. Twitter was on fire about the smashing success for the fandom. Among many ecstatic posts by attendees, of course there had to be some kind of drama too. It came with a fursuiter being arrested. Here’s the story pieced together by claims on twitter:

Scene: a hotel lobby. A black, red and white wolf fursuiter with a German WW1 style Pickelhaube helmet is parading around. People taking photos are greeted by offensive behavior like saluting with a “Sieg Heil” and shouting racist things. It causes hotel and/or con security to pursue him, and he flees and gets cornered in some bushes until the police come. They make him take off his suit, and he’s taken away in underwear. He was previously banned from the con and hotel, and the charges involve trespassing and assaulting a staff member before his arrest.

Some of those claims may be disputed (especially the nazi part), so let’s look deeper for the truth. Here’s an arrest record. Associates confirm the fursuiter who matches it is Magnus Diridian, AKA Rob Shokawsky (real name Robert Sojkowski). What is Magnus known for in furry fandom?

  • Fake Lemonade Coyote: At Anthrocon 2014, Magnus gained notoriety with a “bootleg” fursuit made to imitate a furry who died on duty as an EMT. People mourning his death were unhappy about exploitation of his image, which continues in 2017.
  • Confederate flag fursuit: At Anthrocon 2017, Magnus caused more anger with a flag-design fursuit and a Trump sign. It was a protest of takedown of the flags around the USA due to their racist association, following national attention on hate crime murders by Dylann Roof. The story was covered in a Dogpatch Press article: The Confederate fursuit incident shows how you can’t be a troll and a victim at the same time.
  • Grimace McWendy’s: Custom suits show that Magnus puts a lot of effort into these events. If it’s not just calculated to troll, isn’t that’s a loveable quality? The same is said by people close to him who are earnest about defending him as a nice guy. I have to admit that this fursuit makes me laugh and I have to admire the creative humor. (Suiting video).

Then there’s the crime record. Here’s an extensive record starting in 1990 when he was 18. It includes charges like: disorderly conduct, prowling at night, harassment, terroristic threats, “ethnic intimidation”, reckless endangerment, cruelty to animals, possessing instruments of crime with intent, numerous counts of theft and receiving stolen property, fighting, and most recently a battery charge (dismissed in 2016).

Such sensitive info could use care – people’s pasts can be their business, like bad credit shouldn’t be held against someone if they aren’t borrowing your money. Old shoplifting incidents may not add up to that much, and many people get into fights at some point in life. Everyone deserves credit for making mistakes as a kid or doing time and having a clean slate again… but things pile up when “benefit of the doubt” is in question. Magnus may be nice to friends and a great guy in many cases, but con staff worry about this stuff to do their jobs. When a con has a problem, every attendee has one too.

Let’s get back to MFF 2017. Below are tweets from when things came out – then we’ll compare a defense by Magnus himself with reports by witnesses.

Pic of fur arrested at MFF, was banned but made a scene anyways. More details withheld for now. pic.twitter.com/9Sx7Z6CTqU

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 2, 2017

Remember the Confederate flag fursuiter? It turns out that he got arrested at MFF for Wearing a World War I German Uniform while shouting out Nazi Expletives. pic.twitter.com/9QVpUjJWKG

— Biogodz | MFF2017 (@Biogodz) December 2, 2017

First night of #MFF and Magnus Diridian gets kicked out a con... again! Apparently he was told in advanced by the hotel that he wasn't allowed due to his past actions there. He came anyway, disturbed the guests & got arrested when he didn't leave as told.

— The Great and Magical Coquito Pupper (@vappyflame) December 2, 2017

Listen everyone, stop calling him “the confederate flag fursuiter” and call him by his name, Magnus Diridian, sole proprietor of Chirrfull Creations and maker of these fine works of art pic.twitter.com/DUMxmHVaU8

— reaux (@reauxpudu) December 3, 2017

btw here's acid revelation. its low quality because i screencapped it from a youtube video. pic.twitter.com/6xQUmN8Gjq

— red panda with a name that shouldnt be this long (@SerrisV) December 3, 2017

Can anyone explain to me how Magnus Diridian has a new offensive fursuit every six months? How much disposable income can one guy have?

— Arrow supports Net Neutrality (@AQuivershaft) December 3, 2017

Like, last night, I witnessed Magnus get arrested. He’s doing a Nazi salute, while wearing a WWI Kaiser helmet, with American Purple Heart ribbons. That’s two separate eras and two separate nations at war.

— Brutus THE Bernard (@BrutusDBernard) December 3, 2017

About the MFF arrest drama, try not to be That Pedant about the suit not being related. Magnus designs suits to provoke like the bootleg Lemonade Coyote and Confederate fursuits. This nailed it. https://t.co/x7qFkvI1zf

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 2, 2017

They're playing "I'm not touching you" because they have this weird idea that private entities will play their game of technicalities.

— Socratic Method Acting (@ChaKatKimber) December 2, 2017

Please note that the altfurries are trying to disavow Magnus because he disrupts their narrative of altfurries having done nothing wrong and having broken no law.

It is a lie. They specifically recruited him.

— VƎX qualifies as a service animal in 11 US states (@andreuswolf) December 5, 2017

also worth adding: Magnus Diridian has an extensive criminal record including threatening to bomb a local bank about 10 years ago

trying to get access to the public court docs, just bc I wouldn’t blame y’all for thinking all this stuff was too wild to be true

guy is messed up https://t.co/GVpyAGWQWx

— fall out futch @ NYFB+ANE (@JUNIUS_64) December 2, 2017

Bad Dragon didn’t make a “sit on a Pickelhaube” toy.

Digging into more details:

  • Charges: Con staff told me that Magnus was approached, pursued and arrested because he was banned from the con space and hotel. A defender tells me no drugs or alcohol were involved, the charges aren’t too serious and Magnus got out on $100 bail, but he can’t go back to the con.
  • Disputing Nazi labels: The same defender says that he made a German fursuit and spoke German, so people overhyped the issue. Others say a WWI German character (a Baron von Hindenberg type) isn’t a nazi, which is technically true. It’s also true that replacing a swastika with a paw print on a nazi armband is still a callback to nazi symbolism. “Dogwhistles” are a popular tactic. Magnus’s history of making fursuits to reference high profile fandom events says there’s little point in denying a reference to nazis in 2017. Not necessarily racist but indubitably a troll.
  • Altfurry and the Furry Raiders say that Magnus isn’t a member of their groups, deflecting the way his Confederate suiting made him their cause célèbre for free speech. Which itself is manipulative because free speech involves public matters, but a private event can set its own rules to limit trolling. Inside sources that helped me to expose the Altfurry Discord chat logs confirmed that the group sought to meet Magnus at AC, and he is friendly with Foxler.
  • Being arrested in underwear has to be a horrible experience that dehumanizes a furry no matter what came before. Events came out on Twitter on Friday 12/1 and the arrest record shows booking on 12/4, so if accurate, he may have spent a weekend in a cold, painful holding cell.

I have to ask: what was he thinking with all that preparation for a just few wasted minutes of negative attention? He’s almost 46 and it took a great deal of energy and money to get quickly arrested. He got to sit in a cell while everyone else enjoyed great times. How does someone find this a worthy use of energy?  Magnus himself tried downplaying it on social media by hinting that there was no arrest and it was rumor. But of course that wasn’t going to work. His post about it aims to deflect blame for an event he built a suit for, like previous incidents. That’s hard to call an unexpected coincidence:

I went looking for witnesses. A con staffer on duty that night was told by others about nazi salutes (but told me he only saw the arrest). @Kellervo was also there and reacted to Magnus’ story:

“Yeah, that’s not at all what happened. I didn’t see any salutes, as I was outside, but I did see his run. Con staff didn’t appear to be blocking him at all. A con goer did try to stop him when he ran out the doors, but at no point did I see the con staff actually try to blockade him, much less form a “human wall”.  He got into a shoving match with the con goer, and once he shoved them aside, he ran off with con staff trying to catch up to him. As for the bit about shouting Nazi slogans, Sieg Heil was about all I heard. Since I was outside I only really caught the aftermath. Can’t really say for sure it was 100% the suiter that shouted it.”

Another source saw him pushing against people in front of the doors, and sent photos. I see what looks like two staffers standing off to either side.

So what is the real story? Isn’t this just trivial trolling to ignore? Why so much attention on Magnus for one little incident? Well, with such an ongoing history of staging scenes at cons he’s been banned from, coming back again and again shows an obsession with getting attention. He has expressed anger at MFF staff now and in past years. One may ask when he’ll strike again. And let’s close with something to think about.

A reader commented on the July 2017 article about the Confederate fursuit, describing a crime that used chemicals:

“Robert Sojokowski did commit a terror attack against a bank in 2004.

Source: http://magnusdiridian.livejournal.com/22622.html
Mirror: http://archive.is/ZrtRn

And here in his own words are things he actually said in that post:

“So, back in I went, and set it off DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE TELLER after making another deposit.”

“I drove past the bank on my way home 5 minutes later and nothing seemed amiss. So I figured things were cool.”

“They illegally raised the terroristic threat charge to a felony”

“Hazmat team was sent to the scene as well as the fire department. A pregnant woman was rushed to the hospital.”

This is the kind of person we’re dealing with. A person whose actions put a pregnant woman in the hospital over $100 in bank fees and then complains that he was charged with a felony.

Posting this anonymously because I am worried for my safety.”

Then there’s this.

Facebook post about MFF 2014 / Archive

19 people were hospitalized, some with long lasting lung damage (one wrote about the experience). A furry with a troubled history falsely claimed responsibility, but was ruled out as a suspect. The story was revisited by Vice in CSI Fur Fest: The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention.

Michael on Facebook doesn’t want to be contacted. I would hope there isn’t more to this, but I have a feeling it will come up again.

UPDATE 12/15/17 – Click through for threads of good content:

 

Today, in news of the WTF (What The Fur?): an alt-right furry provocateur dressed up as a WW1 (note the numeral) German wolf so when he ran around a convention sieg heiling, he could plausibly deny being a Nazi.

It did not work out well for him. https://t.co/ehWdyyO36d

— Alexandra Erin Experiences a THRILL OF HOPE (@alexandraerin) December 14, 2017

Magnus put up a GoFundMe where he basically admits to unlawful trespassing and I'm losing my mind at how bad this post is, oh my god.https://t.co/sNZmq2SjIQ

— AristideXO (@hotjesusmemes) December 15, 2017

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Categories: News

“You can only carry so much”- Kristyna Baczynski’s ‘Vessel’

Mon 11 Dec 2017 - 10:12

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with devoted curation by a fan doing exactly what they love. If you like this, give it a follow. And expect more syndicated content reposted here.  (- Patch)

Being of modest means, in the past I have shamefully bought comics due to page count alone. Quantity counts when strapped for cash and I’d usually choose comics with a bit more meat on their bones. Although I’m slowly collecting Hellblazer trades they’d always be at the top of my list when they came out due to their huge wodge of pages and densely written style that would take me a few weeks to chew through. Recently being a little bit more financially relaxed and delving deeper into the small press and independent scene I’m discovering more often that the best comics can be both beautiful and brief. Vessel is an independent comic from Leeds artist Kristyna Baczynski. It stars an unnamed anthro protagonist who completes her education and finds herself immediately stuck in an all too familiar procession of banal and ultimately interchangeable jobs. Baczynski captures the feeling of quiet mundanity here perfectly in a series of repeated patterns, her character stood in the same pose and expression in each and every one, with only the hats name badges changing. She finally realises after what could be years of these jobs that her own inaction, that she has to make her life happen as she rushes out into the world. While the subject matter is as well travelled as her heroine by the end of the comic, Baczynski’s unique voice and artistic style ensures she still has something fresh to say on the matter. It’s powerful and deeply affecting, especially to someone like myself who might be realizing that life doesn’t happen on it’s own.

