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Updated: 4 hours 41 min ago

Harvest Moon FurFest: New BIPOC-led furry convention comes to Maryland in 2022.

Thu 9 Jul 2020 - 10:30

Written by @Mac_TheWolf

There will be a live Q&A about the event on YouTube from 3 PM EST on Saturday, July 11.

In light of recent events regarding the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police, activist movements have tried to raise awareness of the racial injustices which are still happening in today’s society. The issue of racial inequality has once again been brought to light by these events, and many people believe we have a long way to go until people of color feel safe in our communities.

Fandoms from science fiction to furry haven’t always been as diverse as they could be. As fandoms grow, previously overlooked members see each other and want to be seen. Now one group of furry fans from Maryland are aiming to take things into their own hands by running a convention mainly with the help of those from BIPOC communities.

Harvest Moon FurFest, which is set to take place on a 200-acre campground in Maryland, is the newest of a plethora of furry conventions that take place around the globe. However, unlike most, Harvest Moon FurFest’s main goal is to build the convention from its original foundation by people of color and of other marginalized groups. The board is mainly run by those from black communities, but the CEO of the con has assured those with concerns that people of all backgrounds are free to attend, volunteer, or apply for staff at the event.

Welcome!

Harvest Moon Furfest is a brand new BIPOC-led furry convention scheduled to take place in Fall 2022 on a beautiful 200 acre campground property in Maryland.

Fire Pits. S’mores. Team Games And Activities. Music. Fursuit Dances. Food Trucks. Camping. And So Much More! pic.twitter.com/2vuSKHv7Bu

— Harvest Moon Furfest ???????????? (@hmfurfest) July 7, 2020

The convention, which invites con-goers to camp on private grounds used for large festivals, is set to host a variety of events. They include fursuit dances, team games, and live music. The idea came into fruition after the CEO, Chise, helped raise over $9,000 for BIPOC communities over a four hour period during a charity stream.

“The idea was tossed around in the past and after seeing how well our stream did, we thought that if the BIPOC community could come together and make such an astronomical amount in four hours, imagine what we could do at a convention,” said Chise. “Not to mention it has been long strived for to have a BIPOC-led con board to help meet the needs and wants of a diverse fandom.”

She also felt as though concerns from the community around these issues have been ignored. “I think a lot of the concerns of those in the BIPOC community have gone unheard. Whether it is them feeling uncomfortable concerning hate groups that may be attending a convention or the lack of representation on certain con boards, this con seeks to eliminate those negative feelings.”

A small group of people on Twitter voiced their concerns about the con and even tagged the developers of the Harvest Moon video game series, Natsume, in hopes to stir up disapproval. The company voiced support for the convention, but one commenter complained that it was “sad to see that Natsume supports racial segregation.” These misconceptions about the convention being only for BIPOC have been quickly quashed by the con board.

The CEO told me that they are committed to stopping the spread of these lies. “You’re hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth. Our convention is open to absolutely everyone regardless of their race. Unless you hear it from myself or my board, it isn’t valid information.”

It took approximately a week to set out the initial plans for the convention. “I am the type of person when I have an idea and a vision, I don’t stop,” said Chise.

With over 6,000 responses to the first announcement, expect a bright rise for the first Harvest Moon FurFest in Maryland in the Fall of 2022.

@Mac_TheWolf is a first time guest writer and 15 year old furry from Barnsley, England.

The campground is indeed ADA accessible. There are permanent structures on the property. We also have an ADA Department Head that will be addressing and taking into consideration all ADA needs to ensure the comfort of our attendees.

— Harvest Moon Furfest ???????????? (@hmfurfest) July 8, 2020

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Use these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Fandom documentary: A bid for Netflix and a quick review.

Thu 9 Jul 2020 - 10:00

@MacthePherson submitted his review of this documentary about furries, and here’s how it’s faring so far.

  • Since July 3 release on Youtube, The Fandom has 160K views (on July 8.)
  • Press so far is linked on the movie’s IMDB page.
  • Cartoon Brew ran with a Dogpatch Press tip about it. Their animation industry news site isn’t afraid to roast sacred cows or other fandoms. They even answered the tip that their last furry story was about porn in 2016! The good review was a pleasant surprise for some fans who were bracing for judgement.
  • Animators at a studio that’s not yet named saw and loved The Fandom, and will join a news story about furries in their industry.
  • Options for distribution were hampered by 2020’s shutdowns, but you can help get it on Netflix now.

Requesting Netflix add #TheFandom is really easy!!
Just type "The Fandom (2020)" and click Submit!https://t.co/DsC8ZTk963 pic.twitter.com/hKlLMOp4uE

— Essential Fox ???? (@chipfoxx) July 8, 2020

“The Fandom”. A quick review.
By @macthepherson 

As someone who likes films and has a degree in film school, I like to be honest. This is a very quick review with my first impressions, straight out of watching it. That means these initial impressions regarding the film may change over time, and that this review may lack some polishing and in-depth detail.

The film is well shot, has good pacing and is very informative, but I must say it’s very similar to many other documentaries — and being made by people of the fandom does mean that there’s some subjectivity and it can feel like a promo/advertisement, if the informative stuff is removed. It’s a bit of a mix between a TV report, a documentary and a promo. It does feel a bit like one of those long TV current affairs programs or news magazines television programs, like BBC Panorama. I guess I kind of hoped it would try to be a bit more artistically interesting. Just a bit. Wasn’t expecting it to, and it didn’t, but I still had hope.

Am I saying it’s bad? No. Absolutely not. It is a good film. It captures feelings without being too soppy. It shows some restraint in not trying to make it feel too emotional, but emotional enough. It’s not really a documentary though. It’s not an infomercial either, though it can feel a bit like that at times. I would somewhat describe it as 2/5 informative, 2/5 documental, and 1/5 promotional (out of a total of 5/5).

The style of filming and editing is conventional (a bit conservative), but a lot of documentaries are, and I imagine this is done for the following reasons: it makes it easy to understand; and it reaches a much bigger audience through that somewhat-generic approach. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it doesn’t mean a lot of effort wasn’t put into it. This is, after all, an independent production made with way less resources than a big budget production, and still feels very professionally made by a big company.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, that I can point out. It is very much SFW (Safe For Work), which is to be expected, given the wide range of audiences and ages it is intended for, much like fandom itself.

It’s a film made by people who are very much within the fandom, who try to inform but also spread a message. Perhaps it’s that last bit that doesn’t really make it fully documental in nature. An advertisement or propaganda, it most certainly isn’t, but it does feel a bit promotional. If that is its intent, then that’s ok. But it does bring just a small bit of doubt about its objectivity. Sure, it’s understandable that it’s trying to clear up some misconceptions and stereotypes. But it can feel like sometimes it’s still promoting the fandom while doing it. This is sometimes visible through the more emotional bits, even if it’s not a particularly emotionally charged film, and also through some of the informative bits.

I can also understand that many times, when an outsider tries to make a documentary about the fandom, it doesn’t turn out for the best (examples appear in the film). So, it’s perhaps better if people in the fandom portray it, rather than outsiders, because they know what it’s about and the misinformation about it. But while they can probably paint a more accurate and positive picture, I’m still not sure about how unbiased it will be. It might obscure some parts of the fandom that do need addressing.

If some rough edges and uncomfortable parts about the fandom perhaps weren’t entirely addressed, a heavy-toned film probably just wasn’t what they were aiming at. I think the whole point is to be a very lighthearted quasi-documentary for a wide range of audiences and ages. This is backed by a sometimes mellow yet nicely crafted soundtrack.

Do these faults I’ve mentioned bother me? Not really. It’s just that being a film person and having gone through film school means, inevitably, that every film I see will be subject to some criticism based on what I’ve learned. But it’s not necessarily negative. I like to always analyze and criticize film in a constructive manner, especially when I see a lot of effort was put in, or if I see that the makers did the best they could with what they had.

I guess these criticisms also come from someone who is a relative newcomer to the fandom. I’m a foot in and a foot out of it right now. I’m not saying that I would do it better, but no movie is exempt from criticism, and I try to do it constructively with the aim of improving. Like I said, these faults do not make me dislike this film nor does it make it bad, in any way.

As a side-note, in my opinion, one of the best films about the furry fandom is by Youtuber Fredrik Knudsen, in his video titled “Furry”, from his YouTube-series “Down The Rabbit Hole”. It has a very neutral approach, explaining the fandom’s beginnings, lows, and current state. It offers a very fair and objective assessment which I really enjoyed. And it was mostly done with archive footage and screen captures with voice-over, with no filming being done, but still looking very professional. From a person who is not from the fandom (as far as I know), his film is even less emotional, but not riddled with the inaccuracies or misconceptions the media have and sometimes still portray. In fact, it clearly shows he has done his research, and remains very neutral indeed. I imagine that’s why he won the Ursa Major Award for best Non-Fiction Work of 2018. It is still the best film I’ve seen about the fandom.

That said, the Ursa Major Award for this year’s Non-Fiction Work certainly deserves being awarded to “The Fandom”, unless something better comes out before the next award ceremony. It’s not mind-blowing nor a master-piece, but wasn’t meant to be, I suppose. It’s meant to be a heartwarming, sometimes informative, sometimes documental and a bit promotional film about the furry fandom. It’s very good in some bits, with a very professional look. For what it is, it’s a solid final product. And for me, that’s a very high bar already.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Help, My Fursona’s Dick Is On National TV!

Tue 7 Jul 2020 - 10:41

OwO What’s this? *A million people notice ur bulge*

Imagine trademarking ‘UwU’ & ‘OwO’. Here’s a story about owning and using ideas.

Original fandom art can be an oxymoron sometimes. The topic started with one furry’s story about John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight:

My fursona’s dick was LITERALLY on national television. — (Reddit)

It's real: pic.twitter.com/sWi26FV7ew

— Changa Lion (@LurkingGrue) June 22, 2020

Here's @RadiantOtter's statement and I got to say they and their knotted otter cock are amazing.https://t.co/lP2sk0Zepp

— Changa Lion (@LurkingGrue) June 25, 2020

Showing the furry porn wasn’t 100% welcome, and even treated as invasive. It made a discussion about permission to share things posted in public.

There are legal technicalities of Fair Use or seeking permission which may not always match popular/practical usage. Many furry sites and accounts would be gone if copyright holders forced them to take down fan art that they thrive on. It can make a lot of grey zone that some artists dive into.

A lawyer could explain (I am not a lawyer), but remember that social media is media, and sharing is valuable to artists.

Source

I don’t usually look at the Furry_IRL subreddit hosting the discussion about this, because why bother with hordes of people you don’t know on a flood of low-effort memes. (Overusing memes gets into what this is about — especially in a case like mass-scraping content from Furry_IRL and reposting it on Twitter to hack/cheat followers for clout and profit.)

In this case the comments got pretty thoughtful. I looked at complaints about showing a tweet without asking for permission first, then looked up articles about it. Many complaints seemed to belong on r/BadLegalAdvice but many saw good sides to it. Tweeting is like shouting in the public square and if you can’t quote stuff people don’t want you to quote, there’d be no reporting (or comedy).

The shared tweet literally asked to be looked at by outsiders. It was posted to 330 million Twitter users and beyond, who already gave permission to share. You own the stuff you created but Twitter has license to use it anywhere they want including letting other companies use it.

It doesn’t even look offensive by intention. John Oliver looks like an ally to me:

Source

Furry ally: John Oliver promoted a book about gay rabbits, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, to troll homophobic politicians (with charity for LGBT youth.)

The John Oliver Rat Porn is making messages to me by journalists, food banks and more. @Newsweek went beyond and called the 90's TV station manager (and quoted my 5 year old article.)

Here's the true story behind 'Last Week Tonight's' rat erotica painting https://t.co/Yiu5kS9WfU

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) March 31, 2020

Keep in mind, I put my money where my mouth is. My articles about the Rat Erotica were a source that got little credit when the media picked up the story 5 years later. For many years I have been putting this content out for free, besides some nice Patreon subscriptions that barely cover a budget to pay artists. (I just love the fandom.) I’m happy to see them shared and sourced by other media.

News is one of the most exploited and least protected areas for this. The news industry is decimated by online sharing, and they don’t know how to preserve revenue and jobs. It’s good for everyone who likes the service and terrible for the service. Especially when it’s so essential in times of crisis. (Do you read the news? Do you pay for it?)

THE WILD WEST OF ART — More about internet creators, influencers and memes.

A tipper talked to me about John Oliver and linked more to think about.

(Me:) I think John Oliver was making a benign wry joke. If he was malicious then I’d say he shouldn’t. It’s nice to blur a handle but I don’t think neglecting to do that is that bad. There’s so many cases where people get mad about credit or call it faked, or it’s a record that matters in the future. I think the TV appearance also helps make it easier for fans to be as bold as you please.

(Tipper:) Here’s some more general copyright/IP stuff with artists, influencers, etc.

The story of Richard Prince and his $100,000 Instagram artWhen does appropriation go too far? (TheVerge.com)

This artist is making mega-millions ‘stealing people’s work’ — (NY Post)

That artist enlarges Instagram posts by others, invokes Fair Use and sells them. That’s reaaally pushing it. “The lawsuits are part of the art” … he must be a masochist!

