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Tag: First Second

Cottons [1] The Secret of the Wind, by Jim Pascoe – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Cottons [1] The Secret of the Wind, by Jim Pascoe. Maps, illustrations by Heidi Arnhold.
NYC, First Second, July 2018, hardcover, $19.99 (242 [+ 22] pages), Kindle $9.99.

Watership Down is known for its creation of a language and religion for its rabbits. Cottons, a deluxe hardcover graphic novel trilogy, has a rabbit history, religion, geography, industry, currency, and “magic”. This is mostly presented as background information in the unpaged epilogue to this first of three volumes.

The story takes place in the Vale of Industry, one of two vales in the World of Lavender (which is much less realistic for rabbits than the rabbit world in Watership Down). The Vale has two main species of inhabitants, the prey rabbits (called cottons) and the predator foxes.

The main protagonist is Bridgebelle, an apparently ordinary doe working in Wampu’s carrot factory. The Industry page explains:

“Sometime during the Tooth Age, an industrious rabbit named Rekra had a wild idea: if rabbits eat carrots for energy, then there should be a way to extract the energy out of carrots in a more pure form. After many failed experiments, he discovered a method of refining carrots into a light orange powder called cha.” (p. [255])

“Wampu Industries”, where most rabbits work, refines carrots into the cha that powers all rabbit materialism. Also rabbit art, but creating art is considered a waste of needed cha. Due to the need for more and more cha, there are less and less carrots for food, leading to a growing hunger problem. Bridgebelle would rather be free to use cha to create objects of art (called thokchas), but this gets her a reputation of being lazy, frivolous, and wasteful of cha.

In addition, the foxes (all shown as evil villains) are trying to force the rabbits to turn the carrot factory over to them. They want the factory and the cha for different reasons: Marrow Winterborne to kill the rabbits and gain a supply of endless power; Sylvan to enslave the rabbits and use the cha to lead the foxes to the Black Sun and summon the Broken Feather King, the ruler of Empyrean, the cottons’ Hell (but it is in the sky); and Vor for the cha as an opium-like drug to which he is addicted.

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The Big Bad Fox, by Benjamin Renner – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer

The Big Bad Fox, by Benjamin Renner. [Translated by Joe Johnson.] Illustrated.
NYC, First Second, June 2017, trade paperback $15.99 (187 pages), Kindle $9.99.

Benjamin Renner is a French animator and cartoonist. He first became known in America as the co-director of the 2012 Belgian animated feature Ernest & Célestine, released in America in 2013. That was an adaptation of Belgian children’s books by Gabrielle Vincent, and featured Vincent’s art style. It was an international animation festival favorite, winning many awards, and was a 2014 Oscar Best Animated Feature nominee.

In 2015 Renner began to develop Le Grand Méchant Renard, a cartoon idea for a series of three French half-hour TV specials in his own art style. He wrote and drew his own cartoon-art book to promote them, published by Delcourt in January 2015. The TV cartoon specials grew into an 80-minute theatrical feature, Le Grand Méchant Renard et Autres Contes … (The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales …), released in France on June 21, 2017.

Now Renner’s French book has been published in English as a trade paperback by First Second Books, an American publisher of literary graphic novels.

The main characters in The Big Bad Fox are the title fox, a wimpy loser; the fearsome Mr. Wolf; what Amazon calls an idiot rabbit, a gardener pig, a lazy guard dog, and a typical hen who organizes the other hens into The Fox Exterminators’ Club; and the three little chicks that the fox becomes the Mommy of.

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