Creative Commons license icon

opinion

Review: 'DreamKeepers, volume 3, Intentions Entwined', by Dave & Liz Lillie

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

DreamKeepers vol. 3 coverThe last time I reviewed DreamKeepers, with vol. 2, Flight to Starfall back in Anthro #18, July-August 2008, it was by David Lillie & Liz Thomas who had just gotten married. Now it’s by Dave & Liz Lillie. The marriage seems to be working out.

Volume 1, Awakenings (Anthro review), was published in December 2006. There was a less than two-year wait for volume 2 in April 2008, then a five-year gap to volume 3. But it is 144 pages, as opposed to the 98 and 102 pages of volumes 1 & 2. Nevertheless, let’s hope that the wait for volume 4, chapters 10-12, is not as long.

“The Dreamworld is a mysterious reality that parallels our own,” begins the introduction in volume 1:

Humans cannot enter this reality – we can only catch fleeting glimpses of it through our dreaming, unconscious minds. […] Every last person has a DreamKeeper, an embodiment in the Dream World. So long as your DreamKeeper lives, the nightmare hordes cannot enter your mind through your dreams. Everyone’s DreamKeeper is completely unique – your personality and subconscious influence your DreamKeeper’s appearance and abilities.

Vivid Independent Publishing, April 2013, trade paperback $24.99 (133 [+ 11] pgs.), Kindle $4.20

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #10 ('Avengers Arena,' 'MLP' and 'TMNT')

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Avengers Arena #6For this exciting, groundbreaking, unprecedented 10th issue we’ve got the two IDW stalwarts, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s the first issue of a brand new character based Micro-Series for the ponies, while the turtles’ on-going shows up for the eighth time in a Pull List!

Joining these two will be a newly featured series, because it’s been a while since Pull List has featured a good, old-fashioned superhero-with-some-furry-characters comic. Finally, stay to the end for the super-duper bonus feature that … is actually just a previous issue index, so it really isn’t that exciting.

Avengers Arena #6

The story: the super-villain Arcade, best known for once trying to kill the X-Men with a pinball machine, feels his superhero body count isn’t up to scratch, so he’s decided to have himself a little teen superhero deathmatch. A bit derivative, but Arcade gleefully cops to this, calling this new Murder World inspired by a “children’s book”. Furry fans have Avengers Academy alumni Reptil to root for, as well as a new character, Nara the fish girl.

Furlandia: Portland's first furry convention overshadowed by MTV controversy

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (7 votes)

Furlandia splash, by Marco the CatA convention can be made or broken on one simple principle: communication. It can seem so simple to do, but when the number of people you’re trying to do it with goes up, it becomes a complex issue.

In the modern (mis)information era, public relations has changed from a hassle typically tossed to the side 'til bad news arises, to a demanding necessity where your job is to prevent strife before it occurs. Slacking can cause a brushfire that one has but a single extinguisher to put out.

Which brings us to an example of such unfortunate episodes: Furlandia, the third new furry convention to spawn in the past two months. This one was held in Portland, Oregon. 270 showed up and over $1,000 was donated to PAW Team, which provides veterinary care for the pets of impoverished locals. The donation comes with an asterisk, though, as it came from MTV; fans threw in $6. [Update: Comments suggest this only reflects Sunday's count.]

I was not at the convention; however, I know some who were, and I’ve looked into all sides with an open mind and am giving my best assessment. Most importantly: I’m evaluating why this incident blew up as it did, so that future convention leaders can avoid undue stress.

Review: 'Kairos. T.1/3', by Ulysse Malassagne

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

KairosKairos, volume 1 of 3, has just been published in France. It was announced here last month with an animated trailer from Studio La Cachette in Paris that had me salivating for the album! (Ankama’s catalogue lists a volume title that does not appear on the volume; “His Kingdom”.)

Now the book is here. Is it worth the hype?
(My thanks again to Lex Nakashima for making this review possible.)

Oh, yeah. This first album is both disappointing and tantalizing, only beginning to show the world in the trailer; its first scene, where the dragons emerge at night to kidnap Anaëlle, does not come before page 23 in the album.

Tome 1 ends with Nills, Koyot (the short, brown, beaky character), and Kuma (the big, green dragon? with short chin whiskers) walking towards the castle. Much is to be revealed in t.2.

Roubaix, France, Ankama Éditions, April 2013, hardcover €11.90 (64 pages; on Amazon.fr).

Furry Movie Award Watch: April 2013

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Sorry for the delay, folks; I know all five of my regular readers were on pins and needles (hi, mom!). See, GreenReaper emailed to tell me that Fred had linked back to my Cinderella review on the new Cartoon Research site, and just like the time he emailed me about some video game site which quoted my Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 review, my computer died. Obviously, there's some connection here. Anyway, it's all their fault. Shame on you guys.

