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Custer Original

1988 Furry Fandom










Drawn 23 years ago, and before there had ever been such a thing as a furry convention, this is a depiction of who the "Movers and Shakers" were in the pre-internet days.  11 of them anyway.

Missing from this picture are the two people who were actually most responsible for creating that first convention,  and best I can remember after all this time is that some decision they had made regarding Confurence Zero was unpopular, and everyone who dissented was labeled as being 'Team Evil"

Which was pretty much everybody.  It was a small fandom then.  We ran with it to the point of even making up our own flag.

NOW THE ULTIMATE TRIVIA QUESTION!  Prove that you too have grey hair and tell me you can identify all 11 of us who actually managed to be in one place at the same time.  Pretty good considering there were only 87 people total at that first con - and that was about a year after this.



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chipuni May 14th, 2010
I recognize Steve Gallachi, Lance Rund, and Jim Groat...

titanic May 15th, 2010
It would be Gallacci, and he is not in the picture, though he certainly qualified to be. In that pre-internet era you had to rely on everyone physically getting in the same location at the same time to produce a picture like this.

I don't know when you got involved, I'm assuming it wasn't until 93 when public access to the internet kicked in.

I used to use 1988 and 1993 as the dividing points and refer to people as 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation furs, but there's virtually nobody active who was part of the first two categories anymore.

Edited at 2010-05-15 02:37 am (UTC)

yippee May 14th, 2010
A few years before I arrived at Chris Grant's apartment with Watts Martin...

Chris Grant
Monika Livingston
Kris Kreutzman
Jeff Ferris?
Bill Fitts
Jim Groat
Lance Rund
Dwight Dutton
Wolf Smith?
Zjonni
(?)

sorry I couldn't get them all...

titanic May 15th, 2010
No wolf Smith, but the others are all correct. 9 out of 11 is actually doing pretty well.

You missed Reuben Avilla (the statue maker) and a really obscure one - Deputy Dave White, one of the founders of Yarf.

Edited at 2010-05-15 02:39 am (UTC)

zorinlynx May 14th, 2010
I was only 11 at the time. Thank you for making me feel young.

I'm guessing Mark Merlino is one of the ones missing due to the drama? :)

What's scary is that picture pre-dates FurryMUCK. Otherwise I'd expect to see Drew Maxwell, Conrad Wong, Foxen (I don't know his real name) and possibly others there!

A strong part of me wishes I had been there in the beginning. It was probably a very fun time.

titanic May 15th, 2010
You qualify as "Furry Fandom, the Next Generation" And yes, it was Mark Merlino and Rodney Stansfield who truly got credit for starting it all, though probably 99%+ of the current fandom have never even heard those names.

The others you named are 90's types. Certainly qualify as old timers, but not one of the ancients.

Also in my first reply, there are several notables not in the picture because in those pre internet days geography actually mattered. This group of people were actually all together in one place when this was drawn, I think at the collation of Rowrbrazzle #24.

And since Rowrbrazzle had been around for ten years even at that point, what really changed at this time was the fandom progressing from widely scattered people who wrote letters to each other to groups that actually met in person. A phase that alas lasted only a half decade before it made the next big shift to an internet fandom, which is all most of the people involved these days ever knew.

zorinlynx May 15th, 2010
Yep, I arrived in late 94-1995. So by your earlier comment that'd make me 3rd generation.

It's odd; I came in *right before* the Internet went mainstream. It was about 2-3 years later that I started seeing URLs showing up in non-geeky contexts.

I miss those days a bit. It was before the MySpace/Facebook generation, the vast majority of which annoy me. :)

hakeber May 15th, 2010
Those I knew then and are not in that pic cuz of geography or cuz even then certain folk didn't like them: Deal Whitley, Ken Sample, Chris Dunn, Mel. White, Mike Higgs, Kjarno (I first met him in 1989 at Boskone), Steve Martin (met him in 1988, didn't like him even back then), Mary Hanson Roberts...note that I was a midwesterner even back then, so most of the folk I knew were also midwesterners, or went to WorldCons, or at least the major regionals.

dustmeat May 15th, 2010
Groat, Gallaci, Bill Fitts...Eric Elliot? Monika Livingston?

c_eagle May 15th, 2010
It's already been stated who they were (thanks btw!), though the only ones I could spot were I see Sy and Groat and Fitts and Rund and You.

vulpesrex May 15th, 2010
I can identify all but three - but I can identify the artists who drew the respective avatars.

I remember seeing an advertisement in the back of Azimov's, for something called "vootie" - but didn't mail in a subscription. My first actual discover of a Furry Fandom was via the internet, and I followed Usenet Newsgroups and scarfed up images from VCL and SQFA, and subscribed to YARF! in time to receive the 48th issue - but because of the bickering and flames on the newsgroups, didn't actually attend a con until CF9, so I'm one of your later fans. I started collecting and collating individual posts by or about specific individuals, like dossiers, just so that I might recognise who was who, and whom NOT to mention in front of someone else...and to avoid Kurt Miller.