Illustrator Lili Chin Files $1 Million Copyright Suit against Kohl’s — (Artnet News)

Artist Sees Her Own Adorable Dog Drawings On Kohl’s Products, Sues — (Consumerist)

Between quoting by John Oliver’s media company (HBO) vs Kohl’s copying for a product — I liked HBO adding comment while copying art on socks doesn’t do that? But the real issue is if you can afford to defend your work. For 99% of fandom artists, disputes are way below the cost of going to court.

A million here, a million there; sooner or later, these people are talking about real money. One of the legal firms commenting about the Kohl’s case had a ‘best practices guide’ on how artists can protect their work pre-emptively.

Did you see the recent Twitter fiasco with the Bratz dolls CEO?

The Billionaire CEO Behind “Bratz” And “LOL Surprise” Dolls Called A Black Influencer Who Accused Them Of Plagiarism “A Disgrace To Black People” — (Buzzfeed)

Besides the earlier incident a few months ago with the boyband brother who ripped off art from an artist, I’m surprised it hasn’t become more widespread.

Berlin Artist Jonas Jödicke Speaks Up About Aaron Carter Art Fiasco — (Forbes)

For the influencer in the Bratz story, perhaps her claim looks coincidental… but his response is so awful. There can be a big cost from bad PR. 

Those overseas bootleg shirt sites are such a plague too. They offer a product for just a short time and make it impossible to fight theft.

Yeah, total fly-by-night operation. Double-bladed libertarian heaven/hell. Muh free market, & can’t use the government to sue their ass.

Best word for it. I looked into people making money by churning out meme shirts (with slogans, not stolen art) and it looked like a fun and interesting operation if you’re on top of looking at traffic stats. It had quite a shady side too with people poaching each other.

Do they trademark the slogans like “OK BOOMER”?

Maybe they’ll do “Owo what’s this.”

UwU ????

— U.S. Army Esports (@USArmyesports) June 30, 2020

Trademark ‘UwU’ & ‘OwO’? Imagine doing that, you could be a huge troll on everyone using it.

Well the trollface guy had his original art on DeviantArt, IIRC, he selectively enforced his copyright, disallowing some to not use it.

And Pepe the Frog.

The Maker Of The Trollface Meme Is Counting His Money — (Kotaku.com)

Here’s his copyright claim vs. DeviantArt.

Thanks!

I found a lawyer addressing this: MONETIZING INTERNET MEMES & COPYRIGHT LAW.

“As of mid-2015 Carlos had made over $100,000 through various exploitations of the Trollface (both merchandise licensing, as well as settlements under claims of copyright infringement he brought against various parties).”

But — “The Atlantic just published a story about how making money off Internet memes is becoming harder and harder. The pace of online trends and the time frame for what people think is funny (or at least, funny enough to spend some money on) is too fast to keep up with.”

This makes me think that more niche internet stuff is more likely to show up in bigger media.

Look for more fursona dicks on national TV soon.

UPDATE: why all the crazy views? Where are you coming from… Drop a comment! ???? Mystery solved: Google recommendation. 

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

The Fandom movie: Furry paws seize the media

Thu 2 Jul 2020 - 09:48

Premiering JULY 3, 2020 at thefandomfilm.com.

When the media shows furries, do they get it right?

It’s a constant furry worry. In 2017 it was announced that CNN was making a show about them. Backlash rose about sensationalism, but few critics gave a fair shake to the producers of This Is Life with Lisa Ling. Then it came out and it was a flat-out advocacy piece on behalf of Furry“, said Joe Strike, a fan since the 1980’s who wrote a book that covers the subculture’s run-ins with bad media.

Joe Strike’s Furry Nation is the essential fandom history book.

Positive response didn’t satisfy every critic. Some asked why the 3 fans featured by CNN didn’t include more diverse people. But the show (with an asian-american woman journalist) got backlash while asking volunteers to raise their paws and be counted. That seems like damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

In answer to this, The Fandom is a documentary made by the fans. It features outstanding writers (like Joe), artists, animators, musicians, costume designers, event organizers and founders. It celebrates the roots with pro quality and appeal for outsiders who might not have given a fair look before.

For decades this subculture has thrived despite adversity. Bad media is one kind, but not the only kind. Some is internal. Some is homophobic. Some is happening right now with this screwy year. There’s even a villain to tell you about.

$10 million worth of trouble

Anthrocon is the 2nd largest furry convention, led by Uncle Kage (Dr. Sam Conway), the longstanding CEO and fandom public relations figure. It was due to bring $9.9 million to Pittsburgh’s economy in 2020. Now it’s among 70 furry cons canceled by COVID-19. The movie is launching anyways on the con’s dates, without opportunities that could have won distribution. (No film fests either.)

In the parallel universe where COVID-19 never materialized, parallel me is at this very minute climbing into a van with my parallel crew, headed to parallel Pittsburgh.
????

— Uncle Kage (@Unclekage) June 30, 2020

That makes this all-crowdfunded movie even more special and timely.

Time marches on, founders die or get forgotten, and it gets more important to share their stories of how a fandom got its identity. One of them, Mark Merlino, co-founded ConFurence as the first furry con. Imagine seeing one con rise to hundreds! He talks about branching out from other fandoms: “They couldn’t tell what to make of us” (because it’s not based on just one genre or property like Star Wars).

Mark and others define the nature of the beast. Each thread starts with archival sources, then ties them together with current fan interviews.

The story

  • Zines: 1970’s-80’s fans started with APA zines where they could see and be seen. Mail was like “slow motion internet” where a reply could take a month. Furry Library curator Summercat talks about it. (More: Unearthing a cool fossil — A 1980’s letter shows furry fandom before the net.)
  • Conventions: Mark Merlino and his partner Rod talk about meeting each other as fans, and how many felt alone until they met each other and saw “you draw like this too?” Meetings became parties, clubs, and ConFurence. (More: A brief history of the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization, America’s first anime fan club.)
  • Internet: Early BBS and MUCK activity brought furries together before the Web, making them one of the first subcultures to rise with it.
  • Queering: For artists, using characters as ideal selves helped develop freedom to come out with role play, and band together in their own space.
  • Growth: Over time these threads merged into a movement. Artists make a living from it. There’s a new wave of fans turning the old con masquerade into up-close raging dances. Bubbles, the manager of five cons, talks about being one of just a few women among all the leaders.
  • Controversy: Growth and freedom pushes limits, and leaders face hard questions. They say sex is something any humans do. The first fursuiter was kinky and gets compared to pin-up art that’s normal to comic fans. Joe Strike talks about bad media and Uncle Kage talks about the challenge of answering it.

It’s not so much a narrative with stakes and a payoff but it does lead up to a conflict.

The villain

Media relations make Uncle Kage bemusedly address rumors of furry cons being “like a Pride fest on acid”.

Kage isn’t the villain, unlike in some media that have painted him like a “family values” propagandist. You can really empathize with his viewpoint when he asks if you’d like to step in front of a camera and answer sex questions while your grandma watches.

You might miss one of the movie’s most key moments if you don’t think about it. A 1990’s group bent on purifying the fandom is featured: the Burned Furs.

In old video, Burned Fur Eric Blumrich says: “I’m not asking people to behave differently than general society, I’m asking them to behave LIKE people in general society.”

His long-gone group isn’t the villain, though. It’s not publicity-hungry media, or even bigoted judgement. The villain is part of a conflict about losing identity:

UwU ????

— U.S. Army Esports (@USArmyesports) June 30, 2020

That’s a verified brand and a US Army recruiting project using furry fanspeak. Imagine recruiters setting up shop in a con dealer den and making predatory pitches. That’s hyperbole, but it helps show the villain lurking on the edges of The Fandom. It’s conformity.

CONCLUSION

I keep an eye out for all media about furries, and often call the Furry 101 kind boring. The Fandom raises the bar by giving an intimate tour with quality and heart. It’s 95% positive celebration.

Documentaries can show more drama or criticism or bad sides than this really does. But how much negativity do you need in these times? Not to say that this documentary has no opinion — it’s strong advocacy.

The strength in The Fandom comes in context of past fighting about things that come out gently now. They’re natural roots here. In the very beginning it points out that furry fans are heavily LGBT. That developed during the AIDS crisis, and they faced internal member homophobia. But times changed. Elders in the movie are often cis white males, but it also features POC, female and trans members from a newer wave of fans. Publicity about the movie points out the all-LGBT crew, and the director, Ash, is reinventing a career after transitioning and feeling distanced from the industry.

Sex isn’t ignored and that brings up a funny thing. For a few seconds, a vintage 1990’s video lingers on Uncle Kage’s badge and a certain fursona name. It’s like a “dogwhistle” only furries will notice.

The Fandom is recommended to show your friends or family or have a furry movie party. It makes the history time-capsule-worthy. They got it right.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Looney Tunes gets a reboot (Part 3): How an iconic cartoon forged a wacky and lovable side of the furry fandom — By Rocky Coyote

Tue 23 Jun 2020 - 10:00

Meet “Toon Furs” in Part 3: Charlie Tinn, Zen Fetcher, and Toothpick the Woodpecker. This story features the side of fandom where you can watch NEW cartoons with classic animal characters, and even turn into one! HBO Max has 80 eleven-minute episodes of fresh-but-faithful animation from WarnerMedia. Furries discuss their influence in this 3-part story by Rocky Coyote. (Rocky previously covered fandom in America’s biggest city on his tag here.)

Charlie Tinn is a monochromatic mustachioed mutt, self-proclaimed hat enthusiast and classic cartoon lover. He discusses how the toon side of the furry fandom drew him into it.

I grew up watching them a lot as a kid, they were on basic satellite TV during certain hours of the day usually in the middle of the day or late at night. The theme song was always memorable, you can always tell what kind of cartoon is about to play even if most of the ones I watched were Tweety and Sylvester. Anytime it was a heavy emphasis on Bugs and Daffy it was a delight.

I enjoyed the unique ways of slapstick and visual humor like with Wile E. Coyote and his signs along with the word trickery that Bugs would do to Daffy, just so Elmer would shoot him in the face. Duck Amuck is a really good episode, I loved how they broke the fourth wall and they did a lot of elements like that.

I wasn’t really fully interested in the fandom until I discovered there was a toon side to it. Definitely made me interact with more people and got more friends from it and all while getting to enjoy just the wacky and zaniness that is Looney Tunes.

Honestly so far it’s a perfect successor from what I can see from the two episodes. I was able to watch the Porky and Daffy cement short, and Bugs running away from Elmer Fudd. They seem like great honorary successors; they got the right slapstick comedy, and the pacing and timing of the gags are all great from what I’ve seen.

Hate being home? Why not go out for a ride!

Art by @illimearu pic.twitter.com/NFaN8N2ttt

— Gay-Scale Toon ????️‍???? (@AWittyGentleman) May 15, 2020

Zen Fetcher is a toon artist, and he describes the appeal of the characters themselves in Looney Tunes.

Admittedly, I didn’t start watching Looney Tunes until I was in my teens. Before then, I ended up watching a lot of Animaniacs, Tom and Jerry, and Tiny Toons Adventures. Being a fan of Tiny Toons, I wanted to know more about Looney Tunes and quickly became hooked.

While Tiny Toons or Animaniacs probably had more of an impact on my love of cartoons, Looney Tunes was probably my first exposure to cartoons. I was quickly drawn in by the character’s designs, the chaotic nature of its humor, and how expressive each character was. If I’m honest though, the characters alone were enough to keep me hooked. I remember watching Baby Looney Tunes simply because Sylvester was my favorite out of all the Looney Tunes.

As mentioned before, I loved how expressive cartoons were and their designs. When it came to learning how to draw and designing my own characters, I wanted to recreate that aesthetic. That’s why my characters have such large, expressive eyes, three digit hands and paws, and don’t wear pants or shoes unless it’s for comedic purposes. As for how it influenced my place in the fandom, I would seek out other artists and furs with an affinity for cartoons to both learn more (and gush) about cartoons and improve my own style.

I’m really happy to see that Looney Tunes is getting a reboot. Even if it doesn’t live up to my nostalgia’s high expectations or isn’t that good, I love the thought that it could be what introduces someone else to cartoons. Many would argue that Baby Looney Tunes was probably one of the worst Looney Tunes shows, but it still holds a warm place in my heart simply because I loved cartoons. I wouldn’t want to rob that feeling from anyone.

Toothpick the Woodpecker is an artist who specializes in the 90’s toon aesthetic. He talks about growing up with shows directly inspired by Looney Tunes.

Truthfully, I was more of a Tiny Toons and Animaniacs kid growing up, but I always enjoyed Looney Tunes on the rare occasion I was able to catch it anywhere. Even as a kid in the 90’s, I found Looney Tunes to be timeless, unware the shorts were made several decades before I was even an egg. I was a child during the wave of wacky animal cartoons after Who Framed Roger Rabbit incited the entire animation industry to revive that genre. Looking back, I can tell there was a huge push to bring that Looney Tunes nostalgia back.

I’d say the aspect of the show I enjoy the most is how much of a “safe zone” it is for slapstick, no matter how painful the slapstick would be in real life. Not only are these characters brimming with personality, they’re indestructible! You could flatten them with a steamroller and they wouldn’t be any worse for wear in the next shot. There’s something about the way these characters can be exceedingly cruel to each other and never be in any real pain that appeals to me, especially when it’s treated as comedy.

