“If an idea resonates with you, as a creator, there’s absolutely an audience for it” -The world of furry cartoonist Lobst

anthro, anthropomorphic, comic, interview

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Growing up on a diet of sci-fi and fantasy, transformation stories were the ones I loved and could always rely on the writers of most shows to fall back on one of it’s most loved tropes. For me they were always the most frustrating though, as characters spent their time trying either freaking or trying to change back, usually both. Frustratingly they almost never explored a person staying that way, gaining a new perspective on the world. It’s something I’d find renewed interest in when encountering the Furry Fandom and finally found quite literally in the works of Lobst, a furry comics artist who uses their anthropomorphic characters and an individual take on magical realism to express their unique experiences as a trans person.

As with the bulk of their work two of my favourites, both adult comics, prominently feature transgender characters and story lines. A Slightly Different Role follows the exploits of two huskies, Connor and Alex, the latter of which with the aid of a suitably gothic book of curses, magically endows the other with a vagina. The second, more science-fiction orientated That Curious Sensation takes the subject in an entirely different, rarely explored direction. Distracted from work by unwanted erections red panda Clover strikes upon the idea of nullification, quickly achieving his goal with an easily obtainable injection. In both instances the initial transformation is dealt with quickly and often humorously, instead shifting the focus onto how characters react and adapt to the changes, rather than the change itself as a way to explore other parts of a trans individuals experiences and struggles beyond the post surgery aspects that a lot of mainstream representations fixate upon.

Lobst tells stories and presents her trans and gender fluid characters in an interesting and entertaining manner without the fetishization often present in a lot furry comics staring trans characters. Their artwork explores them in entirely different ways ,and using the fantasy elements as a springboard to ask more intimate and rarely asked questions about individuals in the trans community through anthropomorphic characters. Despite the ears, tails and fur, her extended cast appear on the page fully rounded and human. Ultimately what sets Lobst’s work apart is the warmth and tenderness it exudes in both the ways their characters interact and the playful way they write about a complicated and multifaceted subject, tackled both playfully and honestly.

Has art always been a part of you life or something picked up later? How did your art change after coming into contact with the furry fandom?

I’ve always drawn artwork, although it took quite a while for me to start developing original ideas that spread out into stories.  I was a furry-in-denial for a very long time, since the “mainstream” of it — at the time, comics like Sabrina Online and Jack — either seemed too cloying or edgy for my tastes. It took a long time for me to realise that like any other fandom, furries comprise a wide spectrum of interests, so there was a gradual shift from anthro-animal comics like Cigarro & Cerveja/Living In Greytown to Gene Catlow/Kit & Kay Boodle to Associated Student Bodies, Circles, and the webcomics by my friend Moult, after which I spent yet another very-long-time producing furry media “ironically” in groan worthy “extreme” ways. And I think it was only around 2007 or so (yes, seriously) when I started actually looking at furry art, that I learned how to successfully draw furry snouts; until that point a besnouted face was seriously just a box in front of the standard comic-artist human face shield.

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Kickstarter Watch: There’s Still Time To Back Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi/Fantasy Anthology – Talking With Sfe Monster

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It’s great to get a chance to write about a subject close to my heart and also a project I’m genuinely excited about!

Sfé Monster is someone who was already on my radar through my love of another comic I plan to write about, and had created a lot of characters for it, and seeing the Beyond kickstarter promoted me to go and read his own webcomic, Eths skin, which I hadn’t gotten around to yet.

Even though it’s still only small numbers, this article has been retweeted a LOT. I guess owing to the subject matter and the sheer quality of the artists involved!

Anyway, as usual the articles here or you can read it below!
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LGBT representation is among the most hotly debated issues in comics at the moment and while the last few years have seen huge improvements in some areas, it can still feel like what little there is on offer sometimes still isn’t as diverse as it could be and can be extremely hit or miss. At its very best, when the industry gets it right, we get something stunning like J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman’s first 26 issues of Batwoman, or Rene Montoya’s portrayal in Gotham Central by Brubaker and Rucka. However at worst, LGBT characters are treated as tragic figures such as the sexuality-switched Green Lantern and his boyfriend Sam, given a sparse twenty pages and a quick death by fiery bullet-rain. While comics have always featured characters like the X-Men, standing in for many minority groups including LGBT, for the most part characters and situations remain just straight enough not to make waves and often requires the reader to dig a little deeper to find the queerness.

Beyond is an anthology currently on Kickstarter hoping to bring queer, sci-fi and fantasy driven stories to a wider audience currently not catered too by most mainstream comics. With a clear goal to both represent LGBT creators and characters without the allegory, avoiding the cliches on both sides of the scale (such as the tragic queer figure or conversely, the only straight person on the gay planet) and to simply joyously celebrate these stories that rarely get told. The anthology is the work of eighteen stunning artists and writers, all working to create LGBT characters that go beyond the allegorical, with their characters taking center stage as the heroes, space adventurers and other sci-fi staples. When published, the book will feature 18 stories over 250 black and white pages, harking back to the early days of independent comics.