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RIP Mark Merlino, co-founder of the Furry fandom


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It is with a heavy heart that I must announce the passing of Mark Merlino, also known by his fursona, Sy Sable. Mark Merlino and his loving partner, Rodney O'Riley, turned their passion of anime, classic Disney, and love of animals into the first conventions that started the furry fandom. How ever you feel about furries, there's no denying that they've made a difference in the lives of many who appreciated anthropomorphic art, young and old.

I met them both at both Midwest Fur Fest 2022 & 2023. Telling their stories about the early days of conventions. How exotic this thing called anime was. How they shared art of their favorite animal, the Pine Martin, created their own fantasy world populated by a race of otter folk, the Skiltaires, and began sharing their art at cons, where they met others with similar interests in art. They'd meet up and have room parties. And these parties would become the first furry conventions. Mark was also a fan of MLP. He even admitted that Bronies managed to do what he and Rod did, but much faster. Years instead of decades. Was gonna try and get them both on for an interview here as guests, but it never panned out. But both were super nice dudes. 

What they started with their first con, ConFurence back in 1989 has now spread to a network of other cons across the world over the last 35 years. One of which I'll be going to this Thursday. Without the work of Mark and Rod, we wouldn't have had a Bronycon. I think Mark would've liked you all. 

Rest in Power, Mark. May your legacy live on.

Good Furry Award Lifetime Achievement Award 2022 Winners – Furry Times

Here was a link to Mark's GoFundMe if you can spare a coin to help Rod and their family in these trying times.


And iIf you want to learn more about where it all started with Rod and Mark, I'd highly recommend watching the the documentary 'The Fandom.' 


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I have to be completely honest, until about six months ago, I really didn't know what a furry was. I had to google that one. Now I still only have a vague understanding, but the documentary helped a bit. Not as a common thing over here, but maybe more so in Japan?

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From what I've heard these guys had a big hand in expanding nerd culture as a whole as they did a lot for anime fandoms as well as wanting to make conventions and fandoms a place for everyone

RIP to a pioneer

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Given I use I to be a big furry fan,  its sad to see such a great man leave this world a little darker....:o

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