Let me level with you on something; the furry fandom needs more toon OC’s (original characters). There’s so much potential for character interaction, and you can explore themes you simply can’t with a standard furry OC. It’s not very often that potential is tapped into, but when it is, it’s always very refreshing. If you have a toon OC, you can inflate them like a balloon, flatten them with various heavy objects, or stretch ‘em like a rubber band! Finding other toon furs who appreciate that wacky toon aesthetic, and knowing they feel the same way I do, makes me feel like I do have a place in the fandom.

From what little I’ve seen so far, I think it’s going to serve as a further reminder that toons have a place to thrive in today’s world, and I really look forward to seeing how the reboot will pan out. Like a frying pan. To the face.

Meet ten Toon Furs in Parts 1-3 of Rocky Coyote’s story.

Looney Tunes Cartoons is among the countless shows, movies and features available for HBO Max subscribers at $14.99 per month. A handful of trailers and episodes, however, can be viewed by anyone on WB Kids’ Youtube channel.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Looney Tunes gets a reboot (Part 2): How an iconic cartoon forged a wacky and lovable side of the furry fandom — By Rocky Coyote

Mon 22 Jun 2020 - 10:00

Meet “Toon Furs” in Part 2: Billy the Collie, Clawy the Cat, Chaos Coyote, and Dunhall the Dingo. This story features the side of fandom where you can watch NEW cartoons with classic animal characters, and even turn into one! HBO Max has 80 eleven-minute episodes of fresh-but-faithful animation from WarnerMedia. Furries discuss their influence in this 3-part story by Rocky Coyote. (Rocky previously covered fandom in America’s biggest city on his tag here.)

Billy the Collie is an artist who grew up watching Looney Tunes with his younger brothers. He talks about the flexibility the toon world gives him when depicting his characters in various scenarios.

I do have strong nostagic feelings towards Looney Tunes, and as a result the show has played a significant part in developing my toon persona and toon art as a whole.

Looney Tunes is definitely the king when it comes to executing that classic ‘toon gag.’ The show wasn’t entertaining because it had silly slapstick, it was entertaining because it set-up a comical scene with wit and personality that concluded with silly and creative slapstick. That’s what I enjoyed about the show, and is a big reason why I do enjoy cartoon stuff to this day.

Considering my fursona is a toon border collie, I’d say that it’s had a pretty big influence on me! The creativity that toon-stuff lends me in playing around with the toon physics, effects and logic is highly entertaining as an artist. The toon concepts pioneered by shows like Looney Tunes has also been a fantastic way for me to connect with other furries in the community, as the majority of furries are familiar with a lot of these ideas and concepts so it’s been fun engaging with them on this innocent but silly level.

Despite very clearly being computer-drawn, I do appreciate that the reboot keeps the original character designs rather than going down the current animation trend of using a “Cal-Art” inspired art-style. I do worry that the show will overly-focus on slapstick and cheap throwaway jokes, rather that the wit and personality which made the silly slapstick far more entertaining. But, I think the show is worthy of a chance to prove itself.

Clawy the Cat is a toon artist, and she describes how Looney Tunes was a main fixture on television growing up.

In my younger years, I would watch Looney Tunes pretty much daily. As I grew older I would catch them as I’d find them on TV. Now I just watch them on the Boomerang app when I find the time to.

Looney Tunes had probably the biggest influence on my love of cartoons with Tom and Jerry coming in second. The Wile E. Coyote shorts were my favorite, followed by the Sylvester shorts. Clawy as well some of my other characters are slapstick centered toons. The toon subgroup has felt like its own community.

I honestly enjoy the new reboot. It feels like a present day revamp of the classics as well as the short revival of the 90s.

Chaos Coyote’s character is based off the 90’s cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures, which regularly features the original Looney Tunes characters. He talks about these shows forming an interest for writing toony stories.

I watched Looney Tunes an awful lot growing up. Like, a lot a lot. It was part of my Saturday morning rotation. I’d be up around 6 a.m. just to catch Bugs Bunny and his friends, dropping anvils on each other.

My fursona is based off of a story I wrote based on Calamity Coyote being tasked with keeping an eye on his younger brother (Chaos) while their mother is out shopping in the city. A prototype cartoon script I wrote based off of the Animaniacs sketches “Buttons and Mindy.” Realizing I could create new sketches, and opening new branches for storylines made me want to write even more.

I am exceedingly influenced by Looney Tunes. When I was much younger, animation was my all-time favorite form of media to ingest. I had wanted to become a cartoonist in the vein of Chuck Jones but I didn’t want to draw, I wanted to write them. Short little silly snippets of characters interacting with each other. Cartoons gave to me a sense of visual sight gags, and subtle puns. But mostly, cartoons gave to me a sense of slapstick humor you can’t find anywhere else. Three Stooges and Charlie Chapman are all well and good, but nobody can do slapstick like cartoons can. Specifically, for me, the best came in the form of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.

I found the new Looney Tunes show hilarious. I hope they bring in a clever mix of slapstick and sharp writing to the table. I’m looking forward to it!

Dunhall the Dingo (aka Prince Toon) is an artist that started watching Looney Tunes at a later age. Nevertheless, the cartoons he enjoyed had an influence on the characters he created.

This might surprise you, but I didn’t watch Looney Tunes all that much as a little kid. I LOVED Tom and Jerry though. I really started getting into Looney Tunes when I was around 13. Still, Looney Tunes played a huge role in shaping my love for cartoons! I was very lonely at the time, so I was looking for other things to watch. Taz-Mania caught my eye, and it made me feel so much better. After that, I watched TONS of Looney Tune stuff. Unsurprisingly, my favorite aspect are the characters, they just feel like real people to me.

My character, Dunhall the Dingo In terms of design was inspired by Stimpy the Cat, but I think Looney Tunes and Taz-Mania overall helped form who he was character wise. As for the new reboot, I’m beyond excited!

Meet ten Toon Furs in Parts 1-3 of Rocky Coyote’s story.

Looney Tunes Cartoons is among the countless shows, movies and features available for HBO Max subscribers at $14.99 per month. A handful of trailers and episodes, however, can be viewed by anyone on WB Kids’ Youtube channel.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Looney Tunes gets a reboot (Part 1): How an iconic cartoon forged a wacky and lovable side of the furry fandom — By Rocky Coyote

Fri 19 Jun 2020 - 10:00

Meet “Toon Furs” in Part 1: Duino Duck, RomeTwin, and James the Duck. This story features the side of fandom where you can watch NEW cartoons with classic animal characters, and even turn into one! HBO Max has 80 eleven-minute episodes of fresh-but-faithful animation from WarnerMedia. Furries discuss their influence in this 3-part story by Rocky Coyote. (Rocky previously covered fandom in America’s biggest city on his tag here.)

Check it out here.

Looney Tunes gets a reboot: How an iconic cartoon forged a wacky and lovable side of the furry fandom.

Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang found a new home on May 27 as WarnerMedia launches its newest streaming service HBO Max.

Looney Tunes Cartoons is the latest show to marquee the iconic characters that have entertained viewers around the globe for over 80 years. Unlike recent reboots such as The Looney Tunes Show (2011) and Wabbit (2016), HBO’s series will closely resemble the format and art style of the original shorts crafted by the likes of Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and Robert McKimson.

Naturally, the show’s wacky yet lovable characters have had an influence on the furry fandom, but this goes beyond the cartoon’s anthropomorphic nature. Shows like Looney Tunes paved the way for a subculture within the subculture, where furries create their own characters in the ‘toon mold.’ This includes big eyes and exaggerated body proportions, personalities that range from goofy to outright insane, and a penchant for slapstick comedy aided by an endless supply of mallets, dynamite and anvils.

To get a better idea of Looney Tunes’ impact on the furry fandom, Dogpatch Press reached out to a number of self-identified toon furs and let them describe how the series influenced their love of cartoons and helped them find a place within the fandom.

Think about it. There are ZERO downsides to being a toon.

-full of energy
-powered by laughter
-can play ANY instrument
-cute as a button

“But Duino, what about all the bad stuff that hap-“

Bud, if you don’t think having a piano dropped on you would be KINDA fun, you’re wrong.

— Duino D. Duck (@MainMandarin) May 13, 2020

Duino Duck is a writer for the Plotsburg Press and a slapstick aficionado. The self-described cartoon antagonist recalls how Looney Tunes forged his passion for all things animated.

Cartoon Network used to air an hour of Looney Tunes from noon to 1 p.m., and I’d watch them every time I was home sick. All I did on those days was watch TV, and Looney Tunes was a welcome reprieve from the slow-paced Nick Jr. and Playground Disney kids’ shows. I watched them and Tom and Jerry a bunch on the weekends, too. A lot of it blurs together, so I don’t have a thorough knowledge of the library of shorts. But I always remember feeling a wave of satisfaction wash over me as the first orchestral swell hit come noontime.

I loved cartoons growing up, but was raised in a strict and serious household. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be academically successful, so cartoons with this antithetical escape- nonsense, zaniness; freedom, in a way. I wanted to watch them, make them, BE them. It felt like making up for lost time.

There was also a level of intelligence that went into the shorts. I’m not going to call them educated entertainment, but there’s an incredible level of finesse and style involved in pulling that medium off. Making characters who you like, but don’t mind seeing blown up in an abandoned mine shaft. Witty one-liners that perfectly contextualize why this person is getting knocked on the head repeatedly. Mindful violence.

Soup to nuts, I’m a toon. I walk funny, I talk funny, I can’t stop talking about dropping bowling balls on my friends. I fell in love with larger than life comic characters, and I want to be one myself. I’ve been yelling about toons for years now, and most people recognize me as “that slapstick bird” which I take as high praise.

(For the new reboot) cautious optimism feels like the best way to put it! I was apprehensive upon the announcement, but the clips I’ve seen thus far have been entertaining in their own right, and it certainly lets me know there will be some real treats in store. I’m very skeptical of reboots since… well, we all know how many of them go. But there’s clearly a lot of care, talent, and passion thrown into these, and it’s looking like it’ll pay off!

Gwen “RomeTwin” Romer, creator of the “Paper and Plastic” comics, talks about the show’s wit and how the character design influenced her art style.

Though I was born in 1996, I watched Looney Toons as often as it was put in front of me; which was a lot as a kid. My grandparents recorded the shorts on VHS, and my parents were keen on having me watch classic cartoons like Popeye, Under-Dog, Tom & Jerry, etc.

The show was very particular in that while Tom & Jerry also used slapstick humor, Looney Tunes was very witty in its dialogue and visual gags that helped shape an idea of what made cartoons funny for me. Even as a kid I appreciated how clever it was and it never felt patronizing. I feel that the shows I grew up on (though I hold them close to my heart) needed to be loud for the sake of holding my attention, and Looney Tunes never needed to do that.

The show had no influence for my fursona personally. However, Wile E. Coyote and characters inspired by him have had an influence on how I draw my canines! That and Pepe Le Pew. They had the PERFECT snouts.

This is much more faithful than any Looney Tunes project I’ve seen in a long time. I was a kid when Lunatics Unleashed was on the air and even then I didn’t really get it. The Looney Tunes Show on Cartoon Network was fun, but it was trying to be its own thing; whereas this new show attempts to be faithful to a T and I’ve loved what I’ve seen of it so far.

James the Duck discusses how the show developed his affinity for toony mallards.

I watched it quite a bit growing up. I didn’t really get into them until I was around 8, when they had the Looney Tunes New Year’s Day Marathon on New Year’s 2010. Being a child of the 2000’s, you couldn’t really see Looney Tunes unless you were home from school for some reason, or it was summer vacation. During the summer, I’d always watch Tom and Jerry at 1:00, and then Looney Tunes at 2:00 on Cartoon Network.

Looney Tunes did have an influence on my love for cartoons. Personally, I’m more of a Fleischer/Famous Studios type of guy, but Warner Brothers is a close second. My favorite era is from 1935 to 1948. I love the music, and the fluid, detailed animation, as well as the somewhat “adult” humor. Back then, cartoons were made for adults as well as kids, and it really shows.

My favorites are The Daffy Duckaroo (1942), Nasty Quacks (1945), and Mexican Joyride (1947).

Daffy Duck was my “gateway drug” to my love for birds, especially toon birds. I love the bills and webbed feet. I’ve always secretly wanted to be one and mess around in a surreal universe. When I decided to join the furry fandom, I knew what I wanted to be.

I honestly don’t know much about the new version, but it looks great! I especially love how they seem to have reverted Daffy to his 1940’s “Screwball” personality. I never liked the post-1951 Daffy. They made him so unlikable then, and it hurts to see how that’s the Daffy that everyone knows now. So it’ll be great to see more love for his funny and likeable screwball incarnation! The animation also looks really good. I almost can’t tell it from the 1940s cartoons!

Meet ten Toon Furs in Parts 1-3 of Rocky Coyote’s story.