Baczynski’s artwork in general is stunning and he unique style and strong playful lines are used to great effect in Vessel. Her pages are both expansive and intricate when needed and filled with delightful little details and flourishes. One element in particular is her use of water to illustrate and express some of her themes. Referring to the title, our protagonist imagines herself as a vessel filling up with knowledge. Eventually the central character finds her own meaning, filling her life up with all the desperate pieces around her to make a whole.The second instance is drawing her character with waves moving around her, brilliantly expressing the idea of life happening and time moving around you, waiting for something to happen rather than living in the now.

Before her travels her life is restricted to single pages and panels before opening up to widescreen, cinematic double spreads. At the start of her escapades, on the first double page spread, our adventurer stands elated, poised and thrust forward at the edge of a cliff. As she leans forward your eye is deliberately drawn across the page to the wide open landscape. It gives the comic a strong feeling of action and forward momentum, conducive to a story about travel and adventure. It’s definitely worth noting the clever and effective colouring she employs in Vessel, using a limited palette throughout. The pages are all blue until her epiphany and setting off into the world, when colour is literally added to her life. Subsequent pages limit themselves to three colours per double spread until the very last one showing the traveller with her collection of trinkets which combines all of the colours from the previous pages. It perfectly illustrates the accumulation of her encounters.The physical objects show a patchwork of experiences made manifest in “a collage of passport stamps, trinkets and anecdotes”. Baczynski deftly condenses a sense of a lifetime of travel and experiences into such a short comic, with the last few pages showing objects from her travels, skilfully hinting about unseen adventures.Care has been taken to ensure that Vessel itself could join those prized possessions, being risograph printed on thick glossy card stock, and hand stapled.

Showing it to my partner he enjoyed it and liked the artwork but wasn’t quite as taken with the romanticism of travel or the thought of leaving it all behind as I was. While it’s extensively about travel, I think it prevented him from seeing the much larger point this story makes. The beautiful and touching message at the heart of this comic, of having a rich, full life well lived. I think, giving it another shot, he’d really appreciate what Baczynski depicts here, of being able to look back as this messy, cluttered life and feel content. While the travel and exotic locations give the comic it’s quick pace and momentum, as well as showing of the artists skills, allowing her to draw far flung vistas and even alien looking worlds, it also visually emphasises a point of encouraging us to get out there and open ourselves up to new and enriching experiences. As the protagonist tells us “This might be wisdom, I don’t quite know”.

More of Kristyana Baczynski’s work can be found on her website while Vessel and other comics can be purchased from her Etsy site.

Originally posted on marfedblog, where Bessie reviews and spotlights Furry and mainstream comics.

Categories: News

“You let your ghosties get the best of you”- Chatting with comics creator Mark Kalesniko

Fri 8 Dec 2017 - 10:27

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with devoted curation by a fan doing exactly what they love. If you like this, give it a follow. And expect more syndicated content reposted here.  (- Patch)

“You can either stay and rot, or you can escape and burn. That’s OK; he’s a songwriter, after all, and he needs simple choices like that in his songs. But nobody ever writes about how it is possible to escape and rot, how escapes can go off at half-cock, how you can leave the suburbs for the city but end up living a limp suburban life anyway. That’s what happened to me; that’s what happens to most people”

High Fidelity- Nick Hornby

Years back, after heavily getting back into comics, I was gifted with the book 500 Essential Graphic Novels and surprised by the breadth and depth of the selection set about bookmarking and ordering a few dozen titles. Amongst them was Mark Kalesniko’s Alex, a character I instantly fell in love with and creator who’s work I quickly consumed. Having moved back to his home town of Bandini in Canada, with his tail between his legs, after abandoning his dream of animation at ‘Mickey Walt’, Alex wakes up on a park bench, groggy from another night of alcohol fuelled self destruction. Hungover, high school yearbook in his jacket and with an expressionistic painting of the town he has no memory of. The frustrated Alex fills his time wrestling with his past, struggling with artists’ block, hard drinking, and Gilligan’s Island whilst avoiding old school friends and facing up to the unthinkable. Having to be an artist, rather than a cartoonist. Freeway, drawn over ten years features a younger Alex in his animating career. Stuck in a seemingly never ending traffic jam he reminisces about his uncertain start in LA , whilst he imagines himself living an idyllic life, back in the golden days of animation.

Although optimistic now, I spent most of my teens and twenties as a shamefully stereotypically moody and sullen sod, even now I’m drawn to characters like Alex. Back then my favourite book was High Fidelity, which is the reason for the quote at the start of the review which pretty much sums up Alex’s story. Both books features a downtrodden lead character, stuck in their ways and unhappy with the way life turned out. Kalesinko’s work is great for wallowing in self pity and misery, in the same way that we’re drawn to sad songs, knowing full well they’ll bring us yet deeper into sadness. Tackling themes of depression, self destruction, inner peace and the death of a dream, they are both hugely moving and funny reads. Kalesinko can tease out the comedy of even the most disastrous and destructive events of Alex’s life, presented with his sparse fine line with the pacing and sense of movement that clearly comes from his own stint in animation.

Bessie: I found the short Alex story ‘OCD’ funny, but also touching, it’s odd that on every occasion in other media people who have it are presented as being unaware they are doing it, or at ease with it, whereas you presented Alex as getting annoyed even with himself. Does this come from personal experience, do you share any of these traits with Alex? Are there any other of your traits you’ve imbued him with?

Mark Kalesniko: Yes this does come from personal experience, I do suffer from OCD and find it very frustrating and exhausting especially when leaving the house.  I did exaggerate some of the traits for comic effect and the last  gag with the iron I have never done but wanted to.

I do draw from my own life experiences for my Alex stories but they are in no way autobiographical. First my own life is quite dull so I will incorporate events that have happened to other people just to make my story more entertaining. For example, in my book “Why Did Pete Duel Kill Himself?”, I have a bully who enters Alex’s house and beats him up right in his bedroom. That incident never happened to me but it did happen to a neighbour kid so I incorporated in to my story to show the horror of a bully out to get you. That is the beauty of fiction is to combine different ideas from different sources to make a more interesting story. Also in fiction, the story can wrap up to a conclusion that is both satisfying to both the author and the reader, while reality doesn’t always conclude so neatly.

B: With comics like this do you find it beneficial to tackle the more serious aspects of it with humour? Do you think it’s an important part of getting information across to an audience?

MK: OCD is exhausting and anxiety inducing malady and to show it with humour I believe breaks the stigma. I am not laughing at the person who suffers from it, I laugh with them. I am trying to make the OCD smaller, less brutal, give some one who suffers from it some distance, to see that there are others who are going through it and they are not alone. When we laugh, we can begin a conversation which in turn helps both those that suffer with OCD and those who know people who suffer a better understanding.

Humour and comedy has always been a good way to broach difficult subjects be it race, religion or illness. A recent example is the comedian Tig Nataro who created a whole comedy routine over a series of tragic events that happened to her. By using humour, it eases the pain and makes things more bearable especially for people who are suffering through their own personal problems.

B: Again in Overpass you write about a difficult subject, Suicide, and inject humour into it with Alex musing over the practicalities of the act. What was your intention with the comic? Similar to making OCD smaller in the other story?

MK: I have written about suicide before with “Uncle Bob” and “Why Did Pete Duel Kill Himself?”. Both stories dealt with the tragedy and confusion of such a desperate act. In “Overpass”, I started thinking of the act itself and how much effort and planning it would take and that Alex is so depressed that even the act is not worth the effort and in turn he actually saves his own life. It’s humour born out of the absurdity of the situation.

B: How did the idea of drawing Alex as a dog come about? Is it simply to make him stand out more visually amongst other characters or is there something else behind it?

MK: The dog headed character of Alex is based on a character I created as a child. Originally, Alex had a brother and they went on adventures alone the lines of Carl Barks “Donald Duck.” As I got older, I wanted to create stories with more complex themes and decided to haul out my childhood character and put him in adult situations.I found that using a dog to represent Alex could reflect alienation and loneliness. Although Alex doesn’t actually look like a dog to his family and peers, his seeing himself as a dog reveals the way he feels about himself, that he is different. For the reader, the dog evokes a sense of distance and perspective in seeing elements of the plot, just as animals were used in fairy tales centuries ago to represent ideas or character traits.

B: The shorts featured on your website, where do they fit into the ongoing story of Alex? Will the next book be set after the events of Alex or do you have another part of his life in mind for it?

MK: The Alex time line is confusing. Originally, “Freeway” was suppose to come before “Alex” and was the back story for why Alex moved back to Bandini but when I completed “Freeway”, I purposely ended it in the mid 90s a few years after Alex’s time period. The reason being, I had more stories to tell of Alex in L.A.  but I couldn’t figure away to tell them if he was still in Canada. Also at the same time I got a germ of an idea for another Alex/Bandini story set after the events in “Alex.” So to solve the problem, I decided to free Alex of the time line.  All the books and stories of Alex stand alone and do not need to be read in any particular order. And I wanted to explore different aspects of Alex’s character that both L.A. and Bandini bring out in him. So Alex is  unstuck in time. As for “Overpass”, “Tarantula” and “OCD” they are all set in L.A. and take place after “Freeway” as does the new Alex story I’m currently working on. If I live to 100 I hope to also draw the Alex/Bandini story.

B: Freeway and Alex both tackle the subject of artists working within a strict system and how stifling that can be for creativity , has this been your general experience of certain industries and do you personally see this situation changing at all? 

MK: “Alex” and “Freeway” were both written when I was a young man and express the views that an artist should be free of any constraints and working for himself. At the time, I felt that working in a corporate setting was stifling, political and no way to reach your artistic expression. Now that I’m older, I have a more nuanced view. Working in a corporate setting, an artist can exchange ideas, learn new things and be part of a bigger project that can be satisfying and rewarding. So I see the value in both and its the choice of the artist to balance the two to get the most reward from it.

B: Who were your inspirations when developing your own unique drawing style?

MK: Egon Schiele is probably my greatest inspiration for my drawing style. I love his lines, the expressionism of his paintings and drawings. The raw feelings he has for his subjects. It is very powerful. He inspired not only my graphic novels but also my personal paintings. In comic books, Guido Crepax  has had a strong influence. His line work is very sensual and I love the way he lays out his pages. Also I love Carl Barks “Donald Duck” and Hank Ketcham’s “Dennis the Menace”, both drew with a strong draftsmanship  that let me the reader go to different places and actually look around. As matter of fact it’s “Dennis the Menace in Hollywood” that was a huge inspiration for Freeway. When I was a kid I loved exploring the detail of each page and how he took me on a virtual tour of Los Angeles. It  inspired me to draw my own tour of downtown L.A. in Freeway.

B: In Alex, he spends the book suffering from artists block, have you ever suffered from it yourself and why do you think it’s a subject that artists tend to go back to and explore in their works? 

MK: I have never had a block that stopped me from finishing a book. I have had blocks in certain sequences of my books where I had to put that section away and hope when I get back to it I’d have a solution. One of the best examples of this was  during the creation of Mail Order Bride, I had a scene where Monty and Kyung were arguing about her art school friends. I originally had a very weak argument that Monty was making and I knew it wasn’t working, so I put it aside. One evening , my wife and I were in Pasadena enjoying these Hurdy-Gurdy street performers who had as part of their act, dancing puppets of a maiden and devil. As Matter of fact, those puppets inspired the  puppets in my book. Talking to the performers later, I said how much I like your maiden and devil but one of them corrected me and said that’s not a devil that’s a fool. That statement inspired me and I was able to rewrite the scene using the devil/fool puppet as a symbol of the foolishness of Monty’s argument with Kyung.

Why do artists explore the artist’s block in their work? I believe it’s every artist’s greatest fear. What if I can’t come up with a new idea? What if I never create again? For myself, it scares me to death.

B: In your research for Freeway and the buildings featured was there anything surprising that came up that made its way into the story? What was your favourite to draw and why?

