Mark "Sy Sable" Merlino - founding furry who paved the way for furry conventions and original species - passes awayPosted by Sonious on Sun 25 Feb 2024 - 11:45
One of furry fandom’s original founding members passed away from liver cancer on February 20, 2024. Mark Merlino, alongside the late Fred Patten, were two of the six founders of the first anime club in the United States in May 1977. This interest and fandom evolved into a focus on the anthropomorphic characters which became large enough to grow outside into a tandem fandom known as furry.
This would culminate in the founding of the first convention exclusively for furry fans in Greater Los Angeles, ConFurence, which he co-directed with his mate Rod O’Riley. It saw yearly growth in attendance until Mark left the board at the end of 1998. Other conventions would grow to replace the founding convention that closed its doors in 2003. Its direct successor Califur started in 2004 and ran until its closure in 2017.
The fandom has been mourning and memorializing his passing with articles of his legacy, and fan art featuring his original species, the Skiltaire. Ren Tradewind has come forward with the suggestion of making his birthday of May 12th a sort of Fandom Foundation holiday.
The furry community of South Africa have announced that Ivic Wulfe has passed away on Sunday May 22nd, 2022. Ivic, whose fursona was a green and white fox/wolf hybrid, co-founded the South Afrifur Pawdcast – a show hosted on Furry.FM, a radio streaming service where Ivic worked as English Community Administrator.
In the podcast, they bring in guests from the furry fandom to discuss topics of the day. They then post these to their YouTube channel. Some of these guests included Thabo Meerkat, Kyell Gold, Tonya Song, and myself.
Friends of Furry.FM and South Afrifur,
Unfortunately, it is with heavy hearts that we have to inform you that our friend, Ivic passed away today at 7:19 PM. He fell asleep peacefully at home surrounded by his friends.
Ian George Stuart Curtis passed away some time in May of 2021. He was one of the founding fathers of the furry fandom in the UK.
Born in December 1946 in Hull, he grew up on Disney cartoons and funny animal comics like Bonzo the Dog and Rupert Bear. By the time he was in his teens, he also developed interests in wargaming, comics, science fiction and fantasy games as well.
While working as a writer for the military press, he travelled to the USA regularly and used his leisure time to frequent the comic book and science fiction conventions there. This was how he met early furry fans like Pauli Kidd and discovered furry fandom. By the 1990s, he was in contact with fans in the US, Australia, and the UK.
Disney announced some furry bait titles coming to a screen near you in 2022. One is Turning Red, a movie about a girl who is cursed to transform into a red panda when she becomes too excited. Along with this is a new animated series around the 2016 movie Zootopia, called Zootopia+, which was covered in Rod O’Riley’s In-Fur-Nation. It seems to be set up as a slice of life, reality format that will follow the lives of side characters.
But for Nick’s partner in crime, their voice may be missing from any side cast shenanigans. After showing symptoms for COVID-19, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister passed on. The wrestler had many roles in show business. They wrestled Hulk Hogan and were featured on Star Trek, but most furries would know them as the voice of the diminutive fox with an attitude that will “bite your face off.”
It seems 2022 can’t get here fast enough, and not just for the sake of furry films.
Rick May, best known to furries and non-furries alike as the voice of Peppy Hare in the English version of the game Star Fox 64 passed away April 13, 2020 due to COVID-19. May was born September 21, 1940 (with the full name of Richard J. May), meaning he would have turned 80 later this year. May had also recently suffered a stroke in February, making him even more vulnerable to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
May will forever be known as the man who originally uttered the memetic line "Do a barrel roll! (Z or R twice.)" in Star Fox 64, explaining to players how to perform what is technically an aileron roll in order to deflect enemy attacks. May also played the villain of Star Fox 64, Andross. Outside of furry video games, May is probably best known for voicing the Soldier of Team Fortress 2; furries might also recognize his voice behind the villainous Dr. M from the third Sly Cooper game. In addition to voice work for video games, May has had a long history of working both on and for the stage as both a director and actor, beginning with USO shows while stationed in Japan. His part in a Renton, Washington production of Cotton Patch Gospel featured a combination of his voice and stage work, as he used different voices to portray 21 characters in what was reportedly his favorite stage role.
Furry icons on social media sites went dark on April 5, 2019, following a tweet from Dogbomb that he would be passing on soon. Known for his German Shepherd fursona, Tony Barrett had modelled his character in honor of Rodger, a canine companion he'd lost, who had been with him for 14 years.
Dogbomb's wardrobe consisted of a Hawaiian-style lei, which is why some of the recent icons have been placing the flowery necklace against a black background, a design put forth by The Forgess, pictured here.
It stands out as a beacon, as Tony had been in his life.
Update 4/8: Fixed statement where Lei art was falsely credited to Trinity. Thanks to BlindWolf8 for the correction.
