Housepets! Don’t Ask Questions, by Rick Griffin – book review by Fred Patten
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Housepets! Don’t Ask Questions (Book 7), by Rick Griffin
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, November 2016, trade paperback $13.95 (52 pages).
Here, right on schedule, is the new annual collection of the Housepets! online comic strip by Rick Griffin. Housepets! has appeared each Monday-Wednesday-Friday since June 2, 2008. It has won the Ursa Major Award for the Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip for every year since! – for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Book 7 contains the strips from June 16, 2014 to June 1, 2015; story arcs #78, “Heaven’s Not Enough, part 2”, to #90, “All’s Fair, part 1”, plus the one-off gag strips before and between these.
Housepets! presents the adventures of the dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and other pets of Babylon Gardens, a typical residential suburban neighborhood – in an alternate universe. The animals are larger than in our universe (but not human-sized), can talk, are usually bipedal, and address their human owners as “Mom” and “Dad”. Their status is somewhere between pets and children. Points established over the years are that humans can bequeath their belongings to their pets, who do not need a human guardian; human storekeepers are not allowed to sell catnip to cats; human police forces have an auxiliary of Police Dogs who are not all police dogs; the pets comment sardonically on how they can go naked in public but their human “parents” can’t; and – lots of other stuff.
Book 7 is complete, but it begins in the middle of a story sequence. In “Heaven’s Not Enough, part 1” at the end of Book 6, Pete the demigod griffin appears to both King (corgi) and his wife Bailey (husky), turns King from a corgi back into Joel, a human, Bailey agrees to become Pete’s avatar in Heavenly battle to save King, and Cerberus the giant three-headed dog (another demigod) sends everyone to Heaven to see how things work out. Book 7 begins with part 2; Cerberus waving King-as-human and Fox (husky) up the staircase into Heaven, and King turning back into a corgi – he’s grown used to it. Heaven, or this avatar of Heaven, is tailored to Fox and Joel/King, and to Bailey, Tarot, and Sabrina as the mortals (sort of), and to Pete, Dragon, and Kitsune as the demigods (and Bahamut as god). In part 3, they all go to Western Australia to get home. Peanut Butter presents two more Adventures of Spot (Superdog). The Babylon Gardens housepets and the nearby forest ferals celebrate Hallowe’en, Christmas, and Easter. The wild wolves join a human baby shower group (human mothers usually have only one pup per litter?), and Bino (that’s pronounced BYE-no) tries to officially become a wolf. Fox joins the K-9 Academy. Karishad (fox) is as crazy as ever. Jessica the opossum, who was introduced in Book 6, has a larger role here, and Cilantro the skunk is introduced. Keene Milton (rich ferret) hosts the State Fair, and Book 7 ends with another cliffhanger as Bailey tells King that she’s pregnant.
Book 7 presents four rows of strips to a page in full color, with some brand-new illustrations to make story sequences come out evenly. Like all long-running comic strips, this assumes that the reader is familiar with the characters and their backstories. Fans of Housepets! should certainly get Book 7; reading it is much easier than reading the cartoon strip-by-strip on its website’s archive. For those who are not already fans, it’s recommended that you start with one of the earlier volumes to get familiar with the cast: Book 1, Housepets! Are Naked All The Time; Book 2, Housepets! Hope They Don’t Get Eaten; Book 3, Housepets! Can Be Real Ladykillers; Book 4, Housepets! Are Gonna Sniff Everybody; Book 5, Housepets! Don’t Criticize Your Lovelife; and Book 6, Housepets! Will Do It For Free. They’re all great, and they’re all still available on Amazon.com.
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