Webcomic Roundup – Sandra and Woo
One of my favorite things on the face of the planet to review has to be webcomics, so trust me when I say this won’t be the last time I say a thing or two about webcomics. The reason being that there is just no hiding anything when you produce one; if something is off, everyone is going to see it. Honestly, it’s more fun to review terrible webcomics, but I’ll try not to review terrible ones too often, seeing as that’s rather useless to the audience.
Now then, with that being said…
Sandra and Woo, much like the link banner says, is a comic about a young girl living in the suburbs with her father and her recently acquired pet raccoon.
Right at the start of the story, you’ll notice that this comic has a bit of quirkiness to it as well as some video game references. This is normally enough for me to pin a comic as “just another boring gamer comic that will never gain anyone’s interest and will burn out unnoticed by the end of a year” and my faith was certainly not bolstered by the Sly Cooper reference IN THE FIRST STRIP OF THE ENTIRE COMIC. I, the intrepid reviewer did force myself to trek onward into this strip for you the loyal viewer (I know you exist somewhere and that you’re someone other than my mother…). And I must say, I found the results to be much better than I had forecast from the first frame.
This strip actually really reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes in the way that the “talking animal” theme is handled. The focus is almost exclusively on the girl and her animal companion and their various adventures viewed through the lens of childlike awe of everyday happenings. Facial expressions, body language and dialog are top notch, although I have a suspicion that the production team is not primarily English speaking. In fact, I’m going to hazard a guess that they might be German, seeing as the entire comic is available in German/auf Deutsch. This is reflected by the occasional dialog abnormality. While technically grammatically correct, these awkward phrasings are usually dead giveaways to a non-English speaking production team. These, however, are not enough to break the flow of the strip and are acceptable.
The artist’s style actually is a strange one in that it makes me think of something like a cross between Western cartooning and a slight Manga influence. Let’s get one thing clear, I DESPISE the Manga style when it’s emulated by Western artists. Normally, something like this would irk me enough to give the art of a comic a bad review, but oddly enough, it doesn’t really bother me on this one.
Story wise, this comic is typical of a normal humor comic in that it consists of very short self-contained arcs that usually have minimal overlap and carry over material for the rest of the comic. Some arcs are better than others; I wasn’t terribly impressed by the “insulin ban” arc, but the short arc structure certainly works for the humor part of the comic.
Now onto a topic that has probably had the more internet savvy audience asking the question “Is this a furry comic?”
Well… yes and no. On the DMFA Scale of Webcomic Furriness (1 being a comic about humans doing entirely human things in places where there are only humans and 10 being Dan and Mab’s Furry Adventures and all of its batshit insanity) this comic scores about a four. To put that in perspective, Garfield scores about a three and Calvin and Hobbs scores a four. Although when I did some snooping around the comic’s site, I did notice some things that sent up some red flags. A couple of animal characters (one of which being a fox, which scores MAJOR furry points) one of which having a strange name that may be attempting to be “cool” or “mysterious”, several links to articles and information sites about raccoons, foxes and other animals, and the mention of Sly Cooper in the first strip all caught my attention. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it.
If the word “furry” means “covered in fur” to you, disregard that paragraph. Also, don’t google it…
But on the whole, this is a well written, quirky and quaint humor comic that thus far has prooven entertaining. The artistic style is strangely refreshing and expressive without the use of too much color and really brings out the best of the writing. All of this is accomplished in what I would call (at the worst) a PG atmosphere without the need of the crutch of crude humor. This is truly a unique spectical these days and worth a look even if this isn’t your cup of tea.