MK: The route that Alex and Chloe take in present day Bunker Hill is the same route I take when my wife and I go downtown to explore. In researching and drawing the Bunker Hill of the past, I was quite surprised how well the two routes synced up. The Bunker hill of the past is completely gone, not only are the buildings demolished but even the topography of the hill was radically changed. When I did my research I was pleasantly surprised at how the present and the past would lead in and out of each other making the journey through time much more seamless. I could not have planned that.

My favourite structures to draw were Angels Flight and the Bradbury Building because they both still exist. There is nothing like drawing something right in front of you. You can see how the building is built. How it fits in to space. How big or small it is. In a photograph, which in Freeway I needed because so many of the structures of the past are gone, I sometimes had difficulty making out how a building worked. A shadow could be too strong or an angle just a little off and I would have no idea how to draw it or what details were there. I’m grateful to have those photos but it’s easier if you can draw something right in front of you.

B: Do you have any plans for other graphic novels any time soon?

MK: Yes, I’m working on two books at the same time. One is a horror story and the other is another Alex story. They should be out in a year or two.

Mark Kalesinko’s books can be bought from amazon and most comic stores, his shorts and further information are available from his website.

Originally posted on marfedblog, where Bessie reviews and spotlights Furry and mainstream comics.

Categories: News

Furries invited to a charity livestream for the It’s Your Haven Foundation, December 8-9

Thu 7 Dec 2017 - 10:51

@HavenFusky of @HavenCon has a 24+ hour livestream for his charitable foundation. Check out the schedule, and here’s @KalTorathen to tell you more, with hope to see our community come together to support a Very Good Boy! 

Have you ever wondered where the money to host and support a convention comes from? In particular, how do smaller or startup cons get funded?

One might argue that larger, long-running cons can gather money for next year’s convention during this year’s convention. But that isn’t true for smaller and younger cons. They depend on generous individuals that donate their time, money, and expertise to make them a reality.

That’s a good reason to support HavenCon (www.havencontx.com) and the associated It’s Your Haven Foundation (www.itsyourhaven.org).

“But Kal,” you say, “There are many charitable causes, and is this one furry?”

HavenCon is an LGBTQ+ sci-fi convention that is partially run and organized by furries. It welcomes many furry attendees, and features some as special guests. There’s a litany of other talented participants and special guests as well, including game writers and designers, celebrities, actors, and a whole lot more! Of course it includes dances, panels, and other events – the same thing you’d expect to see at a furry con, but with fewer fursuits and a lot more cosplayers. Not only are furries loved here, but the whole fandom benefits from new allies in other fandoms.

That’s the convention; what about the foundation?

It’s Your Haven Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports running HavenCon. It’s currently seeking to expand the frequency and location of events, and also create the Haven Creators Fund to financially support projects which promote diversity and inclusivity.

“OK, Kal! How can furry readers support this?”

Now that you know of this wonderful convention and foundation, please consider joining an upcoming 24+ hour donation livestream, on December 8 – 9.  The proceeds will go towards supporting the It’s Your Haven Foundation, and it will feature special guests, interviews, discussions, game play, and more!

For full details about the live stream, visit:
http://foundation.havencontx.com/building-a-foundation-live-stream-schedule/

For more information about the Foundation:
https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/building-a-foundation-for-diverse-geeks-and-gamers

And finally, HavenCon itself:
http://www.havencontx.com/

– @KalTorathen

Categories: News

Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending, by Mary E. Lowd – Book Review by Fred Patten

Thu 7 Dec 2017 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending, by Mary E. Lowd
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2017, trade paperback, $9.95 (227 pages), Kindle $6.99.

Otters in Space III follows right after Otters in Space II, published four years ago. There’s not even a brief What Has Gone Before. Unless you have a really good memory, you had better reread the first two books before starting this.

The series is set in the far future, after humans have uplifted cats, dogs, and otters (and some others), then disappeared. The dogs and cats run Earth, and the otters run everything in space. The protagonist is Kipper Brighton, the tabby cat sister of Petra and Alastair Brighton. Alastair has just run for Senator of California, and despite cat voters outnumbering the dogs four to one, the dogs who control the results announce the dog nominee has won in a landslide. Alastair and Petra must decide whether to challenge the vote and risk starting a cat-vs.-dog civil war. Meanwhile, Kipper has gone into space and is aboard the Jolly Barracuda, an otter merchant spaceship on a supply run to the Jovian colonies. They find the colonies under attack by aliens that turn out to be raptor dinosaurs who have already conquered an octopus space civilization that the cats, dogs, and otters didn’t know about. Otters in Space II ends with the cats and dogs of Earth uniting to oppose the dinosaurs, while Kipper commands a spaceship full of rescued cat refugees returning to Earth.

(I hope that Lowd plans to eventually republish the three books of Otters in Space as a single novel.)

Otters in Space III begins with Jenny, an otter, and Ordol, the leader of the octopi (that’s them on Idess’ cover), flying back from the Persian cat colony of New Persia on Europa in a stolen spaceship, to the Jolly Barracuda hidden in Jupiter’s Red Spot:

“As they flew toward Io, Ordol’s tentacles continued to work in Jenny’s peripheral vision, running scans and taking readings. The ship’s computer displayed the results in a language Jenny couldn’t yet read. Sharp angular letters clustered erratically into words – or so Jenny assumed – and scrolled senselessly across the computer screens arranged beneath the central viewscreen.

The sight of the alien language made it impossible for Jenny to forget: this ship was stolen. They had disabled the homing signal to hide it from the original owners, but it was stolen nonetheless.

Ordol could read the writing, at least, a little of it. He’d been a slave to the aliens who’d built the ship. Before it was renamed Brighton’s Destiny; the aliens who wrote the inscrutable language that filled its screens and who still enslaved the rest of his people.” (p. 10)

Meanwhile, Kipper and the evacuated Persian cats of Europa have successfully returned to Earth, but everyone knows that the raptors are coming:

“Only two people in the entire solar system had infiltrated one of the raptors’ sail ships inside the upper atmosphere of Jupiter. And only one of them had seen the aquariums where the raptors kept octopi enslaved.

Kipper remembered the yellow eyes staring at her and pale tentacles. She remembered those tentacles writhing and struggling as raptors grabbed them, pulled them from the water, and forced them into electronic harnesses that overrode the octopi’s own brains. Raptors hadn’t merely enslaved octopi – they violated them, robbing the octopi of their own wills and bodies on a daily basis.” (p. 17)

Otters in Space III consists of 34 short chapters, going back and forth between the main characters. Kipper Brighton, a cat, hates the water but she ventures deep into the oceans to convince Earth’s octopi and the government of the octopus oligarchy to join the resistance to the raptors.

“‘It looks like a brain, doesn’t it?’ Pearl asked, breaking Kipper’s trance.

Kipper skewed one ear, slightly annoyed by the interruption of her reverie, but she had to admit it was true. Choir’s Deep looked like a giant green brain nestled into the crevice between two underwater cliffs.

As they got closer, the front lights on the submarine began to illuminate the scene. The colors grew clearer and more complicated – patches of peach and orange anemones grew on the coral like blushes of rust; darting schools of copper fish sparkled like pennies sprinkled down a wishing well; and strange plant-like growths in brilliant red and cobalt blue clawed upward like grasping hands.

In many ways, it was a more alien world than Mars or Europa.

‘Do otters visit Choir’s Deep often?’ Kipper asked.

[…]

No.’ Chauncey looked pensive for a moment. […] ‘We’ll be the first to visit Choir’s Deep in nearly a hundred years!’

Kipper blinked. ‘That’s because most otter-octopus interactions happen at a different octopus city?’ she asked hopefully.

Captain Cod turned from his wheel to stare levelly at Kipper. He didn’t usually do anything levelly, so it was quite disturbing. ‘That’s because the only octopi that have been in communication with otters – or anyone – for the last century are refugees and exiles.’” (pgs. 69-70)

Jenny, one of the otters from the Jolly Barracuda, is frustrated by the infighting over who should command the resistance in the Jupiter-Europa theater:

“The spherical room had been designed for octopi, and the only octopus there was Ordol, clinging to the ceiling with his sucker disks, wearing a breathing apparatus that looked like inverse-SCUBA gear. He looked as uncomfortable as Jenny felt. and he was the only one who should have been comfortable in a room like that.

Instead, Ordol watched silently, reading the paws of the one otter from the Imperial star-Ocean Navy who was taking the time to translate the arguments between his fellow officer-otters, the dachshund and Australian Cattle Dog from Howard Industries, and the yellow-furred former-empress of New Persia into sign language. The cats and dogs didn’t know Standard Swimmer’s Sign. Of course.

That didn’t stop them from arguing over who should own a base designed by octopi, for octopi, and meant to float just under the surface of an ocean planet.” (p. 20)

Kipper’s sister Petra tries to help in the supposedly united cat-and-dog defense against the raptors, but quickly learns that the unity is just a façade for the usual dog supremacy.

“Nothing had changed.

She was the president’s sister, but out here, next to a dog in a police uniform with a gun, she was still just an alley cat.

‘Get out of the car,’ the dog barked. She’d taken too long to answer.

Please,’ Petra hissed. ‘Keep your voice down. I have kittens slee==

‘DON’T YOU HISS AT ME, CAT!’ The dog stepped back from the car and pulled his gun.” (p. 84)

Earth is saved, of course, but how it is saved may surprise you.

Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending (cover by Idess) is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. But, since it has been four years since the middle volume, you might as well go back and read the whole trilogy from the beginning. If you’ve got the first two volumes – I won’t say novels, because this is one novel in three volumes – you can reread them while waiting for this one.

There’s an intriguing passage around pages 34 to 41 and 63 to 68 where Kipper learns facts about uplifted squirrels and mice that she’d never known about before. Lowd offers convincing reasons for her not knowing, but it would be interesting to see a future novel about them.

Fred Patten

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Categories: News

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons, by David A. Bossert – Book Review by Fred Patten

Wed 6 Dec 2017 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons, by David A. Bossert. Introduction by J. B. Kaufman. Illustrated.
Glendale, CA, Disney Editions, August 2017, hardcover $40.00 (176 pages).

I can’t say that I have been waiting all my life for this book, but it seems like it. As an animation fan during the 1970s and 1980s, everyone knew the Walt Disney story from the creation of Mickey Mouse onward, but nobody seemed to know what came before Mickey Mouse. Information about Disney’s first Laugh-O-Gram cartoons in Kansas City was gradually learned – his move to Hollywood and the Alice Comedies, then Oswald the Lucky Rabbit; then in early 1928 – nobody knew the exact date — the Oswald cartoons were somehow stolen from him, and he quickly created Mickey Mouse to replace his loss. But what happened in early 1928? Animation fans wanted to know.

The general story slowly emerged, but there was a shortage of details, and no one place contained all the information. Then in 2006 the Disney Studios reacquired the long-dormant Oswald rights from Universal. Well, to cut a long story short, this book now presents those details, with contemporary illustrations from the Disney Archives on almost every page. It’s not complete; there are still seven of Disney’s 26 1927-1928 Oswald cartoons that have not been found. But there is enough information here, in text and illustrations, to fill a book – this book.

