If there's one genre or branch of comics book that is
intrinsic to the medium then it's Funny Animal
. And with the idea of cartoon
still linked to 2D penlines and brushstrokes, there was little to shift this perception.
As we've seen with the recent Scooby Doo
movies, CGI doesn't quite cut it in convincing us that this is an old favourite brought to life.
And funny animal comics bring as much inventiveness and inspiration to the table as their more prosaically rendered
fellows in the comic book publishing world
they effortlessly roam through the other genres with their own advantage: a sherriff is conflated with a horse; his deputy a burro; a real bloodhound detective is on the case. You can roll up allegory and association as tight as you like.
politically incorrect comic depictions are rendered acceptable: I mean, would you have laughed at a short Mexican gent named Speedy Gonzales travelling at supersonic speed and crying "Areeba areeba!"?
considered as a genre - though funny animals cut across genres like crazy - Funny Animal comics (or their terrific Terrytoon equivalent) have an advantage in showing ideas at once absurd and hysterically funny viz a skunk trying to romance a distressed kitty.
Funny Animal comics can work in any mix of anthropomorphic and humanoid characters: in Mowser the Priceless Puss and His Enemy James the Butler there is a particularly scraggly looking cat, who always gets the best of the mansion's human butler. We can see the 'priceless puss's' thought balloons and what made it a funny strip is that Mowser was a nuisance but always in (feline) character.
There's the land where bears wear hat and tie but still (more or less) do what the park ranger says. Then there is the mix of dog and proto-dog as with the Disney Goofy and Pluto. There's worlds where talking ducks and rabbits mix and others where the range of beasts is as limited as smurfing multiculturalism.
After delivering perfunctory DD storylines, Steve Gerber found his ouvre in Howard the Duck... trapped in a world he never made! i.e. the human world - or Marvel world if you like. This proved that even with a done-to-death funny animal like the mallard, there is a whole new lease of life to be found when you thrust one of these quacksters 'amongst us'. It makes for brilliant satire.
Posted by berko_wills
at 1:52 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 21 November 2004 3:38 PM EADT