Newshounds

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Newshounds

Newshounds is a satirical furry webcomic drawn and written by Thomas K. Dye. The strip is in two parts; the first, sometimes called Newshounds I, ran between November 1, 1997[1] to 8 December 2006.[2] A sequel, Newshounds II, started on 2 July 2007.[3]

  • Address: http://www.newshounds.com/
  • Ran from/to:
    • Newshounds: November 1997 - December 2006 (style change intermission January-March 2003; recap January-March 2006)
    • Newshounds II: July 2007 - current

Newshounds is set in a fictional American news broadcasting company, KPET, staffed by one human and seven anthropomorphic animals (five dogs, a cat and a rat). The strip satirizes aspects of news companies and current news stories, as well as politics, sport and pop culture, with many characters dedicated to a particular area. Most stories span several weeks, sometimes months; some cover controversial topics such as the war on terror and gay rights.

Newshounds is one of the longest running furry webcomics (longer running examples include Kevin and Kell (1995) and Sabrina Online (1996)). It is hosted by online comics syndicate Keenspot. According to the The Webcomic List,[4] it is listed in the top 1,000 webcomics on the internet. A collection of strips entitled All the Newshounds Fit to Print won the Ursa Major Award for "Best Anthropomorphic Literary Work".[5]

Newshounds used characters based on Dye's earlier comic strip, Boy Shop Pets. In 2003, Dye began a graphic novel, Manifestations, revolving around the misadventures of a minor Newshounds character killed in 2001, which lasted until 2005.

Contents

[edit] Scenario

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The comic follows a group of anthropomorphic pet animals and their human owner, living in an unnamed American city and together operating a small news station, KPET. The world it is set in the same as the real world, except animals are intelligent. The staff of KPET (except the owner) are animals (five dogs, one cat and one rat). The animals in the Newshounds universe are subject to the same laws as animals in the real world, such as dog licenses, having owners, and not being able to vote. However, the animals of the Newshounds universe are aware of this, thus meaning that although they have their own political views and arguments, there is very little they can do themselves apart from express a view.

The owner, Lorna Dilbrook, originally worked for an animal shelter. When her late great-aunt Agnes died and left her $400,000, she started the station using animals from the shelter.[6] Her staff includes two anchordogs, the vain Wolfram Blitzen and over-ambitious Renata Fayre. There is also cameradog, Kevin J. Dog who cannot keep a relationship down, right wing sports reporter Sam Shepherd and left wing and feline weather forecaster Alistair Katt.[7] Ferris, a rat who was squatting in the house, was hired as a janitor.[8] The final member of the team, danger-addicted Rochelle O'Shea, first joined the company as a temp,[9] but later became a field reporter in 2001.[10]

Some minor characters have returning roles. They include Lorna's parents, Ernest and Julia Dilbrook, who often visit with a hidden motive (for example, Ernest was once on the run from the mob for not paying back a $2 million loan),[11] Hal O'Peridol, the CEO of Sunflower Chemicals, wants to marry Renata, but she cannot stand the sight of him[12] and Kevin's on/off girlfriend Stormy Knight.[13] There is also a local rival news company KRVL who try to stop KPET from getting all the best stories[14] and soldier-turned-businessman General Swallowemup, who plots to buy every business in the world.[15]

The Newshounds website has a section of comics set in the past, about how Lorna came to found KPET.[16]

[edit] Characters

Main article: List of Newshounds characters

[edit] Stories

The comic is humorous, combining social and political satire with character-based comedy. The comic forays into sports and current events. Storylines range in length from a few days to several months and have covered, fractured love affairs, mysteries and conspiracies, the legally-enforced brainwashing of the city's animals into cheerful hygienic zombies, a paramilitary invasion of Starbucks by the armed forces of AOL Time Warner and mountain men using dogs to build a bomb. Some stories involve all the major characters, but often they focus on a few of them. No major character is more central than any other, each getting their turn in the spotlight.

Some recurring themes occur in Newshounds storylines, such as Hal's many attempts to marry Renata, General Swallowemup's plot to buy every company in the world, Kevin's failed relationships with Stormy and Della, Ferris's adoration of Tori Spelling and Sam and Alistair's political differences. The major storylines can each be found and described in each of the seven Newshounds books, and in the archives on the Newshounds website.[17]

[edit] History of the comic

The mark II version of the Newshounds cast, drawn in 1993.

Dye's first precursor to Newshounds was Pet Sounds, a strip featuring Kevin and Alistair, which he drew in 1991 and 1992 and ran in the Montclarion newspaper. He then drew three episodes of a comic book, The Boy Shop Pets. It was written between November 1991 and January 1992. The book invented some of his Newshounds characters, including Kevin J. Dog, Alistair Katt, Renata Fayre and Ferris the Rat.

Dye began working on the first version of Newshounds in 1992 while living in Las Vegas. The pre-Newshounds designs of Kevin and Alistair are termed "Mark I." The original pilots of Newshounds are termed "Mark II".

The comic began running regularly on the Internet on 1 November 1997, and its character designs are termed "Mark III." The most recent major change to Newshounds was on 3 March 2003 when Dye launched the present "Mark IV" version of the strip. The art style and character designs were changed from the previous version, though their personalities were not changed, and Rochelle first became officially a major character.

