College Catastrophe, by Jan – comic review By Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
College Catastrophe, by Jan. Illustrated.
Hong Kong, Tiger Knight Comics, November 2012, trade paperback, $12.95 (unpaged [127 pages]), e-book $3.95.
This is the collection of the online comic strip that Jan (this book gives away his real name as Chun Yan Miu) published from November 2000 to January 2013. The early strips were remastered between 2009 and 2012, so they all look “current”. He retired it to concentrate on his later, more popular Medievalish fantasy Swords and Sausages strip, although he has just started a College Catastrophe sequel: Nine to Nine, showing what is happening to its cast one year after graduating from college, beginning on November 1, 2015.
If you want to know what Jan did before Swords and Sausages, here it is – all 202 strips, plus fillers unavailable elsewhere.
College Catastrophe is a slice-of-life college comic strip with seven anthropomorphized students as the main characters: Jan, a lion computer science major; Wolf, a wolf physics major and Jan’s roommate; Phil, a horse math major; Amber, Jan’s vixen girlfriend; Shiera, a lioness Japanese major; Tor, a tiger fine arts major; and Andrea, Tor’s arctic fox girlfriend. Tor and Andrea were added to the strip shortly before it ended, and have been reused as the main characters in Jan’s fantasy Swords and Sausages.
Despite showing the cast as anthropomorphized animals, there are few strips that do not feel like genuine college-student events. There are some exceptions that play up Wolf’s wolfiness (he howls off-key) or Phil’s horsiness (he reacts to a My Little Pony joke), but in general they are all things that could have happened to Jan or to other students around him. (In the one below, Jan has stayed up too late studying.)
Jan, the lion computer science major, is specifically named as standing in for the author during his college days. The college is unnamed but apparently somewhere in the U.S.; Jan comments in a couple of strips about what a college town’s shutting town during term break, when most students go home, means for the stranded international student. So most of the humor revolves around Jan’s trying to study despite constant interruptions, Wolf’s being the Dorm Roommate from Hell, handsome Tor’s doubling as a nude model in fine arts classes, the shoddiness of college dorms, the inedibleness of college dorm food, most college students’ schemes for stretching their nonexistent budgets, and so on.
I went to college in the early 1960s, but U.S. college life apparently hasn’t changed much since then. College Catastrophe is more realistic college humor than anthro animal humor despite the cast, unlike what most furry fans might expect from the current Swords and Sausages. Buy according to your fondness for college nostalgia – or, considering the age of most furry fans, as a preview of what to expect if you go to college after high school.
Jan says in an e-mail that the name of Tiger Knight Comics does not appear in the book due to Hong Kong ISBN law against individuals publishing under their own imprints. Interesting. The $12.95 price is if you order College Catastrophe from Rabbit Valley in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you order it from Jan in Hong Kong (which he’d prefer; you get additional five full-color bookmarks showing the five original characters, and can request a free personalized message/autograph), please pay by Paypal and add $6.50 for international shipping. Thank you.