Feather & Fur

In late 2007, I had a dream about four pubescent kids who could turn into animals and fight a wolfman. I liked it so much that I wrote seven short scripts and planned to make a twelve-story comic series about them. The first story was four pages long, made during January 9-14th, 2008, with a fifth page on February 18th, 2008. Sometime after, it was discontinued for two reasons:

1) A DiC cartoon called Dino Squad debuted with nearly the same premise, character dynamics and antagonist
2) Months after starting the comic, I realized that Animal Transformation is an internet fetish

What had begun as a fourteen year old's innocuous attempt at a fantasy-adventure comic seems, at times, like fetish fodder. I don't hate the comic. I just look at it as what I created when I was a child. A tip to beginning artists...keep every comic endeavor you create. In some years, when your style and skills improve, you can look back at it with nostalgia and to see how much you've advanced.

Marc is easily the rudest protagonist I've ever worked on, but he was certainly fun to write for when he was agitated. I suppose I was going for an "Ataru Moroboshi" sort of guy here. You may notice three things in here...one, I hid my name or initials too many times in this comic, case in point, the newspaper writer's name. Secondly, Ricia is a crude character made back in 2006, who now looks similar to Romy of Quinn or Cassandra in Hyperspace Bunny. Thirdly, you can tell this was my first attempt to have consistant backgrounds in every panel, which is better than Cinderelliot on that level but was a pain to do later on. Fourth, I'd been trying to do the "big, revolutionary" thing of having big emotion words in the background, something I'd learned as a preteen from Magic User's Club - whenever Takeo was shocked or disturbed, his face would disappear in favor of a sentence in hiragana. While you kids may think this is cool, it's hard to explain to someone who's never heard of a 1996 OVA series.

I don't have much to say about this page, but I find the bathroom scene funny and well-done for my age. Plus, there's my initials again, on that wall there. And my characters need to stay away from traffic. First Skipper Hansen, then Endo Hiramatsu, and now Marc...all my young male protagonists' origins come from being attacked by a car.

Yeah, I wonder, Scar. I also wonder what manga I ripped that line off from. There's Macha, the Goddess of Furry Transformation, who likes to make fifteen year old boys sit around naked. And panel twelve seems like a line in a fetish fiction...

This, in my modern style, is what Scar the Werewolf looked like as a human. He's one of two characters not succeptible to what a friend now calls "The Crawford Flip", in which a character has hair over one eye and the eye placement changes all the time. Oh, by the way, Scar is my earliest villain who was pure evil. In the 2007 scripts, he turns out to be killing and eating all those missing animals, using Ricia as an informant on Marc (and sleeping with her), and mauls Mr. Korvin. I made him do all that crap when I was fourteen. To me these days, he plays out like a fanged and bipolar Dr. Kiriko; he's too horrible to put in a comic like this. You know what Scar would be like if I made him today? Flaming gay. Moving on...

While Grandpa Jack was intended to be an old badass like Shunsaku Ban, he now plays out like a senile geezer who is somehow not bothered in the least by his grandson almost getting hit by a car and being "chosen" to turn into a furry. Marc falls out of character here a bit, and turns into a dogboy, which seems like a cute cliche to a kid but a dark, dark fetish to some people on deviantART. You may notice that back then, I couldn't draw anyone to properly look like they were older than thirty-five. Can you imagine what Cinderelliot would be like if I made it when I was fourteen?

That possibility only gets worse when you consider that I tried to use a star system like Osamu Tezuka's, but I only had a bank of about fifteen characters, mostly kids. That girl is Felicia the catgirl, whom appeared as a child in Skipper the Robot Kid. STRK was the first work I'd ever made where I had to create dozens of different characters, which resulted in most of them being reused until I started new projects (including the STRK remake) and got better at creating independant characters in 2008, which led to people like Cain & Arbrook and the Fairy Godfather. You wouldn't have had any of them if I had've kept reusing those characters!

Felicia was a timid, demure girl who could turn into a cat, the token of Marc's affections and out-of-characterism. She had no parents because why not. Next was Sophie the crow girl, a gloomy little girl whose mother was a model. The last one was Damien, the calm and brilliant son of a pickpocket. That was Julian, whom was clearly Xavier Marse from STRK, from a period where I thought I needed to make the guy into a ladykilling badass who stole information for the kids.

How I'd Make Feather & Fur Today

Well these days, I'd probably never be able to sincerely make a comic that revolves around animal transformation. I like the characters so far, but not the concept. If I had to keep it, this is what I'd try to do...

  • Marc Wynnstan: I'd keep him just the same, but have him live with his whitebread parents, whom he has to hide his power from. Also, I'd remove Ricia and have him out-of-work.
  • Felicia: I'd make her a little more outspoken, and I envision her to look like a young Marianne Faithfull. To add a better layer of drama, she'd be Scar's daughter, and the unrequited love interest for Marc.
  • Sophie Brenhurst: I'd increase her age to eleven, along with the distance between her and her mother, and give her short hair. She would also become more devious and talented with her crow powers.
  • Damien Faramond: I'd make him look a little older, and since his hairstyle was too similar to Rock of Metropolis, I'd give him a part over one eye (which would make him look like Ginko of Mushi-Shi, which looks a little better).
  • Scar: I'd make him less erratic and demented, his motive being to murder the man who made him a werewolf as a child, and infect anyone who gets in his way. His daughter's safety would be his top priority, which would turn into protective rage against Marc.
  • Julian Faramond: I'd age him a little, make him a separate character from Xavier, and remove his alcoholism. I'd also throw in a few undertones between him and Scar, because that's what I do.

If I did the proper tweaking, I could probably make this into a supernatural monster-hunting series, which would be a lot more fun. Will I be able to do it? I don't know yet...