Fuzzy Thoughts

'Ed' by Melissa DeJesus

‘Ed’ by Melissa DeJesus

Tomorrow I will be driving up to Addison, Texas for Furry Fiesta along with my friend Chris Holm.  While he hopes to get a table in Artist’s Alley to peddle his wares, my objective is to hang out and have fun.  This will be the first “furry” convention I have ever attended, and I have received quite a few different responses from friends whenever I bring it up, ranging from curiosity to revulsion and even amusement.  I just grin and bear it…ba-doom, tissh.

I guess there is no way to get around it, though.  I am a ‘furry.’  No, I don’t have a costume, or think of myself as an animal (the picture at right nonwithstanding).  I don’t bark or howl or snarl at people nor do any of the other crazy stuff that the Internet Hate Machine and misinformed mass media would have you believe.

I just happen to like media that features anthropomorphic animal characters.  As a kid, I grew up watching Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse cartoons.  I enjoyed reading Aesop’s fables and Watership Down.  Later, DuckTales, TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck were part of my afternoons and fuzzy critters like Starfox, Ratchet, and Sly Cooper happen to star in some of my favorite videogames.

I submitted an idea that was used in the newspaper comic strip Pluggers, which features animal people demonstrating the foibles and virtues of working folks.  I entered a writing contest to appear in a (sadly cancelled) comic strip called “My Cage” which was also completely populated by funny animals.   I won and got to pick what animal my character would appear as in the strip.  I chose a bear; artist Melissa DeJesus did a pretty good job of turning me into one, as you can see in the picture above.  As an aside, the template she used can be found on the ‘About’ page.  I also wrote a short story for the Furry Fiesta conbook that stars their jackalope mascots.  It’s called “All’s Well That Ends Well” and I look forward to seeing it in print.

So yeah, I suppose I was a ‘furry’ before there was a term for it.  No, this isn’t intended to be some big epiphany or coming out or anything like that.  It’s just one part of who I always have been, whether you happened to notice it or not.  Tomorrow I am going to go to a convention to hang out with a bunch of other folks that happen to like some of the same things I do, just like I do at anime, comic book, steampunk and videogame conventions.

That doesn’t sound that odd now, does it? 😉


Why no one reads the newspaper anymore…

As one of the few people under 40 who still reads the newspaper I found this news to be very discouraging.

I discovered “MyCage” in the Express-News, and it quickly became one of my favorite newspaper comics. I suppose it is a sign of the times that I have to distinguish it as a “newspaper” comic to not only differentiate it from comic books, but also from webcomics.

What bothers me is the loss of a new and interesting strip when they could have easily dropped one of the older ones that is way past its prime. I will email the editor in a feeble attempt to convince him otherwise, but I think the decision has been made. I guess I’ll read it online now at another newspaper’s website.

Its another $1.60 a week back in my wallet, too.


Through An Artist’s Eye

Currently, one of my favorite comic strips is My Cage which is somewhat like Dilbert in that it takes place in an office. Unlike Dilbert, it focuses more on the character’s personalities, the lead being a platypus named Norman who works at an office and finds himself constantly frustrated not only by office life, but also by his co-workers.

The creators of the strip, artist Melissa DeJesus and writer Ed Powers, held two contests recently on MySpace with the prize being an appearance in the strip. There was a fanart contest, and a writing contest, which I won. The rub is that the characters are all animals, so in addition to supplying a photograph for the artist to use as a model, I had to choose an animal. Over the protests of my former coworkers, who for some strange reason wanted me to pick a koala, and my best friend, who wanted me to go with an owl (high school thing). I decided to go with a bear because I think it suits my personality and also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bear in the strip.

Melissa has posted her version of myself and the other winners, and I like the way mine came out. The pic I sent for Melissa to use can be found here and the toon version is here. He, er, me looks like a pretty laid-back guy who needs to go to the gym a little more often. The only thing missing is a Nintendo DS 🙂