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"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.
By Michael Fry
"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!
By Robb Armstrong
When Pat Brady puts pen to paper, readers can't resist following his original images and tight story lines. This creator pulls more material from the one-child Gumbo family than other cartoonists can with five times the number of characters and settings.
That magic comes through in Brady's seventh collection, Rose is Rose Running on Alter Ego. The lively series of daily and Sunday strips revolves around Rose—devoted wife and doting mother—who, try as she might, just can't keep her biker chick fantasies totally in check. Rose never knows, as she manages her blue-collar husband, Jimbo, and their energy-fired son, Pasquale, when Vicki the Biker may show up. But when the long-haired, short-skirted babe surfaces, it's always with a breath of fresh air and a fresh take on "normal" family life.
Besides appearing on the cover, Rose as Vicki shines throughout the collection, in six new full-page drawings created just for the book. Each shows the seemingly satisfied housewife's alter ego performing some mundane chore demanded by Rose's less adventurous life, while Brady's usual mix of family fun, frolic, and fancy gives Gumbo fans plenty of delight.
By Pat Brady
Get Fuzzy makes the fur fly. This freshly amusing strip is a darling among readers who enjoy pets with an attitude. This wry cartoon features Rob Wilco, a mild-mannered ad guy who's guardian to two rambunctious pets: Bucky, a temperamental cat who carries a boom box and goes on spending sprees, and Satchel, a gentle canine who tries to remain neutral even when he bears the brunt of Bucky's mischief. Together, this unlikely trio hangs out together, watching TV, cooking for friends, and attempting the occasional adventure outside. Anyone who has a pet or even knows one will find this Get Fuzzy collection, The Dog is Not a Toy, an astutely witty take on relationships between the species.
By Darby Conley
Syndicated by United Feature Syndicate, Get Fuzzy appears in 250 newspapers, from the Los Angeles Times to the Detroit Free Press to the Philadelphia Enquirer. Darby Conley's first book, This Dog Is Not a Toy, sold more than 115,000 copies; his second book, Fuzzy Logic, more than 85,000.When he was a child, Darby Conley used to wonder what his beloved pooch was thinking. That curiosity led to his creation of the hilarious strip Get Fuzzy in 1999, which has rapidly become one of the most popular cartoons in newspaper syndication. Showcasing the relationship between Bucky, a temperamental cat with an attitude; the sweet and sensitive dog Satchel; and their mild-mannered human companion, Rob Wilco, Get Fuzzy has cornered the market on anthropomorphic antics.
Anyone who finds animals both amazing and amusing will find this new Get Fuzzy collection one of the most bitingly funny books ever printed.
The standard 4-frame comic strip is enlarged to approximately 4 x 12 inches. Sizes vary in accordance with the size of the comic itself, but all are printed, centered, on acid-free, archival 11 x 17-inch paper.
By Greg Evans
$39.95 – $239.95