BUNNY VS MONKEY: YEAR ONE – JANUARY-JULY / AUTHOR: JAMIE SMART / PUBLISHER: DAVID FICKLING BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
"There is no Monkey here, just me… CATERPILLARZILLA!"
Jamie Smart has long been a favourite here at STARBURST. From his early Slave Labor Graphics series Bear to the maddeningly funny webcomic Corporate Skull, Smart is one of the UK's leading comic creators and Bunny vs Monkey just might be his greatest achievement to date.
Serialised in the pages of weekly story comic The Phoenix, Bunny vs Monkey is an all ages strip that revolves around a cast of eccentric animal characters trying to live peacefully together within the woods. Bunny, Pig, and Weenie the squirrel are frequently subjected to the madcap plans of interloper Monkey, along with his team of equally misguided chaotic friends.
Early strips in the series were packed with absurd creations such as Caterpillarzilla, Pig-O-Tron 5000 and Frog-O-Saurus, brilliantly illustrated agents of destruction, created by science genius Skunky. The majority of stories in the collection are finished within two pages. Every panel is vibrant, packed with irreverent details, rude sound effects and characters whose speech is guaranteed to elicit laughter from younger readers.
With the combination of chunky art, which is unlike anything else available, endearing punchlines, loveable characters and a breathless pace, Bunny vs Monkey isn't just one of the best comics for children currently on shelves, it's one of the best children's comics of all time. In the same way that The Beano defined an era for childhood comics during the twentieth century, hopefully Bunny vs Monkey and The Phoenix will for the twenty-first.
For adult readers, there are a stream of references to classic movie monsters like Godzilla, as well as a weird Lovecraftian subplot to come in later collections, when the source of Skunky's inventions comes to light. Anybody looking for a way to introduce children to comics need look no further than Bunny vs Monkey.