Red Devil, a sequel to Kyell Gold's Green Fairy, is both the second volume of his Dangerous Spirits series, and part of his Forester series (Out of Position, Isolation Play, Waterways, Bridges and others), set in an alternate contemporary America inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. Solomon Wrightson, the homosexual teenage wolf who was the protagonist of Green Fairy, is the best friend of Alexei Tsarev, the fox protagonist here.
Alexei, a young Siberian in the States on a student visa that expires in two months, hopes to impress the Vidalia Peaches semi-professional soccer team enough to become a member.
If they sponsored Alexei, he could apply for a visa that would allow him to stay in this country indefinitely. (p. 3)
Besides being good athletes, everyone on the Peaches is gay. Alexei has only recently come to the States from his hometown of Samorodka, Siberia, partially to play soccer but really to escape the brutal anti-gay attitude prevalent in Siberia. (Gold is clearly using Siberia to refer to all Russia in this anthropomorphic world.) Alexei misses his sister Caterina, with whom he was especially close. They were exchanging letters, but she has not answered his last few missives. Alexei is sure that their abusive parents are preventing her from writing.
Alexei is rooming with Sol at the house that Sol shares with Meg, the mannish teenage otter from Green Fairy, in Sol’s room where his portrait of Niki, the murdered 19th-century fox transvestite is hanging. Alexei, who semi-believes in ghosts, already is influenced by the spirit of his great-grandmother “Prababushka”, whom he feels may have followed him to the States to protect him. In addition to worrying about Cat back in Samorodka, and getting onto the Peaches soccer team to stay in the States, Alexei has developed a crush on one of the Vidalia amateur players, Mike, a friendly Dall sheep; but the insecure, withdrawn Siberian fox is always being shoved aside by Kendall, a more brash and self-assertive pine marten also on the local amateur team. Alexei is unsure whether Mike is just being polite to Kendall, or if he really prefers the more outgoing marten. Or whether Alexei should continue to concentrate on his feelings for Mike, rather than looking for another boyfriend in Vidalia and the States’ more open and relaxed straight and gay sexual atmosphere.
Illustrations by Rukis, St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, January 2014, trade paperback $19.95 ([iii +] 269 [+ 2] pages), Kindle $9.99.
The winners of the 13th annual Ursa Major Awards for the best anthropomorphic literature and art published in 2012 were announced July 5 at a presentation during Anthrocon 2013 in Pittsburgh. 1,113 people voted, a decrease of about 37.5% compared to last year.
Volume 1 of a planned three-volume trilogy focuses on Amon and the circle of characters that surround him as he lives out his days on the chain of islands known as the Matta’atel Shanivaar (or String of Tears) as a professional male prostitute.
The work alludes to racial tensions between two warring nations and the conflicts that inevitably arise from such a situation. It is on sale at Sofawolf’s website for $29.95.
At Anthrocon this year, I was able to get a brief time with Rukis (while she was busy manning her dealer’s booth) to discuss her most recent publication; Red Lantern, Vol. 1: The Crimson Divine, out now as a graphic novel for $29.95 from Sofawolf. Among plot and time zone complications, we were able to discuss Bollywood, slavery and chance meetings.
Earl: Again, thanks for this.
Rukis: No problem.
Earl: Appreciate it; we’ll start with a simple one. Where did the idea for Red Lantern come from? What was the idea for that story?
Rukis: Um, I am really fond of documentaries and NatGeo programming and History channel programming and stuff like that. And, um, I was actually watching a documentary on a slum, in India, that’s on an island where this sort of prostitution ring actually exists, today. And it’s the type of ring that’s been around for a really long time and people don’t actually realize this still exists in the world, now. And a lot of the time, the reason they have them on islands is because escape is, uh, very difficult that way.
So, I’d seen this and knew I wanted to do a comic with really, with a really serious storyline. And I’ve always had, I guess, kind of a morbid fascination with the sex trade, so it just kind of spoke to me...and it’s kind of how the whole idea came about.
Solomon Wrightson, a wolf senior at Midland’s Richfield High, is in trouble. During his childhood and early adolescence, he was a bit of a loner but basically just one of the kids with his classmates. In high school, the wolves have tended to be the jock gang, going out together on the school baseball team. The coyotes also hang together, although they are looked on as second-class wolves.
But in their senior year, it all starts to fall apart for Sol. He had realized the year before that he is gay, and had joined a gay e-mail group where he formed a relationship with Carcy, an older ram living four hours away in Millenport. Sol thought that he had kept this a secret except from his study partner who is also his only friend, Meg Kinnick, a sardonic otter goth girl; they are two loners hanging out together. They have planned to go to Millenport together the next summer when Sol gets a car; Meg to get a job away from her parents, and Sol to move in with Carcy.
[Isiah is the creator of furry video blog FurReview; his latest episode covers Communist import foxes and responses to the prior episode about the Ursa Major's 'Best Website' award.]
Me: Good evening, Rukis! Thank you so much for joining me tonight! It's a pleasure to have you on the show!
Rukis: Evenin'. Pleasure to be here.
Me: Now, you've recently come out with your second ever publication, Red Lantern: The Crimson Divine. Came in the mail today and I just finished reading it a few hours ago. I know you get this a lot, but if you could please just briefly explain what Red Lantern is about for those who don't know.
Rukis: Put simply, it's a drama/adventure/romance set in a quasi-Indian setting in the 1700s. If the world had been populated by anthro animals, and wasn't really the real world, at all. The story follows a prostitute in a brothel, his young trainee, and a group of naval soldiers fleeing a bunch of angry lizard folk.
Cruelty is a comic by Rukis, published by FurPlanet in June 2010. Centered around two life-long friends, Reis and Marcus, it details their lives when things become complicated, both for their friendship and in their own lives.
This comic has similarities to Dog's Days of Summer by Blotch; starting out as a webcomic updated helter-skelter on Fur Affinity, it ended on a cliffhanger with an outcome determined by readers, before being put up for sale. Akin to those old chose-your-own-adventure books, you decided whether to commit Reis and Marcus to the chance of a more intimate relationship or have them remain friends.