Looney Tunes Cartoons is among the countless shows, movies and features available for HBO Max subscribers at $14.99 per month. A handful of trailers and episodes, however, can be viewed by anyone on WB Kids’ Youtube channel.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Capital City Fur Con’s Nitro-powered crash and burn

Thu 18 Jun 2020 - 10:40

CCFC on Wikifur

Contact-starved furries are having a bad year. Only a few conventions opened before COVID-19 made so many cancel and cut off the hug supply. (Quick, send emergency plushies before the furries go rabid for hugging anything that moves! Or set them loose in riot zones and tell them the cops need hugs.)

Capital City Fur Con was among the few that happened successfully, and it was a first-year con… so months later, it’s extra noticeable to see it blow up with a mushroom cloud of absurd drama. At least it makes a show. It also makes a lesson about a fandom full of DIY power. Uncritical nerdy love is good for starting your own art, stories, or even a sexy furry news site — but not just any dummy should start a con.

The dummy of this story is CCFC’s (ex-) chair, Nitro. He may now be hiding out in a luxury yiff bunker, with hopes to be forgotten in the furor about a pandemic/recession/uprising, because he allegedly took thousands of dollars for charity but failed to give it to them. That’s illegal.

I try not to go too deep into the drama of cons. It has to be egregious, and even some with clowns on staff have great volunteers who strive to make others happy. Even when cons don’t go right, they still make happy experiences. (Spoiler: which aren’t included here.)

Of course it’s the law that every con has to have weird stuff, and it’s hard to get the truth about it from all sides, like learning about orgies in private rooms and which ones are really worth getting into. (For example, the failure of Rainfurrest has a popular video from Internet Historian, but we might not verify all the bonkers stuff in it unless the infamous Diaper Guy was an undercover cop with a wire hidden in there.)

You can still watch this helpful summary of the controversy, then CCFC staffer Shadow the Wolf’s recounting of “gross financial mismanagement” by Nitro.

From Shadow the Wolf’s video.

See, it’s special to get inside info about how things went wrong. And there’s more than the outstanding financial stuff. It’s a lot to cover so I’ll just tell a few lowlights from memory. (Imagine you’re hearing from a sincere furry doing their best after a couple of marijuanas.)

  • Before the con, I was tipped about controversy with a potential alt-right security staffer who you might not want to trust with securing you or your info.
  • Controversy boiled over when the con denounced staff of another con for pointing this out, with an official letter. (When do cons bicker in public?)
  • That furry was seen visiting the White House in a used murrsuit. (Look, no shaming, I’d deploy the SPH to disrespect Cheeto Mussolini and Make America Great, but being on his team? I’m not that dirty.)

Hey wanna laugh? #furries #fursuit #murrsuit #politics #MAGA2020 #MAGA #Murrsuit4Trump #keepingitclassy pic.twitter.com/YiwkySi8iI

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) June 7, 2020

  • “Popufurs” were spammed to death about being Guests of Honor, until CCFC had 2.7 GOH’s per attendee. (OK, actually 7 for a few hundred attendees.)
  • Some weren’t actually announced, and pricey room compensation wasn’t paid (to staff and maybe GOH’s.)
  • On the first day of the con AN AVALANCHE OF SHIT got unleashed…
  • Furries risked getting shot? That was the fear when a “rich people inauguration ceremony” happened in the hotel, with politicians and armed security giving beady eyes about potential costumed assassins. Con-goers were told to avoid giving them a reason for hunting season. No pup masks OR ELSE!
  • Due to this genius scheduling, a bunch of panels were rescheduled to nonsense times without notice and didn’t happen.
  • The hotel contract hadn’t been honored with payment on time, and there was a deadline. If not paid NOW the con would get shut as firmly as I’d get kicked out of the White House for peeing on Trump’s rug (or whatever you call that thing on his head — hey can you imagine him doing a pee tape with a furry? Yes, you probably can if you’ve been watching the news, that wouldn’t even get 15 minutes of notice.)
  • A con bickering online with another con is one thing, but how often to they BEG other cons for thousands of dollars?
  • A staffer was badgered about paying $15 grand in college money (I don’t think the money was actually given though.)

  • No Non-Disclosure Agreement HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
  • For months after the con there were ALL CON MERCH 50% OFF sales (were there any sales accounted for?)
  • Finally, when all this came out, the allegations of charity money deception led to a lawyer assessing the potential fraud charges.
  • Read his Twitter thread about this Fandom’s Most Wanted Public Animal #1. It’s conveniently blog-formatted for you here.

I don't have time to sit down and write a blog post about this right now, which I normally do to address issues that pop up in the fandom. Instead here's the summary in thread form:

1. Capital City Fur Con, a convention in Harrisburg, PA, folded yesterday. /1

— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) June 12, 2020

View this document on Scribd

Great idea from @trippwubb: a form to collect details from anyone owed money by #CapCityFurCon to total up the damage. https://t.co/bI6tzXJkJe

— Con Staff Watch (@ConStaffWatch) June 14, 2020

Capital City? More like Crapital City… if I had a band, that would be the name of it, and the album would be Presidential Furry Pee Tape.

Here’s the part where I give sympathy to everyone who had a good time and put in their hard work, and hope this all gets sorted out!

UPDATE: You wouldn’t think it could get worse. It gets worse.

I absolutely know what a receipt for the Greater Philly Chapter of the ALS Association looks like.

And what their logo looks like.

You do NOT fuck with the charity.

— Boozy “Slightly Used Coffin Reseller” Badger (@BoozyBadger) June 27, 2020

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

The Sprawl volume 1-3 — graphic novel review by Roz Gibson

Wed 17 Jun 2020 - 10:15

The Sprawl was reviewed with a creator interview a year ago: “my favorite furry webcomic and certainly ranks among my favorite webcomics of all time” — so enjoy a fresh take. Welcome to Roz Gibson, furry artist and animator in Southern California. Roz was guest of honor at Confurence and created the Jack Salem comic character that first appeared in Rowrbrazzle in 1987. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers. See Roz’s tag for more reviews.

The Sprawl volume 1-3 
Written and Illustrated by Snowdon
Published by Ringtail Café productions

I picked these three volumes up at AnthroCon last year. There are not a whole lot of new furry comics coming out, particularly if you’re looking for something other than porn, slice-of-life or gay interest, so I decided to give this series a try.

The back blurb describes this as “Sci-Fi/Horror meets Dark Fantasy on a dead world. It’s only inhabitants are  the descendants of an ill-fated colonization mission, now huddled together in an ever-growing mega-city known as The Sprawl.” But the story turns out to be closer to Bladerunner meets The Thing, with something from the original Heavy Metal movie thrown in for good measure.

Volume 1 is pretty simple: a survey team is sent to a distant part of the dead planet (referred to as the “South Pole”) to look for another survey team that vanished. You see boobs early on, as the female characters are either topless or wearing really skimpy clothing. The two female surveyors are apparently along solely to hump the guys, which they get to doing as soon as they leave on the mission. When there’s an explosion on the ship and they have to evacuate, the guys are all fully dressed, but the bunny girl bails out wearing nothing but bikini panties. When they arrive on the frozen, snowy surface of the South Pole, someone gives her a jacket that she never bothers to zip up, so she’s wandering around Antarctic cold in panties and an open jacket with her boobs hanging out. I think this is known as ‘pandering to the audience,’ which might have worked if the bunny girl was attractive, but all the characters are squishy lumpy with big Bugs Bunny-type feet.

While I waited for the bunny girl to either die of hypothermia or her bare feet to turn into frozen blocks, the team reaches the prerequisite spooky mysterious abandoned ruins with dead bodies. The previous survey team is dead and one of the characters– without even touching or examining the bodies–declares that they killed each other.

Then they find a mysterious evil glowing orb (a call-back to the original Heavy Metal movie) that is so evil it compels anyone around it to immediately kill each other.  The lone survivor takes the orb back to The Sprawl and sells it to a brilliant but eccentric scientist with a hot daughter (who is, unsurprisingly, more than she seems!)

Now the genre switches to Blade Runner, with a hard-boiled PI investigating the murder of the scientist, the orb and the getting involved with the hot daughter. She’s wearing skimpy clothes, and yes, we do get to see her boobs when she gets out of the shower and walks around naked. The rest of the comic involves a lot of chases and fights in a rainy, depressing city.

Like many other digital comics turned into print, the art is dark and muddy, so it’s often impossible to tell what’s going on. That is compounded (particularly in volume 2) with the action taking place in dark tunnels. And all the pages are on black or dark backgrounds without traditional panel gutters, which makes it even harder to follow the action.  The (male) characters wear so much baggy clothing you can’t tell what species they are, so if you’re looking for visually interesting character design, this is not it. To further complicate matters, most of volume 3 is dreams within dreams, or hallucinations, so by the end of it I honestly had no clue what was going on.

Online the comic is up to volume 5, but this review only covers the 3 printed volumes I purchased last summer. 

If you wanted to read it online it might look better, without the dark printing. The comic isn’t horrible, if you want a story along with the boobies, but it lost me early on with the naked bunny girl wandering around the South Pole.

– Roz Gibson

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Meet the artist behind the site banner — Roku Doggo

Wed 17 Jun 2020 - 10:00

From time to time, Dogpatch Press commissions new banner art — check out a gallery from past months. Past artists have come from Mexico, Argentina, Chile, the Philippines, England, Quebec, North Carolina, California, and Texas. Get in touch if you want pay and a feature article. Today it’s for Roku Doggo.

Hi Roku, love your banner art! Especially the way you made it a funny action moment.

Thank you so much.

Where are you from and how much furry activity do you do?

I’m from Texas, and the only furry activity I do is, well drawing furries and I do it almost every day.

What’s your favorite part about being a furry artist?

My favorite part will have to be the interactions I have with my followers. It makes my day just to see them happy about any of the work I make.

Can you link your social media profiles?

You do a lot of big round furs… Texas is a big place too. Does the place you live make it into your art in any way?

Hehe yep! It definitely is big, but the place I live in doesn’t really make it in to my artwork. I mainly do all my work on the characters and I don’t really focus on the setting that much.

HAPPY PRIDE!
Each and everyone of you are valid and deserve love!
Be proud of who you are and live life to its fullest potential!
It’s rainbows all around ????️‍????????️‍????????️‍????????️‍???? pic.twitter.com/KYxCQjNXeN

????️‍????GAY PUP????️‍???? (@Thefuzzy_husky) June 1, 2020

Is there anything furry you like about where you live, like cons you go to, or even the animals? I love wildlife, there’s a lot in my neighborhood… Deers nest up the hill, skunks under the house, possums and raccoons in the trees, and wild turkeys hang out on the roof.

I haven’t gone to any cons yet, but the desert bunnies, coyotes and roadrunners are fun to look at when they roam about.

The art you did for the site has charm and action and it looks like talent that could go into longer comics. You have some comics in your galleries — are those all commissioned, or do you do any ongoing story?

I’ve only done one comic as a commission and that was my most recent one, but the other comics I do are short comics and they don’t have an ongoing story. And I do have plans for other comics, but I don’t know if I’ll actually go forward with them because it’s not the first time I wanted to work on a comic and do nothing for it.

Have any good stories about doing art or getting into furry? Like an oddball commission, or things you have run into in the fandom?

Well I can tell you the story about getting into furry. I remember watching the movie Brother Bear, and then having the urge to draw the bear characters from the movie. I looked up images of them online. It led me to DeviantArt where I found all these cool drawings, which were furry, but I didn’t realize it at the time. Then I told myself, “Hey! I want to draw that!” and that’s really how it started.

How are you holding up with the Covid-19 quarantine?

It’s been a bit tough — transitioning to online classes from college has messed up my schedule and with it my time to draw.

Want to talk about future plans with your studies? And how about with furry?

Well I’m pursuing studies in the geology field, two years in to college, and I’m hoping to continue strong for another two years. With furry, I just hope I get to enjoy it as much as I do and hopefully get the opportunity to attend cons in the future.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Oldest science fiction book store burns in Minneapolis uprising, fandom feels the heat

Thu 11 Jun 2020 - 09:54

Dr. Peter Venkman : This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.

Mayor : What do you mean, “biblical”?

Dr. Raymond Stantz : What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.

Dr. Peter Venkman : Exactly.

Dr. Raymond Stantz : Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!

Dr. Egon Spengler : Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…

Winston Zeddemore : The dead rising from the grave!

Dr. Peter Venkman : Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Mayor : All right, all right! I get the point!

– Ghostbusters (1984)

Can you feel it? The Covid-19 pandemic makes it dangerous to give hugs (the furry handshake.) A new Great Depression might be on the way with millions unemployed. People are rising for justice while cities burn.

Uncle Hugo’s burned. It was a book store in Minneapolis, the oldest independent science fiction book store in the USA. One of the furry fandom’s original members worked there since it opened in 1974. Ken Fletcher was co-founder of Vootie, the voice of “The Funny Animal Liberation Front”, which helped to launch the furry fandom. He’s out of work for now (and might do a Q&A with me soon).

Directly south of the store, nine blocks down Chicago Street, was where the fire got a reason to start. On the corner at East 38th, Officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. Viral video of the incident showed bystanders begging for help while other police stood in the way. It spurred national outrage against a white-on-black power flex. Soon, nothing could hold back the wrath of half a city rising against injustice, and burning a police station and more.

