Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bear and Kitten

Before I start this week's webcomic review of Bear and Kitten let me say this to the writer, Andy - Naruto has also eaten a great deal of my life, regardless of the fact that I too find it less than remarkable.

Now, down to business.

Bear and Kitten, though it sounds cute and cuddly, is quite a quirky little disturbing romp. The premise is simple enough - an anthropomorphic slice-of-life, the comic follows the day to day adventures of two unlikely room mates. Fairly new to the webcomic scene, it began in April of 2007 and has updated on a mostly consistent twice weekly schedule. Each strip is a quick read as even the most verbose consist of only one or two sentences a panel. Thanks to this stylistic brevity it doesn't take long to plow through the archives, and I certainly suggest you do.

Before anyone assumes the succinct nature of the comic points to poor writing, let me assure you this isn't the case. There is a simplicity to the writing, certainly, but simplicity shouldn't be mistaken for poor form. As most comic aficionados are aware, a great deal of the writing takes place beyond the scope of dialogue - it's the totality of the scene that tells these short stories and it takes the skill of both writer and artist to pull off a mostly silent script.

It's this skilled teamwork that makes Bear and Kitten such a joy to read. The artwork is a soft comfort that lulls the reader into a mindset that makes the disturbing aspects of the comic even more so. Just as a cold ice cube down the shorts is more shocking on a hot summer day, the relatively mild violence and uneasy concepts come across as much more tantalizing when everything else is so warm and fuzzy. It's an excellent blend. It's dainty meets deleterious, antipathetic adoration, eerie enchantment. Okay, okay... it's late, give me a break.

I like the comic. I like gazing at the first panel and knowing that before the story ends something odd and possibly horrific will have happened. I like feeling as though I'm getting a virtual hug from something delightfully wrong. The comic isn't twisted - in fact, I suspect that if you took any of the scripts and drew them in a realistic fashion they would loose not only their charm, but also their punch. It's the mix that makes the comic work, the parts aren't all that spectacular when taken alone, but the sum of those parts makes for a great read.

The website is simple and easy to navigate. I rather enjoy the picture used for the About page, though I wish it were simply featured off to one side rather than panelled as a full background - I had to highlight the text in order to be able to read it. The Forum appears to be popping along quite nicely, and there's a great poster for sale in the Store along with the opportunity to buy prints of any comic. There's also a promise of shirts eventually... a promise I hope they keep. Baby dolls, if at all possible, please. T-shirts make me look boxy. *grins*