This is fine for the animation fan. Is it worth it for the furry fan? Definitely! Disney’s Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was a major anthro animal star of the late 1920s; by Disney in 1927-28, and it took him a decade to sink out of popularity under other directors during the 1930s. Here he is during his original stardom. If Disney hadn’t had Oswald taken away from him, we would never have gotten Mickey Mouse. Instead Oswald would have gone on to the mega-popularity that Mickey won. (Maybe. Oswald was still owned by Universal Studios, so Disney never would have had the creative freedom that he did with Mickey, who was 100% his own character.) Furry fandom would have acknowledged Oswald instead of Mickey as one of its major influences.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit relates Walt Disney’s story from his and his brother Roy’s coming to Hollywood in 1923 and starting their studio. Back then it was standard for an animator to create an idea, present it to an agent, and for his agent to shop it around to the big studios. A studio that liked the idea would buy the property, and hire the animator and his assistants to create the cartoons which it would pay for, through their agent. That is what happened with the Oswald cartoons. Disney created the concept, had it approved by his agent, Charles Mintz, and Mintz sold the concept to Universal Studios, which then hired Disney to make the cartoons, two per month. Universal was a major studio and Disney’s future seemed assured. But during 1927, Disney began spending more and more to make each cartoon. Oswald was a big animated cartoon star and Disney wanted to constantly improve each film’s qualities, while businesslike Universal just wanted the cartoons made as cheaply as possible. Universal and Mintz agreed together to replace Disney with a new animation director to produce Universal’s Oswald cartoons. Disney knew that he had sold all rights to Oswald, so he didn’t protest – he secretly created Mickey to replace Oswald, and he got his own funding so he never had to sell the rights to Mickey. With more money and imagination, the Disney Mickey cartoons grew to worldwide popularity during the 1930s, while the cheaper and less imaginative Universal Oswald cartoons dwindled and disappeared.

This is detailed in the first chapter, “The Origins of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit”. Subsequent chapters are “Reacquiring the Rights to Oswald” (the Disney studio getting them back from Universal in 2006). “The Search Begins” (Universal hadn’t bothered to keep any of the 1927-1928 cartoons, so Disney had to search for them elsewhere). “Restoration, Preservation, and Music” (many of the cartoons, all silent films, were partial and in deteriorating condition), and “Walt Disney’s Original 26 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Episodes”.

Each of the 26 cartoons – “Poor Papa”, “Trolley Troubles”, “Oh, Teacher”, “The Mechanical Cow”, “Great Guns”, and all the others released from September 5, 1927 to September 3, 1928 — gets a five- or six-page profile, with its premiere date, complete credits, running time, and a lengthy plot synopsis. Even the seven cartoons that have not been rediscovered yet have their scripts and samples of their artwork preserved. The illustrations include film stills, cartoon scene notes (storyboards had not been invented yet), full-color posters that have been found, and pencil rough layouts for posters that have not survived. The opening chapters are illustrated with photographs, story notes, telegrams, and other materials from the Disney Archives. Apparently Disney hoarded everything, whether Universal did or not.

Comic books did not exist yet, so these 26 one-reel theatrical cartoons were all the existence that Oswald got. But they were enough to make him a major cartoon movie star of 1927-28. Many of the story ideas and gags in these cartoons were recycled by Disney in his later Mickey Mouse cartoons. The character of Mickey evolved over the years, in animated cartoons, newspaper comics, comic books, and more. The character of Oswald never got the chance to evolve. By the time furry fandom arose, all that was available of Oswald were some very bland and completely redesigned and forgettable Dell comic books, from the 1950s through December-January 1961-62. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shows both the history of the cartoons, and what character the furry fan has unknowingly been missing.

Today Disney is reintroducing Oswald through new video games, comic books, merchandise, and theme-park costumes. Don’t miss this chance to find out about Oswald’s origins.

Fred Patten

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Categories: News

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, by Margaret Killjoy – Book Review by Fred Patten

Tue 5 Dec 2017 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, by Margaret Killjoy
NYC, Tom Doherty Associates/TOR Books, August 2017, trade paperback, $14.99 (127 pages), Kindle $3.99.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion is the first novella in the new Danielle Cain horror series, “a dropkick-in-the-mouth anarcho-punk fantasy that pits traveling anarchist Danielle Cain against vengeful demons, hypocritical ideologues, and brutal, unfeeling officers of the law,” as a blurb says. #2 will be The Barrow Will Send What It May, to be published in April 2018. This is not a furry series; #2 will pit Danielle against zombies. But this #1 is fantasy-animal-related, although not anthropomorphic.

Danielle is the foul-mouthed narrator, a late-twenties now-cynical anarchist, no longer looking for the idealized commune where everyone loves everyone else and anarchy really works. As The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion begins, she is hitchhiking in rural Iowa to such a rumored commune, and she has to pull a knife on the car’s driver who does not want to let her out in the middle of “nowhere”.

“Ten years of putting up with shit like that from drivers. It was getting old. Hell, at twenty-eight, I was getting old. Ten years ago I’d talk to drivers about anything and love them for it. I loved the nice ones for their kindness, I loved the crazies for their stories, and sure, I hated the racist pieces of shit, but if nothing else I got to feel like I had the pulse of this racist, piece-of-shit country. But a decade is an awfully long time, and whatever shine I’d found on the shit that is hitchhiking had long since faded. Still, it got me where I wanted to go.” (p. 12)

Freedom, Iowa is a commune of about two hundred squatters and anarchist activists in an abandoned ghost town. But why Danielle wants to go there is:

“It was the last place Clay had lived, the last place he’d spent much time before he’d found his way west and his hand had shown his razor the way to his throat. No warning signs, no cries for help.

I had a lot of questions. If there were answers, I might find them in Freedom, Iowa.” (p. 13)

Danielle encounters the first horrific animal near the town right away.

“After a hundred yards and a couple turns, when the trees were getting thick enough to cast the whole of the road into shadow, I saw a deer on the shoulder ahead, rooting at something on the pavement. The beast was crimson red. Bloodred. I didn’t know deer even came in that color.

I crossed to the far side of the street so I wouldn’t disturb him, but I couldn’t help staring. A rabbit was dead on the ground beneath him, its belly up, its rib cage splayed open. The deer looked up at me then, his red muzzle dripping red blood.

On the right side of his head, he bore an antler. On the left side of his head, he bore two.” (ibid.)

Freedom, Iowa turns out to be the kind of deserted Midwest small town that you would find in a Stephen King short story. Houses’ roofs have fallen in. Cars are rusting at the curbs. It’s quiet. Too quiet. When the punk and hippie squatters appear, they’re all friendly but afraid. Clay had talked about her while he lived there, so they welcome her. They have names like Vulture, Doomsday, Thursday, Eric Tall-As-Fuck, and Kestrel. Danielle’s name is also her own adoption, but it’s not weird like that. She sees that one has a tattoo of a stylized three-antlered deer head on his neck.

“I was about to ask about it, but a sudden fear shut my mouth. There was something more to Freedom than I knew, and as much as I wanted to feel right at home, I didn’t.” (p. 21)

Okay, it’s a horror novella, so you can expect something grisly. It’s all animal-related.

“The sun sat fat and low on the western horizon, at the top of the street, and the last light of the day lent everything vivid faded colors. White lambs, dappled with red and purple wounds, paced a circle around both lanes of the street, not twenty yards from where we stood. Geese dodged in and out between them, and a regal goat oversaw the parade. Each creature had only a gaping wound where its rib cage had been, yet they lived. They opened their mouths to bellow and squawk and bleat, but their organless bodies let out only strange rasps.” (p. 24)

The ghoul animals are controlled by the deer.

“‘The deer’s name is Uliksi,’ she [Doomsday] told me again. ‘An endless spirit. A demon. A creature of vengeance hat walks these woods, swims in this river, watches this town. He’s been a guardian spirit, until tonight.’” (p. 28)

Why, if Uliksi has begun killing them, do Freedom’s hippies want to stay? Because they’ve finally gotten an anarchic community that works. A community of free-living friendship that’s worth fighting for, from The Establishment and from Uliksi’s ghoul animals. But the community’s defense leaves something to be desired.

“‘What do we do if we see anything?’ I asked.

‘Oh, right,’ Vulture said. He unslung a hunting horn from his belt. An honest-to-god hunting horn, like the kind that comes off an animal, with the tip cut off so you can blow through it. ‘Blow this. Or, you know, call someone. There’s decent cell signal everywhere in town and on this side of the hill. Maybe do both. I would do both.’

‘Okay,’ I said.

‘You’re looking for cops on the highway, large gatherings of undead animals, or I guess in this case very tall figures running around with my no-good ex-boyfriend or especially making their way toward the house.’

‘Got it,’ I said.

Vulture put his arm around my shoulders. ‘Did you floss?’ he asked.

‘What?’

‘Flossing is super important. Some people say it’s more important than brushing your teeth. It’s easy to forget to floss at times like this, but you’ve got to live today like you’ll survive till tomorrow.’

He was being serious. Kind of scarily so.

‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘I floss.’” (pgs. 62-63)

There turns out to be three forces, not two, menacing the anarchist commune: The Establishment/police, Uliksi and his undead/ghoul animals, and a cabal within the commune-where-everyone-is-equal who secretly plan to seize power over the rest. The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion is more of a detective novella than a horror novella. Danielle must figure out who the true enemy is.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion (cover by Mark Smith) is full of suspense and fear – but more because it tells you that it is than because of anything that happens.

“He lit a second cigarette with the end of the first one. He wasn’t smoking as an affectation, he was smoking because he was scared as hell and trying to keep his cool.” (p. 46)

But the scenes with the ghoul animals are creepy:

“Animal eyes turned toward us with mute curiosity, which turned to malice as we tried to rush past them. A silent mess of geese got underfoot and lunged for my hands. I started swinging. It wasn’t animal abuse. They were dead already. Some of the ones I hit didn’t get up again.

Brynn was almost to the gate when the goat ran at me. Someone or something had sheared off the beast’s horns, presumably before Uliksi had stolen the creature’s rib cage. Not an easy life, or unlife or whatever. I pulled back and swung from the hip, like a one-handed batter, and hit the goat in the skull with all my strength.

I must have grown up watching too many zombie movies. Hitting that thing’s skull was like hitting a boulder, and I probably hurt my hand more than I hurt the goat. Still, the blow seemed to have stopped its charge. It was still in my way. It tried to bleat, but had no lungs.

I heard a low rumble like distant thunder and turned in time to see a demon bull crash out of the trees and barrel toward us.” (p. 77)

The ghoul animals may not be anthropomorphic, but The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion is a good Halloween read.

Fred Patten

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Categories: News

Passing Through; Tails from the Road – Book Review by Fred Patten

Sat 2 Dec 2017 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Passing Through; Tails from the Road [edited by Weasel]
Manvil, TX, Weasel Press, September 2017, trade paperback, $9.99 (138 pages), Kindle $2.99.

There is an editor’s introduction that sets the mood of hitchhiking drama, but isn’t clear whether it’s just a mood piece for this anthro universe, or if it was a real-life personal event that inspired this anthology. Here are six short stories and novelettes about anthro hitchhikers. “Cash, Grass, or Ass, open up and hitch a ride!” (blurb)

In “First Time Ain’t Easy” by Tyson West, Rod (called both Roderick and Rodney) is a 20-year-old raccoon whose father and friends consider to be soft and immature. He hitchhikes from Illinois to Seattle to visit a cousin, gets a ride from a friendly black panther (clearly an African-American), and the two are arrested and jailed in Montana. Rod hopes to be released in a few days, but is he tough enough to survive in prison until then?

“Seed of a Doubt” by Frances Pauli is a rare anthro story with sealife:

“‘Raise your right fin.’ The bailiff fluttered silver gills and rolled one eyeball the size of Ray’s head in the direction of the judge. ‘And state your name.’

‘I’m Ray.’ The courtroom water ran a good five degrees warmer than he was used to, but the increase in temperature behind his scales was more from nerves than the fact that hey were in the shallows. ‘Sorry. Ray Blythe.’” (p. 27)

The judge is a squid, the bailiff is a cod, and the defendant who Ray is a reluctant witness against is a shark mob boss. A big shark. Ray is a remora who had hitched a ride — was attached to Carl Sanguini, the shark, at the time of the alleged murder. A remora is a small fish, used to being silent and unnoticed, as Ray was when the alleged murder took place. He is extra nervous at being the center of attention in the coral courtroom.

What happens in the trial could only happen if the characters are anthro sealife. Kudos to Pauli.

“The Savage Caravan” by Jako Malan takes advantage of the author being South African:

“It was then I saw her by the roadside.

