The furry fandom has its roots in the underground comix movement of the 1970s, a genre of comic books that depicts explicit content. In 1976, a pair of cartoonists created the amateur press association Vootie, which was dedicated to animal-focused art. Many of its featured works contained adult themes, such as "Omaha" the Cat Dancer, which contained explicit sex. Vootie grew a small following over the next several years, and its contributors began meeting at science fiction and comics conventions.
According to fandom historian Fred Patten, the concept of furry originated at a science fiction convention in 1980, when a character drawing from Steve Gallacci's Albedo Anthropomorphics started a discussion of anthropomorphic characters in science fiction novels. This led to the formation of a discussion group that met at science fiction conventions and comics conventions.
The specific term furry fandom was being used in fanzines as early as 1983, and had become the standard name for the genre by the mid-1990s, when it was defined as "the organized appreciation and dissemination of art and prose regarding 'Furries', or fictional mammalian anthropomorphic characters". However, fans consider the origins of furry fandom to be much earlier, with fictional works such as Kimba, The White Lion released in 1965, Richard Adams' novel Watership Down, published in 1972 (and its 1978 film adaptation), as well as Disney's Robin Hood as oft-cited examples. Internet newsgroup discussion in the 1990s created some separation between fans of "funny animal" characters and furry characters, meant to avoid the baggage that was associated with the term "furry".
During the 1980s, furry fans began to publish fanzines, developing a diverse social group that eventually began to schedule social gatherings. By 1989, there was sufficient interest to stage the first furry convention. It was called Confurence 0, and was held at the Holiday Inn Bristol Plaza in Costa Mesa, California. The next decade, the internet became accessible to the general population and became the most popular means for furry fans to socialize. The newsgroup alt.fan.furry was created in November 1990, and virtual environments such as MUCKs also became popular places on the internet for fans to meet and communicate.
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