Oldest Independent Science Fiction Bookstore in the US Burned Down in Minneapolis Riots https://t.co/b2p8CCanBY

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) June 9, 2020

Here’s what’s known about the book store loss. (Thanks for tip from Billy D Bunny.) Ken Fletcher wrote:

Saturday, 30 May, about 3 am, an arsonist (probably) went down a half-block on an arterial street setting a row of small businesses afire. The bookstore was one of them. At that time (so I have heard) there was no police presence, and it took about an hour (?) for the fire department to show up (a lot of business fires in part of the city that night). Rumor has it that there is a posted video of a masked white-guy setting the bookstore on fire. Many of the small businesses looted or burned were black or Asian-owned. Actual motivations unknown.

Quick points:

  • It’s not all “rioting” — Minnesota officials believed that white supremacists were using these events for sabotage in hopes to start a race war.
  • When police stop attacking and just retreat, peaceful protest organizing makes a whole other topic about where the violence comes from.
  • It’s bigger than a death; it’s about police trained to kill and consuming the lion’s share of public funding, while school and social services get crumbs.
  • This led to Minneapolis government pledges for change that generations of electoral politics couldn’t get for downtrodden minorities.
  • Defunding police (and refunding education and social services) is now a national topic.
  • It’s not just black/white, it’s rich/poor; Rioting won America’s independence too.

Here’s a crowdfund for Uncle Hugo’s. Don Blyly, the owner, is posting official news here and here.

Uncle Edgar's Mystery Bookstore and Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore in Minneapolis had been burned to the ground during the riots. I honestly don't have the words… pic.twitter.com/XhLTA52Lxz

— David Housewright (@DHousewright) May 31, 2020

Vootie co-founder Reed Waller: “No matter who lights the fuse, we know who the real bad guys are.” — 2007 panel from Omaha the Cat Dancer. (Waller was a Minneapolis native while creating Omaha, a key comic for furry art and free expression that helped start the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.)

The scale of events puts fandom in perspective. Furries couldn’t save Uncle Hugo’s. They’re not immune to Covid-19. Furry art won’t fix the economy or end racism alone. It isn’t like a cartoon where they simply beat the bad guy. It would be nice to escape into fantasy and live all the time like a weekend convention, but those are closed for now. Furries are just people with a hobby and a subculture, not a culture, more like a bubble floating on the wave of life. It’s OK to say hobbies matter less than lives.

But this isn’t an occasion just to mourn or wish about going back in time by turning off the news. There’s plenty of support happening inside fandom. Personally I would rather be out in a local community, so I haven’t been doing much furry news but have been supporting protests.

One of those protests synched with Bike Party, on the East side of the San Francisco Bay. Bike Party is a regular street takeover for hundreds of cyclists with rolling sound systems. It really is a moving party on the road with no police or permits — more free and harder to shut down than an underground warehouse party. It’s friendly enough to bring families too, and usually avoids messages. This time they rode for Black Lives Matter. On short notice it brought some of the biggest attendance ever (I heard guesses of 5-10,000.) It showed the power of subculture to bring people together peacefully. From 1960’s civil rights protesting to now, music and art has tied to movements like this.

Rolling pic.twitter.com/JuPCcuLC5g

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) June 8, 2020

Meanwhile there’s serious conflict of protesters and journalists being brutalized and police acting outside of the law. How can you do anything about it?

On the small fandom level, there’s outsized power in DIY ethic. Doing It Yourself means not needing official permission — to organize for charity, create support art, or spread the word about people’s needs.

This bundle includes many MANY very furry games including the acclaimed Night in the Woods: https://t.co/s5FidGs8yj

— Culturally F'd! (@CulturallyFd) June 9, 2020

To stay informed, here’s a news thread about debunking current hoaxes. And here’s a question that could make a discussion about progress:

January 2018….

I still remember. I simply could not fucking believe what I was reading. And not a single other soul in the chat seemed to care at all.

I decided to just stay quiet. I didn't want to cause a fuss. I was weak and easily intimidated.

I should have spoken up…. pic.twitter.com/MKNPbDMBkH

— Schmozy yaps: BEE ELL EMM (@Schmozy) June 8, 2020

So what do you think, how would you tackle big problems like this in your own way?

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

More Animal Impersonators From Theater History

Wed 27 May 2020 - 10:00

Don’t miss the series of stories about animal impersonators.

George Ali as Nana in Peter Pan (1924)

Yesterday’s article revisited the history of animal impersonation for theater. It’s the study of how animals move and behave, for acting with emotion and character. Beautifully crafted costumes were used on live stages before cinema matured, from artists forgotten by time. It’s deep rooted “Paleofurry” inspiration.

Previous stories here looked at British Panto-animal actors, but overlooked other actors in American Vaudeville (which fed talent to Hollywood). An expert covered some of them to round out this history. (Thanks to Trav S.D. who is linked here; a theater director, producer, and author.)

Arthur Lupino as Nana (1904)

George Ali: Critter for Hire, and Arthur Lupino

Trav’s short article adds a little about George Ali, who played the dog in the first filmed version of Peter Pan. But in 1904 the role was played by an actor who I haven’t found much about. There’s just a very short blurb from Encyclopedia Brittanica saying Arthur Lupino was an “incomparable animal impersonator” and chosen personally by Peter Pan playwright JM Barrie.

Fred Woodward: What an Animal

Mules and creatures from Oz. It’s another short mention of how “Animal impersonation was a whole sub-specialty in vaudeville… This was an era when fairy tales were frequently presented on stage for audiences of children and their families, so it’s not as odd as it may seem at first blush.”

Alfred Latell: Animal Impressionist

A substantial story with contribution from the actor’s granddaughter. Latell was “best known as Bonzo the Bull Pup,” and “publicized his long hours of studying the movements of the creatures so that he could get them just so”.

Despite fame for some, the arts aren’t known for enriching every talent who made many people happy: “According to his daughter, he was buried in a pauper’s (unmarked) grave in Park Ridge, Illinois in 1951. After he passed, his widow was so distraught, she threw out anything that reminded her of her husband, including his famous dog suit. Fortunately, the family managed to save some photos including ones in this post which they were nice enough to share. Special thanks to Kimberly Albright.” — That’s so sad, like losing a fursuit and a lot more!

Other sources describe his art and quote him:

“He went to great lengths – rigged up a hind leg, improving his dog movement, and had a special tube made for his mouth which allowed him to appear like he was lapping up milk.  With a string he could raise the fur on the back of the cat suit! He also impersonated birds, ‘The parrot was one of my first bird impersonations, and I found it one of the most difficult of all, because of its crouching posture and the consequent tendency to fall over while walking.  There are nine strings which have to be operated in working the head, bill and wings, and the work is laborious in every sense of the word.” (The Art of Animal Acting, The New York Dramatic Mirror, May 1, 1909.) — Pamela Butler, Pam’s Pictorama

Will Ferry: Another kind of Frog Man.

“Dressed as a frog in dashing evening clothes, he performed his act, which consisted of acrobalance and general amphibian impersonation, against a backdrop painted to resemble a swamp.” The hops and jumps of an acting career had hurdles of American segregation here. He was a person of color born shortly after the Civil War, who toured with minstrel players. I wonder how talent and costuming had to navigate racist limits. Could playing an animal ever conceal skin color? Did animal impersonation (also done by white people) have the same stereotyping faced by POC actors like Stepin Fetchit until barriers came down?

Those stories come from Trav S.D., author of No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous. It’s where to learn about Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini, Milton Berle, Mae West (and I hope it covers The Three Stooges.)

There must be more animal impersonators to learn about. Another blog covered one named Albert Felino.

(Update): Arthur Hill, “the original Cowardly Lion”, has an entry on Trav’s blog too. Search turns up an interesting history article:

1908 Chicago Cubs mascot. A paleofurry root found while looking up Animal Impersonator Arthur Hill (the original Cowardly Lion) whose understudy wore the suit.https://t.co/lV5zp7sD03
Animal Impersonators: https://t.co/JsjgzTuId7
Sports Mascots + Furries:https://t.co/rdZ38jJVRt pic.twitter.com/e7ZnERi5Bw

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) May 28, 2020

What could a furry do with some of this lost lore, like the idea of string-operated eyes, ears and parts? Drop a comment or tip if you see inspiration from it.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Animal Impersonators of Vaudeville and Pantomime: call them Paleofurries.

Tue 26 May 2020 - 10:25

Check out this “fursuit” acting from 1924. That’s George Ali as Nana the Dog in the first silent-movie version of Peter Pan. (Here’s a longer clip).

Disney’s Nana

In 1924, there were no archives for movies, so many were destroyed or disappeared when they stopped making money from screening. The first Peter Pan movie was believed lost, but two copies were found including one at Disney Studios (who must have studied the innovative special effects.) A restoration in 1994 was added to the US National Film Registry. It makes a rare recording of this kind of performing.

George Ali was an Animal Impersonator — much more than just a costumer, but a specialist artist. There must be tons of forgotten lore about this. It was featured in my furry history series about Panto-animals (with beautiful photos, but no videos I could find until now!)

What were animal impersonators?

Fred Conquest and Charles Lauri appear in those stories as British Pantomime theater players. Panto had roots as old as Shakespeare — a mash-up of clowning, burlesque, satire, and lower-class popular theater for the masses. It was for live stages, not permanent Youtube-ready media, so the actors may be barely remembered today. They were huge stars in their heyday 100 years ago. Most were known as human characters, but ones like Ali, Conquest, or Lauri won stardom in their own right as animals.

This quote from my first story says why they were more than costumers:

Charles Lauri’s imitations were exceptional for the accuracy with which they reproduced the movements of different animals. When rehearsing for a part, he spent hours watching the animal he would be impersonating… The performances were physically extremely demanding and Lauri had to be an acrobat as well as an actor.

George Ali, World’s Greatest Animal Impersonator explains how they won stardom:

Most reviews singled him out for praise, with many stating how the audience often wished the size of his role could be doubled, as it often saved the show. Everyone seemed to enjoy his enthusiastic and energetic performances, full of emotion and character. This recognition forced producers to prominently feature and highlight Ali in advertisements with second billing… Advertisements at the time noted he received the largest salary ever paid to animal impersonators.

Fursuiters take note about the Nana the Dog suit:

Seidel’s of New York created the costume from Ali’s design and specifications, with the face folded in the style of a taxidermist. Real shaggy dog fur covered Nana’s head, with caracel covering the body and buttoned up inside… From inside the costume, Ali operated the eyes, ears, tail, and mouth through a series of strings enabling him to cock an eye, wiggle his ears, wag his tail, and the like, enabling him to tug viewers’ heart strings as well. Jumping from wistful to joyous celebration to sorrow, Ali’s strong portrayal charmed audiences.

There’s more about the costuming in this review of a modern screening of the silent Peter Pan with live music.

Paleofurries from Britain to America

Paleofurry” means anything anthropomorphic in history, from fairy tales to Egyptian gods. Maybe there isn’t direct influence, but it’s culturally latent. You can see it skip across time from old theater, which influenced Disney and Golden Age cartoons, to subcultural 1970’s cartoonists, who helped found today’s fandom.

Like furries themselves sometimes, Animal Impersonators’ craft seems overlooked and left for specialty interest. That’s how a furry fan can see it with a thrill of recognition. Want some advanced costuming inspiration? Study it! I even considered doing a book, but my articles about Panto-Animals had most everything I could find by scouring the web. That didn’t promise much present-day activity to explore as a fan. That’s up to professional and academic researchers… and recently, one led me to more info that was overlooked in stories about British Panto.

American Vaudeville actors were the talent for early Hollywood. London stage actors who moved to Vaudeville and movie success included George Ali, and the first huge mass media star, Charlie Chaplin.

These are types of variety theater (also including Burlesque and minstrelry), and Vaudeville is called “America’s only purely indigenous theatrical form.” How is it different from Panto? That’s a question for an expert. Tomorrow’s story links an expert who profiled more American actors that haven’t appeared here.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

With conventions closed for COVID-19, how will furries get their kink on?

Thu 21 May 2020 - 10:00

Yesterday’s story: With conventions closed for COVID-19, what happens to furries as a community?

Hello Everyone. Keeping as transparent as possible we have decided to postpone the convention until a later date. While the state reopens, we are postponing SCMC as we have the safety and protection of all in attendees, staff and families at our convention in mind. pic.twitter.com/cx0DusQvoH

— Sin City Murr Con (@SinCityMurrCon) May 18, 2020

Ow My Balls!

The COVID-19 pandemic has postponed Sin City Murr Con. It’s planned to be the furry fandom’s first explicitly adult kink-themed convention.

SCMC also stands out as a con from Corgi Events, who organize GSFC, Aquatifur, DenFur, and PDFC. It’s furry fandom’s first multi-event managing company, with the idea of a paycheck letting the CEO do this full-time. Despite fear that paying someone is the tip of a Bad Dragon-sized capitalist intrusion, advancing a grab-bag of cons could be the foot in the door for the kink one.

This is a hit to fandom expression AND business. Several furries had a group chat about the postponing.

Lux, a furry artist in California, didn’t see such a big issue. She felt like SCMC might not have gone over well due to being “neither part of the kink scene or the local Las Vegas scene. Las Vegas seems like an all right place for a furry convention without the gimmick you know? And a furry track could be slotted into another kink event that happens in Las Vegas, rather than the other way around. Las Vegas hosts adult films expo and sex toy conventions if I’m not mistaken.”