Her tiny hooves leisurely disturbed the roadside gravel. A small backpack of possessions slung over her shoulder and a pinstripe of smoke curled upward from a cigarette clasped in her left hoof. An upturned third digit on her right signaled her intentions. She trawled the highway or transportation. Companionship. Maybe more? I would take the bait. A twisted smile stretched across my muzzle, and my tail flicked beneath my backside on the sagging leather seat.

[…]

Rebellious, small-town adolescent,’ I thought to myself. Not the kind of ewe your parents would want you to bring home. My parents, however, would hardly approve of anyone or anything that didn’t have a wonderfully shiny coat, sported canines, perky ears, and had a bushy tail.’” (pgs. 53-54)

The narrator is Ed, the lorry driver, a dog (breed unspecified but German shepherd would fit). Any description of what happens would be a spoiler, but let’s just say that they’re both psychopaths; there are zebras, leopards, and meerkats; and there’s a lot of blood. And that this is another story that requires the characters to be anthro animals. Kudos to Malan, too.

In “El Vucko” by Billy Leigh, Jamie (Dingo) and Evelyn (Vixen) are a couple of tourists who fly to Spain a rent a van to tour the countryside. As they set out they hear a radio news report that the police are looking for El Vucko, a jewel thief. They pick up a hitchhiker; Rufus, a handsome Wolf with a British accent who claims that his car has broken down. As they spend time camping out together, Jamie who is gay begins to resent the attention that Evelyn shows for Rufus. He also begins to suspect Rufus of being El Vucko. There is a bit of excitement at the end. “El Vucko” isn’t a bad story but not much happens. It’s successful mainly as a story about three young friends camping out in the Spanish countryside.

“Highway to Hell” by Thurston Howl is about Harry, a drunken driver, and Stan, the hitchhiker he picks up. I can’t say anything about the story, not even their species, except that it’s short; less than four pages.

“Underpass” by BanWynn Oakshadow is stream-of-consciousness narration from Sutah, a cougar mutie vagrant with Bi-Polar Personality Disorder who usually lives under the eaves of a highway underpass, to a government shrink examining him:

“I’ve got my bedroll, but I ain’t ‘bout to use it here. Highway Patrol cops are total shits ‘bout ‘vagrants’ sleeping up here, specially muties. They grab my tail most every time I try, haul my fuzzy ass in to take my paw prints and check for priors – I got one for ‘Inducing Panic’ and a couple for vagrancy – then, if I’m lucky, they’ll toss me in a cell ‘til I get a TV face-to-face with the judge an’ DA. It don’t matter if I’m found guilty; I ain’t got no money to pay the fine, so I get a couple weeks in the county jail instead. […]

[…]

“I was also seeing animals, natural looking, not like muties, but they talked and did shit. Once, a raccoon climbed out of the trash can in my California shrink’s office. He crawled up onto her desk behind her and swiped some of her paper clips. I pretty much ignored the shrink; which pretty much put her girdle in a twist. The ‘coon unbent and rebent the paperclips and made them into glasses just like the ones Dr. Yeng was wearing. He put them on and started making faces at her and imitating every move she made behind her back. Made me laugh so hard, I blew snot bubbles. I wished I had a mirror. I’d kill a skin to see what a big cat with a snot bubble hanging from his muzzle looked like. […]

[…]

After a couple months, the VA decided that I had enough fixing. They measured that by dollars, not recovery. Even that I was a disabled vet didn’t help me stay. Mutie disabled vets is only worth half as much. The food was actually good there, and my yowling from the nightmares got me a private room. I gotta love my anal glands. Spraying the bed when I had one of them nightmares made the other seven muties in the room raise hell til I was gone. […]” (pgs. 113-115)

Sutah rambles on and on. The government in this country doesn’t cure those fucked up with mental problems; it dumps them out into the public, and onto the road. “NO FUR!” muties included.

Passing Through; Tails from the Road (cover by Tabsley) is a short anthology about anthro hitchhikers with someplace to go; hitchhikers with nowhere to go; hitchhiker predators and victims; and permanent drifters. “Seed of a Doubt” and “The Savage Caravan” depend on their characters being anthro animals in an anthro world. “Highway to Hell” and “Underpass” depend on their characters being anthro animals in a human world. “First Time Ain’t Easy” and “El Vucko” are just funny-animal stories. The former is a fine one, but the latter is the kind of story where the writing is good enough but you keep waiting for something to happen, and waiting … and when it does, it wasn’t worth the wait. Sorry. “Seed of a Doubt” and “The Savage Caravan” are worth the price of Passing Through alone, though. Overall: recommended.

Fred Patten

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Categories: News

Imperium Lupi, by Adam Browne – Book Review by Fred Patten

Fri 1 Dec 2017 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Imperium Lupi, by Adam Browne. Illustrations, maps by the author.
Kent, England, U.K., Dayfly Publications, July 2017, trade paperback, £15.99, $20.99 (724 pages), Kindle £3.99, $5.99.

The book starts off with three complex full-page maps and several insignia. One map is of the walled city of Lupa, captioned “The capital of Wolfkind”. The insignia are of such things as “Buttle Skyways”, showing a dirigible, and “Lupan Laws”, the seal of the Lupan Republic’s government. There is also a ten-page lexicon at the rear of the book of terms used in the novel, such as:

Chakaa: The hyena answer to the Howlers, they are forbidden to use white-imperium by their beliefs, but unlike wolves they cope well with the psychotic side effects of purple-imperium. Even so, Chakaa are often unstable and are sidelined by the exacting standards set by noble-born hyena society, and only tolerated at all for their great strength and usefulness in battle.

The Politzi: Lupa’s police force, consisting largely of hogs, rats, rabbits and other lesser beasts who are for the most part unable to wield imperium directly.

Queens Town: Cat colony on the east coast, independent of Lupine Law. It was allowed to remain sovereign Felician territory as part of an ancient peace settlement between Felicia and Lupa. It is the first port of entry for any cats, or other beasts, coming to the Lupine Continent from across the Teich.

Imperium Lupi is set on the world of Erde. The first character that the reader meets in Part 1, Chapter 1 is Howler Rufus, a red-furred wolf, on a train:

“The pain subsiding, Rufus leant back into his seat, chest heaving beneath his cloak. He glanced around the dilapidated carriage; his fellow passengers diverted their curious gaze or hid behind newspapers. Little beasts mostly, mice, rats, rabbits, all the lesser races, who wouldn’t dare speak to Rufus without being spoken to.

The train slowed and the station panned into view, its fine marbled columns standing proud, each tarnished by the faintly spangled lustre of imperium ash. Rufus reached over and grabbed his helmet from the adjoining threadbare seat. He placed it over his brow; the padded metal hugging his sleek wolfen skull. It was black, save for the cheeks, which were white. Luminous red triangles were set beneath each eye-hole, like that found on Rufus’ brooch. Made of the wonder mineral imperium, they glowed even in the muted daylight, and against the helm’s white cheeks they resembled two bloodied fangs lying atop freshly fallen snow. The helm’s nose was covered by a grille punctured by a dozen round holes that enabled Rufus to breathe. Only his inquisitive green eyes and perky red ears remained visible, endowing him with menacing anonymity.” (p. 25)

The minutiae of this civilization are described in fine detail. It would be easy for a cosplayer to make the costumes, or for a model-builder to craft the vehicles and devices:

“At the bottom of the sprawling stairs, Ivan peeled away from Rufus, keys jangling in paw, and found his monobike parked by the road – and a fine machine it was, too, its large, singular wheel housed seamlessly under a chunky, polished black chassis marked on the flank with a small white spider motif.

Brushing globules of rainwater from the seat, Ivan threw an armoured leg over his marvellous bike, inserted the keys, and started it up with a kick of the pedal. Amidst a loud bang and several ear-thumping pops, imperium ash exploded forth from the exhaust in grey, yet slightly glittery clouds. The inside rim of the bike’s lone, broad wheel nestled between Ivan’s legs lit up in a bright ring of white as the imperium-laced gyroscope came to life. The bike rose up a little and righted itself, like a metallic beetle awakening from hibernation.” (p. 28)

It takes an age for the plot to get moving, but the richness of the buildup is exquisite. Here is an important quote:

“‘The imperium in our bodies is what gives us Howlers power,’ the imperologist went on, enjoying his role as the wellspring of knowledge, ‘but there’s a price. Whenever it’s burnt, whether it be in a car, a train, or our muscles, imperium of all colours decays into imperium ash. It’s bad enough when it clogs Lupa’s air, but when it fouls our bodies up it causes great pain…it’s well you know.’

Bruno gulped audibly.” (pgs. 35-36)

There is also drama:

“A flash of light and puff of ash burst from the pistol’s end. A fraction later and a colourful spark dashed off the leading monobike’s one wheel. The tyre exploded and tore itself apart in an instant.

The assassin’s monobike shuddered and twisted violently to one side, before catapulting itself seat over wheel and flinging the rider in front. He sailed through the air and disappeared amidst the carnage as his machine slid along the cobbles, shedding a shower of sparks and pieces of chrome bodywork all the way, before smashing into a heap of rubbish piled against the end of the alleyway.” (p. 41)

Here is more detail:

“Uther danced over to his locker and turned the dial on the combination lock, all the while flicking his tail and jigging his legs like some cabaret star. He removed his helmet like a hat, twirling it deftly over one paw and into the darkness of the locker, whereupon the red-imperium fangs slowly lost their lustre. Uther’s whole helmet was fortified with imperium not just the fang decoration, his leg armour too. The metal comprising Howler armour was known as eisenglanz, an alloy of steel and, of all things, imperium ash. Eisenglanz was not only physically tough, but the ash melded within the steel acted as an insulator and helped diminish the burning plasmatic attacks Howlers could inflict on one another. The ash gave naked eisenglanz a distinctive grey sheen, like pencil-lead.” (p. 66)

There are many major characters in Imperium Lupi. Some of the most important are the wolf Howler officers Rufus Valerio and Ivan Donskoy, Troopers veteran Uther “Wild-heart” (orphan; family name unknown) and young Linus Mills (all Bloodfangs); Rufus’ politically well-connected wife Janoah Valerio; the effete Felician aristocrats Montague and Penelope Buttle who keep appearing or being referred to; the Hyena terrorist Prince Noss and The Hyena Organisation for Recognition of Nationhood (THORN); the rabbit tavern cook Casimir Claybourne; and Casimir’s adopted son, the mysterious wolf pup Bruno Claybourne, and his wolfess girlfriend Sara Hummel.

The highly convoluted plot revolves around the Lupan Republic’s dominance of the Lupine Continent on the world of Erde. There are schemes within Lupa’s elite wolf government to turn the Republic into an Empire; there are schemes by some of the other animal peoples within Lupa for their own independent nations; there are fears around Erde that Lupa’s dependence on the powerful but ultimately deadly imperium (Lupa city is perpetually under “the choking clouds of the Ashfall”) is slowly poisoning the entire world, and schemes by some to get rid of imperium by ending Lupa’s dominance; and there are schemes by some who just want to end wolfkind’s rule.

Imperium Lupi (cover by Mike Nash) is a rich mixture of action, comedy, mystery, tragedy, political intrigue at the highest levels, and sentient bugs, among the animal peoples of the world of Erde. The wolves dominate, but there is plenty here for the fans of rabbits, pigs, hyenas, otters, and others. Imperium Lupi is proof that not all of the best furry literature is being produced within furry fandom.

Fred Patten

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Categories: News

How furry animator Jib Kodi found his art: “When I saw that tail move, I was instantly hooked.”

Wed 29 Nov 2017 - 10:30

I’m in love with this exclusive animation that Jib Kodi made for a B&A (Bark & Awoo) with me!  It was so cool of him to put the appeal and personality of his art on display with his words. He caught my eye, as I’m sure he did for many others, with his outrageously cool short .gif animations on Twitter. In a very short time (months) he’s built a massive 14K following based on how infectiously shareable they are. It’s a winning strategy for an artist, and as far as he’s told me, it just happened accidentally out of love for what he’s into. Kind of like furry fandom grew itself. – Patch

Follow Jib Kodi on FurAffinity and Twitter

Hi Jib, can you talk about how you got into furry, and what do you think about it?

