Richard Chandler, also known as Rich Chandler and Mauser (born December 31, 1965), is the former editor of the cartoon and illustration fanzine/APA Gallery, publishing 51 issues from 1989 to its close in 2004. He was also art show director for Conifur Northwest, a BBS sysop, and an often-controversial author of newsgroup posts and editorials on furry fandom.
Chandler first became involved with furry fandom in 1985 after being exposed to it at the Philadelphia Animation Society, a club for what was then referred to as "Japanimation". At the time, there was a lot of crossover between furry and anime fandoms; through club meetings he was introduced to artists like Ken Sample, Joshua Quagmire, and became friends with Mitch Marmel, Ray Rooney, and Ed Zolna.
Chandler's online involvement in the fandom begun through the original Furry mailing list run by Shaterri. He was a heavy poster on Usenet's newsgroup alt.fan.furry from the group's foundation until February 13, 2001, when he announced he was quitting the fandom, giving up his directorship of the Conifur Art Show, and recycling all of his MUCK characters, but would continue to publish Gallery.
The Electric Holt
Chandler was one of three Sysops on the The Electric Holt BBS, a Philadelphia area bulletin board system catering to ElfQuest, furry and anime fandom from 1987 to 1991. Unlike several other furry systems of the era, The Electric Holt was not a part of FidoNet, due to a lack of compatible software for the Macintosh system the BBS ran on.
Chandler was also director of Conifur Northwest's art show for its first three years (1998-2000), where he instituted policies that led to a smoother organization and fast payouts, creating a numbering system later adapted by Further Confusion for tracking artists, art, and bidders.
The system created item numbers for each piece in the show prefixed to a number assigned to each artist. This made it easier to track items, artists, and buyers in a relational database. Under his direction, all payments were sent to artists within five days of the close of the convention.
Gallery and other publications
From 1989 to 2004, Chandler published 51 issues of the fanzine/APA Gallery, one of the longest running fan publications. He also wrote the Sketchbook Etiquette guide shortly after ConFurence IV (last updated in 2002), in an attempt to codify culture surrounding the care and handling of fans' and artists' sketchbooks.
He was also a member of Rowrbrazzle from issue #61 through #68.
In early 2000, Chandler gave an interview to sex researcher Katherine Gates for her book Deviant Desires, covering both furry fandom and the wider realm of other unrelated fetishes. The published result was, overall, seen as non-complimentary.
Chandler said that he was responsible for establishing separation between such fetishes and the fandom in the book.
In 2001, the media climate worsened. Chandler said he "considered closing up shop" after reading the Vanity Fair article, but stated that
|...being a rational person, I decided not to for a number of reasons. Not only because there are literally hundreds of people dependent on me, but that I believe all of those folks are on the same side of the issue as me and are just as appalled.
A few days later, he announced his departure from the fandom, citing adverse media attention towards controversial fans like Ostrich and FoxWolfie Galen, and the support he saw expressed for them by others, as well as the exodus of his friends from furry fandom.Richard expressed regret, saying that
|It's not any person that makes me want to leave, but the empty spaces left by the people I loved, admired and respected who have left.
He says that the actual catalyst for this decision came from a private e-mail conversation.
The Mass Graves editorial
In 1996, Chandler wrote the heavily discussed "Mass Graves" editorial in Gallery #25, described as "a scathing editorial about everything I think is wrong in the Fandom".
The editorial was broken into sections addressing specific issues:
- Scoundrels — including people only in the fandom for money, and those directly ripping off the fans
- Net Fans — people whose ease of entry to the fandom made them dilettantes, and whose ignorance of the "real fandom" made them think it was an internet phenomenon
- Broad Agendas — those who used the fandom as a way of furthering their own personal cause to the detriment of the fandom, including those who used the fandom to promote bestiality and other forms of unusual sexuality, or political agendas
- Sex Commissions — contrasted the positive aspects of adult artwork in the fandom with its negative impact on artists, who had in some cases been driven off or had their careers ruined by it
- "Gay" Furries — the most controversial section, attacking those who joined the fandom purely to get laid ("bisexuals of opportunity"), those taking advantage of the "sexual free-for-all" environment he saw present at conventions, and particularly those who thought that the fandom was a "closed group" that made safe sex practices unnecessary, thus placing others at risk
- Tolerance — summarized by stating that an excess of non-judgmental tolerance allowed the above to thrive in the fandom, and that it was up to community members to "police our own" and control public incidents
Chandler wrote a companion editorial in Gallery #26 entitled "Pedestals", which praised certain aspects of the fandom. It was largely ignored in the controversy created by the previous one.
- Sketchbook Etiquette – Richard Chandler (July 29, 2002)
- Re: Looking for an artist's work... "...I talked with her for a few months and gave her some information she actually USED. (I can point to three paragraphs that are clearly based on things from my e-mail.) Including stressing repeatedly to her the difference between those who treat Furry as a Fandom, and those who fetishize it."
- The Vanity Fair article does not represent me. – post by Rich Chandler on alt.fan.furry (February 10, 2001)
- I quit – post by Richard Chandler on alt.fan.furry (February 13, 2001)
- A Few Facts About Gallery – thread on alt.fan.furry started by Richard Chandler (April 2002)
- Gallery #25 ships – post on alt.fan.furry by Rich Chandler (June 13, 1996)
- Mass Graves – topics and discussion on alt.fan.furry (various dates)