Nominations for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips, games, etc., will close on February 28. Voting for the winner will begin on March 15th and will close on April 30. The awards will be presented at CaliFur X on May 30 to June 1, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California.
If you have not nominated yet, you have only a few more days to do so. All titles first published or released during the 2013 calendar year are eligible. The awards are given in eleven categories: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game. The final ballot includes the top five titles nominated in each category.
The awards are selected by a two-stage process of nominating and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the eleven categories. The top five nominees in each category (more in case of a tie) are then presented on a final ballot for a public vote.
The eleven categories are: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game.
Many nominations are likely to come from the 2013 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List, which has been built up through prior recommendations. However, inclusion on the List is not necessary for nomination if a work is otherwise eligible.
Because superheroes and reboots go together like peanut butter and jelly, Marvel is featuring an All-New Marvel NOW! throughout the early half of 2014, in which many of the publisher’s superhero books are gaining new writers and artists, while others are beginning with new #1 issues — never mind that the All-Old Marvel NOW! is barely a little over a year old itself.
This would be a big “so what?” for furry fans, if weren’t for the alternative collectible covers that will be featured as incentives for collectors. They feature the Marvel superheroes as furries! [tip: Fred via Newsbyte]
If you were waiting for a coffee-table book mixing fursuiting and cultural research, Furries: Enacting Animal Anthropomorphism might be it. It was created by Romanian Carmen Dobre, a Master in both cultural studies (Univ. of Bucharest) and photographic studies (Leiden), who is pursuing a PhD at the Bucharest National University of Arts. [tip: Dr. Kathy Gerbasi]
The 152 page hardback contains 49 photographs, 13 of which can be previewed online (scroll in for a full view). Produced by the University of Plymouth, it's also available from eBay UK or Australia, Amazon U.S. or Canada, Albris, and Fishpond.
Carmen's furry photography began in Holland as a university project, and spread to France, Romania, Germany, and the UK (assisted by Fotonow CIC). Her work was exhibited September-October 2011 (video) at the Rue de l'Exposition gallery. One photo was a finalist for the 2013 Celeste Prize. She has also created a brief study of furry fandom (PDF).
Lisa Hanawalt is a New York-based artist whose illustrations feature humans and anthropomorphic animals in a variety of artistic styles, all in the service of the creator’s wry observations of pop culture and human foibles. Her works have been seen in a variety of publications and on a variety of web sites, as you can see if you visit her home page or her shop on Tumblr. Well now, her works have been gathered together on dead trees in a new hardcover collection, My Dirty Dumb Eyes from Drawn & Quarterly. Check it out at Amazon. It’s also available as a trade paperback.
New powers to patent animals (including unrealized hybrids that populate furry fiction) burst into the news on 11/13/13, when activist organization Wikileaks revealed a draft of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Analysts have called it "a major power grab for large patent and copyright industries," with powerful implications for the future of intellectual property.
With a lead like that, I have to apologize for faking you out. I couldn't resist. Now let's do a 180, and turn back to the furry level of life, where copyright concerns are much more personal. Consider this scenario that happened to fursuiters Sakura Fox and Mercury on their trip to New York City:
You're walking through Central Park, and see some panhandlers begging for change. They're wearing badly made, unsightly costumes of Sesame Street characters. You shouldn't hang around them in fursuit, because a pimp Elmo might come smack you off his corner!
It's an unauthorized misuse of trademark for profit. It could make the copyright owners look bad, and they wouldn't like it. It's probably too trivial for them to hear about, or hire lawyers to stop it- but you never know. In a famous 1989 action, Disney forced the removal of murals featuring their characters from three Florida day care centers. It helped earn their "reputation as an extreme copyright hawk -- there's a reason 'Disney lawyer' is a term all its own". (On the more friendly side, consider Hasbro's relationship with Bronies.)
Not many independent animation studios have a large staffs; fewer still are a one-person operation. But such is the case with Zandoria Studios — also known as animator William Sutton, working out of his home in Tennessee. While still working a day job, Mr. Sutton has found time to create CGI sequences for various independent films. Meanwhile, he’s been working on his own personal project: TAR of Zandoria, created using the popular Animation Master software. TAR, you see, is a barbarian hippopotamus, who spends his time wandering the wasteland in search of adventure, dancing girls, and fruit punch — but who must instead busy himself dispatching armies of hyenas and other evil-doers. A Kickstarter campaign to finance the first episode of TAR was unfortunately not successful, and so Mr. Sutton is seeking out other ways to bring his idea to life — and the screen. Check out the official TAR web site to find out the latest and see lots of background sketches — both computer-generated and traditional art.
Furries are pretty creative. Where conventional companies will pay advertising companies, we find new way to promote our products and selves to others. Independent artists in the fandom have to use less conventional means of promotion. Two such staples that have become popular in the fandom over the past year are "Your Character Here" auctions and "Repost a Link" schemes. However, with their increased popularity, users began to criticize abuse of these methods and expressed annoyance at their side effects.
