Saturday, March 19, 2005

Beach Safari

In my attempts to expand my reading to publishers and formats outside of the periodical form of comics from the big four, I ordered a slew of books from Top Shelf when they had a big sale a couple of weeks ago. This book was one of the books in my order.

Beach Safari is definitely a different type of story. The first third of the graphic novel focuses on a rabbit, a self-aware and humanesque rabbit at that, who appears to be stranded on an island. You see how he deals with the birds who are always teasing him, how he finds food & shelter, and how he deals with isolation. It's all very interesting and cute... but then he meets a girl--a real, live, human girl.

The remainder of the story deals with the rabbit's interaction with this girl he meets and her two friends. First of all, I need to find girls like these three to hang around with because for the majority of the time they're on the beach, they just hang out topless with each other. I'm not sure if there was supposed to be some underlying meaning to explain this or if Mawil just didn't like drawing bikini tops, but the girls just hung out topless, which is every man's, and probably every rabbit's dream.

A lot of the interaction between the girls and the rabbits seemed... odd, I suppose. It's like the our topless main character was simultaneously harboring a crush on the rabbit while viewing it as a very evolved pet. There are a lot of scenes that I had a hard time getting any meaning for them, which detracted from this offbeat tale of making cross-species friends. For example, in one scene the rabbit is putting lotion on our topless lady character and then he bites her in the back.

On the other hand, there are tons of cutesy and comedic moments sprinkled throughout the story that make it fun to read. The rabbit's encounter with a lighter, how the girls bury the rabbit in the sand, and the rabbit's constant interactions with the birds on the beach are a few of my favorites.

The art is what you'd expect from a Top Shelf title--casually detailed, comic strip grade drawings in black and white. This type of art style works for stories such as this as it was a lot easier to focus on the story as opposed to the fact that there are topless girls in half of the scenes since there wasn't a lot of detail. Basically you would just see the outline of the girl with two dots on her chest. If this title would have been done by, say, a Top Cow artistic crew, then all you'd be able to focus on would be the huge amount of boobage. As it is though, this is a cute and comedic tale that is a nice way to waste 20 minutes reading. Give it a look if you can find it cheap.

Art: 2.5
Story: 3
Overall: 3

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