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Shape-SHIFT!

More we discovered at WonderCon: Author Lauren Jankowski and her Shapeshifter Chronicles series of urban dark fantasy books. Here’s the description of Sere From The Green, the first book in the series: “There is a race that lives among humans, unbeknownst to them, called shape shifters, those that can shift from human to animal at will. Many protect the innocent on Earth and act as the eyes and ears of the guardians, divine beings similar to gods in ancient myths. Isis is a woman who lives a normal life until the day she photographs a murder scene for her job. When the body disappears from her photographs, Isis is determined to solve the mystery. Her investigation uncovers answers about her own past and sets her on a journey that will change her life forever.” Visit the series web site to find out more.


image c. 2024 Crimson Fox Publishing

Movie review: 'The Animal Kingdom' (2023)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

'The Animal Kingdom' poster The Animal Kingdom (trailer) is a 128-minute live-action French film released in 2023 (Le règne animal). It's the second movie directed by Thomas Cailley, and co-written with Pauline Munier.

Set in modern-day France, there's been a worrying development: some people are slowly mutating into animals, and society has not been adjusting well. The story follows a small family, Émile (Paul Kircher), a disaffected and conflicted teenager, and his father François (Romain Duris), who move to the south-west of France to be near the family's mother, Lana, who's been in government care ever since she began to change. A road accident makes her fate unclear, adding stress to an already stressful situation. With many people heavily biased against the mutations, Émile finds himself starting to change too.

Despite the fantastical premise, it's primarily a drama about the relationship between Émile and his father. I'd hesitate to call it a coming-of-age film, because Émile isn't going to become an adult - at least, not a human one.

Meow Look What You’ve Done

More manga we’ve stumbled across: My New Life As A Cat by Konomi Wagata. “Nao Kazushiro is a normal high school student — until he gets in a traffic accident and winds up in the body of a cat! At first, it’s all fun and games as he gets used to his new feline form, but then the novelty wears off and hunger sets in. Luckily, he’s picked up by Chika, a cute girl his age who gives him food and a home off the streets. Will Nao (now Nyao) develop feelings for her? Or will he wake up in his human body once and for all?” This new graphic novel series is available now from Seven Seas Entertainment.


image c. 2024 Seven Seas Entertainment

Wolfsbane and War

Sometimes just a title is going to tell you most of what you need to know. Definitely true for a title like Sgt. Werewolf, a new comic written and illustrated by Rich Woodall. “Sgt. Steve Hovatter leads a small group of U.S. Commandos to infiltrate Lichtenstein castle in Germany and recover intel on Nazi Occult operations. The Commandos are captured, and Sgt. Hovatter is executed. Hours later Sgt. Hovatter is transformed into a Werewolf, and he uncovers a much more sinister plot at Castle Lichtenstein.” It’s coming to the comic book shelves this month from Scout Comics, through their horror imprint Black Caravan.


image c. 2023 Scout Comics

Prehistoric Pups

Formerly a Wall Street investor, currently a teacher and storyteller, Mystery Mike McHale has created a new illustrated book for kids, Dino Dogz, with the help of artist Mike Goldstein. “The DinoDogz (half Dogz/half Dinosaurs) are on a Mission to rescue five StegoPup eggs that have been stolen by the evil Dr. D. Stroy (their creator) before the doctor uses them to create an army of DinoDogz to take over the world!!!! Along the way, the Dogz must face off against enemies controlled by the doctor to collect their DinoDNA to transform into their true DinoDogz selves.” The official web site includes the on-line Dino Dogz game. Mystery Mike says there’s a mascot costume on the way too!


image c. 2022 Mystery Mike’s Funhouse

A new sort of animal: 'Lady into Fox', by David Garnett

Your rating: None Average: 3.1 (19 votes)

I don't feel the need to justify bringing up David "Bunny" Garnett's 1922 short novel Lady into Fox in a furry context. As the title suggests, the story involves a lady who turns into a fox. Technically, it is not a story about an anthropomorphic animal, and is in fact about the direct opposite of that, a zoomorphic human. Of course, this is a nitpick. I doubt anyone cares.

Sylvia Tebrick as a fox merrily chasing ducks in a cute little dress, from Lady into Fox

On the point of genre, however, there is one area where I would like to make a rather more controversial "take" on the subject matter. Though the novel was a bit unclassifiable when it was first introduced, with H.G. Wells (an author known for his use of anthropomorphic animals) praising it as "a new creation, a new sort of animal, let us say, suddenly running about in the world," a phrase that I imagine had him enthusiastically punching the air at his own cleverness.

More modern takes tend to classify it as a "contemporary fantasy". However, I find it to be entirely different: it seems nothing more (or less) than a tale of the supernatural; a ghost story whose 'ghost' merely requires a few scare quotes - or, put another way, a horror story.

Game review: 'Changed'

Your rating: None Average: 2.9 (80 votes)

Changed, originally released in April 2018, is a surprisingly-difficult, action, puzzle game made by DragonSnow with background music composed by Shizi. While not overtly sexual, this game is certainly risqué with plenty of fetish undertones as, instead of deaths, your failures result in your transformation into a latex furry. Since June 2020, buying Changed will also give you access to English version of Changed-Special, the still-unfinished reworking of the original game which contains new rooms, transformations and some updated graphics.

Review: 'Wolfwalkers'

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (10 votes)

Wolfwalkers poster Cartoon Saloon is an Irish animation studio, and they're absolutely world class. They first gained world attention right out of the gate, when The Secret of Kells became a nominee for Best Animated Feature in the 2009 Academy Awards. It wasn't the first time a foreign movie made it on the list, but it was a surprise for many casual Oscar watchers.

