Warm Hearts & Fuzzy Fury: Should My Kids Be Reading ‘Bunny Vs. Monkey’?
When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today. Sometimes the best comics out there are aimed at younger readers, so we're also here to help you pick out some of the best comics for kids.
Did you know that bunnies actually hate monkeys? It's true. We think it's because they're jealous of all that literary success. And that's why, year-round, bunnies and monkeys are at war. (But there may be a little more to it than this...)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Bunny vs Monkey is Jamie Smart's regular strip in The Phoenix, a UK anthology comic aimed at primary school kids --- but really, with good comics, it's less about age and more about what you, personally, precisely like. If you like cute forest animals at ferocious, devious war with each other --- well, here you go. This is it. It's what you want.
Bunny vs Monkey is full of wordplay, but I mean word play; not sophisticated punistry, but goofy tossing about of syllables and sounds, full of the joy of shouting and the having of fun. It's what might be called "very British humor," but please don't let that put you off. It's open-hearted and silly, wants you to join in and giggle. Your children will take pieces of this dialogue and bolt them into their own personal vocabularies. Smart's scripts, remixed to taste, will be with them for life.
WHO’S IT BY?
Jame Smart debuted at Slave Labor Graphics with Bear, an alternative-flavoured, adult comedy strip that, just like Bunny vs Monkey, was about really cute things being a) normal, b) terrible, and c) chatty.
With various projects completed and begun in the time since, including curating anthologies (Moose Kid Comics a particular success), Smart seems to be plumbing an endless well in this return to the big heads/big mouths template. This is good news, because the well is enduringly moist --- Smart's the best at what he does, and what he does pretends not to be very nice. (But it is.)
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Ostensibly an absurdist action strip, Bunny vs Monkey is undeniably tender. Much like the sweet, small boys you find in the corner of every classroom, getting in trouble for hyperactivity --- it's over-excited, but it wants to be loved, and to love back. Bunnies and monkeys are soft, and pleasant, and trying to destroy each other with laser canons and Hamster Mobiles and fake bees doesn't make that untrue. The faces of Smart's characters are as open as their dialogue, their smiles and eyes wide when they're not rainbow-shaped and gleeful. There's no malice in the war betwixt monkey and bun. Everybody's just very keen to win. It's all in good fun, and all's fair.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Children who are very loud indeed. Children who do not like to read; paradoxically, too, children who appreciate language.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?
The Phoenix's regular magazines can be subscribed to, or found in Waterstones and other selected outlets in the UK. Bunny vs Monkey can also be read, at this point, in two volumes of collected strips from David Fickling Books.