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Meow and Now

And speaking of web-based comics coming to book form… Cat & Cat Adventures is a series written and illustrated by Susie Yi from Orange County, California. (Hi neighbor!) “Cat & Cat comics is a cozy, funny, and relatable comic series about more than just cats. Set in a world where pets and humans co-exist in a symbiotic relationship (much like the world we live in today!), Suzy is a human that can understand the mysterious language of cat-speak! Cat & Cat comics dives into the every day interactions between Suzy and her cats, but also the mysterious and magical scenarios that the cats encounter as well. From pancakes growing fluffier upon command to dogs being summoned out of a magical book, these comics are sure to surprise and pull you in for a sweet treat!” Find it on line, and look for the graphic novel series as well.


image c. 2024 by Susie Yi

The End of the Woof As We Know It

This is certainly a different take on a very old legend. We’ve talked before about the author Greg Van Eekhout and his book Voyage of the Dogs. Well it seems he’s still in a canine mood with his new book, Fenris & Mott. “When Mott finds a puppy abandoned in a recycling bin, she’s ready to do everything she can to protect him. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that this is the legendary wolf Fenris, who’s prophesied to bring about the end of the world by eating the moon. Now Mott has found herself in charge of making sure the hungry pup—who’s busy munching on lampposts, cars, and water towers—doesn’t see all of California as an appetizer, while also hiding him from the Norse gods who are hot on his trail, determined to see the prophecy come true.” Typical canine hyjinks, of course. Find out more over at the publisher’s page.


image c. 2024 Harper Collins

He Does Not Eat… Mice

Recently we met the folks at Headless Gnomes, who showed us their new comic book Fangs & Foul Play. “A deserted colonel, Richard, runs into a telepathic vampiric cat, Fang, while trying to flee the horrors of war. Now Richard has to find victims to feed to Fang and serve his every whim. Will he ever escape having to commit terrible atrocities?” Only writer L.K. Ingino knows for sure, ably assisted by artists Alex Guenther and Mariam Yasser. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, issues are available now on their web site.


image c. 2024 Headless Gnomes

Review: 'Hundreds of Beavers'

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

'Hundreds of Beavers' poster "I don't get the joke. Is it dirty, or what?"
-Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States of America (attributed)

You guys remember Bitter Lake?

Way back in the before times, when dinosaurs roamed the land, there was a tiny, micro-budget, barely feature-length "fan-movie" known as Bitter Lake, featuring a cast entirely clad in fursuit to represent its anthropomorphic animal characters, made by furries, for furries.

Before Bitter Lake, I'd never considered this method to realize a furry movie, and after Bitter Lake, well, I still haven't. Noble experiment, sure. Quality movie? Well, we're not reviewing Bitter Lake now, so let's just move along…

Hundreds of Beavers is a sort of outside the fandom take on the "fursuit movie" that, after playing film festivals last year, had a very short theatrical release this year before launching on various streaming services. It is a black-and-white, mostly dialogue-free slapstick comedy featuring newbie fur trapper Jean Kayak (co-writer Ryland Brickson Cole Tews) as he struggles to survive in the wilderness around the Great Lakes region of pre-United States America. Fellow co-writer Mike Cheslik directs. The movie features beavers, raccoons, rabbits, dogs, skunks and wolves, all played by actors in mascot costumes.

This Is One Ruff City

M. A. Kastle is a self-published author specializing in urban fantasy and horror — specifically, stories dealing with werewolves and other shapeshifters in the big city. Her series include the Cascade Wolves, the Cascade Saga, and Moonlight Territory. It’s a complex world where not only do the authorities know about the shapeshifters, but some of them actually work for the government — while others, the government is desperately trying to hunt down. Trust is hard to find on all sides, and death is seemingly waiting just around every corner. Visit the author’s web site to find out about her books, her characters, and what’s next.


image c. 2024 M. A. Kastle

 

Do You Speak Not You?

At WonderCon we met Josh Oaktree, the founder of Oak Tree Comics. Their mission is simple, and stated right on the front page of their web site: “A children’s book publisher where imagination meets environmentalism”. To that end they created the Art and Oakie Ask series of illustrated graphic novels for young readers, featuring the wordless adventures of young Art and their friend Oakie the ambulatory oak tree. In Do You Speak Tree?, Oakie tries to speak up for his forest home — but he only speaks “tree”, and no one understands. Perhaps Art and their crayon skills can help out? This was followed by Do You Speak Bear? and, most recently, Do You Speak Bee? Oak Tree also features a nature-themed fantasy comic series called Thorn the Unicorn, and a very unusual picture book called The Weird Animal Hour, which we’ll leave to them to explain.


image c. 2024 Oak Tree Comics

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.

