With $40 that I sent to a collector, I dove into the interesting pool of furry fanzines. Anyone can publish furry art and comics online these days, but back when the Internet was more BBS than WWW, it seems like any artist who wanted to get their name out there did a fanzine. There are an incredible number of them, and that's why in my opinion it's impossible to list them all. I know some have tried and failed.
"Bestiary", "Scrap", "Karno's Klassics", "Furplay" and "PentMouse" are just a very small number of what was out there. The quality of the art ranges widely, and so far I've come across more than one comic that makes absolutely no sense at all. But those are exceptions; most of what I've seen has been quite good.
For the most part, furry fanzines were published with anywhere between 8 to 50 pages. They're a really interesting view of the early days of the fandom. One thing I noticed - the style of art hasn't changed that much. But what has definitely changed is how furry fans have viewed their fandom.
Klaw is a French comic book series that will soon be available in English from Magnetic Press, so this is a good time for a review! It's a young adult superhero/action comic with anthropomorphic content. Will it appeal to furry fans? Possibly. Bonus points if you're a fan of tigers. It's written by Antoine Ozanam and drawn by Joël Jurion.
Angel Tomassini is a kid in early high school who gets bullied a lot, even though everyone (except him) seems to know that his father is the head of the Chicago mafia. Within the space of a particularly bad week, Angel learns the truth about his dad, is questioned by the police over the suspicious death of another student, is attacked by ninjas, goes on his first date, and finds out he has the power to turn into a powerful, muscled were-tiger.
I've probably made it fairly clear in past Pull Lists, but just in case I haven't, Squirrel Girl is my favorite superhero. For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Doreen Green is a Marvel mutant with the ability to talk to squirrels, as well as squirrel like agility, plus a squirrel tail. Together with her squirrel sidekick, Tippy Toe, she fights crime as Squirrel Girl. Very well. At risk of sounding like a hipster, I liked Squirrel Girl before Squirrel Girl was cool. Of course, Squirrel Girl is cool because she is not cool (which also sounds super hipster-y), but my love for the character is not ironic.
I like her because she is a genuine superhero; she both has superpowers and acts heroically, but more importantly, she also likes being a superhero. She has fun being a superhero. If she doesn't take, say, an encounter with Doctor Doom seriously, it's not because she herself sees the ridiculousness of the situation. She doesn't see fights with supervillains as something to worry about; she's a superhero. She is supposed to fight supervillains; and she wants to fight supervillains. On a meta-level (and though she doesn't quite go to, say, Deadpool's textual awareness level, like most "humorous" Marvel characters, she has her medium aware moments), she believes that she will win any fight with a supervillain because she is a superhero, and superheroes always win in the superhero stories she reads; therefore, by choosing to be a superhero, she chooses to win. It is not "realistic" that she should, say, beat Doctor Doom with squirrels, but, seeing as how she isn't real, reality does not concern her.
This is why she is such a divisive character; a certain sort of comic book fan believes that comic book superheroes can only be taken seriously if it is presented "realistically." This viewpoint has been the default comic book fan view for decades now, to the point where a character who regularly and unequivocally wins fights with supervillains, and doesn't angst about it, stands out like a sore thumb, and is therefore a breath of fresh air, especially if your personal preference (like mine) is Guardians of the Galaxy over Watchmen. This is not to say a comic book that deals with the consequences of superheroics is bad; it's to say that a comic book that deals with the consequences of superheroics isn't automatically good. And comic books that don't aren't automatically bad. Or for that matter, that "realism" and "explores consequences" are mutually exclusive.
So, anyway, Squirrel Girl has her own comic book now, and it's awesome. Here's a review of the first three issues.
Furry comics making the top 100 list for February 2015 include:
- The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 at 87,
- Rocket Raccoon #8 at 45 and
- Guardians of the Galaxy #24 at 45.
Furry comics making the best-sellers list for the month of January 2015 include:
Benjamin Bear gets his way — Often by methods that are quite unusual but somehow they work. Now he’s back in his latest full-color book for kids, Brain Storm. Check it out over at the Toon Books web site: “The out-of-this-world outlook of a down-to-earth bear! Benjamin Bear can always surprise his friends, whether it’s by walking on his hands during a snowstorm or by using a tree as a parachute. His zany approach to life has earned him two Eisner Award nominations and bestseller status among kids everywhere. French star author Philippe Coudray continues to delight readers by bending the rules of common sense and breaking the laws of physics.” Also look out for the other Benjamin Bear comic books in hardcover, Fuzzy Thinking and Bright Ideas.
Not long after making his return to movies in the after credits gag from Guardians of the Galaxy after an infamous 1986 outing, Howard the Duck will gain his first ongoing comic since 1979 (not counting a mostly official two issue continuation of the series in 1986 in conjunction with the movie). He's appeared in various mini-series since that time, with many guest spots and cameos (Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis has claimed never to have typed the words "Howard the Duck" despite the character appearing in the background of multiple series by him), and he was one of the non-zombie leads in the Marvel Zombies 5 mini-series, but this is first ongoing since the seventies.