Review: 'Doc Rat. Vols. 8-10', by Jenner

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)
Doc Rat vol. 8
Doc Rat vol. 9
Doc Rat vol. 10

These three pocket-sized books contain the Doc Rat daily (Monday-Friday) comic strips from #951 to #1088 (February 15 to August 25, 2010), #1089 to #1218 (August 26, 2010 to February 23, 2011), and #1219 to #1426 (February 24 to December 12, 2011).

Each volume collects approximately six months of the strip, except that Jenner does not break them off in the midst of a story sequence. That is why volume 10 runs to 110 pages, the longest in the series to date.

“Doc Rat. Vol. 8, Yeah Not Too Great, Doc”, December 2011, trade paperback AUS$16 ([76 pgs.])
“Doc Rat. Vol. 9, There When I Needed You, Doc”, June 2012, trade paperback AUS$16 ([76 pgs.])
“Doc Rat. Vol. 10, Listen, Doc”, December 2012, trade paperback AUS$18 ([110 pgs.])
By Jenner, Platinum Rat Productions, Melbourne, Vic., Australia

Video review: 'DreamKeepers Vol. 3' by Dave and Liz Lillie

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

See more: DreamKeepers, Dave's Essays, Leon on Youtube - animated intro by Rei Vagan.

Review: 'Sale Bête', by Maïa Mazaurette and Jean-Paul Krassinsky

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Filthy Beast, vol. 1: the hamster catastrophe; art by Jean-Paul KrassinskyI thank Lex Nakashima again for ordering these books from Amazon.fr and loaning them to me.

Hmmm. Well, you certainly gain a vocabulary of current French slang from reading this series. Ordi = PC. Les etrons = turds. La clope = cigarette. L’enfoire = bastard. Catin = whore. Lolcat = Sorry; that one’s American.

Filthy Beast (or Dirty Beast) Volume 1, “Hamster Catastrophe”, introduces the Bastogne family; father (unnamed), mother Vivienne, older daughter Elizabelle, younger daughter Amandarine, and cat Clarky. Their world is like ours, except that there is a factory, La Fabrique, that makes living pets to order.

An animal isn’t improvised here. We guarantee domestic PERFECTION.

Customers can order a bunny, a cat, a puppy, a ferret, a squirrel, a tarantula – anything – made to their choice. Calm to playful. Dominant to submissive. Quiet to expressive. Solitary to social. Stupid to intelligent. Brave to cowardly. Energetic to lazy. There is a long list. Eleven-year-old Amandarine whines that one of her classmates got a blue pony with wings for HER birthday, that her parents had designed it to graze on only the weeds in the garden … Their housecat Clarky comes from La Fabrique. He’s pale pink dotted with darker pink hearts; he’s intelligent; he loves everybody; and so on.

So the Bastognes decide to get Amandarine a designer pet for her birthday.

“Sale Bête. T.1, Hamster Drame”, January 2012, hardbound €10.60 (54 pages).
“Sale Bête. T.2, On Ira Tous au Charadis”, April 2013, hardbound €10.60 (48 pages).
Marcinelle, Belgium, Editions Dupuis; both written by Maïa Mazaurette, illustrated by Jean-Paul Krassinsky.

Biggest Little Fur Con breaks records, excites onlookers

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (7 votes)

The Grand Sierra, location of the first Biggest Little Furry Convention (May 3-5, 2013), was packed with enthusiastic crowds of casino visitors. A person with free time or money couldn't avoid fun if they tried. It had restaurants, swimming, bowling, gambling, movies, go karts, and more attached to a large and classy hotel. Holding a furry convention there just made things extra outrageous.

Even with the planned options, the place offered good fun just for wandering around. A buddy and I wandered out a side exit that led nowhere special. On the way back in, I was stopped by a blonde woman who looked like a vacationing professional. She gestured with an astonished look, and asked, "What's all this about?"

Casino chip with paw logo"It's a theatrical thing. It's for a Furry convention", I said.

"A what?"

I explained about people who like role-playing and creativity. She asked about the costumes.
"No two are alike," I said, "I don't build them, but there's a lot of artists who do it here."

"You're doing pretty good at explaining this," she said. "I just don't know how to take it seriously from a big talking dog!"

"You're doing pretty good yourself," I told her. "And that's the point. Being silly!"

How to switch art sites without losing customers

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

As someone who has been in a community of artists, I hear a common conundrum arise:

I really want to leave this art site, but it’s too popular and leaving would mean losing out on a valuable resource to gain/keep customers.

This article presents ways you can use your control over your own works to influence your customers to view them where you wish them to, while also maintaining a presence so that others may find you.

This is written as a neutral piece and the methods can be used on any free art posting site. To that end, we'll call the site you wish to vacate “BadVibeArt”, and the place you want to go “NewBeginningDoodles”. Both are general-use sites for stories and art alike, comparable to sites such as deviantART, Fur Affinity, Inkbunny, SoFurry or Weasyl.