I felt like explicit kink friendliness is a big deal, many furry people ARE kink scene people, and Las Vegas local furries haven’t made the effort for their own con. (They had Elliott’s Live Events, but that was more of a private party.) I saw a bigger issue.

Disneyfication

Hugo The Pink Cat, a Quebec furry artist, agreed. “I’ve made my thoughts clear on the Disneyfication of the fandom in the last decade, and how it feels like there aren’t a lot of places for the kinky side of the fandom to express themselves openly. I’m worried about the increasing pressure to make every furry event family friendly. Cancelation of events that could have catered to the adult side is unfortunate.”

I’d say there are places, but they aren’t all accessible. That can lead to bad exclusion or abusive tendencies. Boundaries are good for safety though. (That’s why there should be more like San Francisco’s Animal Farm party, one of the world’s only openly advertised furry sex parties at a formally licensed club.)

And when furries try to qualify the portion of furries who ARE sexual as "an anomaly" or "a tiny weird subsection" it goes against the sex positivity most furries are in favor of.

— *That pink cat* (@HugoThePinkCat) January 21, 2020

Lux felt that “a lot of backlash about the sexualization of the fandom is either heralded by old school furs who are openly homophobic, or minors who feel left out.”

Hugo replied: “A lot of NEW cons and younger furries are so desperate for approval from outside that they will pretend that their attendees aren’t grown ass adults and will insist on making everything child friendly.” — (And why is our space important?) A lot of early event organisers were LGBTQ… A LOT of the “let’s desexify the fandom” is based in LGBTQ phobia. Every single time a finger is pointed at “unacceptable” things, it’s inevitably LGBTQ related in some way.”

Summercat agreed: “It’s just pure ‘coincidence’ that the rise of more LGBT stuff happened with the start of those crusades, yes yes don’t look behind the curtain.” — (But it’s about identity:) — “Furries are no more sexual than any other group, we’re just more open and honest about it. Put a lot of people in one place and sexy times will happen.”

Lux raised more issues: “The knee-jerk response that a lot of normies express is how the furry fandom is some kind of 100% crazy sex thing. Every single convention I’ve ever been to, there’s swinger couples that float around the hotel bars, trying to pick up fursuiters.” — (Furries can be their own worst enemies:) — There’s also a dedicated hit squad on both Twitter and Tumblr who are dedicated to hunting down murrsuiters like it’s some kind of insane witch hunt.”

Freedom at stake.

Lux: “What I really love about the fandom is that it is about testing your inhibitions. Depending on how deep you go into the furry forest, you’ll find yourself into inflatable pool toys, being engulfed in sentient slime, or walking around a hotel lobby wearing onesie pajamas and holding on to a stuffed animal that you paid $800 for.

It seems like every culture on the planet has major hangups about sex in general. We neglect to educate kids, shame women, deny the existence of LGBTQ folks, etc. I think when the public looks on the furry fandom and sees a group of people dressed as animals, openly embracing each other, and just letting loose, they reflexively think it’s a sex thing because… repressed sexuality is a cork on a champagne bottle filled with all kinds of baggage. Once you come to terms with your own and the fact that a LOT of people in your life won’t get it, then the urge to suppress your own community evaporates.”

Shifting things online empowers corporations to suppress adult content. It was a warning when they purged Tumblr. Now the stakes are rising.

Many furries do NSFW stuff for a living. What if you lose freedom to have it?

In 2018, the #SESTA/#FOSTA law was passed against protest that it would kill expression on the net. Furry dating site Pounced closed and Tumblr tumbled. A thread about it: https://t.co/xLsNN8eAZl

1/

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 11, 2018

Time out

The pandemic postpones this fight at cons, but the pressure isn’t off.

Personally I like Mr. Rogers style wholesome cartoon fandom as much as the weirder side. There’s room for different events — it’s not a competition. The freedom to have different events comes from organizing them independently.

As explained in yesterday’s story, this isn’t just about a brief postponement, but a long term rollback and loss of freedom. How easy would it be to recapture?

The kink side is more than just some people’s preference. It might where you find the fandom’s vital signs. Let’s see how it keeps itself alive. Not just online, because communication is supposed to lead to more.

Vice news, March 2020

Probably because you're not following us? ????

Got a whole thread on media coverage here: https://t.co/hocyZji3Ie

— buttplug.io ???????? – Open Source Sex Tech (@buttplugio) May 14, 2020

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

With conventions closed for COVID-19, what happens to furries as a community?

Wed 20 May 2020 - 10:00

Depression of the furry economy.

Real life cons and meets are glue for internet fandom. Closing them will make a ripple effect.

Furry fandom has had decades of rising activity, and it’s between members without depending on corporations. Up to now, their cons bring tens of thousands of people with tens of millions of dollars spent per year around the world. That’s hard to just pause and restart.

It’s tourism/live show business that makes a foundation for other businesses. Take fursuit-making. It has millions a year in activity. Shutdowns and unemployment could make commissioners less eager for fursuits they can’t use in person or afford.

Some makers have long queues for promised work. That can mean holding a lot of deposits (even near an average household’s debt — thousands per suit x dozens of suits.) Imagine the queue stopping. That’s the ripple effect.

Could that kind of problem bankrupt cons? Or are they safe if they can cancel hotel contracts by force majeure? How hard will the hangover be if it takes a year or more to restart? (Reopening too soon can hurt too, without concerted solutions everywhere.)

FYI Furry conventions can't cancel without penalties if lockdowns are lifted. Hotels can easily bill your favorite convention into bankruptcy.

Anti-lockdown protests not only put our events at risk financially, but spreading it could kill your friends.https://t.co/YXfQBSPLJR

— Essential Fox ???? (@chipfoxx) May 19, 2020

Here’s a sobering thought: COVID-19 studies I’ve read suggest it might keep coming in waves for years until there’s a vaccine. But immunity might not persist. Consider if it settles in to stay and lowers world life expectancy until who knows when. (However, get info from science sources, not fan news.)

That could make it uncertain if cons will come back the same way at all. Maybe it’s too soon for judgement, but consider the possibility.

Shutdowns might be relatively less bad for con business though, unlike investment that needs returns. If they can cancel without debt, maybe they can stay buffered from the social turbulence of ZIRP (the reason why huge investment capital sloshes around in search of profit, building business that makes no sense.)

But lost reg fees and travel costs hurt, and those who rely on fandom social life or art business have more to worry about.

Fandom without cons? What a BUMMER.

Going all-online is a big change for a fandom known for crowds of colorful costumers at cons. Maybe the big party years will be remembered as a second wave after the 1970s-1990s pre-online fandom. Now it could turn a corner to a third wave.

Meanwhile, too much time on social media can make you stressed, angry, desperate for more, and primed for data mining and advertising. There’s an acronym for “the sinister purpose of tech companies that brought us the platforms we’re hooked on and their effect on us“. It is…

BUMMER (Behaviors of Users Modified and Made into Empires for Rent.)

Losing independent bases can raise this corporate power. What can you do about it? Maybe limit time online, work on tangible creativity, and build crossover outside the fandom.

I'm fairly new to twitter but I suppose after having grown a large following it becomes a lot harder to get away from that type of stuff. Stick to your core roots, whether it be as an art platform or what have you. Keep replies and stuff relevant, everything else is unnecessary

— Verve (@HarmonyXero) May 19, 2020

Finding support.

This is a good time to support artists if you can. Soatok, a furry coder, told me: “I’m going to be commissioning a fursuit soon, but I already wanted one before this stuff.”

There’s lots of fun ways to do suiting online. I’m being an eye candy guest on livestreams for Bawdy Storytelling. The show was live on stage before, so livestreams keep supporting performers who got hit hard by shutdowns.

Oh boy. I'll be a fursuit panelist on the @bawdy livestream, basically just looking fuzzy on the side while dirty stories are told. The last one had 400 watchers. Saturday May 16th at 7 PM PDT/10 PM EST, tickets at https://t.co/rTPnYCLIGp, FB event at https://t.co/oqvzp1ZIJV. https://t.co/oFaLSFtPfR

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) May 16, 2020

Hurt by unemployment? Furries can help other furries. Soatok says: “I’m currently writing a thing that can be summed up as ‘how to get into remote tech work for close to $0 and no prior experience for furries’. This is a public teaser.”

Staying flexible and independent is a way to prepare for a bounce back.

You could even combine fun and a side gig. If anyone wanted to try this, I’ll bet the biggest demand would be from other fans themselves, so it isn’t much more than a little extra option for those already doing such activity.

Some enterprising fursuiters should offer their own services for this.

This Farm Sanctuary Lets You Invite a Furry Animal to Your Next Video Meetinghttps://t.co/RI8LJjhpmq

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) April 26, 2020

It’s happened with small gigs as mascot entertainment or being welcomed on stage at bigger shows. I’ve gotten $50 and meals for being a dancer or just mingling at clubs where I might have done it for fun anyways. Imagine gathering a like minded group to promote that together. It would be an online version of groups that do it for live events. If anyone tries it, send a tip here for an article to help.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Animosity #4, The Walled City — graphic novel review by Roz Gibson

Fri 8 May 2020 - 10:00

Welcome to Roz Gibson, furry artist and animator in Southern California. Roz was guest of honor at Confurence and created the Jack Salem comic character that first appeared in Rowrbrazzle in 1987. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers. See Roz’s tag for more reviews.

Animosity #4, The Walled City (graphic novel compilation of issues 14-18)
Written by Marguerite Bennet, art by Rafael De Latorre, Ornella Savarese and Elton Thomas.
Published by Aftershock Comics

The  scenario of animals suddenly developing sentience has been used recently in at least two comics (Squarriors and Animosity) and two novels (The Awareness and the Mort(e) series). Animosity  has been ongoing for several years, chronicling the journey of young human teenager Jesse, her devoted bloodhound ‘father’ Sandor, and their group of companions, including a Pallas cat, goats, a bison, a ring-tailed lemur and Kyle, an adult human who may or may not have Jesse’s best interests at heart. 

The group is traveling from New York City to San Francisco, where Jesse can hopefully find her half-brother. Sandor is eager to make the trip as quickly as possible, since he’s old and is afraid he’ll die before getting Jesse to safety. The landscape is typically post-apocalyptic, and they encounter various obstacles and allies along the way. While this is volume 4, you don’t necessarily need to be familiar with the other chapters to pick it up, since it does contain a complete story arc and there’s a helpful synopsis of ‘what has gone before’ at the beginning of the book.

During their journey Jesse and Sandor encounter groups where animals are dominating humans, animal-only enclaves, and, in this volume, a place where humans still own animals. At the end of the previous volume, Kyle has kidnapped Jesse, ostensibly to ‘save’ her from Sandor, whom he does not trust. Kyle has heard of a human-only enclave called the Walled City in the south, where he thinks Jesse will be safe. Now, in volume 4, when they arrive at the Walled City, and find the inhabitants are eager to take in any female of childbearing age—and not so interested in taking single adult men. Too bad for Kyle.

The rest of the story has Jesse trying to survive in a girl’s boarding school from hell, run by the fanatical ‘Headmistress,’ while Sandor and the rest of the group try to track her down.  In the Walled City they still keep pigs captive for meat, as well as enslaving (literally, with chains) other animals for labor. They are very big with “Humans are the superior species” philosophy, which doesn’t sit well with Jesse.

One thing to note about Animosity’s background, is that everything became sentient, including fish, insects and krill. Which makes life tough for obligate carnivores.  The problem of food shortages is covered more extensively in a side-series: Animosity: Evolution.  In the main comic it’s glossed over a bit, with the carnivore characters shown eating animals that have already been killed. But by and large the problem of carnivore diet is not dealt with.

The artwork is traditional American comic book style, inked with mostly flat colors. The artists are better at drawing the human characters than animal, but the animals are at least recognizable. The anatomy is a bit wonky, but I’ve seen plenty worse. And with the clean inks and flat colors, you can actually tell what’s going on in each panel.

Of the 4 works with animals suddenly getting intelligent, the Mort(e) series of novels is by far the best (if a rather grim read). But Animosity is a good second. Recommended for people looking for a serious story with talking animals that are not anthropomorphic.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

The Snow Cat Prince by Dina Norlund — graphic novel review by Roz Gibson

Thu 7 May 2020 - 10:00

Welcome to Roz Gibson, furry artist and animator in Southern California. Roz was guest of honor at Confurence and created the Jack Salem comic character that first appeared in Rowrbrazzle in 1987. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers. See Roz’s tag for more reviews.

The Snow Cat Prince
Written and illustrated by Dina Norlund
Published by Hushbird publications

The Snow Cat Prince is a gorgeous hardcover graphic novel by Scandinavian artist Dina Norlund. I received my copy through a Kickstarter campaign, but it is available from her website: Hushbird.com (and the furry book sellers would be smart if they picked this up for sale at conventions). Unlike most of the graphic novels I’ve reviewed, this is not a zillion-volume series that will never get done — story is self-contained in this one book. What a pleasant surprise that was!

