I checked out this black and white graphic novel by Andy Hartzel from my local library. I’ve had it out for a bit, and I don’t remember what about it caught my eye, probably the colourful geometric cover art, and maybe that it was published by Top Shelf. Finding it in the teen section, I was expecting a cute funny animal comic good for a chuckle. I didn’t read the inside flap, didn’t know anything about it going in. I was quite happily surprised when I found out what it was truly about.
The fox in the title of Fox Bunny Funny could be described as funny. As in, “You know, that guy is a little funny….you know what I mean?” A synonym for funny used in this manner is queer, and compared to his fox friends, our hero is definitely a little queer. Without any words, this graphic novel steps us through the young fox’s life from when he’s discovering who he really is, the tragedy of being discovered by a family that just doesn’t understand, the horrors of supressing one’s inner self, and finally a true awakening.
The art is black and white, which could definitely represent the world in which fox is growing up. Elegantly simple in design, the characters could’ve stepped out of a Nickelodeon cartoon. A number of times, the comic style shifts, according to the state of mind of the character. First six square panels with white gutters, then later the same six square panels on black pages instead. Then a dream sequence of a decidedly religious nature. And in the final chapter we have some pages with a single panel, some full page art, even some full bleeds of some really great, very detailed scenes.
Andy has a blog on his website, with some good art, but it appears he hasn’t updated it in quite awhile.