Welp, here goes nuthin’.

I was interested in the fandom since I was little, but obviously back then I wasn’t aware of fandom’s existence. And finally when I did get to learn what it was all about… well, people around me had negative views on it. That was my first impression from the public. So I naturally I suppressed my interest, hoping it would eventually fade away. During that period I’d hear more about the community, all the cons, and events. And oh boy, it sounded really really fun. Finally after 10 years, around March of 2017, I finally decided to make my own character, do little drawings and animated clips, and get myself involved. Basically all the stuff I wanted to do back in the day. To be able to open up, gosh, what a liberating feeling that was. As I look into the community more, there are many aspects and interests that I could relate to. With in less than a year, I was able to meet peeps from all over the world, with various careers, and interesting stories. When I look back, it makes me regret not joining the community earlier.

How did you get into animation, and what do you like about it?

Story telling was something I always enjoyed doing since I was little. Happy stories, sad stories, funny stories, you name it. Hehe I was one of those kid that spread silly rumours like how the school bathroom was haunted, and got myself into all sorts of troubles. But the point is, if I can get the person to react in some sort of ways, then I was all in. Drawin’ is one of my other big hobby, so it was inevitable that I drew pictures that tell some sort of stories. Those two interest eventually snowballed and I came upon animation. This opened whole new components to story-telling! From timing, to adding music, how to reveal punchline, and all that jazz. One of the first thing I animated was an alligator waggin’ its tail. When I saw that tail move, I was instantly hooked. Since then, animation has been one of my favourite medium to tell stories or show a little slice of life that the viewers can relate to.

What have you done with animation before?

I’ve made bunch of personal animated shorts. I love making them, but to be honest they can be really exhausting. In a way, it’s a marathon; you will be drawing thousands of same thing over and over again! And when you do get it done, and lets say right before you post it on the internet or submitting it to a film festival, theres so many emotions that goes thru your head. But its really worth it cause, due to longer runtime, you get to tell longer stories, and develop characters much more in depth. It really feels like a long journey that you go on when you make these shorts. Other then that, I’ve freelanced and worked for animation studios. For the bigger studios, I’m a story board artist. It’s a process where you draw the film almost like a comic book. But in a movie format. It helps the director and the rest of the crew visualize what the story of the movie is going to look like.

What inspires you, and who do you work with? (Are there other furry animators?)

Fandom has inspired me big time. Especially coming from someone who loves to draw animals. I know thats been a HUGE motivation for me to crank out all these animation in a short amount of time. I honesty thought I would’ve burnt out within a month or so. But that fire is still burning and even after I come back from work which is drawing all day, I get really excited to work on these animations! As far as collaboration goes, there are some artists who I’ve discussed about working together on something which I’m excited for! Though I’m still somewhat new kid on the block, and I don’t know a lot of artists in the community. But I really hope I get to meet more em in the future.

What do you plan to do with the animation you’re working on – is it for fun or do you have specific ambitions?

A lot of these animations I’ve been doin’ lately were mostly just for fun. My initial purpose joinin’ the fandom was to have a good time, and I’m having so much fun working on these little animated clips. I’m really excited to see what other stuff I can get involved in other than working on these animations. When I learned about how big charity events are in the community, that alone makes me really happy!

Within these several months, I think I’ve made handful of animated clips with similar topics that I think I can compile em all together with music and make little shorts out of them. At the moment I’m not thinkin’ too much into making longer contents. They often require a lot of planning and I’m bit aloof those might drain the motivation out of me. However, some of these animation unintentionally became more like a little short/ daily episodes. For instance, I animated a Shiba Inu gettin ready for business. At first, I just wanted to show how he wears a tie. But the moment I posted the gif, all these ideas popped in my head. So I started building a story based on the first gif. I certainly enjoy all these spontaneous encounters. And I’ll embrace em with open arms. Despite a lot of intense work, they force you to improvise and I personally think thats a real good exercise for animation and story telling.

Let me throw a bunch of stuff at you about your work process. When you get an idea, how do you sit down and prepare for it? What are your steps for making it? Do you use a lot of reference? What are you using to animate? How productive are you, and does it help your flow to use twitter to post small chunks?

My animation process is kinda all over the place. But they all start with something I want to show or express. Or characters I simply just want to animate. I’ll quickly brainstorm and start elaborating on what I want to show. And how I want to execute the content. Then I would quickly thumbnail the visuals just to check if its worthy of spending 10-20 hrs on it. If I’m happy with it, Ill go to town. Starting off with some main poses of the character and then timing out the overall animation. I work really rough. In my animation style, the roughness shows even in the final look of the footage. I just don’t have the patience to spend days making everything pristine and clean. If that was the case, my work flow would be a lot more slower and each piece would probably tag on twice the amount of production time. For others who are interested in story telling or animation, I highly recommend researching and gathering reference for your content. whether its the idea, or movements, research makes everything more solid. No matter how cartoony your animation may look, you can still add the realistic quality that helps the viewer relate to the content. And thats a great way to let the viewers engage and become invested in the characters you’ve created. These days, research is a whole lot easier than ever. Yup, thanks to Internet. Though, if you can somehow experience it in real life, I recommend that cause theres no other better way to gain experiences other than living it.

Anyway, the clean up process for the animation takes a good chunk of time. It can be a bit of a brain dead activity as well since you are most likely colouring something hundreds of times. I generally watch movies as I work on this process to keep myself somewhat entertained. But when you get it all done, its such a rewarding feeling. Oh and yes, for those digital animators. don’t forget to save!!! And save multiple versions of files. Last weekend, my file got corrupted and I lost 17 hrs of work. Don’t do what I do! XD

Your small animated gifs are getting tons of views and look like a really smart way to use twitter to build up for a bigger project.  Can you say anything about using Twitter that way – is it intentional or did it succeed by surprise? And can you say anything else about promoting your work?

I had zero intentions for anything with twitter. I still can’t believe I have twitter now, I was never too crazy about having one. I’m quite wary that whatever I post may expose to the wrong group of crowd. Heh I guess thats just me being paranoid. Anyway, I finally opened an account. From there on its been about 5 crazy months for me, and I’m very thrilled and overwhelmed with the attention I’ve received. The community has been really inspiring and friendly. But really, in all seriousness, I’m still quite unexperienced in social media. So there’s a lot of new stuff I’m learning. It just started out with posting contents Ive been working on. The only thing Ive really caught on are the fact that timing for posting your stuff is really important. I do have to say, internet is one big massive mysterious beast. There’s level of randomness when it comes to putting your work out there. Good content, that goes without saying, but the right timing, good amount of luck, and something that catches the viewers eye are all the elements that comes into play when getting your stuff out there. Keep creating, keep posting, and eventually viewers will notice your work more.

What thoughts do you have about “furry animation” for the future – do you think it’s growing, and could there be a scene for it?

I have high hopes that animation will have a bigger spotlight in the fandom. Especially for a fandom that’s so heavily inspired by animation, there’s big potential. I hope there are more artists out there who are inspired to try animation. It is a lot of work, but the sky is the limit in animation. Whatever you imagine, you can animate. After all it’s just bunch of drawings seen at a high speed. But you can add so much life this medium! That charm alone is the reason why I chose animation to tell stories, it’s the reason why many other artists animate, and why we enjoy watching them so much.

Is there anything else you want to talk about?

As an artist, always try to find ways to improve, and don’t be afraid to try new gigs! Be open to critiques. Some feedbacks may sting, but it’ll overall help you grow a tougher skin. Along the way you will make mistakes which means you’re on the right track, cause you will learn from those mistakes! Don’t get too precious with what you make. In the long term, this may work against you as you stop looking for ways to improve. If what your working on gets really frustrating. Take a breather. Don’t hack at it. You can work on something else and then once you’ve cooled off you can return to what you were struggling on. And remember to give your eyes a break, load up on fresh air, h2o and exercise. Your health comes first before everything else!

Thanks!! I hope it all makes sense and thank you for the opportunity!

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

How low can they go? Altfurry is grooming kids to retaliate against critics.

Wed 29 Nov 2017 - 10:02

Last week was a very bad week to be a nazi furry. (Every week is bad for that, but this one was exceptional). Call them the Incel ISIS, or just a bunch of trolls, but the week kept bringing reminders that the furry fandom is past the limit of tolerance for their hate. There was a wave of critical attention:

  • Newsweek published a deep look at the racist alt-right origins of alt-furry.
  • Dogpatch Press posted an expose by a mole inside the Furry Raiders, and their hate group activity led former members to repudiate it.
  • @Deotasdevil posted an essay about neo-nazis recruiting in nerd groups. It reached far outside of fandom, including 41,000 watchers of Sonicfox5000.
  • More evidence was found in a video from Casey Hoerth/”Len Gilbert”, an altfurry recruiter/bottom-feeder. He soon regretted his words in the video and tried to bury it with a whack-a-mole game of DMCA claims. His rare moment of candor was too revealing about their private narrative.

Life is short. @AltFurryBlocker is your ticket out of #altfurry bullshit. pic.twitter.com/6I2w1tvmcv

— Tempe O'Kun (@TempoWrites) November 14, 2017

Finally finished my magnum opus. 3,000 words on brutality and intrigue of the ongoing furry political strife. https://t.co/jSFTxCV1x2

— Will Hicks (@William__Hicks) November 24, 2017

What I learned from lurking the Furry Raiders chat – guest post by Aristide https://t.co/KVRyXQuyO6 pic.twitter.com/M6nirn5ir1

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 22, 2017

I wrote this article to explain what tactics neonazi's use to recruit people, how those tactics work, and why the tactics are especially appealing in niche internet nerd subcultures like the Furry Fandom.https://t.co/yhxkq1B5xY

— Deo ???????? (@DeoTasDevil) November 23, 2017

Made a short thing since the other video we were linking was open to DMCA claims. I proudly present the seedy origins of AltFurry; enjoy! https://t.co/uQKUUcva0G

— Ed "Bad Bear" Bear (@That_Edward) November 24, 2017

Alt-Right racism that inspires Altfurry, in their own words.

All that indefensible stuff didn’t stop them from making a sideshow of deflection and backlash. It started with Len/Casey’s attempt to bury the video. Now they’re pushing forward with hope to raise even more aggression at critics. Altfurry is more like a NEET gang than a street gang, but there’s something deeply creepy about the plans. Read on to see how they’re grooming kids for an anti-SJW jihad, and how the kids even call themselves “weaponized”.

It’s a small piece of a bigger issue.

Briefly: in Hollywood, a wave of sex abuse revelations is reaching people who were too powerful for accountability before. It extends to politics, including the career of Roy Moore, the Alabama politician who is being investigated as a child predator.

As backlash, the Washington Post was targeted by a right-wing hoax group. A false claimant about Moore was sent to them as an attempt to get in the news, and instigate embarrassment and undermine critical reporting.  But investigation by the Post caught the hoaxers red-handed. They failed to stage fake news.

The O'Keefe thing at first feels like a hilarious own-goal. But think about what they did. They expropriated the child victims of a sex predator. And they did it because they want that sex predator to win a goddamned senate seat. You think they can't go lower. And then they do.

— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) November 28, 2017

It ties into the way Altfurry and Furry Raiders members are following the example of the hoaxers, with predictably poor judgement.   They hope to trash critics with similar manipulation tactics.  You can see them below. Solution: with an informed community, it will fail just as hard.

Altfurry backlash includes sexual exploitation of kids.

Get informed about this ugliness, but don’t be surprised – it’s nothing new. Go back to summer 2017 with activity by Altfurry Discord, Len/Casey’s group. Moles exposed logs of thousands of pages of the group chat (download in the link.) The chat logs demonstrate the racist intentions seen in Casey’s video, and plans for trolling against targets from critics to cons. You know it shows what they’re really like, because the planning happened before they were exposed, and members assumed their candid chat was confidential with each other.