The plot is a standard “Prince searching for an artifact so he can reclaim his kingdom.” And it is definitely an all-ages title, with minimal violence (but some threat and peril).  After a short introduction setting the background, the titular Snow Cat Prince is introduced. Syv, the youngest of seven brothers, will probably not inherit the throne, and he’s okay with that.  But his six ne’er do-well brothers are concerned because he’s popular with the human inhabitants of the city, so they decide to send him on a wild goose chase to find the lost crown.

In the introduction we’re told how the evil shapeshifting foxes stole the crown from the first, mighty snow cat king, and if the crown can be found and returned the snow cat’s city will once again flourish. Syv is kind but very naive, and doesn’t question why his more powerful brothers would send him off on this important quest. Almost as soon as he leaves the city he comes across Kit—a red-haired elfin sprite who invites herself to tag along. The rest of the story follows their adventures and perils, as Syv learns a lot about the world and the real history of what happened to the crown.

The story is straightforward and simple, so it might not appeal to readers looking for more substance.  However, the artwork is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. Rich, vibrant colors with clean, easy-to-follow layouts. The character designs are a melding of Disney and manga — cute without being over-the-top about it. The book is definitely worth getting just for the art.  An excellent production in terms of printing and presentation.

I will eagerly look forward to anything else Dina Norlund puts out.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

A brief history of the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization, America’s first anime fan club — by Sy Sable

Tue 28 Apr 2020 - 10:26

Courtesy of Changa Lion and the Confurence Archive, cover art by Ken Sample. 5 years after it was founded, the club newsletter covered news from 9 American club chapters and the 1982 release of Don Bluth’s Secret of NIMH.

Sy Sable co-founded the first furry con and helped grow a new worldwide furry fandom, with 1970’s roots in a small clubhouse in Los Angeles.

On 4/4/2020, Sy Sable (Mark Merlino) sent this brief history of the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization, founded in 1977. His story comes from recent message trading with someone interested in the C/FO and those involved. He couldn’t connect her to people out of contact for over 20 years, but he could tell how the club started. 

Today, there’s a worldwide network we could call capital-F Furry fandom, but some key founders were “proto-furries” who met at the C/FO. The club introduced new and unusual imported Japanese anime that was starting to reach America through rare home video tech. Club members loved anime for featuring adult, science fiction and action themes unlike 1970’s American animation aimed at kids (then dominated by studios like Hanna-Barbera.) There was a lot of “giant robot” anime, but certain fans preferred to combine adult themes plus traditional “funny animal” comics and animation that eventually spun off their own, new hybrid fandom.

Sy was a founder who went on with partner Rod O’Riley to host 1980’s science fiction convention room parties, then ConFurence in 1989, and longstanding monthly parties at The Prancing Skiltaire in Southern California (when not under quarantine in 2020). The C/FO had other chapters and there were other fan groups, but this is a major root. Another founder, Fred Patten, wrote about the C/FO in How Home Video Created Anime Fandom — or check Fred’s review of Joe Strike’s Furry Nation history book that covers this. (Fred was also a writer with Jerry Beck, East Coast C/FO chapter founder and animation historian, tying in much more history.) Sy says: “This is from my perspective and drops names something fierce… but it IS my personal take on things.” ( – Patch)

In the early 1970’s, Star Trek fandom led to fan introductions through Loscon, the LASFS, and ASIFA Hollywood.

Here is how it happened, from the beginning. I attended a Star Trek convention in the 70’s with a friend. I had no previous experience with fan conventions and I was amazed. They had recreated the bridge of the Enterprise, and it was even better than the actual set. It was not made for money, nor for a production, it was built just because they were fans. They eventually used that set (which could be dismantled and moved, unlike the real set) to film promotions for the syndicated TV Star Trek show (and some commercials). The point is that this was my introduction to the concept of fandom. 

I discovered that there were several fan conventions (science fiction and comics, mainly) happening in my area during any year. I went to Equicon/Filmcon which was a fan ran media convention in LA, and volunteered as a projectionist. I ended up running the department. Back then, if you wanted to screen science fiction films, you had to rent 16MM films from places. This is how I got into screening films for fans. It turned out that one of the oldest (literary) science fiction fan clubs in the US was in Los Angeles (started in the 1930’s). The Los Angeles Science Fiction Society (LASFS) met in their own permanent club house in Burbank every Thursday night. That club had an annual convention, Loscon (2 years old at that point). 

I have always been a fan of animation, starting with Disney films (when I was a child) and later including anything animated; Hosted TV shows that showed early theatrical cartoons, even from Europe and the USSR, early animated shows made for TV (basically TV comic strips, they had so little animation) and shows from Japan that were translated for US TV. Amazing 3, Astroboy, Gigantor, Kimba the White Lion, Speed Racer, Marine Boy, etc. When I was in college and the university, I pursued my interest by tracking down existing animation studios and actually met many of the greats, including Tex Avery, Walter Lance, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and more modern well known creators like Ralph Bakshi. I made friends with a background painter at UPA, Ron Diaz, and he introduced me to others in the industry and in ASIFA Hollywood, the local chapter of the International Animated Film Society (the letters are out of order since the organization was founded in France).

ASIFA Hollywood hosts the Annie Awards, one of the most prestigious animation industry events — Fred Patten’s friend Jerry Beck is president.

From ASIFA Hollywood, I met Wendell Washer, a story board artist for Filmation — and some of his friends, including Judy Niver (also an animator) — and Robin Leyden (a special effects contractor) who was also a fan of Japanese animation and had some B&W video tapes of Astroboy, which had been off the air for many years. Wendell was also very interested in animation, and a collector. He had a Sony Umatic VCR (3/4″ cassette, broadcast equipment). He was recording animation off TV, including shows from Japan that were broadcast on UHF stations in Southern California on Japanese local networks. The shows were recent productions from Japan, 16 MM film that had burned-in subtitles produced by Kiku TV in Hawaii. I had been watching these shows myself, and I was amazed that someone was keeping copies. I had a Umatic VCP (player), and on the last day of Loscon (1972 I believe), I happened to have the player in my car, along with some of Wendall’s tapes of Uusha Raideen and Getta Robo G.

At Loscon, I set up the player with a TV in a meeting room at the hotel and began showing the tapes. Eventually we had about 20 people watching, and really enjoying the episodes. (Including SF authors Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell.) Fred Patten was also there. When we were asked to leave the meeting room, we moved the rig to the Dead Dog room party and continued the screening. Afterward, Fred asked me how many episodes and shows I had, and I told him about Wendell’s collection.

Fred suggested we have an “informal” screening at the LASFS clubhouse every month. The 2nd Saturday was available, so I hauled my TV (they didn’t have one, being a “book club”) and Umatic VCP, and the monthly screenings began. 

The weasel mascot for the club was named Fanta. She was a skiltaire, an alien race created by Mark Merlino. Merlino was also known as Sylys Sable, the co-founder of the first furry convention ConFurence in 1989. pic.twitter.com/WQpk02WYHl

— City Pop Possum (@KaiserBeamz) May 29, 2019

Starting the C/FO for anime screenings and importing rare videos from Japan.

At some point (in 1977), we had managed to add material to our screenings, thanks to Marc Kausler, an animator and film collector. People with contacts in Japan began trading tapes with other fans. By that time I had my own VCR (a Sanyo V-Cord II, because it had still frame and slow-motion features, which no other consumer VCR had), and I began making copies for our (my) own video library. In May (I believe) Wendall, Judy, Robin, Fred and I met in a park near Judy’s house and decided to become the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization. I remember the weird name was Fred’s idea (but he later denied it). The reason it was called “cartoon-fantasy” is because they (not me) believed that the term “animation” was too “insider” for typical fans, though everyone knew about “cartoons”. The “fantasy” part was because we were also getting live-action adventure shows from Japan (like Ultraman, Spiderman (Jp), Tiger Mask and many 5 member “transforming ninja” team shows), which were also popular at our screenings. 

After a couple of years Fred told us that the LASFS did not want to host our screenings. He said it was because they could no longer guarantee our 2nd Saturday dates (but I suspect that it was because the club was always anti-media. It was a “literary” club, after all.) Judy Niver suggested we could move to the Animator’s Union Hall (Teamsters), in North Hollywood, and they eagerly agreed to host us. The meetings continued for a couple of years at the hall, including two visits from Dr. Osamu Tezuka and some young animation students from Japan. We even had the first (non-film festival) screening of “Cleopatra, Queen of Sex”, Tezuka’s soft-porn animated feature. It was here that Robin Leyden presented Tezuka with the statue of Astroboy he had made as a gift. At some point Judy decided she was not interested in the club and we had to move again. 

The Prancing Skiltaire youtube channel is curated by Changa Lion, who also runs the ConFurence Archive for vintage materials of the C/FO and more.

For a year or so after leaving the Union hall, we met at the home of Louise Hitchcock, who had set her place up as a pub, with a large meeting room and game room. (Louise and I became a couple for a few years, and that is when we had two skiltaires as co-mascots, based on her and I). We searched for a new venue, and a fellow LASFS fan and friend who had a dance studio in Inglewood volunteered his place (in the Youtube video above). The C/FO met there for a long time, passing it’s 20th anniversary at that location. We have guests like Fred Ladd, creator of the US Gigantor and Kimba, and the founders of the first US TV producers of Giant Robot and SF Japanese shows. 

During all this, I began organizing (myself) screening rooms (using video tape) at various science fiction and comic conventions. I had a lot of problems with some of the convention organizers who claimed I was a “pirate” and would get the convention in trouble for showing “copyrighted” material. Though at the same time, they wanted to add my videos to the convention programming! I was not just showing anime, I was also showing classic cartoons, SF films and TV shows like the comedy SF show Quark (which nobody claimed at that point). Fred suggested that these screenings were “sponsored by the C/FO”, and some were labeled that way.

At the time, I developed a set of rules to protect myself from possible problems with copyright I called “Catch 33” (a pun on the famous WWII story Catch 22). It goes like this: If the video screening room is not promoted in any convention literature, then the video screening room cannot be considered a way to attract attendees. If the video screening room is not a part of the convention program, and takes place in a room open to anyone that happens to be in the hotel, then people are not “paying” to see the screening (you don’t need a con badge to be in the video room). There may be a printed schedule for the room, but it is only available at the con information desk, and also posted outside the video room. These rules worked. In the 20+ years I organized video screening rooms, I (nor the convention organizers) were ever bothered by anyone about copyright or “public screening” problems. At Worldcon Phoenix in 1978, I had an agent from the film security board (looking for bootleg video tapes bring sole in the dealer’s room) in my screening room enjoying the videos, and his colleagues had to come find him. They gave me no trouble. 

So, there you have it, the history of the C/FO, according to me. Of course I left stuff out, but this is how it happened based on my personal recollection. There are still active chapters of the C/FO — Los Angeles and San Diego I believe — and maybe even regular screenings. 

I hope you enjoyed this personal history of the first US anime club. 

– Mark (Sy)

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Forget depressing news, watch these 90’s animated bunnies who help kids stay safe!

Tue 21 Apr 2020 - 09:38

Current news got ya bothered? Take a break with a forgotten 90’s cartoon of total radness!

For many suburban kids in the 80’s and 90’s, riding a bike to the mall was living the dream, along with going to the video store and renting popcorn sci-fi movies, miniature golfing, or playing the TMNT arcade game at the pizza parlor (maybe while rocking out with Chuck E. Cheese.)

Let all of those vibes come at you from Bert and Gert, the bunnies in kneepads with flipped up hats who ride hoverboards, like in Back To the Future Part II. They’re a brother and sister on a mission, but who sent them? Whoever it was, they trust these bunnies to spy on kids using radar wrist watches more advanced than any smartphone yet invented. WHOAH!

Why do they spy on kids? During the boppin’ theme song, we learn that it’s to protect them — from snakes, lightning and optical illusions (??) — but keep watching. This is the 80’s/90’s Stranger Danger genre. It’s not the boring After School Special kind with terrible acting though; this is pure, uncut cartoon magic. It has neon “wonky” aesthetics with the mellifluous voices and irresistible coolness of cereal mascots you wish were your best friends forever.

What kid wants to get in trouble if these bunnies teach them how to stay safe? I know I’M never talking to a stranger again. I love this so much, I wish I had a fursona like this (and it can happen, because that’s what furry fandom is for!)

That’s the full length 7:00 cartoon. Youtube also has :30 TV spots edited from it to air during fun kid shows on Canadian TV. It’s from a VHS handed out by Canadian Tire, which is the other store Canada has besides Tim Horton’s. (Oh, I think they also have a beer store, but kids can’t go there until they’re big enough to ride a moose by themselves.)

Thanks to Hugo The Pink Cat, Quebecs furry artist, for sharing this maple-syrup sweet piece of Canadian animation we chatted about.

Hugo: I think these Canadian PSAs may have had a hand in me being furry later on. They also made me realize I hadn’t seen Block Parents signs in AGES. It was a program in Canada where you could be designated as a safe place where children in a risky situation could go. My aunt was one when I was a kid. After looking up their website, I understand why. You have to pay to become a block parent (but it’s supposed to be a volunteer job.)

Patch: Yay for happy futurebunnies with that wonky 90’s design. Compared to overly rendered furries with abs, I want more cute simple flat color design. I would eat up a whole comic drawn like this. And there’s much great Canadian animation…

Hugo: Actually I want to find out who animated this. I’m pretty sure that whoever voiced the male rabbit I’ve heard more recently in OTHER stuff, like his voice is SO familiar.

