Dawgtown: To Be Free they Must Make Goal
Braveheart meets Fight Club meets Plague Dogs: a canine quest for freedom.
Note: This was recently relaunched on Indiegogo, I’ve updated some of this entry as of 11/1/13
It seems like every piece of indie animation on Kickstarter–really, every piece of animation, period–has the taint of cheap CGI on it. The shelves are filled with the stuff. “Dawgtown” is a hand-drawn, dark, and serious piece of animation, right out of the late “Bluth” period. It’s about time for an old-school project like this.
For once, the internet is not out to ruin my childhood memories. Instead, it’s bringing me a flashback to when animation was an agonizing ordeal that created living, breathing, messy, warm characters. Dawgtown is a traditionally-animated throwback to Bluth’s “Felidae,” maybe even “Watership Down“–a dark, edgy animated feature that will give my generation something to talk about, and the next generation, nightmares. Yes.
Dawgtown is a just barely feature length (70 minute), traditionally animated–I know, I keep saying it, but it’s just that cool–film in progress by Justin Murphy, multi-talented artist, cartoonist, and two-time musical theater composer. The plot: in a city where dog fighting is big business, a pitbull, Max, is forced into the world of pit fighting, and must lead his friends in a fight for freedom. “It’s ‘Gladiator‘ meets ‘Animal Farm.'”
The mantra of Dawgtown, its “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” line, is “To Be Free They Must Fight.” Not, presumably, against each other, but against the greater power of Dawgtown itself. This seems to be a personal motto for Murphy, rebellion and freedom are recurring themes in his work–not only has he written a musical and graphic novel about the Confederates in the Civil War, but his second musical was a rock opera about Lucifer and the fall from Heaven. Really, Lucifer is rebellion’s poster boy.
From what we can see in the development blog, the animation in Dawgtown is strong–refreshingly so, a lot of Kickstarter animation is unfortunately amateurish. And I keep saying it, but the traditional animation is refreshing–it’s jarring when a CGI vehicle rolls past in one scene of Murphy’s promotional video. Oh well, into every cartoon a little CGI must fall, these days. All that being said, his backgrounds are superlative–up there the dark streets Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World.”
The project had a rocky launch on Kickstarter–it’s an excellent coming-out as an animator, but with these large projects, it’s all about reputation, unfortunately. The Indiegogo relaunch has a smaller goal with the long-term strategy of supplemental funding down the road–that seems to work well for indie films, so good luck with that! And for people that read my last review of this project and remember the mini-rant about strange and irrelevant pledge rewards, that’s TOTALLY fixed, with a “making-of” DVD and some nice swag. Still no Dawgtown DVD, but I’ll file that under “launch strategy,” there’ll be plenty of previews out there, particularly for the “High Roller.”
Fact: Justin Murphy is the first artist I’ve covered here that has actually played Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” At least he probably is. We need more messiahs on this blog.
Note: Images used above are included to promote the work of crowdfunding artists, and are owned by the original creator.
Jack and the Cornstalk (Children’s Products. Ends: 10/26/2013)
Children’s book with Claymation-esque chickens spoofing “Jack and the Beanstalk.” (Why is Yoda in the publicity shots? Mysterious he is.)
The Anteater That Didn’t (Children’s Products. Ends: 11/3/2013)
In the spirit of “The Little Prince” and “The Giving Tree,” a delicately French story of anteaters and tea.
The Swashbuckling Adventures of Captain Kitty (Comics/Graphic Novels. Ends: 10/19/2013)
Mostly anthro, mostly pirates, and mostly rhyming comic weirdness on the high seas (More on CaptainKittyWorld. Arrr!)
Dawgtown (Film/Animation/Theater. Ends: 10/20/2013)
Animated film, a pit bull’s journey in the underground dog fighting world (The stills and clips are pretty high quality, I’m reminded of “Felidae.”)
Pewter Ponies: Miniature Ponies for Tabletop Gaming (Tabletop Games. Ends: 10/17/2013)
On track to unlock at least 30 pony-style minatures for all your tabletop pony gaming needs! (Note: Tabletop pony miniatures is not “pony play.” Glad I corrected that.)
Mini Plushie Ornaments (Toys. Ends: 10/18/2013)
Miniature plush versions of your variously anthro selves
The Last Pack (…Causes. Ends: 10/15/2013)
Awareness documentary about the 75 remaining “Lobo” Mexican wolves
Feral (…Coming Soon?. Coming October 1?)
Graphic novel, or webcomic (unsure which) about an anthro underground fighting circuit. Strong, expressive artwork!
God-Lights – Personal Interactive Lighting System (…Just For Fun. Ends: 10/16/2013)
Hand-worn multicolored ravey blinky color-changing lights with customization apps. Let the oontz-oontz begin.
Game Cave V1: Fighting Junkies (…Just For Fun. Ends: 10/17/2013)
Prints and comics blending classic video games and unique manga characters in a colorful and flashy parody pack.
