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.
Kevin Hsu is a sexology researcher based at Northwestern University on the outskirts of Chicago. In 2013 he sought, and received, approval from the Northwestern Institution Review Board (IRB) – an ethics committee that oversees research with human subjects – to study furries.
Hsu's research is intended to follow work published by Dr. Anne Lawrence in 2009, which references furries as a group possibly displaying a hypothetical phenomenon associated with fetishistic behaviour named "Erotic Target Location Error". Hsu's hypothesis is that many furries – possibly most – are zoophiles, where that attraction manifests as the furry identity and in activities such as fursuiting, and that furries can therefore be classified as "autozoophiles".
What do you do when a friend borrows your banjo, then completely ruins it, its nuts and bolts spilled all over the ground? Whip out your ukelele of course.
The core team behind Nintendo 64 era 3D platformers such as Banjo-Kazooie have started up a new property in the same vein as the bear and bird duo, this time featuring a chameleon and big-nosed bat, Yooka and Laylee, who together will star in Yooka-Laylee.
Free Comic Book Day 2015 is today, Saturday May 2; stop by your local comic book store and pick a few up.
Furry titles include, from Boom! Studios/KaBoom!, the Boom Studios 10th Anniversary FCBD Special (48 pages, full color) which "showcases 10 all-ages-friendly titles from our Archaia, BOOM! Box, and KaBOOM! imprints." These include Jim Henson's Labyrinth, Mouse Guard, Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake: Card Wards, Peanuts: "Dogstoevsky" with Snoopy.
Other titles include SpongeBob Freestyle Funnies, Jurassic Strike Force 5 One Shot, March Grand Prix, Rabbids, Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man Worlds Unite Prelude, Stuff of Legend/Call to Arms, Tales of Honor and TMNT Prelude to Vengeance.
The 2014 Ursa Major Awards, for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of the calendar year in eleven categories, were announced and presented at an awards ceremony at the Morphicon 2015 convention, in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, May 1 from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. EST.
The Ursa Major Awards are a popular-vote award. 2,851 ballots were cast in eleven categories between March 15 and April 15, 2015. Not everyone voted in all categories, although there were fewer single-category votes than usual. All voters were required to state what country they were voting from, and about 90 countries were named. Some, such as Care-A-Lot, were obviously fictitious, but those that appeared to be genuine by e-mail domain names included Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan (Republic of China), Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The most votes came from the United States, followed by Taiwan (the Republic of China).
Winners and runners-up after the break:
This is one small step for dino, and one giant leap for sauruskind. JumpJet Rex is a retro action platformer where you play as the first dinosaur astronaut. Rex's casual space exploration becomes a call from his species to save them from an asteroid bearing down upon the planet. Will Rex be able to save the dinosaurs? Or will they go extinct? The answer depends on whether you can guide him and his jet boots skillfully enough to survive.
In response to the ultimate fanboy question, "who would win in a fight?" the web-series Death Battle from website Screw Attack decided to finally answer the question with actual "research" about the abilities of various fictional combatants, complete with sprite animations of the fights. Then, because research, even fictional research, is hard, the spin-off series One Minute Melee was started, which is a quick and dirty, no explanations, this-is-how-we-want-it-to-go-down version.
Journalist Maria Margaronis interviewed furry fans at a Cambridge Furs meet last month for next week's episode of The Why Factor, a programme exploring "the extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions" through the voices of those involved.
In stories, cartoons, advertisements and our everyday lives, we project human thoughts and emotions onto animals—and claim their strength and style for ourselves in the brand names of cars and cosmetics. Why do we do that, and what do we get out of it? Can we ever know what animals really feel? And are we as different from other species as we like to imagine? Maria Margaronis meets the furry fandom, who put on “fursonas” and cartoonlike animal costumes to meet and socialise. Neuroscientist Bella Williams upends some assumptions about animal brains and explains how to read a mouse’s facial expression; children’s author Michael Rosen sportcasts an insect race. Farmer Helen Reeve reflects on how she feels about eating her own cows. And historian Harriet Ritvo poses a thornier question: what makes our species think we are secure in our dominance over the natural world?
The 18-minute show "Animals Are Us?", which received input from furry artists, fursuiters, fursuit-builders and other fans, is to be broadcast on the BBC World Service on Friday 24 at 18:32 and 23:32 GMT (EDT+4, BST-1), with re-broadcasts on Sunday (21:32) and Monday (04:32, 12:32).
Update (23 April): A four-minute clip featuring several furs is available (transcript below).
Update 2 (24 April): The full episode has been published. There is no additional content featuring furries, but you may find the rest interesting, as it's all about anthropomorphism.