Member Siggy was planning backlash against Dogpatch Press. What Siggy posted indicates he may be a minor.  In the screenshots, the profile is left unredacted because 1) it’s not a real name 2) those who associate with Siggy need to know this is real.  It implicates them for being in a chat where Altfurry allowed planning for child sexual exploitation on behalf of their group. (Luckily their lousy judgement extends to picking a target who wouldn’t go for such goofy entrapment, but they didn’t even care about someone considering being bait.) Complicity could have been avoided at the first post:

Doubling down to project guilt at targets.

Let’s return to November 2017. On Twitter, I posted about the Furry Raiders recruiting an apparent middle schooler.  A screenshot of the member list happened to include them and one other member. That member then demanded to be removed from the post.  He explained that he isn’t a real nazi, he was only there to advertise a different hate group and really hates everyone.

Proof of being a nasty troll meant no results for the demand. So the Furry Raider member doubled down. (They just don’t know when to quit and cut their losses.) He took the screenshot posted about the middle schooler, and photoshopped my pic in place of his own to claim that “Dogpatch is a nazifur”. (The term for that is projection.)

Next he dug up a 2014 photo of myself and a controversial furry who I didn’t know when it was taken.  He’s active at events and cons as a staffer under power of organizers to handle. (What I had to say about it was previously posted in this article about a fandom problem.) The photo was manipulated to imply that the controversy somehow included me. When it was reported, Twitter and Facebook judged it was harassment and limited the troll’s accounts.

Underage recruiting by Furry Raiders. Newest member on their Facebook is an apparent middle schooler added by Foxler. pic.twitter.com/o5X7p1knPm

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 20, 2017

The fake screenshot with my fabulous face photoshopped in.

My furry culture is taking fursuit photos with anyone who wants to be in them, including people I don't know. Much appreciate if you could report this targeted harassment about it and add to Twitter's file for it: https://t.co/fFyqpese1Q pic.twitter.com/nR5sz3Pdn6

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 26, 2017

They lie in public but know the truth in private. Tip: Vappyflame

We know they’re full of shit. Sometimes they figure it out too.

Harassment info from mole inside the Furry Raiders

Altfurries will continue to retaliate but suck at it.

This post can help respond to future harassment, manipulation, and faked instigation. Were you targeted by nazis like many who were left out of the story to avoid overexposure? Anyone can link this article to show what’s really going on.

The evidence here is already part of law enforcement cases. Other altfurry activity may not be shared to avoid interfering with investigation. If you or someone you know is aware of illegal activity by or in these groups, you can provide the FBI with an anonymous tip. Or get in touch for off-record discussion of how to keep yourself safe for getting out of the group or sharing important info about it.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Altfurry blocklist. Every new member adds distance between them and their targets, plus every time a nazi cries about being blocked, someone else gets a hug. Look out for each other and keep showing them the door.

Join the party!

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

Press Release! Dogs of War II: Aftermath, edited by Fred Patten, Debuts at MFF

Tue 28 Nov 2017 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Dogs of War II: Aftermath, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Midwest FurFest 2017 in Rosemont (Chicago), Illinois over the November 30-December 3 four-day weekend. The book can be pre-ordered from FurPlanet Productions. It will be for sale on the FurPlanet online catalogue afterwards.

Dogs of War II: Aftermath is an all-original anthology of 20 short stories and novelettes of anthropomorphic animals (not just dogs) in military scenarios, from battle action to boot camps, from the past to the future, on land, at sea, and in space. This is designed to appeal to both s-f & fantasy fans, and fans of military s-f.

From bioengineered military dogs with Artificial Intelligence to a fawn trying to prove he is a stag, a horse sailor on a warship, a canid-ape space war, a self-aware robot bird, a fox soldier passed over for a deserved promotion, reindeer Vikings, animal Sea Bees constructing an island airstrip, and more; these are stories for your imagination and enjoyment.

Contents:
Dog, Extended, by Cairyn
Remembrance, by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden
Scars, by Televassi
The Surface Tension, by Dwale
My Brother’s Shadow, by M. R. Anglin
Close to Us, by MikasiWolf
Lime Tiger, by Slip-Wolf
Umbra’s Legion: The Destruction of Ismara, by Geoff Galt
Umbra’s Legion: Charon’s Obol, by Adam Baker
The Call, by Lord Ikari
Every Horse Will Do His Duty, by Thurston Howl
Matched Up, by K. Hubschmid
The Son of Goulon Stumptail, by NightEyes DaySpring
Noble, by Thomas “Faux” Steele
Trial by Error, by Jaden Drackus
The Night the Stars Fell, by KC Alpinus
Tears of the Sea, by MikasiWolf
The Pack, by Argyron
Red Engines, by Kris Schnee
Going Home, by Miles Reaver

Price: $19.95. 478 pages. Wraparound cover by Teagan Gavet.   ISBN 978-1-61450-397-2.

Fred Patten

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.&

Categories: News

Furry Marketplaces: Where to Shop and Browse Online

Mon 27 Nov 2017 - 10:15

Welcome to guest poster Summercat – a great friend to Dogpatch Press, with a cool interest in Furry Comics and Zines History.

When I joined the fandom in 1999, there were very few ways to shop for furry fandom merch. Most of your purchases were made via mail-order, or at a convention dealer room. There were few options for buying things from individuals – I recall having to mail a money order for my first online purchases.

Anthrocon 2006 Dealer’s Den. Photo by GreenReaper.

But that was 18 years ago. Today, with low-barrier tools like Square and Paypal, it is easier than ever to purchase work directly from someone living somewhere else in the world. Starting in the mid-2000s, the Furry Fandom has had it’s marketplace explode in volume and quantity. While there is a wealth of options around us, it can be confusion on where to go or start when trying to see what sort of Furry merchandise is available.

Here, I have compiled a list of online places where people can find books, comics, clothing, fursuits, and commissions from a variety of people. Due to otherwise overwhelming the list, I am excluding publishers that primarily sell their own imprints. For those, see: Furry Publishers – A Resource for Artists and Authors. This list is not exhaustive – if you feel something has been left out, please speak up and let us know!

I’ve broken down the locations in this list into three categories: Storefronts, Auction Sites, and Listing locations.

Storefronts

 

While not intentionally not an exhaustive list of everywhere you can buy books and comics, these stores feature work from a variety of companies and artists, with merchandise you purchase directly.

Rabbit Valley – Books, Comics, Prints, Misc

Rabbit Valley started off as a mail-order distribution company, selling works via catalog on behalf of small publishers and individuals. They have since expanded their operations to include their own in-house publishing, but remain one of the biggest distributors of wares in the fandom. In addition to selling newer works, Rabbit Valley also has a large back catalog of older works from the 90s and early 2000s as well.

InkedFur – Comics, Prints, Dakis, More

Founded in 2014 as a seller of art prints, InkedFur offers artists the ability to sell prints and other items with no up-front cost. InkedFur offers printed towels, acrylic stands, prints, artbooks, wall scrolls, pillow cases, and dakimuras.

Second-Ed – Comics, Zines, Misc products

Started in 2003, Second-Ed is purely a distributor of Furry, GoldDigger, and related items. While Seond-Ed does get in new items, it also sells a wide variety of older Furry Fandom items from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s as well.

Windshear’s Wares – Comics, ‘zines, Doujin, Misc

Windshear’s Wares is a Furry comic and Japanese Doujin importer and distributor. In addition to stocking newer items, Windshear’s Wares also has a large backlog of comics and zines due to long years of operation.

Fusselschwarm – German language importer

Fusselschwarm is a German importer of Furry Comics, Books, and zines. They import from Inkedfur, Thurston Howl, Rabbit Valley, Furplanet, and others. Thanks to Fred Patten for the tip!

Pawstar – Apparel

Crossover between anime, cosplay and furry dealer den fare, with raver appeal too.  Animal themed hoodies and kigu’s, ears/paws/tails, collars, goggles and hats, jewelry, and fur by the yard.

Auction Sites

 

While nothing in the fandom could compare to the power of e-bay, auction sites have been a feature in the fandom for a long while. All sorts of items and goods can be listed and sold.

The Dealer’s Den

A low key auction site, The Dealer’s Den has listings for commissions, prints, books, partial suits, and allows adult work. While there is a $1 account verification fee for buyers and sellers and a $0.50 “Featured on the Home Page” optional fee, there are no other costs for using the site. Payments are made direct to the seller, but The Dealer’s Den offers an invoicing system to help keep track of things.

Furbuy

Launched in 2000, Furbuy is one of the more well-known – though with its share of critics – furry auction sites. While basic accounts are free, there is an optional $5/month verified account that allows for more than 4 auction listings at a time. There are no fees for listing items.

Etsy

A craft and vintage focused, boutique alternative to ebay for the smaller seller.  Tailoring your searches can find well established furry-specific storefronts.

Listing Locations

 

Listing locations are not storefronts or auctions. These are places where people can list they are open for commissions or sales, and in a few cases that they are seeking to get a commission done. All of these need an account to interact with, but are free to use.

Weasyl Marketplace

One of the features of online art site Weasyl, the Marketplace is a searchable and filterable list of Weasyl users who have marked themselves as open for commission.

Telegram Channels: The Dealer’s Den, Furry Market Place

Lumped together for brevity, these are Telegram channels specifically for posting ads seeking to buy or sell commissions. Both are very specific and strict about off-topic chatter and discussion. TheDealersDen has over 2000 members, while FurryMarketPlace has over 1250.

Furaffinity Art Sales and Auctions Sub-forum

The Furaffinity Forums have long had a marketplace for people offering and buying commissions and items to meet up, and this is the most current iteration.

Facebook Pages: Group 1, Group 2

Two Facebook groups for people to list they are open for commissions. They require a Facebook account and to join the group in order to see the postings.

Did I miss anywhere? Have a question about why a site may have been excluded? Please comment down below – as I said before, I could have very well left a site or location out of ignorance, so please let me know! – Summercat

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward. They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

Wild Things: Bite Club at the Citadel in San Francisco, November 25.

Wed 22 Nov 2017 - 10:30

NOM. Got your ear! Do you like that? You do? Then bring your ears, paws, or anything else that needs nibbles to Wild Things. It’s the quarterly 18+ play party for furries, petplay, and more. (Share to invite new friends… or your next lunch!)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2017 1:00 PM – 6:30 PM SF CITADEL, 181 EDDY ST., SAN FRANCISCO

wruffstuff.com

(Brief break for discussion!) This week, Furry Twitter has been howling with drama. Controversy seemed to come out of nowhere: for colorful animal-people, is it OK to have strictly PG kid-friendly events? Or are fur cons so adult that a tame option amounts to kink-shaming? And are pup hoods a fetishy toy not to wear in public, or is that an insult to the expression of inner identity?

It looked like the drama erupted from just a few negative tweets, but here’s the real reason.  A week before, Anthro Northwest had its first con with some bold surprises – like regulation on adult content. Everything afterward was a reflexive reaction. But was it deserved? There’s so many cons and meets and parties now, having one tame option might just be a narrow part of widespread growth. Like veggies on a buffet, it doesn’t stop you from picking meat if you prefer it. How about having a little of everything?

The drama is one reason why Wild Things is a special happening, and a good sign that nothing is being tamed down. This could be the only openly-advertised, furry-themed adult play party at an established club (a BDSM Dungeon) in the world. Can you imagine the howling if this existed 15 years ago at the height of the MTV/CSI/Vanity Fair inspired Yiff Panic? We’ve come a long way to turning the tables. So swallow that and consider allowing a little room for kid-friendly events. Kinky people can be as mature and responsible as anyone else, on or off leash. (Back to party info!)

Wild Things is it’s own space that strongly encourages (optional) costume like fursuits, murrsuits, petplay gear, or just anything fetishy and fun. Big Bad Wolves may eat you (with consent.) Bring someone tasty along, or just hang out in the lounge with lots of party food. That’s the chill area separate from the play dungeon, designed to be relaxed and welcoming to newcomers. Expect a diverse crowd of overlapping communities that’s LGBT friendly and on the younger energetic side. See you there.

