Time for a little webcomic mini-review again! As opposed to last time, where the comic was VERY different from Z&F’s tone and humor, this comic meshes really well with our alien-dog friends. Like sci-fi and cute animals? Obviously you do, if you read Z&F. Well, you’ll also love “Willow’s Grove” by Karl Kleese!
I’ll give this comic a 10-and-up rating. Couple minor curse words, but nothing that terrible. I’m guessing that most of my audience fits that age group, so flood right over and check it out!
Willow’s Grove is an easy-reading comic about some fuzzy friends from Earth (“Willow’s Grove, PA, to be precise) who stumble into a spaceship and are whisked away…. these things happen. The main characters are Max, Bob, and Fred (well, a “fake” Fred at first, you’ll just have to find out what I mean by that). Hey, I like any comic with another “Fred”, right? Max is your average disgruntled dog cartoonist, Bob does the best he can & is a very positive lizard fellow, and “fake” Fred (who looks like a muppet) is cute but a bit dim (always lovable, those dim ones!). The ship is controlled by a friendly helpful computer who offers our heroes whatever they please… Such as cigars, for instance, because what dog doesn’t love a good cigar? The characters discover just how high-tech this spaceship is, and when they find out about the cloning/replicator technology, things get interesting.
I see a lot of similarities between how Karl and I tackle storylines, and how we utilize the endless possibility that is alien technology. When you’re dealing with fictional far-off planets, we can invent any high-tech gadget we please! And this comes through in the computer-voice that the characters speak to on the ship. Problems are solved, or created, by whatever Karl decides the ship can do. This may be my only criticism: sometimes Karl makes things a bit TOO easy with that ship’s computer. I’m at fault for this too- from time to time I use alien technology to give a surprise twist in a storyline, or tie up loose ends. Something that can get abused if you use it too much as a writer… but where that line is, I haven’t quite figured out yet.
The art style is simple but inviting, very easy to sink into, like a comfy chair. I like the more recent use of graytones, however slight, they add a punch to the look. “Willow’s Grove” just makes me smile, and reminds me of favorite comics of my childhood, how uncomplicated and fun they were to read. I highly suggest it!
As a sidenote, I find it amusing that I live near a Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, as well. I’ll have to give Max a call sometime, have a cigar with him.