Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Funny Animal Comics 1: Fox Bunny Funny

Yikes. Fox Bunny Funny is literally a fifteen minute read, but since I spent that fifteen minutes, I've probably gone through about two hours just thinking about this one comic, what it means, and what it might not mean.
For starters, I have to explain the worldbuilding that Andy Hartzell put into the writing of FBF. What you have at first are two towns of the pseudo-1950's America variety, one populated by Foxes, whose culture is centered on the killing of Bunnies, and the town of Bunnies, which we readers see less of, but which seems more religious and fearful of their neighbors. No other animals seem to exist. Certain touches exist to reinforce the idea of a society based on the mannerisms of animals, for example, the Foxes use guns that have metal teeth attached to a wire, to fire and reel in their prey.
Also, there are no words. Not just that there's no dialogue, but the written languages for the Foxes is a series of pawprints, and the Bunny writings are all leaves and plants. There is no replacement for language, the characters all just pantomime their way through life. Because of that, the reading goes quickly, helped along by the simplicity of Hartzell's drawings which require little to no effort to understand.
Then there's the meaning behind the story, and that's where the house of cards gets shuffled (for the record, I'm kind of pleased with that turn of phrase). With the main character's hidden desire to become a Bunny, but forced to live as a Bunny-killing Fox, there's an attempt at a metaphor for GLBT lifestyle, but it never really catches on. With the relationship between the Foxes and Bunnies, there's an obvious race metaphor, but that falls apart at the end, much like my feelings about the book.
The main character finds himself in a city of the hedonistic 1980's sort populated by a combination of Foxes and Bunnies, who exchange fashion styles, have relationships, and consume one another's flesh. That's right; we have Bunnies that eat Bunny, Foxes that eat Fox, everyone eating carrots, some eating everything, and nobody seems to mind. The main character is then given plastic surgery to become a Bunny just as he always wanted, and the image of his bruised, slightly misshapen body as he weeps with joy is the closing image. Let's just say I had a hard time sleeping last night after seeing that bit.

So? Read it, once I return it to the library. Don't buy it until you've gone through it once. Maybe you'll get something I didn't, and you'll think I'm an idiot for not liking it. Maybe you'll find it as horrifying as I did, and one or two quick reads will be enough. Then again, you might not feel anything, in which case I envy the extra time you'll have after the read.

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