Animal Appeal

Postby Scatman on Thu Jan 24, 2002 8:41 am

I'm a little surprised that today there are so few strips with animals as the cental characters. I know that people might be able to identify with human characters, but it seems like animal characters have a few advantages.<P>First, whether they'll admit it or not, syndicates consider the marketing and merchandising appeal of a strip's characters. Garfield's received a lot of criticism in the various forums, but how much money has been made from plush Garfield toys?<P>Second, and more important, animal characters can get away with more. Animals can get away with slapstick that would seem too violent for human characters. Social and political criticism seems less offensive coming from an animal. Kelly found creative ways to address all sorts of social issues in Pogo. Brethed used Opus and Bill the Cat to lighten the tone of his editorializing in Bloom County. In the land of Graphic Novels, the classic, Maus, used animal characters because the human tragedy of the Holocaust was too emotionally devastating for the author to deal with.<P>It just seems that comics with animal characters can make us think without feeling like we're being preached at.<P>Any thoughts on the advantages/disadvantages and appeal of animal characters to the public and the syndicates?
Scatman
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Postby Yupyop on Sat Jan 26, 2002 11:08 am

From HOME FRIES POV you should be happy about there being more people strips than funny animals strips.
Children have replaced talking animals for social comments. PEANUTS started the trend. Aaron McGruder has said Huey as a child can say or do things Huey could not if he was an adult. I wonder what BOONDOCKS would be like if the characters were animals?
I don't see an end to funny animal comics. With strips such as PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, GET FUZZY, and OVER THE HEDGE the funny animal strip will always exist on the comics page.
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Postby Scatman on Mon Jan 28, 2002 5:06 am

I'm not sure how Boondocks would work with animal characters. Huey's not getting away with much. I've heard more negative comments about Boondocks than positive. But McGruder's not trying to disguise or sugarcoat his message. Making Huey into anything but an angry African American would change his message entirely.
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