Even in a room full of people wearing animal costumes, a guy lugging a box of old vinyl to his table is going to stand out, especially when he starts drawing and painting on them. This is what caught my eye the first time I saw Eryshé Falafe, also known as Joe Meyer, at Pittsburgh’s Anthrocon around 2011. I ended up getting one myself that still takes up pride of place in my office, and eventually ended up carting a not insubstantial pile of vinyl across the pond for him to deface on my pilgrimage to Pittsburgh. One of them was the bawdily British “Sinful Rugby Songs” which was quickly snapped up by a commissioner who also saw it’s parody potential.
Alternating between his three fursonas, cat-bunny hybrid Eryshé Falafe, red roo Divvy and rabbitdeer Galahad he has been producing comics since he was a kid, discovering furry around 2001, with a number of published works including. Slammin Buneez, the autobiographical In the Meantime and his scathing, satirical and unrelenting look at the fandom, Furry Nuuze Teevee. The strips feature Twiggy, a dumb overly enthusiastic canine TV reporter and host of his own show who diligently reports on the fandom. As a character reserved for lambasting and commenting on internal politics and drama that flair up in the fandom with alarming regularity he usually ends up reflecting the positive side of the fandom while making fun of the negative elements and people.
Running since 2006 and the flip side of the coin to FNTV, Destroying the Illusion is Meyer’s series of diary comics about his daily exploits, conventions and the absurdity of everyday life. Instead of the general drama and negativity this series is more introspective autobiographical comics about Joe’s time in the fandom and goings on in his life. Almost always overwhelmingly positive they often reiterate what anyone will say about the furry fandom and tell you makes for a great con experience: the people. Befitting the immediacy of the travel, diary comic Joe’s art on the strips, mostly in black and white have a cartoony look to them and a sketchy quality.
My favourite of his work though has to be his defaced vinyl’s. Maybe it’s the same feeling that comes from graffiti, that thrill of doing something you’re not supposed too. Don’t worry for the most part the ones he uses are some truly awful records. Inspired in part by a tumblr group featuring vinyl that had been found defaced in simple and random ways. Scribbles, scrawls and misplaced labels from the original owners, the majority of them are ‘found art’ curiosities discovered in charity shops and yard sales. Taking the idea one step further and with more care and attention Joe has altered and tinkered with them in various ways, reinterpreting them as unique pieces of artwork. Painting over aspects of the cover, usually the figures with a commissioner’s fusona. I love how fun they are and how even within the confines of what’s already on the sleeve he can capture the personalities of the people behind the characters he paints onto them.
The site hosting the older comics is currently down but newer Destroying the Illusion comics (fondly dubbed DTI2.0) are currently hosted on his own site.