Review: 'Farmost Star I See Tonight', by Jonathan W. Thurston

No votes yet

Farmost Star I See TonightFull disclosure: I wrote a blurb for this book, which is quoted on the back cover.

Farmost Star I See Tonight is a mystical, dreamy, touching romantic fantasy for shy teenagers. Whether humans or wolves, ‘omega’ adolescents may feel that they are alone. This novel will help them to see that their troubles are not unique or their fault, and that, even if they have not met them yet, there is someone out there for them.

Rian is a black-furred adolescent wolf and Lissa is white-furred. Otherwise, they are almost identical. Both are shy and lonely members of their packs, blamed by their parents for refusing to socialize, but finding nobody among their peers with whom they can truly be friends. Rian’s father Gull despises him for having no interest in pack dominance battles, and Lissa is left to take care of her younger siblings while her parents bicker and ignore them.

Then, Lissa was left alone in the dark with only her feelings of sorrow, self-hate, and loneliness to sooth her into sleep. (p. 7)

CreateSpace, March 2013, trade paperback $14.95 (188 [+ 3] pages), Kindle $6.00.

Book review: 'Freak's Amour', by Tom De Haven

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Freak's ArmourFreak's Amour, by Tom De Haven, is simply a masterpiece. This is some of the best weird literature that few seem to have heard of or remember. It's been out of print for 27 years. I started it once, long ago when I was just getting into science fiction and weird genre stuff. It was a bit arty and demanding for a teenage reader, and my interest wasn't up to the challenge at the time. Now, I have to give it very high recommendation after finding it again.

I suggest that anyone into classy lit as well as furries and pulp/pop culture go get it now, even if it takes your last two bucks. It's one of those obscurities that could be worth quite a lot if it was less available – and I say that as a professional book dealer – but it earned enough acclaim to get several printings, so it's cheap and easy to get secondhand. (In fact, I've just noticed a comic/graphic novel forthcoming: info below.)

Review: 'The Fortune Teller's Poem', edited by Andres Cyanni Halden

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

The Fortune Teller's Poem Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

Wikipedia says that this nursery rhyme dates back to at least the 1570s, and that, before it was printed and ‘fixed’ in the 19th century, there were many variations.

Andres Cyanni Halden uses this standardized version. He has gotten seven authors – six plus himself – to each write a Furry story around one of these ‘days’. Most are erotic gay stories. Each story has a small frontispiece illustration by Amaze.

The Fortune Teller's Poem is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only. (publisher’s advisory)

FurPlanet Productions, June 2011, trade paperback $19.95 (237 pages), Kindle $9.95. Illustrated by Amaze, cover by Horrorshow.

Opinion: Street fursuiting is the most fun furry experience

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (9 votes)

San Francisco hosted the 14th annual How Weird Street Faire last weekend, with the theme "WEIRDI GRAS: Carnival of Peace." An informal fursuiter outing was organized through Meetup.com and its active Bay Area Furries group (independent from the mailing list), which runs many local events each month. I offered changing space at a nearby apartment, and scored a pair of "Disco Pants" for costuming, direct from the office of local web-based fashion startup company Betabrand. Afterwards, Betabrand was cool enough to post photos of modeling the pants on their "Model Citizen" section. (There's more photos on Reddit.)


Left to right: Kitten, Meerk, Patch. Background: Ty Cougar.

Any news media story that covers furries is likely to focus heavily on fursuiters, and their striking visual appeal and fuzzy glamor. Fursuiters can't represent the whole of furry fandom, when "furry" is a vague and broadly defined umbrella over anything related to anthropomorphic animals- but I think it's OK to consider fursuiters the expressive, theatrical soul of furrydom. There is an element of "ambassador" role to their hobby. Without the 15-20% of furries who wear fursuits and costumes for role-playing, you'd just have regular unglamorous nerds saying "meow! I'm a cat". That's what crazy people do.

Review: 'Where the Blue Begins', by Christopher Morley

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)
Where the Blue Begins

Each in turn may call this a fairy story, a dog story, an allegory or a satire, but all will be moved by the beauty and the meaning--a beauty and a meaning that seems to live within the realm of those books that go on and on making friends and spreading enchantment.

 Gissing, its hero, is a dog who searches the world for an ideal, and then finds in the smoke of his own furnace fire a hint of the heavenly blue that he had been seeking. (blurb, slightly edited)

It is difficult to tell after ninety years just what an author was thinking, but I believe that Christopher Morley, a popular literary essayist and novelist, just wanted to have fun writing about a world of talking dogs. His last message to the public, written when he knew that he was dying in 1957, was, “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”

Mr. Gissing, a gentledog of leisure contentedly residing in Canine Estates with Fuji, his butler (a Japanese pug), on an income of 1,000 bones a year, becomes dissatisfied and leaves home to search for where the blue begins (a purpose to life).

Garden City, NY, Doubleday, Page & Co., October 1922, [10] + 215 [+ 1] pages, $1.75.

Page traffic