"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.

Over the Hedge 2

By Michael Fry

$18.99

  "He does wonderful work. A strip needs good characters—and that's what Jump Start has."—Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts

  Joe and Marcy Cobb are the quintessential young married couple complete with a baby, two busy careers, and eccentric parents. An eminently likable pair, Joe and Marcy juggle their relationship, their jobs—he's a police officer, she's a nurse—and raising their daughter, Sunny. Robb Armstrong's characters are so popular that many readers of Jump Start tell him that they identify with the Cobbs.

  In fact, Jump Start features issues familiar to readers of all colors. From buying a home to volunteer work to handling the demands of parents and baby, Joe and Marcy manage life's challenges with aplomb. "Don't say that word, Sunny! " Joe intones, correcting their daughter's newly discovered use of foul language. "Bad, bad, bad, bad," corrects Marcy in agreement. In the next frame, however, Sunny's trash-talking up a storm in church. "Next time we won't react so strongly," Joe says, embarrassed. "It's too late for next time," says Marcy, cringing in the pew.

  Still, Armstrong approaches many African-American-specific issues and does so in a decidedly humorous way, and he bases the strip on his own life. While discussing a movie they've heard everyone likes, Marcy tells Joe, "It's a shoo-in to get overlooked for an Oscar! " To which Joe responds, "That good, huh?"

  Robb Armstrong offers a unique perspective that strikes a chord with audiences hungry for a positive, authentic portrayal of middle-class African-Americans. Jump Start's humor crosses all lines because it's just that: appealing, realistic, and downright funny!

Jump Start

By Robb Armstrong

$18.99