...But where was Fred (Patten) in all of this?

martes May 15th, 2010
I think that image was sort of an anti-Merlino collalition, if I remember correctly. Fred was always politically neutral, more of a beloved father-figure rather than a rabble-rouser or a member of any group.

caerdwyn May 15th, 2010
It's not that it was an anti-Merlino thing, it's just the people who were labeled anti-Merlino (as if Merlino were important enough to be anti-). The people involved took the attitude of "if we're going to wear the label, deserved or not, might as well do it RIGHT". T-shirts were made, badges were drawn, secret handshakes were shook, but it wasn't a conspiracy (I mean, what was there to conspire ABOUT? Who was "king of all the furries"? Talk about a petty title...)

Your Host and myself ran the first-on-earth furry computer network. We don't get a medal for that, though... nobody cares. I single-handedly paid for almost all the hotel rooms and food for furry parties at science fiction conventions up and down the West Coast (and ran up about thirty thousand in credit card debt in the process, which took a couple of years to pay down). I don't get a cookie for that. I printed and co-edited the longest-running fanzine (differentiated from APA) in the fandom. No adulation there. On the other hand, everyone knew everyone on sight. There weren't fifty thousand furry fans in 1983. There were MAYBE a hundred.

It is the nature of people to neither recognize nor appreciate the work of those who came before them; they just USE. In this case, I think that's okay, as associating myself with the current fandom is not something I care to do.

Meh. Kids these days and their internetz!

meanwhile, back on the East Coast

mejeep May 15th, 2010
I first met furs in the early 80s at the C/FO anime club meetings. I'm trying hard to chronicle the east coast furries:

http://meep.us/badges/con_badges.html#philcon1987

Long long before there were FurCons and FurMeets, there were
Furry Parties. Philcon’s furry party was regularly hosted by Ray Rooney, Kip, Scott & Stanley Alston and other furs from the Philly C/FO. Citing Rune

The first was in 1988. We held them there every year except 1994 … The last PhilCon FP was in 1998. AC took over after that. We also held 3 or 4 parties at BaltiCon.

There’s a strong crossover of furry fandom and anime/manga fandom because of all the anthropomorphic characters. The C/FO was a nation-wide anime club where furries started to discover "OMG! I’m not the only one!" Jim Groat (who draws West Corner Of The Park), Eric Blumrich (his art, in the news), Speet Stoller, Joe Strike (who has a column in Animation World Magazine), Terency Owens, Greg Giacobe, Blaze, Cobalt (here too), Kevin Carroll and I were regulars at these parties.

Re: meanwhile, back on the East Coast

caerdwyn May 15th, 2010
The Cartoon Fantasy Organization's overlap with furry fandom centers on Fred Patten. Because Fred's great talents were the ability to get people to communicate, his ability to organize, and a fannish Rolodex that took three men to lift, it made sense that there would be a great deal of overlap.

aerofox May 15th, 2010
Wow, back in 1988, I was 21 and chin deep into collecting antique radios. I knew nothing of anything furry, though my feelings about it were quite strong then.

I have no idea what my life would have been like if I found you guys back then.... or even if I would have fit in?

I didn't stumble upon furry until 9 years later in January 1997, just in time to see Wookiee's website just before he pulled it down due to some incident of a co-worker finding it.

I often wish it had happened to me sooner, but who knows why these things happen. I probably wouldn't have a pole barn full of radios :P

darrelx May 15th, 2010
I still have a "Switzfurland Party" pin-back badge from a con back around that time in the bay area. That brought back a lot of memories.

Edited at 2010-05-15 01:56 pm (UTC)

caerdwyn May 15th, 2010
Left out Chris Grant, I think.

caerdwyn May 15th, 2010
Anyway. To make it official... Left to right.

Chris Grant, as Barona (from Empires: Ace of Spades)
Monika Livingstone
Kris Kreutzman, as Robert Fox
(back) Jeff Ferris, as Tanan
(front) Bill Fitts, as Rusty
(back) Jim Groat
(front) some hack
(back) you, as Custer Winston
Dave White
(back) Ruben Avila
(front) John Perchalski, as Zjonni

zorinlynx May 19th, 2010
By the way, I'm happy to see you're still around. :)

I did like your work back in the day; it's sad that things went the way they did...

caerdwyn May 15th, 2010
And remember... Team Evil spelled backwards is Live Meat.

(Deleted comment)
lordgloria May 16th, 2010
I had to miss that first ConFurence, but I think I hit all the rest. I never could keep track of all the politics, but knew/know all those/you guys. Been a long weird journey... :)

dustykat May 21st, 2010
I got about 6 of them before I read the thread. I guess you would call me next gen as my first con was CF3 but I'd been sending letters to many artists for a few years prior to that.

Still a frikin' Greymuzzle. I miss the small con days.

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