Fred Patten was born in Los Angeles, California on December 11, 1940. By the time he was ten years old, he'd become interested in science fiction and had started to collect SF books and magazines. From 1958 to 1963 he attended UCLA, where he graduated with a master's degree in Library Science. During his university years, he discovered science fiction fandom, joined the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS), and started to write for fanzines.
In the 1970s, Fred became a partner in a bookstore in Long Beach, and also developed an interest in manga and anime from Japan. In 1977, along with Mark Merlino and others, Fred was one of the founding members of North America's first anime fan club, the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization. Partially through the C/FO, he and Mark expanded their mutual interest in animals in cartoons and science-fiction, which was a major step in the early evolution of furry fandom. A lot people aren't aware that in North America, both anime and furry fandoms share an originating root!
There is a balding man with glasses, standing in the corner, cradling a book against his stomach, reading. You saw him a lot. At the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society meeting hall, the APA collation room, in the library, at science fiction conventions in function rooms and room parties, at San Diego Comic Con in the Rowrbrazzle contributor parties, at furry parties.
His name is Fred Patten, and was in no way the passive participant he seemed. With a partner he opened a book shop in Long Beach, California that not only carried SF and Fantasy books, but comics from all over the world. He reviewed SF and Fantasy literature for fan and professional publications. His apartment was literally wall-to-wall books. He collected SF/F art, storing paintings in his bed frame. I don't think anyone knew where he slept... or if he did.
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.
Sad news has come to the web journal of the furry convention Fur 'the More. Their most recent announcement tells of the passing of Cobalt the Fox (David Gonce) last Friday (October 6), due to a heart attack. The fox's final tweet indicated he had felt particularly ill.
This dedicated staffer worked in the security group, known as the Rangers, for the Baltimore area furry convention. He also had the opportunity to MC for their furry dance competition.
The blessings of the staff, and their sorrow over the loss speaks volumes for Colbalt's contributions to the fandom he loved.
I have met and talked to so many people and in all my life i have not met anyone who isn't special and unique.
— I'm Cobalt! (@Cobalt_The_Fox) July 13, 2017
On June 6th, 2017, on a bridge in Charleston, South Carolina a furry who went by the fursona name Xzavior Wolf died during a car accident. After the initial crash, he had left the car and as a result was crushed between vehicles due to another vehicle hitting the current wreckage.
The incident is a stark reminder of the fragility of life, and that it can be taken in an instant. It is usually during these times that we reflect upon their life, and celebrate what they brought to the table. However, this is where things get a bit awkward and complicated. For the one who had lost their life that night happened to be a part of an infamous organization within the fandom that had ties with the closure of a convention a few months prior and reworked Nazi symbology.
Xzavior, was indeed, a member of the Furry Raiders. And so when the news of their death was confirmed by the group on Twitter, the reactions were as divided and controversial as the organization in which he was affiliated.
Fans of furry web comics mourned at news of the passing of Albert Temple arrived this month. This prolific creator maintained a consistently-updated web comic for over 16 years, from July 2000 all the way up to his death in March. This web serial comic, Gene Catlow, delved into the lives of a pair of experienced and respected computer technicians and their many strange adventures.
The two main characters were Gene Catalow (the author's fursona) and his rabbit friend Cotton. The first story arc revolved around Cotton finding a special coffee that unlocked superpowers within him. He's torn away from his normal life as a technician to begin thwarting assassination attempts against an ambassador being held in safe harbor in their anthropomorphic city.
Through the interactions of these characters you learn of a world of political intrigue, where human beings and anthro animals had their own cultural boundaries. Albert did a great job in making it so that you were never fed this in exposition dumps, but instead were purely arrived at through the interaction of the comic's characters.
On Janurary 13, Equino Faukland, a friend of Spike Niko, posted about the passing of the founder of Rainbow Tiger to the club's group:
Hello my friends from Rainbow Tiger. I wish I was coming to you with something other than bad news, but with a heavy heart I must inform you that yesterday Spike Nico, the Boss Pony of the Rainbow Tiger passed away. Some of you might know that Spike was sick back in June with some lung issues and was in pretty bad shape. However, always the fighter Spike pulled through and was in full recovery. However his illness resurfaced this winter with a vengeance. He died in his bed yesterday from complications of his illness.
There have been many articles speaking to the harshness and cruelty of the year 2016. This time in history has been seen in such a negative light that people have gone so far as to make horror trailer parodies of the year itself. Barring the turbulent political results in countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, many celebrities who brought forth stories of endearment and inspired a generation passed on this year.
But just like you this year the furry fandom has been filled with reminders of our own mortality and that while some may try and use the fandom as an escape from these very realities, death and political strife caused by our interactions have made themselves apparent this year more than any in recent memory.