Past parties:

Events coming soon!

Did you know there's multiple #furry parties in the SF Bay Area? Check out @Frolicparty and @partyanimalssj - they'll transform your life.

— SF Wildthings (@WildThingsSF) November 19, 2017

Our next Frolic, we've got a very special guest DJ. Don't miss it, tell all your friends to come! We're gonna be poppin that night! pic.twitter.com/Px4vRvIvqd

— FrolicParty (@FrolicParty) November 12, 2017

Tail noms are the worst kind of noms. pic.twitter.com/fNhXZiY4FO

— Renegade Kangaroo (@renegade_roo) November 20, 2017

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

What I learned from lurking the Furry Raiders chat – guest post by Aristide

Wed 22 Nov 2017 - 10:00

What I learned from lurking the Furry Raiders chat

Hi, I’m Aristide, and I’m a narc. For the past several months, I’ve had a sockpuppet account in the Furry Raiders Telegram, Skype, and Discord groups and periodically leaked screenshots of them to @edgedestroys. I chose Edge in order to protect the credibility of my sockpuppet account, and because I work in a sensitive workplace and worry about being doxxed. Most speculation about the Raiders – that they’re Nazis, they’re Alt-Right, they’re losers – is generally correct. I want to provide a better picture of what we, as a community, are dealing with.

Same Losers, New Politics

The general population of the Raiders community is a combination of old-school 4Chan racists, conspiracy theorists, new wave white supremacists, and impressionable but misled minors. Racist memes from a long-forgotten era of /b/ populate the chat in equal measure to WorldNetDaily or YourNewsWire links. Several dozen in the chat subscribe to the Daily Stormer and similar neo-Nazi websites, while a refrain against “fake news” rings against any news source that is not part of the alt-right media ecosystem. Lost in this mix are impressionable minors, 13 to 17 year old kids that found their way to the Raiders one way or another. Some of them joined because they hated SJWs – (the GamerGate to Alt-Right pipeline is well documented) – others were actively recruited by Foxler, Kody, and other de-facto leaders in the Raiders.

The first commenter left the group with a statement at bottom of article.

It comes standard with far-right communities to use fear and in-group pressure to ‘encourage’ their members to stay, instilling a “you’re with us or you’re with them” mindset. Members who left spoke of being blacklisted from their friends that remained in and around the Raiders, others that tried to leave were warned they’d never be re-accepted. These behaviors have transcended three organizers of the Raiders – Foxler, Kody, and Dionysius – and have been adopted by the group at large. Their virtually non-existent moderation has allowed for organized harassment, most notably and consistently against Deo, as well as unfiltered discussions about whether or not the Holocaust is historical fact.

Draconas had an intense reaction about this article and reached out to make things better.

Employing childish rationalizations to protect their egos is common too – any point that goes against the Raiders’ mantra gets branded as leftist fake news, or SJW rabble, preventing any kind of critical self-reflection of individual or group behaviors. This extended to projecting about recent mass-shootings and other tragedies in the United States – two prominent white supremacist Raiders hoped that the Sutherland Springs shooter was a leftist or a Bernie Bro, with no legitimate evidence, solely to justify their biases. This is a variation of the Backfire Effect, where ingrained biases force an individual to irrationally justify their beliefs. This is an example of small-minded thinking the Raiders possess and employ to maintain ideological homogeny.

It’s not about Free Speech

Re-litigating arguments over free speech won’t work on these people. It does not matter that the government isn’t involved, or that private organizations have the right to restrict some forms or speech. The new far-right, in Europe, North America, and elsewhere, seek nothing short of dominion – they seek to legitimize their cause, which they cast as oppression and the defense of whites, as a vehicle of domination over identity and ideology. They seek a community where slurs are used freely, where callousness and animosity are driving vehicles of discourse, where unsourced wingnut conspiracy theories lay equal to well-gathered evidence. It is a prominent example of anti-intellectual populism concentrated in a fringe, and spearheaded by childish brats who can’t fathom the concept of self-reflection. These are not people with respectable ideas.  They deserve to be marginalized and silenced to the greatest reasonable extent.

There exists genuine fear of fully grown adults that are willing to commit their minds to this toxic thinking. Organized attacks against Califur, and the demise of Rocky Mountain Fur Con under well-deserved criticism, are examples of what arises when we fail to organize against the worst parts of our community. We cannot wait for their violent fantasies to reach a boiling point – we’ve seen Charlottesville and Portland – action after harm cannot be the norm. Neither can we ignore the children at risk from these communities: protecting them from sexual exploitation and far-right radicalization is an objective moral duty.

Within our community, we should be approaching these people with genuine concern over their propensity for violence, whether at conventions, meetups, or otherwise. Given the meteoric rise of public shootings in the United States, regardless if you believe it to be a firearms issue or a mental health issue, this must be addressed seriously. Healthy, well-adjusted adults do not behave like this. There is no negotiating with groups like these.

Lord of the Flies

After a few weeks of lurking, I noticed that some of the Raiders that would filter in and out were young teens, welcomed with open arms to a “real, accepting furry community” that did not persecute them like “Twitter SJWs” would. This became a genuine trend after more time passed; there was a disproportionate number of minors in this chat than in a general cross-section of other furry populations. While pornographic and other adult content was banned from these chats, mixing young teens with people like Dionysius, who once said that child pornography “[is] just 1s and 0s on a hard drive”, is cause for concern. Those sexual norms were common in the Raider’s chat – it can be said that the production or possession of child pornography was not seen as a moral crime there, and many would have it legalized if given the chance. Some Raiders did voice incredibly violent opposition to the concept of pedophiles, most of it originating over the folk conception of pedophiles violently raping children, whereas ‘boy love’ (read: molestation and less-violent coercion) was not seen as explicitly pedophilic.

Felix responded that the image is from 2016, when he cut ties with the group out of disagreement with it.

Through individual chats, it became clear that many Raiders condoned or endorsed the idea of ‘boy/girl love’ to varying degrees. Through initial discussions with individual Raiders, these revelations also branched out beyond the Raiders chat to individuals wholly unaffiliated with them who discussed the same explicit material. I will not be releasing details of who was involved in these discussions, nor to what extent these discussions crossed moral or criminal bounds. I have provided evidence of what may or may not be criminal activity to appropriate authorities, and disclosing any evidence implicitly or explicitly may negatively impact an investigation that arises from said evidence. If you or someone you know is aware of any illegal activity, related to the Raiders or otherwise, you can provide the FBI with an anonymous tip.

off and on I've spoken to a 16 year old they brought into their fold to try to coax him out and the shit they've put in his mind is scary

— Soyboy Shounen (@edgedestroys) October 23, 2017

It started off so innocently enough. The idea of taking all furs in regardless of their background sounds good only in theory. I saw found myself with a lot of sickos

— Tea Collie (@Teawoof_Collie) November 14, 2017

Underage recruiting by Furry Raiders. Newest member on their Facebook is an apparent middle schooler added by Foxler. pic.twitter.com/o5X7p1knPm

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 20, 2017

Thank you to watchers inside Furry Raiders. When Foxler targets underage kids, watchers are tipping parents and it works. 1 less today and members list closed. But they can't avoid it until they stop recruiting. And they have to go to Russian artists now. https://t.co/GANSltkJzc pic.twitter.com/MAGGQn8gHb

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 20, 2017

Our next steps

Blocklists and blacklists are not enough. The furry intelligentsia of Twitter and elsewhere neither deserve nor are beholden to continually push back on the misaligned in our community. More must be done from higher stakeholders that have the ability and prerogative to act to make our community better, while acting within the bounds of the law. We cannot expect to continually uproot, expose, and chase out individual members while the malignant ideology remains to infect and spread anew – change must come from the top. It must be unequivocal.

FurAffinity’s September 4th Terms of Service update is a model to follow. Explicitly banning the glorification of hate groups and banning individuals from engaging in malicious speech stems the ability for Alt-Right and Raider-like groups from self-representation and recruitment (in addition to getting rid of Nazi and white nationalist garbage no self-respecting person wants to see.) Put your fears of historical representation aside – the FurAffinity TOS specifically says ‘promote hate groups and their ideologies’, so historical context can be preserved for appropriate use. Other websites ought to follow this same model and enforce it strictly – ‘content intended solely to disrupt the community’ would aptly describe the Raiders, who exist almost exclusively among themselves to troll mainstream furry for their own entertainment.

Conventions ought to follow the same model, as well as strictly vetting who is able to volunteer and work for cons. DenFur’s staffing policy is a step forward in ensuring that staff are able to help any attendee without fear of biased case management. A more aggressive approach is needed to prevent Raiders and other convention-liabilities from attending if they are likely to cause trouble – public accommodation laws are strict on protected classes, but being a racist nor being a jerk isn’t a protected class. I am not a lawyer, and nothing I say constitutes legal advice in any state, but I would strongly encourage conventions to adopt strong and clear language that bars individuals from attending if they have a history of preaching or advocating for hateful and violent acts.

It is unlikely that we will ever be fully able to rid ourselves of these unwanted individuals from our community. Private telegram chats and discord channels will always exist in the dark, as they should. Marginalizing these groups to the greatest extent under the law should be our goal, so that their art is rarely seen, their voices rarely heard, their ideas rarely considered. We cannot resort to brutish solutions that undermine our own credibility, or worse, our own moral character. There will never be a definitive solution to online hate in our community, but we can minimize their influence to the best of our abilities. There is no greater moral imperative than to safeguard freedoms to live, and freedoms from hate.

Aristide

UPDATE from the first pictured commenter. Sirop posted a followup thread about leaving the Furry Raiders: “I’d like to use my previous experiences to help people… My chance to help make the furry community better, one way or another.”

Check the Altfurry and Furry Raiders tags below for much more on this topic.

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Categories: News

The Art of Aardman, Foreword by David Sproxton and Peter Lord – Book Review by Fred Patten

Wed 22 Nov 2017 - 09:15

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Art of Aardman: The Makers of Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, and More. Foreword by David Sproxton and Peter Lord.
San Francisco, CA, Chronicle Books, August 2017, hardcover $24.95 (128 pages), Kindle $9.99.

Aardman Animations was founded forty years ago in Bristol, England. Since then it has become one of the world’s leading stop-motion animation studios. Most of its popular films have involved anthropomorphic animals, from Gromit, the long-suffering dog in the “Wallace and Gromit” shorts and the Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit feature to the features Chicken Run (chickens), Flushed Away (rats), and Shaun the Sheep the Movie. Even The Pirates! in an Adventure With Scientists! had Mr. Bobo, Charles Darwin’s chimpanzee assistant.

This book does not focus on any of their works in particular. It is rather about the studio’s production techniques. First come the ideas for the plots and characters, then creating the worlds that go with them – the secondary and incidental characters; the backgrounds, and so on; the “Mechanical Marvels” (no Aardman production would be complete without some intricate device, often Rube-Goldbergian or steam-punk, including Wallace’s fanciful inventions; and Aardman’s attention to lighting.

These sections are filled with examples, from preliminary pencil and crayon sketches to complete stop-motion models, taken from the studio’s archives. The popular anthropomorphic characters are shown here, but it is a hit-or-miss affair; they are mixed in with Aardman’s other art. The sketches are identified by artist, primarily Nick Park; others include Sylvia Bennion, Peter de Sève, Johnny Duddle, Norman Garwood, Phil Lewis, Peter Lord, Matt Perry, Michael Salter, Matt Sanders, Christian Schellewald, Richard Starzak, Jo Symanowski, Evgeni Tomov, and more. The finished models and stills from the films are labeled Production still or Puppet.

Image provided by Chronicle Books

Whichever you like, you will find it here. This is a very enjoyable book for the fan of Aardman’s creations to just browse through.

Fred Patten

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.&

Categories: News