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See? SEE? THIS is what Furry strips should do!

(From Suburban Jungle. Click on the thumbnail for full-sized maternal angst!)

I don't have a problem with the Furry community, despite a seeming curse that says that whenever I go to a science fiction convention of any stripe, I will encounter skunk porn. Not even anthropomorphic based skunk porn. One year at Arisia I looked to be in the clear, then went to a midnight showing of Mystery Men. The next thing I know, the Spleen is having his leg humped by a skunk, while the Invisible Boy acts like its romantic. I don't blame the Furry community for this. I clearly insulted a pretty gypsy with a white stripe in her black hair at some Renaissance Festival without realizing it.

(Why a pretty gypsy? Because damn it, it's my story, and I like pretty gypsies. Don't take pretty gypsies away from my life!)

Anyway, like I said, I have no problem with the Furry community. I do, however, generally have little interest in Furry webcomics. Setting aside the porn comics for a moment (which I put no higher or lower than any other porn comic, but as I consider all explicit comics a separate category in general, I'm not going to consider them for the purposes of this snark. And now, you have read my action Disclaimer) I get a touch bored with furry comics where there's little reason for the characters to be anthropomorphic animals in the first place. This is especially true for comics where the anthropomorphic animals are all the same height and all act exactly the same way. It's why I never got into The Class Menagerie when it was around -- there just wasn't any reason for these not to be average college students, and why's the Rooster the same height and muscular girth as the Bull, the Lion and the Gator? That's not how the animal kingdom works! And when they all act like... well, normal people, only with fur... it just doesn't work for me.

Note that I don't consider true Funny Animal strips -- a la Pogo or Ozy and Millie -- to be in the same category. Funny Animals are supposed to look funny. That's all they need to do. Furries are supposed to be... well, anthropomorphic. There should be some point to their being animals.

The 'Furries acting differently than people' stipulation is why I like Kevin and Kell, where the fact that these are anthropomorphic animals makes a real difference. They have dietary differences. They have different instincts. They have economic differences. And all of these differences drive the Funny. Kevin and Kell marrying is scandalous, because rabbits and wolves aren't supposed to get married and have children. Wolves are supposed to eat rabbits then scatter their broken skeletons to the four winds. It bugs me that the general sizes of the animals are so close to each other, but you cope.

Suburban Jungle, on the other hand, gets it all just about right. The animals have real differences. Mice are the size of mice, even if they stand on two legs and have opposable thumbs. There are different cultures all at work with each other. And when predators aren't trying to eat prey, they're pretty much just hanging out. The name of Leonard's Bar is "The Watering Hole," with no predation allowed -- this is brilliance! Brilliance! It's the way it works! Lions and antelope compete, except when they're at the watering hole!

And we have a strip like today's, which reinforces an even deeper element of the differences between animals. Lions in the real world have group marriages, so they have group marriages in Suburban Jungle -- making Leonard and Tiffany's relationship difficult, because not only don't Tigers have group marriages, they tend to mate and walk away from each other. Tiffany has abandonment issues stemming from that quality of Tigers. Comfort's mother naturally assumes that Comfort and Dover will break up because that's how marriages work for tigers, and Cheetahs aren't much better. Robey even got some milage out of Tiffany's love of swimming (which is a true Siberian Tiger trait) where other felines (like Dover) hate water as much as my former cat Gandalf did. (Years later, I still bear bathing scars).

There's a point to the Suburban Jungle being about a pack (heh) of animals who walk like man, and that makes all the difference.

Plus, he has a cast page. Though he doesn't make it very obvious.


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