A Year of Dorky Dogs (Ends: 10/1/2013)
12-month calendar of, well, the Dogs of Fandom, whimsical illos from comic, video game, and film. A benefit project for a Portland animal rescue.
So apparently Portland has some real talent! Professional artists working with major comic labels on this project…
Sonic and Halo Orchestral Medley (Ends: 10/6/2013)
A modest campaign for orchestral production of a Sonic: The Hedgehog “best of” medley and Halo. Most of goal covers the cost of hiring an orchestra for $2500/hour…
More of Mr Trent’s arrangements on YouTube
Wingboner’s Debut Album (Ends: 10/28/2013)
Crowdfunding for professional studio release of MLP metal band Wingboner’s debut album
Come Find Me: The Journey to Abbey Road (Ends: 11/7/2013)
Foxamoore‘s new album, now well past its goal to record at the Beatle’s “Abbey Road” studio!
Additional stretch goals to get art by Alectorfencer, professional production, more studio time, and a full orchestra!
Rabbit Ninja (Ends: 10/19/2013)
A children’s book about great things: rabbits and ninjas. Oh, and life as a 3rd grader.
The Complete Adventures of Carl Vol 1 (Ends: 10/5/2013)
The comic misadventures of Carl the Rabbit, brightly colored, heavily referential, and now, in one place.
Last Resort: Bound Edition and Reprint (Ends: 10/6/2013)
Volume 2 of the reality show travails of the world’s fluffiest vampire.
From an anthro-loaded webcomic, worth a tour on its own. Click around, the art style varies a lot.
F3 Con Remixed (Ends: 11/10/2013)
Fundraising for Missouri’s F3 furry con, with an 80s theme this year.
Wolf Girl: The Princess Mononoke Fan Film (Ends: 9/29/2013)
600 years after the events of “Mononoke,” the forest needs a princess again. Live action, puppetry, CGI, and a lot of love.
More info here, but this is one of the best-illustrated kickstarters I’ve seen.
Reynard City Cartoon Project (Ends: 9/29/2013)
Animated version of Renard City, a Saturday morning action, furry superhero web/pdf comic
Dogg Park: It’s a Ruff life (Ends: 10/9/2013)
A “scripted reality show” about talking dogs at the dog park.
This may be intentionally bad? If you like pain and humiliation, watch the video. Just watch the video anyway. The jokes just write themselves, and clearly did.
Bronies: The Movie (Ends: 10/10/2013)
A short comedy film (and possibly a webseries) about a young man “coming out” to his co-workers and girlfriend as a brony.
The video’s not bad, this may be funnier than it initially sounds!
Havok & Hijinks (Ends: 9/24/2013)
A disturbingly cute card game: you play a dragon hatchling that got kicked out of the parent’s den, and now it’s time to find your OWN hoard!
Attack to the Pantry (Ends: 10/13/2013)
Old School Warner Bros cartoon style card game: Scoundrel animals raiding Grandma’s pantry for whatever they can carry away!
Page is mostly in, or originally in, Italian, but the sketchy concept art is fun and universal!
Hockey Doggies (Ends: 10/17/2013)
A semi-educational board game putting huskies on the ice.
Sadly, from what our friends at the International Anthropomorphic Research Project tell us, anything at the intersection of “furries” and “sports” is doomed to failure…
Dicke Katze and Friends Plush Cats (Ends: 10/9/2013)
Plush cats, very round and very startled.
Imagination is the Only Escape (Ends: 10/17/2013)
A child creates an imaginary otherworld to escape the horrors of World War II, accompanied by a fox named Renard. An educational game for children.
Scary and beautiful Alice-in-Wonderlandy graphics and a dark story.
PairofMares Productions (Ends: 10/13/2013)
Small fundraiser for materials for My Little Pony reviews podcast
This may be an “imagine the final product” project, since they’re hoping to get new artwork…still, it’s a cute little dream.
World of Pokemon (Ends: 10/28/2013)
Indiegogo relaunch of the rich and detailed “World of Pokemon” website project
Go Kemono (Offbeatr voting period)
Highly-produced real life fursuit/Kemono erotica in DVD and portfolio.
Apparently “straight” is an underrepresented kink : )
The Hyena Sanctuary of North America (Ends: 10/10/2013): Help build a Texas home for the hyenas of the Berkeley hyena program!
Help create the Coywolf Association (Ends: 10/25/2013): A national association to protect coywolves, yotes, wolves, and crows and ravens. Why crows? Maybe they’re trying to get Blotch to do their banner art.
Anatilia MMORPG (Not yet launched): A Furry-focused fantasy MMORPG in progress.
…Just For Fun
Cut Paper Art Calendar (Ends: 10/7/2013): 12 months of graceful cut-paper images with a strong Asian feel. Not really furry, but attractive and LOTS of animal and dragon imagery.
Half-Cat: A Partial History (Ends: 10/11/2013): From the “fun with photoshop” file, a historical spoof about strange, mutant half-cats…