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Over the Hedge, created by T Lewis and Michael Fry, takes a freshly skewed look at suburban living from the perspective of the animals who lived there first. The strip stars RJ, a mischievous raccoon, and Verne, his sensitive best-buddy turtle. Together they fight to save their wooded wonderland from the evils of encroaching suburbia but end up becoming distracted by wide-screen TVs, discarded fast food containers and the fun of wreaking havoc on the local homeowners' association.
By Michael Fry
"These are wicked little guys who'll pick your pocket as they steal your heart."—Ted Koppel, host of ABC's Nightline
Suburbanites treasure their sameness, safety, and security, little knowing what lurks just Over the Hedge. There, in a strikingly successful comic strip created by writer Michael Fry and illustrator T Lewis, reside the only slightly displaced original inhabitants of the land: R.J., an irascible raccoon, and his sidekick turtle, Verne.
Verne and R.J. have found little trouble adapting to the ways of their human neighbors. In fact, the relationship works out just perfectly when it comes to borrowing their hot tubs, setting the table with gourmet leftovers, or relaxing on their lawn furniture. It's not that the dynamic duo don't want to stick up for sovereign rights to their turf. It's just that barbecue feasts, television, and even computers keep luring them closer to the enemy camp.
Now in Over the Hedge 2, Fry and Lewis present their second tour de farce. They've got RJ arguing with one of his woodland neighbors, "This 'angry white mole' thing is so early eighties." There's Verne breaking the Internet by e-mailing seven million copies of Spam and potato chip pie recipe. And also, both of the "boyz in the wood" taking off in their human-neighbor Nate's Harley with the help of training wheels and a nine-iron pedal extender.
Through it all, Fry, who also produces the nationally syndicated strip Committed, sustains a wickedly funny commentary on the joys of suburban living, while Lewis, a successful illustrator of fourteen children's books, keeps the masked wonder and his shell-shacked companion fresh from frame to frame.
Over the Hedge 2 is sure to appeal to animal lovers, suburbanites, and anyone who can laugh at the human condition, as seen through the eyes of two nearly-human opportunists.
"Like good reporters, Mike Fry and T Lewis have revealed to us at last what lies just beyond those well-groomed hedges."—Jim Cox, producer of the upcoming Over the Hedge movie
RJ, the mischievous raccoon, and Verne, his philosophical turtle pal, don't have time to be inconvenienced by the suburban sprawl that's washed up against their woodland home. They're in too big a hurry to embrace it and make it their own. They fly-fish for hot dogs, set up bleachers to watch big-screen TV, and sip virgin Banana Boomerangs while soaking in a Jell-O-filled hot tub. And if the joie de pirating isn't enough fun for these two bon vivants, there's always the local homeowner's association on which to inflict a coup d'etat.
In Knights of the Picnic Table, their next Over the Hedge anthology, RJ and Verne are not just spectators to suburbanity, but also to the pregnancy of Noreen, whose home also happens to be their favorite fast-food franchise. When Noreen's husband, Nate, has to deliver their baby at home, RJ and Verne, personifying noblesse oblige, lead him through the harrowing birth. Then, as newborn Baby Clara's self-appointed au pairs, they take up the crusade of teaching her the finer points of their world while squiring her about in a Harley Davidson motorized stroller.
It may not be Camelot, but there's not a more congenial spot than Over the Hedge.