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Barr Wars is one of the "zap"-style APAzines. It was not the first, but it is considered by some to have been the best. In such a 'zine, cartoonists would have their characters interact -- often violently or viciously, but not always. Characters of different creators often carried on romances, got married, and even had children. The Barr Wars itself actually began life in the pages of the Centaurs Gatherum, an APA run by and dedicated to centaur fans.
The Barr Wars themselves began with an infamous exchange of bad punnery between members Jim Groat and Donna Barr. Mr. Groat had opined that he had figured out where Mrs. Barr's Germanic centaur character had come from. When "Frau" Barr inquired as to Mr. Groat's deduction, he replied, "BARRVARIA!". Mrs. Barr, naturally enough, begged the rest of the reading audience to "shoot him, not me!". Mr. Groat's response was to draw his entire main cast of characters holding modern weaponry with the leader in the middle saying "Shoot WHO, Frau Barr?".
To which Mrs. Barr posted a picture of all HER main characters (including many who'd never previously been centaurs) with Stinz dressed in Wehrmacht livery and toting a machinegun: "Anyone she tells us to, Herr Groat."
The gauntlets had been thrown, and over the years some fifty-odd (some would say VERY odd) cartoonists slung mud, built nations, exploded nuclear bombs, and otherwise attempted futilely and humorously to do away with each others' characters. One of the more notable examples of this sort of free-for-all cartoonery can be found in The Crusade, which covers a story arc that starts with Mrs. Barr (herself, inkwise) molesting a unicorn. Things go rapidly downhill from there, often hilariously.
Published quarterly, the Barr Wars eventually outgrew the pages of the Centaurs Gatherum and continue to be published (without Frau Barr, who has long gone on to more industrious pursuits) under the nom de plume of "Bizarre Wars". The Bizarre Wars itself ultimately became so big that the waitlist of cartoonists awaiting entry spawned a "waitlist APA" called The Dallas Brawl...just so they could take their creative pressures out on each other while waiting for entry to "the real show"!
Particularly in the older days of the fandom, the Barr Wars were significant in that its membership was virtually a who's-who of furry fandom's top talents, to include the likes of Terrie Smith and Scott Ruggels.
- "Vas Ist Das BARR WARS?" article in Furtherance #1, pp 16-18
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