Of course, if you actually watched the movie, it was a no-brainer; it not only deserved to be nominated, it's part of the reason 2009's list of Best Animated Feature nominees is still one of the all time best for the category. Since then, every feature by Cartoon Saloon has been nominated in the category; Tomm Moore, director of The Secret of Kells and now Wolfwalkers, was further personally nominated for Song of the Sea.

Both earlier films feature furry elements, especially Song, which deals with selkies (Cartoon Saloon is also responsible for the very furry, very good Skunk Fu! series). However, with Wolfwalkers, Moore and co-director Ross Stewart have created the studio's most furry-friendly film yet. The titular Wolfwalkers could be considered a variety of werewolf; but this time, they're the good guys.

Stealth vs blatant and the "Mouse Problem"; furry coverage in fictional media

Your rating: None Average: 4 (20 votes)

As repeated media victims we furs are always on the lookout for furry references— good, bad or indifferent— on TV and elsewhere. There are two distinct styles in which our fandom is covered: bluntly by name, and more subtly. It’s easy to identify the former, but sometimes it’s more fun when they don’t use the 'F-word' to describe the group in which they are referencing in their content. In those instances, it seems more a stealthy shout-out for our animal-ears only, designed to fly over the head of anyone who doesn’t get it.

Today I wish to go over some of those moments in furry media that seem to hold general fandom idioms and how fun 'situational nuance' can be.

Foxy Lady!

Sorry, sorry… too obvious. Thanks to some friends on Facebook, we stumbled across an upcoming fantasy film called Hanson and the Beast — from China, no less. Drama Panda has a preview. The story goes like this: “Yuan Shuai (Feng Shaofeng) is a a man who is drowning in debt. In order to pay up, he goes on blind dates with daughters from wealthy families but ends up falling in love with Bai Xian Chu (Crystal Liu), a fox demon who’s come to the human realm to repay a debt. However, relationships between humans and demons are strictly forbidden. Bai Xian Chu is dragged back to the demon world and Yuan Shuai sets out to rescue her.” So who’s Hanson? We don’t know yet. Written and directed by Xiao Yang, Hanson comes to theaters in China right at the end of December, then everywhere else on January 5th. Check out the trailer on YouTube as well.


image c. 2017 CKF Pictures

Book review: 'The Species of Blessing Avenue' by Graveyard Greg

Your rating: None Average: 3 (15 votes)

Cover artwork by Ninja V.The Species of Blessing Avenue is a collection of short stories by Graveyard Greg, published in 2012.

Even before I got past the introduction, I liked two things about this book. First, it's got a were-lion in its leading role. Second, it was inspired by characters created for the Buffy The Vampire Slayer RPG.

I was warned that I shouldn't have tried to read this as a novella instead of three short stories. I'll try to correct that mistake as I go along with this review.

Review: 'A Left-Handed Sword', by Phil Geusz

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

A Left-Handed Sword is a novella by Phil Geusz in which the characters used to be human beings. All of them have contracted a singular disease called the Lokiskur virus (Lokie for short), which has transformed them into animals. Lokie not only leaves its victims dehumanized and physically handicapped in their new forms, but often brain-damaged and depressed. They are also highly contagious; Lokie is an affliction that never lets go.

Legion Printing, September 2011, 80 pages. Available in eBook and printed versions from Legion, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Human Dinos vs. Dragon Wizards

DinoFroz is a 2D animated TV series created by Orlando Corrati and animated by Mondo TV Studios in Italy. “The series depicts the adventures of Tom, a 12-year-old boy and his friends who, after playing a board game, are teleported to a world where they can transform into dinosaurs using stones called Rockfroz.” And more importantly, they can use their new-found dinosaur powers to try and defeat an army of evil magic dragons who are determined to rule all worlds — including ours! All of this also (hopefully) serving in the sales of tie-in toys. You can see both show and toys advertised and summarized over on YouTube. DinoFroz is currently seeking distribution in North America.

image c. 2014 Mondo TV

image c. 2014 Mondo TV

Mutagen Gets Around

Another blast from the past over at IDW Publishing as early next year they present the return of The Mighty Mutanimals. From Comicbook.com: “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ uneasy allies, the Mutanimals, are getting their own minseries from IDW Publishing in February 2015. When someone close to the Mutanimals goes missing, the team consisting of Old Hob, Slash, Mondo Gecko, Herman the Hermit Crab, and Pigeon Pete will be put to the ultimate test, as they try to take on a mysterious new entity known as The Null Group. The series will written by Paul Allor, who has written several TMNT Micro-Seres one-shots, as well as The Ultrom Empire and Turtles in Time miniseries. Andy Kuhn, who created the new IDW design for Mutanimals leader Slash, will provide covers and interior art.” In full color of course.

image c. 2014 IDW Publishing

image c. 2014 IDW Publishing

Tales of the Seal Folk

[Back from CaliFur, and we have so much to talk about!]

Over at Cartoon Brew they have premiered the brand-new trailer for the upcoming animated film Song of the Sea, directed by Tomm Moore. Like Moore’s previous film The Secret of Kells, this new feature will be hand-drawn in a traditional 2D fashion with a highly stylized design. And, like that first film, this new one is based on the legends and lore of Ireland — in this case, the story of the Selkies, magical beings who are seals in the ocean but can shed their furry skins to become humans on the land. “Song of the Sea tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse – the last Seal-child – who embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea. ” As with The Secret of Kells, Songs of the Sea has been picked up by GKIDS for distribution in North America. Now if we could just get a firm date for its release!

image c. 2014 GKIDS

image c. 2014 Cartoon Saloon