March Grand Prix is a new full-color graphic novel for young readers, published by Capstone. It comes to us from the mind of Kean Soo, creator of the award-winning comic book series Jellaby. “March Hare wants to be the fastest and furriest race-car driver around. But first, this rabbit racer must prove his skills at the speedway, on the streets, and in the desert. With pedal-to-the-metal illustrations and full-throttle action, March Grand Prix is sure to be a winner!” It’s set for publication this July in hardcover (and then a month later in trade paperback), but Capstone is releasing a special preview edition as part of this year’s Free Comic Book Day (on May 2nd).
One day, a washer-woman encountered a talking fox, who begged her to hide him from a trio of hunters. She did, concealing him in her laundry basket. Of course, this simply made him fall in love with her. Now he wished that she would love him back… and she wished he were a human instead of a fox. So begins the dark fable Outfoxed, written and illustrated by Dylan Meconis. In 2012 Outfoxed was nominated for Best Digital Comic at the Eisner Awards. Now it’s finally available on dead trees thanks to the folks over at Toonhound Studios. You can also check it out over at the author’s web site.
At this point, I’m a bit behind of recent comic books, but I’m trying to get caught back up to recent times while bringing our readers reviews of every issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and a few even newer series we’ll be getting to eventually.
But for now, we’ve got Guardians of the Galaxy, plus I finish up the final couple of TMNT villains issues.
Back in 1997, Antarctic Press decided to move away from funny animal comics (a move which brought about the birth of Radio Comix) and instead concentrate on “American Manga”. Well now, to celebrate their 30th anniversary Antarctic are back in the furry herd with a new full-color one-shot called Furry Tails. “As a special event for our 30th-anniversary year, Antarctic Press is going back to one of its (hairy) roots-anthropomorphic comics! Includes work from Sonic the Hedgehog artist David Hutchison, plus an all-new, all-furry fun-fest from Fred Perry! Fast and Furriest: When the world order makes every aspect of life miserable for the poor multitudes, Turbo Ninjas take to the highways to rob from the rich and give to the poor!” Check it out over at Bleeding Cool.
Katie Cook is well-known these days as one of the main writers and sometimes artist of IDW’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic book series. Well, she has also created her own on-line comic series called Gronk: A Monster’s Story, which follows the adventures of a young and rather adorable monster… living out in the human world. Unable to make it as a scary thing that bumps in the night, she instead moves in with a young woman, her mischievous cat, and her friendly but very large dog. After several years on line, this full-color all-ages comic has now been collected into three softcover volumes by Action Lab Entertainment — all of them currently available at the Gronk web site.
For many Furry Fans who grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s, Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth held a special place in their hearts. Now, IDW Publishing have brought us this: “Of all Jack Kirby’s celebrated DC Comics creations, perhaps none has struck such an enduring chord with readers as his post-apocalyptic adventure Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. Now, to the delight of fans far and wide, this much-anticipated series joins the esteemed ranks of Jack ‘King’ Kirby’s Artist’s Editions! Long after the age of super heroes, Kamandi triumphed as humanity’s last beacon in a world ruled by beasts. Traveling the remnants of civilization after a great disaster, the Last Boy on Earth found both friends and foes among the irradiated animal kingdom that now inhabited the world. Written and drawn by Kirby, the series was unique to comics and completely unlike anything else readers had seen. This enthralling Artist’s Edition features some of the most influential complete issues from the revered series, including issues 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 9, along with additional covers and other bonus material. At 160 pages and measuring 12” by 17,” this Artist’s Edition will amaze and delight fans this May!”
This February comic book legend Stan Sakai and Dark Horse Press present a special Usagi Yojimbo one-shot for people looking to get a fresh start on this famous series. And the price is right: 1 issue for $1.00. “Miyamoto Usagi’s most popular adventure kicks off in this value-priced issue! A sweeping tale assembling nearly the series’ entire cast, Grasscutter finds the rabbit ronin drawn into a violent struggle over the legendary sword of the gods—the Grass Cutting Sword—as the fate of the nation hangs in the balance!” In black & white of course. Check it out at Dark Horse.
Bringing it all around home again, Marvel Comics have announced a new tie-in comic book series based on the animated TV series based on the hit movie based on the comic book: Guardians of the Galaxy. Star Lord and his companions (and we know which two companions you’re watching the closest!) are back in a new 4-issue full-color miniseries. Interestingly, they actually tell us ahead of time that the artwork is primarily screen-captures from the upcoming animated series on Disney XD. Now if only they’d tell us more precisely when the new TV series will premier! Anyway, the comic book miniseries begins in February, adapted by Joe Caramagna. Read an interview with him over at the Marvel site. “Oh… yeah…”