On November 21, after a link-reposting "giveaway" promising the winner $1,111 had saturated the site, Fur Affinity staff decided that what once started as a small advertising scheme had entered the realm of the intolerable, calling the methodology "Spam to Win". They also re-addressed an issue where artists would repost YCH auction template pictures, annoying watches and browsers alike.
In this Flayrah exclusive we will focus on the new journal rules, explain their implications to average furs and furry organizations, and how these type of prize giveaways could evolve under these new regulations and maintain a level of effectiveness.
Felix the Cat, the creation of Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer, is perhaps one of the most famous and long-lived cartoon animals ever — pre-dating even Mickey Mouse. In the 1950′s, Joe Oriolo created a well-known series of cartoon shorts for Trans Lux Productions, which helped to bring Felix and his friends (and enemies!) to a new generation. Since the 1980′s, control of the “Felix Empire” has belonged to Joe’s son, Don Oriolo. Don has overseen the creation and distribution of Felix’s image on numerous products and in numerous media. Many of the images of Felix used for these were drawn and painted by Don himself. Now, IDW Publishing have collected Don Oriolo’s works together in a new full-color hardcover book, Felix the Cat Paintings. Check it out at Amazon, before it hits the shelves early next year. The book features a forward by comic book historian Craig Yoe, as well as essays from cartoon aficionados like Jerry Beck, Mark Evanier, David Gerstein, and Paul Castiglia.
The Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association, which administers the annual Ursa Major Awards, has updated the 2013 Anthropomorphic Reading List to include the titles recommended by furry fans through November 17. This list is often used by fans to nominate in the next year's Awards.
There are two months left to add your favorites of the year to the List. All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, short fiction, other literary works, graphic stories, comic strips, magazines, published illustrations, websites, and games) first published during 2013, if they are not already on the list.
Send in your recommendations. Read the List to see what other fans have recommended. Have you seen all nine published illustrations, for example? What have you been missing?
In celebration of the 25th anniversary (!) of Hayao Miyazaki’s popular animated fantasy My Neighbor Totoro, Viz Media have released a new hardcover edition of the My Neighbor Totoro Picture Book, written and illustrated by Mr. Miyazaki himself. You can order it now at Barnes & Noble. “The companion book to the beloved animation classic My Neighbor Totoro by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki. Featuring artwork taken directly from the movie, this updated edition will allow parents and children to relive Totoro’s magical adventures with scene-by-scene illustrations and character dialogue. Eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. While their father is working, the girls explore their sprawling old house and the forest and fields that surround it. Soon, Satsuki and Mei discover Totoro, a magical forest spirit who takes them on fantastic adventures through the trees and the clouds — and teaches them a lesson about trusting one another.”
Sixth Leaf Clover (also known as the artist Christina Yen) has made quite a name for herself with her paintings of fantastically-colored dragons. She’s even written a book about her coloring techniques. Her latest project is a calendar for 2014 — full color of course, featuring a new and different dragon design for each sign of the Western Zodiac. She’s taking pre-orders (and showing samples) at her web site right now.
Have you noticed a trend of mainstream music videos that some call "pseudo-furry"? It might be a stretch to connect every video that has animal mascot costumes, but their frequency seems like no coincidence. They've been around for years but I seem to notice more and more. Newsbytes posted by GreenReaper and Sonious sparked my notice, and Flayrah's music tag has many more examples. What does this say about marketing? What does "pseudo-furry" imply?
What does the Fox Say?
Anthropomorphic art has been around for much longer than a dedicated fandom for it. Furry fandom didn't spring from an original concept in the 1980's- it's specific inspirations include golden age post-WWII animation, Disney movies and much more. Popular culture and it's gateways are an undeniably important influence. But identifying a trend for pop culture to re-absorb the Furry subculture that it helped spin off could make a good discussion about interplay. Is this happening because Furry is being accepted as a legitimate subculture, beyond a bastard child of the movies, shows, games and comics that furries enjoy?
RedSilver: Nature’s Evolutions is a new anthropomorphic fantasy novel written by Steve Alford. It’s available now at Lulu.com. “When Red Sunset, an ordinary vixen from Devon, is chosen by Mother Gaia to defend the Heart Forest from attack, she can hardly believe what is happening to her. As one of the legendary Animentals, she can command powers she could only ever have dreamed of. But this is a far from idyllic situation. The Heart Forest is under attack by strange creatures unlike anything she has ever seen before. And if the Animentals fail, the consequences run far further than she could ever imagine…” The book is illustrated in black & white by the artist known as Silent Ravyn, who has also uploaded a collage of illustrations to their Fur Affinity page.
Flayrah has published announcements of several art exhibitions at the WWA gallery in Culver City, California. The exhibition “The Happiest Show on Earth” will be on display there from September 7th through October 5th, with an opening reception on Saturday, September 7th from 7–10 p.m.
“The Happiest Show on Earth” consists of 89 paintings by 54 artists, showing their interpretations of famous Walt Disney characters including many anthropomorphic ones – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, Robin Hood and Little John, Goofy, Bambi, and more. You can guess the general artistic approach by some of the artists’ pseudonyms: Beast Brothers, GORElla, Kill the Giant, and Super Ugly. Would you pay three and four figures for these? Here they all are; you can buy them online at the link above.