The results of the 2021 Ursa Major Awards were announced this Sunday, with motivated fan-bases driving decisive voting in certain categories, while others were finely balanced.
Littlefur/adult baby slice-of-life comic Shine by UK artist Star ran off with Best Graphic Story; coming second was a remake of Found, another of her works under the name Toddlergirl. Both had seen strong support in last years' Ursa Major Awards.
Netting twice the points of the next nominee for Dramatic Short Work was Frank Behring's "Nobody Does It Better", derived from Best Comic Strip Carry On. Artist Kathy Kellogg (KD Nightstar) also took Best Published Illustration for "A World of Our Own" — beating all other nominees by 50%.
Somewhere in the back of my mind – along with every other soul-searching moment of my youth – is a single panel from this novel featuring Bayshore clutching a fish and crying out Diego's name. I claim it as a symbol of a love long lost in the hazy days of my early adulthood, when uncertainty was the only certainty.
This is the story of a naive young otter chasing a free-spirited rascal. Through lovingly penned dialog and moody colours, it exposes the raw, vulnerable quick of youthful longing; Diego's light-hearted take on all things bursting into life against the shimmering backdrop of Bayshore's persistently searching but fatefully delicate glass heart. Through these illustrations, a pair of artists in love pour their hearts into their work in a way we can never see again.
The story ventures from "what does this mean" to "what do we do now," through "I knew it all along" and finally arrives at its natural conclusion of "I'm sorry" and "I was meant for you." But even after the second part – that was never published on the web, and only available in the printed work – it leaves us wondering how things will play out.
Although the comic, penned by a duo of artists under the pseudonym of Blotch, has been out of print for years, it will forever live in the hearts and minds of a generation of furries who discovered what it is to love and live in the forgiving embrace of furry fandom's nascent youth through to its maturity, and on through its inevitable slide into the mainstream.
Kismet on a recent outing brought me into contact with an issue of this Star Wars offshoot, published by IDW Comics, which advertises itself in that usual, effective way.
Ghosts Of Vader's Castle #2, which offers a choice of subtitles between "Attack Of The 50-Foot Wookie" and "The Wicked Wookie", is a diversion of a diversion that hit distribution in September. It comes from regular writer Cavan Scott and is illustrated by mainstays Francesco Francavilla and Derek Charm. Permit me to guess your thoughts; no, Disney has NOT purchased Bucky O' Hare.
One thing this last summer did of course was bring attention back to everyone’s favorite ocean-born anthro-villain, King Shark. Taking obvious advantage of that, DC Comics have brought us the new Suicide Squad: King Shark 6-part miniseries, written by Tim Seeley and illustrated by Scott Kolins and John Kalisz. “On leave from the Suicide Squad, King Shark and unfortunate tagalong the Defacer get swept into a mystical tournament for totemic animal spirits at the behest of King Shark’s father, the god of sharks! Now King Shark must battle brutal warriors like Queen Tiger, King Roach, Prince Nematode, Princess Peregrine, and the terrifying Man King to finally attain his destiny and make his dour dad proud!” Sounds even furrier than usual, don’t it? There’s a review over at CBR.
AlectorFencer (Claudya Schmidt) was recently awarded the Best Artist prize for Artwork in the 2020 Rudolph Dirks Award, named after German-American cartoonist Rudolph Dirks, for her comic Haunter of Dreams.
Haunter of Dreams - released at Eurofurence 25, where she was Guest of Honour - is just one of several comics and illustrations set in the world of Yria which have earned AlectorFencer honours. She received a Rudolph Dirks Award in 2018 for her work on MYRE - Chronicles of Yria Volume 1. Earlier this year, she won a silver Spectrum Award in the comic category for her illustration Flora, depicting a mythical being from Yria.
First Second brings us a popular fantasy comic from France, collected now in one hardcover graphic novel. Kairos is written and illustrated by Ulysse Malassagne. “Nills and Anaelle are looking forward to their first night in their rustic cabin in the woods. But the couple’s idyllic vacation is suddenly thrown into turmoil when a strange flash of light bursts from the fireplace. A portal appears, and out of it spill dragon-like creatures that are armed to the teeth. They grab Anaelle and flee back through the portal, leaving a distraught Nills with a sudden decision: Stay behind, or leap through after her? He leaps. And that’s when things get really weird.” This new English translation is available now.
Can I Pet Your Werewolf? is a 160-page comics anthology that came out in 2017, after a successful kickstarter by Kel McDonald. Recently there was a second kickstarter to make a new print run, so I got in on the PDF version, and my hardcopy should be shipping pretty soon.
The project is described as "A light-hearted anthology featuring tales of friendship, family, and romance shared between those who get hairy under a full moon. Just because they have sharp teeth and claws doesn't mean they have to be a monster out for blood."
There are 13 stories, black and white, from mostly women cartoonists of many backgrounds and art styles. They're short popcorn tales, ranging from 8 to 19 pages in length. Not a lot of time for deep world-building, but in each one you're seeing a personal little snippet of a larger setting.