Dye has created two other current features. Manifestations, started on 28 February 2003. This was an online graphic novel, with a new page every Saturday, and it ended in late 2005. It continued and developed a Newshounds story from spring 2001, but was otherwise disconnected from the present and future stories of Newshounds. It was much darker in tone than Newshounds, and less overtly humorous.

In 2006-2007, Dye finished Newshounds with a series of strips featuring Malcolm and Emma, Wolfram and Rochelle's puppies, entitled Kid Gloves.

On 2 July 2007, Dye started Newshounds II, a sequel strip centering on the same characters in their new jobs at Meganewswest, the company Lorna sold KPET to on the grounds that her entire staff was allowed a position of some kind.[3]

[edit] Spinoffs

The Newshounds characters have also appeared in other comics. One strip featured characters from ten other comics.[18] The most notable crossover was a series of storylines between August 13-20 1999 which featured characters from another furry webcomic, Funny Farm.[19]

Humans based on Renata, Kevin and Ferris appeared in the General Protection Fault storyline Surreptitious Machinations, but as part of the news team for fictional channel "WPET". Material from Newshounds was also included in Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists.

[edit] Controversy

Being a satirical webcomic, Newshounds comics often have controversial subjects. There have been stories about the War on Terrorism, George W. Bush, Gay rights, animal rights, and the Monika Lewinsky scandal.

Dye has also said in an interview that he plans to make a story about abortion and claimed that he has receives little in the way of hate mail from his comic.[20] He did attract some anger in October 2002, building up to the war in Iraq, with a series of strips about two boys demanding an attack on the North Pole, "because he wouldn't deliver presents to supposedly 'bad' kids, and therefore must be a terrorist."[21] Dye said in an interview that, "Their underlying motive (voiced by Renata, of course) was to actually run in and get all the presents themselves. The boys dismissed Renata's complaints that there actually is no Santa Claus by saying that she must have a terrorist agenda of her own, and so wasn't credible."[20] The person complaining had misunderstood the meaning of the strip, and complained to Dye, however the argument was settled.[20]

Another strip from 8 September 2006 caused anger, when Alistair said that, "the local Cub Scouts double as a gay lynch mob."[22] Some people where angered as this was seen as an attack on the Boy Scouts. Dye said the joke was based on the neighborhood the characters were in, and that as a former Cub Scout himself, he never intended to make an attack.[23]

[edit] Books

All the Newshounds Fit to Print, the seventh and final Newshounds book.

Seven Newshounds compilations have been released, covering all of the strips. Each book contains special bonus material. The first six books were published by Plan Nine Publishing.[24] whereas the seventh is published via Lulu.com.

  1. Newshounds (1999)
  2. Tonight's Top Story (2000)
  3. Press Badge Blues (2001)
  4. We All Came Out to Mantra (2002)
  5. Regime Change (2003)
  6. Surgery in the Park (2004)
  7. All the Newshounds Fit to Print (2007) - which won the 2007 Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work

[edit] Setting

The ever luxurious Hotel Costa Plente, presumably a fictional chain of hotels, was featured in one strip of Newshounds. In that particular installment, Sam Shepard was looking for somebody of news interest, leading him there.

Mr. Dye is a fan of The Three Stooges. The Hotel Costa Plente is originally from their episode "Healthy, Wealthy, And Dumb" (1938), later remade (with Shemp as third stooge) as "A Missed Fortune" (1952).

[edit] References

  1. Newshounds 1 November 1997 The intro
  2. Newshounds 8 December 2006 The End
  3. 3.0 3.1 Newshounds II 2 July 2007 The first Newshounds II strip.
  4. The Webcomic List — Comic Profiles. www.thewebcomiclist.com. Retrieved on 2008-10-16.
  5. Award Winners 2007. Ursa Major Awards. Retrieved on 2008-05-20.
  6. Newshounds intro 12 Lorna's good fortune
  7. Newshounds intro 16 Gathering the staff.
  8. Newshounds intro 20 Hiring Ferris.
  9. Newshounds 6 June 2000 All's Fayre in Love and War: Introducing Rochelle.
  10. Newshounds 24 December 2001 Army Dogs: Renata Protects Her Territory.
  11. Newshounds 21 October 1998 Lorna's parents - 8.
  12. Newshounds 12 July 1999 Here's Hal! Renata's Scary Fanboy.
  13. Newshounds 20 December 1999 Stormy Weather: A Female's Prerogative?
  14. Newshounds 16 November 2000 What an Emferrisment: KRVL on the Scene.
  15. Newshounds 12 January 1998 General Swallowemup - 1.
  16. Newshounds — Intro. www.newshounds.com. Retrieved on 2008-10-16.
  17. Newshounds — Monday, October 13, 2008. www.newshounds.com. Retrieved on 2008-10-16.
  18. Newshounds 14 June 1999 Kevin in Wonderland.
  19. Funny Farm Newshounds Crossover, August 17, 1999.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Schroeder, Al. ComixTalk Hounds Thomas Dye: News at 11. comixtalk.com. Retrieved on 2008-10-16.
  21. Newshounds 8 October 2002 Demanding Youth: Striking at the Terrorists.
  22. Newshounds 8 September 2006 Alistair and Nigel, Gay Lynch Mob.
  23. Newshounds forum 9/8: cub scouts = gay lynch mob?!
  24. Plan 9 Publishing List of books

[edit] External links

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