Research actually does lead down a rabbit hole. The animation came from “Bear Spots” (as in TV Spots), an advertising branch of Nelvana, the Canadian animation giant that produced hundreds of TV shows including lots with furry interest.

Gert and Bert were the brainchild of a producer there — and came from a real-life tragedy with her child. They actually represent an entire era of culture, and however sad the story behind it is, they help the memory of a kid to live on in a positive way. Buzzfeed has a good article about this — (warning, it does have intense content so I’m only linking out.) Dive in if you want to learn what’s behind the colorful cartoon world where kids don’t just fear strangers, they have radical bunny friends empower them to use their radars for good.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here.

Categories: News

Terror, Teens, and Furaffinity — How a chain of violent hate incidents links to furry fandom.

Tue 14 Apr 2020 - 10:05

The biggest furry art site FurAffinity is hosting promotion for a neo-nazi mass shooter. Brenton Tarrant shot 100 people in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019. Tarrant came from internet radicalizing. He used 8chan to broadcast hate, and is now a far-right extremist hero for copycats around the world. FurAffinity has been closing many reports about it, including mine and others that tipped off this story. Furaffinity’s Code of Conduct (2.7) says: “Do not identify with or promote real hate or terrorist organizations and their ideologies.” They refuse to enforce it.

In Furaffinity’s policy, “organizations” may be a weasel-word to dismiss this as an isolated thing. Treating this as “just art” helps the goal of radicalizing — to worm inside with lying that hate isn’t tied to violence, and violence comes from “lone wolves”. (A goal to provoke, but deny it.)

Single data points make a much bigger chain. When insiders refuse to recognize it or do anything to help, they pass off responsibility to outside sources. This story will be one of those sources, along with FBI docs and current mainstream news that link a fringe of furry fandom to violent hate.

From top left: (1) Furaffinity post promoting the New Zealand shooter. (2) Vice explains hate symbols in it. (3) Furaffinity refuses to enforce their policy.

One of the links to furry fandom is a member in common with at least three hate groups. Dillon Hopper is an ex military recruiter whose pre-2017 furry background is unreported and almost unknown. The groups he moved on to are notorious for terrorism and murder. That’s right — Hopper came from furry, then he led Vanguard America, associated with Atomwaffen Division, and helped copycat group Feuerkrieg Division to recruit underage kids.

LINKS GROW WITH CURRENT NEWS:

  • In April 2020, mainstream media covers Feuerkrieg Division, an internet neo-nazi group led by a radicalized THIRTEEN year old.
  • Feuerkrieg Division promoted extremist violence like chlorine bombs, leading to arrest for trying to bomb Jewish and LGBTQ people.
  • That includes reference to mass shooting at furry cons — (and remember when Midwest Furfest was attacked with chlorine in 2014?)
  • Posts about murdering furries by teens in FKD were provoked by the neo-nazi leader in his 30’s, Dillon Hopper.
  • Hopper led Vanguard America when it made news for a murder at the 2017 Unite the Right hate march in Charlottesville, VA…
  • … and before it, Hopper’s history in furry fandom included getting kicked out of furry cons in Ohio for starting fights.
  • Hopper knows and praises the leader of Atomwaffen Division, the “Siege”-inspired terrorist group that Feuerkrieg Division was modeled after.
  • Atomwaffen Division was tied to 5 murders, and hundreds of terror incidents in 2017-2018, including swatting a sitting US Government cabinet official.
  • A February 2020 report from the FBI shows Atomwaffen Division had nazifurs inside, even participating in their swatting campaign.
  • In February 2020, longtime furry artist Reagan Lodge was exposed as a member of Iron March, a hate forum that produced AWD and Vanguard America. He made a twitter post about personally leaving a “dark period,” but it’s not clear if it included recognition for the bigger issue of group radicalizing.

The tiny Nazifur/”Altfurry” fringe works for goals in common with hate groups like these, including sending nazifurs to the deadly Charlottesville march. And the New Zealand shooter inspires many of these links. The more this chain is ignored, the more it will lead to violence. This isn’t a “think of the children” story about vague influence — it’s about deliberate targeting. Leaked chats from Feuerkrieg Division show how they recruit kids.

#BREAKING: Unicorn Riot has obtained and published a large archive of leaked chats from inside the international neo-nazi terror group 'Feuerkreig Division':https://t.co/bgPAKu4ygB

The leak shows a high level of detail into FKD's activities from July 2019 to March 2020.

— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) March 20, 2020

I can't state this enough.

The far-right is deliberately targeting children.

And nobody is fighting against that harder than @_Shan_Martinez_.

For a good look at how to counter the far-right's recruitment of children, see her thread here.
❤????✊https://t.co/0Girzib5Gx

— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) April 8, 2020

FEUERKRIEG DIVISION — Details about radicalizing kids, bombing plans and more in the new leaks.

While talking about murdering furries, Dillon Hopper (who we’ll return to below) was jokingly called “babysitter” by teens in FKD. Their leader was a 13 year old schoolboy in Estonia. This Estonian news story about him mentions furries on their enemy list.

FKD started with European roots, but was modeled after Atomwaffen Division in America. This PDF profile mentions how they reached out to Americans. In August 2019, FKD associate Conor Climo was arrested in Las Vegas with bomb-making materials meant to attack Jews and LGBTQ people.

FKD also discussed ways to appeal to centrists, then radicalize chosen members and bring them to an inner group. It’s a tactic shared with altfurry groups, who have been seen discussing how to make members comfortable in group chats, then “redpill” them with personal DM’s.

Let’s go back several years to find furries linked with more extreme terrorists than generally known. That’s when deniers were claiming that “furries can’t be nazis,” and accusing this site of “crying wolf” about what’s now public. Meanwhile in 2018, nazifurs were inside a secret crime spree by Atomwaffen Divison.

Conor Climo used the alias 'Ben' / 'Ben Dover' in the Feuerkreig Division's encrypted Wire chat.

In addition to discussing various terror tactics, he proposed using Discord chats to recruit teenagers who he could then direct to make improvised bombs.https://t.co/bgPAKum989 pic.twitter.com/D04o10ES0N

— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) March 20, 2020

From Conor Climo (as “Ben”)

ATOMWAFFEN DIVISION — Some of the worst extremism that “Nazi Furs Fuck Off” covers.

In February 2020, the FBI reported about Atomwaffen Divison’s campaign of swatting (using fake calls to send a SWAT team crashing through a victim’s door). There were hundreds of incidents. Their report didn’t discuss evidence inside it that needed a furry news story to explain: FBI Ties Nazifurs to Atomwaffen Division — Attacks Targeted US Gov Official, Journalists.

That story had all the known details, until the Unicorn Riot leaks showed how AWD and FKD had members in common, like Dillon Hopper.

The story looked at AWD chat logs from their 2018 swatting campaign. That was when “Nazi Furs Fuck Off” was a saying across furry fandom — and in the AWD chats — and there was a furry interview and party with Jello Biafra. (He’s the Dead Kennedys songwriter who wrote “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” in 1981).

Jello Biafra answered my recent mail about this. (I sent it for the novelty of seeing a reference to him churn though the underworld and federal surveillance, and back out through an FBI press release.) He said:

My fave part of that small exchange is, “Nazis and Furrys should be able to live in peace”. Really?? On whose terms?? They really don’t want to live in peace with anyone… Sad I never got invited back to do another Furry event. Hope all’s well otherwise.
Happy Pandemic,
Biafra

@Jello_Biafra was really cool to let me get him on video after @frolicparty tonight. pic.twitter.com/CoFuxRIR9E

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 2, 2018

UNITE THE RIGHT — Deadly violence and Altfurry goals converged in Charlottesville in 2017.

If these links are the tip of an iceberg, others stay unseen until radicalizing tips them over the edge.

In 2019, James Alex Fields was sentenced to life in prison for murder. Fields plowed his car into protesters leaving Unite The Right, shortly after he was there with Vanguard America. Their members celebrated his act, followed by denial of responsibility by then-president Dillon Hopper. (Provoke but deny.)

Nathan Gate livestreamed the march. As an admin for alt-right groups and Unite The Right organizer Richard Spencer, he helped set up the Altfurry Discord server. Newsweek called him “The most damning link between white supremacists and alt-furries.” That day in 2017, he was photographed with one of six men who assaulted hate crime victim Deandre Harris. Gate called the beating beautiful. By 2019 four of them were convicted to 2-8 years in jail each.

Andrew Dodson carried a torch in the march. In furry fandom he was “Goldenzoltan”. He went to Anthrocon and was known for trolling since the early 2000’s. It was less-known that he went by “dog0fwar” for alt-right activity, like joining an anti-fascist meeting in Boston to spy and give notes to hate organizers. At Unite The Right, he approached a journalist to give a pro-racist statement that put his face in national news.

Besides his beliefs, Dodson was considered gifted in nuclear energy research, and apparently suffered as a gay man with long time drug and mental issues. A half year after the march, he died from a heroin overdose. A person close to him found his body, tipped me about it and the heroin use, but denied it was suicide. Police called me for details.

March organizer Richard Spencer found out months late, misspelled Dodson’s name, called him a “marty,” and used this hate casualty to blame Antifa and the media. Dodson’s death put him in some national news (again), this time about making him a martyr and “doxing” (even though HE approached the first reporter).

It seems like hate groups weren’t there for Dodson when he suffered with the stain they put on his life — just when they could use him. They don’t just hurt their targets, they ruin lives of their members.

Dodson’s last known link to furry was going to Midwest Furfest 2017, where he was seen asking around to find outspoken anti-fascist DeoTasDevil with comments about stabbing her.

Nathan Gate begged me to take down an article about his links to furry.

DILLON HOPPER — The ex military recruiter and violent “N-Word Guy” at furry cons.

Shortly before Unite The Right, Hopper talked about Vanguard America and how it recruited 18 to 24 year olds because the “future is about the youth”. Later that year, Vanguard America cut ties with him and reformed with a new name, while he moved on from furry cons to grooming teens to target furries. So what was his fandom activity?

If there were furry usernames, they’re not known except “TruckRR”. This matches a few Inkbunny comments. (One is a spelling match to his hate group posts.) His photo made news about Unite The Right, and he was recognized by furries who used to know him. None would speak openly but they told stories in private. One told me:

At Morphicon [name for AnthrOhio until 2015], he got kicked out for getting so drunk that he started throwing pool furniture on the patio. Hotel security kicked him out, he tried to drive away, they wouldn’t let him get in his car from how drunk he was. At a New Years party which unfortunately I was a part of, he was trying to pick a fight with me, and I regret to this day not swinging on him. Basically he’d show up, get beyond drunk to almost throw-up level, then start calling everyone the n-word. So he had the nickname of “N-Word Guy” whenever he was brought up, which usually got the response of “Ooooh….. him”.

The link was investigated by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2018, but a witness wouldn’t share video of Hopper being kicked out of a furry con. One more point: Chat logs showed Hopper encouraging a fantasy of underage rape among teens in FKD. (A flag for those who notice he used Inkbunny.)

  • (Update: Another old furry profile was located and confirmed as Dillon’s.)

Hey Ohio and Indiana Furs!

Do you recognize this man? pic.twitter.com/nTlMKlpI9X

— Deo (@DeoTasDevil) August 21, 2017

Apparently persued a friend of mine for a couple years. Met at AC. Last contact was 5 or so years ago. Furry info has been forgotten\changed

????Rïcky Spånîsh???? (@Red_Monk3y) August 16, 2017

I literally have go pro video of this entire incident.

— Special Agent (@CaseyLupus) April 13, 2018

WHY IS THIS STILL A PROBLEM IN 2020?

These links should be the last word about “Furries can’t be nazis,” “crying wolf,” “you call everyone who disagrees a nazi”, “it’s just art”, etc. They’re just openly known links besides any in active investigation. The more that come out, the closer the chain connects.

COVID-19 is postponing many conventions this year. That can lower risk in real life, but raise opportunity for online organizing to surge back later.

After a few years of reporting about Altfurry/nazifurs, I’ve seen many groups flame out into small embers that still glow with hate. Some of them still want to appeal to centrists with a “hide your powerlevel” approach. Until they find opportunity, they act even more radicalized and dedicated to “redpilling”.

The “nazi furs fuck off” attitude has power, but it might only go as far as corralling these small groups on the fringe. Active attention matters. It seemed like things were on the right track when this happened in 2018: FurAffinity updates Code of Conduct, backlash by hate groups promoted by 2 Gryphon.

If Furaffinity now fails to do anything about promotion for a mass shooter, it’s like they made a policy but won’t enforce it, just to look like they have one. It says that they really care about traffic or looks, not users. It accommodates the chain of hate and “provoke but deny” tactics. There needs to be more than slogans and lip service to stop radicalizing from tipping over the edge.

@Furaffinity has a recurring problem with neo-nazi hate. FA has done some action but they're backsliding. I was asked to help about a post promoting the New Zealand shooter. It got 3-4 reports denied. Please report and keep asking them to act! @IMVU
https://t.co/DQ0VwlHKmX

1/4 pic.twitter.com/SLacAiZcDt

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) April 5, 2020

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Categories: News