>Alice the Rat
Absolute chad. Brian Swords of York will live forever in infamy.
>I own all 4 volumes of The American Journal of Anthropomorphics
Very envious! That's the kind of thing I was grasping for in the very early 2000s without realizing it, but I think that the younger WWW-driven wave at the time was quite disconnected from the previous partially-offline one. Many of the Web's roads at that time were very well-hidden. Or perhaps I was just ignorant, and that's why I didn't know anything.
>his Amiga animations
I'd never seen these, thank you! I knew Schwartz only for his Sabrina Online webcomic, and though I knew about his Amiga obsession (hard to miss) I didn't know about his work using it.
>Joseph D. Ny
Huh, what a charming few pictures. I love their strong lines and overall composition. The composition in particular reminds me a little of Italian advertisements from the 1950s-1960s. Wish we could find more from him, I'd love to see it.
>Tracy Butler, 1998-1999
Very strong "Slayers"-era influence in this part of her work! But you can see that she has a good stash of fundamental skill and her own style hasn't yet developed. But develop it did, and these days she draws the visually-distinctive Lackadaisy
webcomic (fourth pic related). This guide from 2011 (fifth pic related) shows that she put in a lot of /loomis/-style grinding in during the 2000s. Admirable.
>Damn. I remember when I used to bash them just because it was trendy. Then I learned that a lot of artists I liked in the 00s were actually furries and mellowed out a bit about them.
There was a lot to bash in furry fandom during the 2000s, to be fair, but like any other upswelling it looked very different from the inside than the outside. Still, that decade saw the strong rise of Web "atrocity tourism" - what we recognise today as lolcow farming - where outlandish, cringeworthy, and horrifying Internet behaviour is harvested and presented for amusement. This originally started in the 1990s with the Portal of Evil (who interestingly had a non-interference "Prime Directive" similar to today's lolcow farmers) and continued through the 2000s with sites like Something Awful that greatly shaped popular perceptions of Internet subcultures in general - as well as producing the whingy backlash among some furries that came to characterise them for a time.
>Kind of wish I would have taken part in it back then.
I look fondly back on it now. For a while I was terribly ashamed, but I kept it enough of a secret and used enough identity OPSEC (a.k.a. second nature of Web users at the time) that I could comfortably sever myself from the whole thing when I felt that the time was right. All traces of my old handles have long since evaporated completely, so the only record I have of it all is my memories and the memories of those I interacted with. It was strange and cringy but it was also my introduction to a lot of worthwhile things I wouldn't have discovered otherwise, and I had a lot of fun with it.
I think it was the right time to be involved, when things were online enough to be present and alive, but not so online that it didn't still feel like a secret, thriving, cozy little subculture. I can only imagine what it's like to get into furry today, with the horrendous cultural factors at play in Gen Z, Discord tranny groomers, floods of highly accessible porn, and platforms like Twitter allowing any obnoxious fucker to get e-clout for having the hottest possible takes. But that's what everyone thinks about the yoof in any generation, so perhaps on balance it'll be okay.