I Want A Monster To Be My Playmate

Something delightful from Clarion Books: The Pebble and Wren graphic novel. “A little girl and her live-in monster learn about what makes them different — and what unites them. This graphic novel is a silly, sweet, and sometimes gross tribute to friendship, and to the wacky world we live in. Based on his webcomic of the same name, Pebble and Wren by Chris Hallbeck follows human girl Wren and her live-in monster, Pebble, as she teaches them all about how the human world works — from why the moon changes shape to why we don’t eat candy wrappers — while trying to unlock special abilities without which Pebble will have to return to the monster forest.” Find out what happens next.


image c. 2024 Clarion Books

Fantasy vs. Horror

There’s something so perfectly fannish about a comic book series called Unicorn Vampire Hunter. It’s written by Caleb Palmquist and illustrated by Daryl Toh. “A young woman named Jezebel moves to a magical marsh to live with her uncle, Seamus the Wizard and his puppies that never grow old. One day, Jezebel wanders into the dark forest and almost falls victim to a vampire. Luckily, her life is saved by a unicorn, who gores the vampire with his horn, killing it. Jezebel and her uncle welcome the unicorn into their family, but things are about to get dicey…” Find out how in this new series from Scout Comics.


image c. 2024 Scout Comics

The Tough Streets of Tokyo

A different take, but no less important, can be found in A Story of Seven Lives by Shirakawa Gin. “Nanao used to be a house cat, but after tragedy struck, he was abandoned on the rough streets of Tokyo. Now, alongside his best friend and fellow stray Machi, Nanao has to fight every day just to get by. Aside from foraging for food and finding somewhere to sleep, Nanao and Machi must remain vigilant about all sorts of dangers, including humans who want stray cats gone. When a woman named Yoshino starts feeding the neighborhood cats, Nanao reluctantly bonds with her. But the woman has emotional scars and a past entwined with Nanao’s. Can Nanao help her heal, and perhaps heal himself in the process? The entire three-volume series will be released in English in one oversized omnibus edition.” Which is available now from Seven Seas.


image c. 2024 Seven Seas Entertainment

Make Him Huff and Puff

More interesting manga from Seven Seas, this one with a notable yaoi bent: Why Don’t You Eat Me, My Dear Wolf? by Ao Koishikawa. [What a title!] “Taro is sent to the forest alone. He’s a sacrifice for the monstrous wolf, Uru. Upon seeing him, Uru declares Taro too small and too thin. The wolf feeds him, clothes him, and cares for him. Time passes and Taro finds himself wanting to be devoured by this giant wolf who gives him nothing but affection.” Poor thing.


image c. 2024 Seven Seas Entertainment

It’s a Dream Job

One of those projects that’s not really furry per se, but it sure seems to have a lot of non-human characters in it! Hotel REM is a new full-color all-ages graphic novel, written by Zack Keller, with art by Gabriele Bagnoli and Valerio Alloro. “Rembrandt Somner is the happy-go-lucky new owner of Hotel REM, a place for all the fantastic people and creatures in our dreams to hang out when we wake up. Channeling his endless enthusiasm, Rem attempts to balance his unwieldy coworkers and wild guests in order to run a successful business that makes his parents proud. However, a demanding celebrity guest threatens to be the rude awakening that ruins everything!” The preview is up over at Dark Horse Comics.


image c. 2024 Dark Horse Comics

Little Fox Went Out…

An interesting fantasy graphic novel series we somehow missed before: Fox and Willow, written by Alison Pang and illustrated by Irma Ahmed. “When Jessa, the miller’s daughter, offers simple comforts to Willow and Gideon in return for a bit of work, the runaway princess and her fox spirit companion are more than willing to take Jessa up on it. After all, being on the road has its dangers, and the respite while they search for answers to Gideon’s cursed collar is more than welcome. But when the discovery of a murdered royal and a forsaken ghost comes to light, the two travelers realize they’ve stumbled into something far more sinister.” Volume 1, Came A Harper, and Volume 2, To The Sea, are both still available in hardcover from CEX Publishing.


image c. 2024 CEX Publishing

This Would Be… Bad…?

And now for something altogether different… Night of the Living Cat, a new black & white manga created by Hawkman and Mecha-Roots. “A virus spreads across the world, transforming all humankind into wild, slavering, furry beasts: Cats, to be precise. Those few survivors who remain human take refuge in the dark corners of the earth as they fight back against the feline horde. Kunagi, a man with no memory of his past yet a deep knowledge of cats, struggles to hold on with only his wits and a will to survive. Yet the virus transmits merely through cuddles, and Kunagi finds kitties so hard to resist! Is his willpower strong enough to withstand this hair-raising cat-tastrophe?” Find out from Seven Seas.


image c. 2023 Seven Seas Entertainment