IDW has a new anthology comic sure to catch the interest of TV animation watchers — and furry fans: Disney Afternoon Giant. According to them, “It’s the first issue of a brand-new series featuring stories from your favorite Disney Afternoon shows! It’s a blast from the past in the present as we feature classic DuckTales, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, and Darkwing Duck stories, all together in one place for the first time!” The first issue features stories by Warren Spector and Ian Brill, with art by Leonel Castellani, Jose Massaroli, James Silvani, Jake Myler, and Braden Lamb.
A Furry Fandom favorite moves further into the eye of the mainstream, thanks to AMP! Comics For Kids. Now they bring us the Ozy and Millie Graphic Novel Volume 1 — written and illustrated by Dana Simpson, of course. “From the creator of the enormously popular Phoebe and Her Unicorn series comes Ozy and Millie, a playful comic exploring the friendship between two foxes. Meet Ozy and Millie, two middle-grade students in Seattle who also happen to be foxes. This comic centers around these two best friends as they take on the everyday challenges all middle-graders face-bullies, tests, and the dread of going back to school after a surprise snow day. Ozy is a young male fox whose adoptive father happens to be a dragon and frequent presidential candidate. Ozy’s calm and thoughtful demeanor is constantly tested by Millie’s rambunctious and rebellious pursuits.” Find out more over at Previews. Available now from Andrews McMeel.
I'm sorry to report that Vicky Wyman passed away on August 3, 2018. According to a post by Defenbaugh on Fur Affinity, she'd recently found out that she had a very bad case of intestinal cancer. After an attempted surgery failed to improve her prospects, she made the choice to let go. She was in her 60s.
I'm not really qualified to write an obituary about Vicky Wyman, so if there are details and memories you'd like to share, please post a comment! I can update this article as necessary. What follows is some history with personal reflections.
Nominations for the 2017 Ursa Major Awards will open on January 11, the first day of Further Confusion 2018. The awards celebrate the best anthropomorphic literature and art first published during the previous calendar year.
Find out more details at how to participate at our webpage: http://www.ursamajorawards.org/
The awards are selected through a two-stage process of nomination and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the twelve categories. The top nominations in each category are then presented for a public vote.
Though it was originally published back in March, the Zootopia fan comic "I Will Survive", drawn and written by Deviant Art artist "Borba", has recently garnered a lot more attention out of nowhere, and not just for its artwork. The comic, which was already notorious among fans of Zootopia for its themes of abortion and spousal abuse, has come to the attention of the wider world, and it even caused a movie nearly two years old to momentarily pop up on Twitter's trending list earlier this week.
A gay western centaur romance isn't the kind of story I encounter enough, even in furry fandom. Hotblood! A Centaur In the Old West is a webcomic by Toril Orlesky that ran from 2013-2016. The color artwork is as stark as the landscape, but the story is a bit more complicated than the black-and-white world that the western genre is known for.
The art is lovely enough that I was mostly able to put aside the sometimes uneven pacing. As the story circles around the action, it digs deeper into its characters' pasts - and their hearts. The two main characters are not morally whole men, and therefore they caught my interest.
Rook is a centaur. In the story universe, centaurs are an integrated part of American society. There's some social stigma, but not as much as you might think for someone who looks half-animal. There's at least one centaur in the U.S. Senate, for example. Rook is employed by Asa, a human steel tycoon. We don't get to see much of the world outside of their relationship, and it's only by the second half of the story that we really start seeing the two of them bond, sexually and romantically.
ABlueDeer is a gifted artist on Furaffinity, SoFurry, Inkbunny and other venues. He been a full-time anime, manga, video game, and anthro artist since 2007. Throughout his career, he has also diligently pursued a childhood dream to create his own ongoing webcomic series. With this goal in mind he created Dark Blue Comics, an illustration and writing production house a few years ago. It currently hosts The Depths, Moonlace, and Bethellium for free reading. Contributors to his Patreon page receive sneak-peeks of upcoming pages, high-quality art, pin-ups, scripts, and much more.
I have worked in the past with ABlueDeer and other professional artists as a writer and social media expert on several comic projects, including The Depths. With that I was fortunate to be able to speak to ABlueDeer recently about Dark Blue Comics, his artistic dreams, and plans for the future as an artist and a father.
Leilani: First, my thoughts and prayers to your friends and family caught in the devastating Mexico City earthquake recently. I'm relieved they're all safe and accounted for.
ABlueDeer(ABD): Thank you so much. Yes, I was able to visit mine and Shana, my wife's, families and check on them. There was another earthquake while we were there but luckily this one was minor. We also wanted to see if the houses had any cracks or anything. Apparently, most of the damage was done in the south, which is a little far from our families’ houses. Some areas had a lot of damage. Most buildings that went down were old and supposedly preserved because they were of Hispanic heritage, and they were in the very center of the city.
Looks as if IDW gets the honor of publishing the tie-in comic for Disney’s new DuckTales animated series. After a preview “issue #0” this last summer, the first issue of Disney DuckTales hit the shelves recently. “In ‘The Great Experiment of the Washing Machine,‘ Donald and the Nephews visit a top-secret lab, chock-full of crazy inventions to make life easier… but might make them shorter, instead! And then, learn ‘The Chilling Secret of the Lighthouse!'” The comic is written by Joe Caramagna and illustrated by Luca Usai and Gianfranco Florio.