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Another batch of web comics [Jan. 20th, 2008|09:04 pm]
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[Current Location |Invercargill]
[mood |busybusy]

Haven't got a great lot done lately but finished working through a handful of web comic archives before the Great Computer Malfunction of `08 struck. This batch is another batch of anthropomorphic comics... it's probably because I've been following links pages of comics I already like and finding that a lot of the anthropmorphic ones link largely to each other. This batch here probably exhausts the most interesting looking examples of the genre.

First up is Faux Pas. This one is so good I'm going to summarise what is so good about it before writing up a review under a cut. It's beautifully drawn, well characterised and basically just charming. The setting is a farm somewhere in the rural United States which used to supply trained animals for films and commercials. The old owners sold out to new owners who just wanted the lifestyle and couldn't care about the business. So the animals (who are only very mildly anthropomorphic, and then mostly in their degree of intelligence) have had to run the business themselves. Luckily for them, among their number is a chicken capable of hunt-and-peck typing and a cockatoo who can speak English (with a bad French accent) and French (no doubt with a worse cockatoo accent).

Less luckily for them, the new owners brought cats. The cats invited all their friends along to join the party. And one of their favourite party games involves having the main character of the comic - a good-natured, thoroughly domesticated fox - as a cat toy. Good-natured slapstick ensues, for the most part. But it's the characters that carry this story. The hen with the passion for soap operas; the rabbits, one of whom has been carefully hiding her gender (and her offspring) from the management; the vixen from the wild who is trying her best to understand the situation; and her femme fatale cousin who wants nothing of the situation but to steal the fox so her cousin can't have him.

The art of this comic is superb and probably of professional quality (at least, it looks a lot better than professional art I see). There aren't any memorable glitches of tone or expression. The archive is well-designed: each page is a nominal "week" worth of comics - six self-contained single-line strips which would suit a week's worth of newspapers. The bottom line is: I highly recommend the story.

21st Century Fox is another comic where the main character is a fox, but that is about the only thing it has in common with the previous comic reviewed. It's fun, for the most part, peppered with utterly appalling puns and jokes so obscure that only a stamp collector who follows the strip will understand them, and seasoned with high-concept science and some of the best characterised robotic characters this side of The Also People - in places it's on a par with Freefall.

The art is adequate (and improves over the run of the comic), but the story often bogs down in long romantic sequences. (Which may interest most readers, but which I am inclined to skip through and just read quickly). On the other hand, there's such a broad array of references to things I remember fondly (old science fiction, etc.) that even those sequences are hard to dislike. The writer also seems to have obtained a book of fiendishly obscure holidays - and even tried to find out something about them. Not the comic to end all comics, then, but still good fun.

The Changing Workplace also seems to have obtained the book mentioned above. Otherwise it's a reasonable story about the bureaucrats who manage who gets to shape-shift into what form. Okay but unexceptional.

Good Cheese is also okay but unexceptional; in this case, however, instead of being set somewhere I am familiar with, although without any great degree of fondness, this one is set somewhere I have no familiarity with (an American high school).

[User Picture]From: aeb
2008-01-20 09:06 am (UTC)
{GRIN} I would have missed the stamp joke if a fake "upside-down Jenny" hadn't just made the news. {REALLY BIG GRIN}

Yes, I follow 21st Century Fox. I really should check out the others you mentioned sometime. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-01-20 09:47 am (UTC)
My first reaction upon seeing that picture was an audible expression of amusement. My second was wondering how many other people would have got the joke. I've heard of the "inverted Jenny" (and even know what the "Jenny" actually was) but it is the sort of thing someone would need a decent amount of general knowledge to know about - particularly anyone outside America - similar to the local "Red Boy" and "Blue Boy" stamps.

Actually, when I was reading through "Faux Pas" I thought you might enjoy the story. I'd recommend it without hesitation.
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[User Picture]From: aeb
2008-01-23 06:43 am (UTC)
More people than usual probably did get that joke. It came up shortly after a fake "inverted Jenny" made U.S. national news when it get mailed to a government office in Florida. I think the fake ended up in the Smithsonian. {Smile}

I'm not familiar with the "Red Boy" and "Blue Boy" stamps. what are they like? {SMILE}

Thanks for the recommendation. "Faux Pas" does look particularly intriguing. {SMILE} It looks like just the thing to read while I'm recuperating from the gastroenteritis. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-01-23 08:41 am (UTC)
The "Red Boy" and "Blue Boy" were the New Zealand health stamps (charity stamps sold at a premium for health promotion) of 1931. They were of a simple but well composed design, but sold very poorly due to economic conditions of that time. They're now very expensive and quite sought-after. Not as much as the Inverted Jenny (there being a supply of one sheet of the latter vs. about 70,000 of the former) but, still, quite well-known in these islands.

I don't know if you'd really want to read a comic with a chicken as one of the main supporting cast while you're recovering from stomach trouble, considering what chicken is notorious for...
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[User Picture]From: aeb
2008-01-26 10:02 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm a little tired of chicken and eggs, since they're the main protein I've been having. {smile}

However, Myrtle isn't for eating. So she's different. {SMILE, wink}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin
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