Monday, July 16, 2007

Furry Encounter

I’ve been neglecting the blogging lately, getting bogged down in helping fledgling civilizations grow and conquer their neighbors. But there are a few things I’ve been meaning to get to in these past few weeks, and hopefully I’ll be able to touch on them before leaving for vacation in a couple of days.

First stop: Furries.

Years ago, I wrote a story for The Suburban & Wayne Times about Anthrocon, a convention for fans of anthropomorphic animals – everything from Bugs Bunny to Usagi Yojimbo (and even creatures that aren’t bunnies, like Mouse Guard or Brian Jacques’ Redwall series). It’s one of the few things I wrote back then that have survived online. You can read it here – and it’s even referenced on the Furry Fandom page of Wikipedia!

It was an interesting conversation with Dr. Conway – one of the most guarded interviews I’d ever conducted. A few months before, Vanity Fair had published an “expose” of furry fandom, casting them all as sexual deviants. His wariness of the press was certainly understandable; if I hadn’t mentioned guest Carla Speed McNeil on his answering machine, he told me he’d have never have called me back for the interview. (He figured I must be a fanboy of some stripe or another -- most reporters at the time wouldn't know who she was. I never did get the interview with Ms. McNeil about her Finder comic, but I did have an opportunity to speak with Dan DeCarlo, the iconic Archie artist who created Josie and the Pussycats.) We met at a Johnny Rocket's at the King of Prussia Mall, and I took a ton of notes – much more information than I was able to condense into the story. Dr. Conway struck me as a very nice guy, doing his best to navigate some treacherous waters. I hope the steering as gotten easier since then.

That was six years ago. (It seems like more, honestly; I guess I wrote the story as a freelancer after I left my editorial job.) Recently, Mark Evanier and his friend Carolyn Kelly went to the 2007 Anthrocon, held in Pittsburgh. Mark bogged about it here and here (with a little more here), and posts a video from a local newscast here.

I enjoyed reading his report, and am glad to hear the con is going strong. I wish I had been able to visit it when it was still in Philly.


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