A&H Club, Volume 1, by Rick Griffin – Book Review by Fred Patten
by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
A&H Club, volume 1, by Rick Griffin. Illustrated.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, April 2018, trade paperback, $18.29 (unpaged [82 pages]).
Popular furry writer/artist Rick Griffin has two Internet comic strips. Housepets! is the one that everyone is familiar with. Once a year he collects them and publishes a Create/Space album.
A&H Club is his other Internet strip. In one way it’s just more familiar high-class Griffin anthropomorphic art, and jokes about not wearing any pants. In another it’s the opposite of what Griffin does in Housepets! It’s serious, not comedic, even if it does view today’s society as semi-comedic. It’s realistic, not fantastic; aside from featuring anthropomorphic animals who walk about nude below the waist. Its two main characters are a pair of lesbian lovers (Adrian is really bi), one of whom is a single mother. It consists of full pages rather than strips.
Griffin first collected his A&H Club into three comic books of between 22 and 28 pages each. Now he has gathered those into a CreateSpace album of 82 pages including the three front & rear covers.
A&H Club began on the Internet on June 19, 2015. This album collects all the strips from then to April 7, 2018, or the first three comic-book collections. The two main characters are Adrian Gray, an unwed gray kangaroo (and her young son Ali, about 2 years old), and Hildegard Rothschild, a wolf. Both are slightly punk; Adrian dyes her hair blonde, and Hilde dyes hers an electric turquoise, cut into a Mohawk. The strip’s double-meaning title refers to both Adrian & Hilde, and to the A&H (Athletics & Health Club) where they both work – Adrian teaches self-defense, and Hilde is a yoga instructor. Books 1 and 2 are black-&-white, and Book 3 is in color.
The strip begins (Book 1, “If There Is A Place”; 24 pages) with Adrian and Hilde having lunch at a food court. Adrian is distraught because she was barely making ends meet and now her rent has gone up, which she can’t afford. Hilde invites her to move in with her – only temporarily, but you know how that works. A little background is given on the two. In Book 2, “The Invitation”; 28 pages, Hilde runs into an old college friend, Henry Jones (bear), and he invites them both to dinner & to meet his wife, Eliza. She turns out to be an aggressively evangelical Christian who is determined to convert both A&H into church-goers. Ali is traumatized by a hand-puppet on a Christian children’s TV program. Griffin experiments with his art: “This issue I’m dropping the halftones and just going to flat grays, with noise and possibly added textures. In doing this I’m also trying a few different other things–there’s only 3 levels of gray for instance, 50%, 30% and 10%, so it’s easier to keep track of. (It’s also basically the most gray you can differentiate without getting too dark)” Book 3, “Negative Energy”; 22 pages), is the first to show the A&H health club, and Adrian in action teaching self-defense.
A&H Club is funny, tender, and heartwarming. As with most Internet comic strips, you can get the whole thing for free by logging onto it online and going to its Archives; but it’s so much more convenient to get this album. Speaking personally, I don’t find everyone’s being nude below the waist (Griffin keeps his art SFW here, but check out his online Shop) as eyebrow-raising as his showing a kangaroo walking rather than hopping.
Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward. They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.
In 1999 the World Science Fiction Convention was in Melbourne, Australia. I went with a group of about a dozen furry fans. After the convention, we went on a group tour of the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, about 45 miles outside the city. There were a lot of walk-through animal enclosures. We entered a kangaroo enclosure with a half-dozen kangaroos all around it. They slowly hopped over toward us. When they had surrounded us, they suddenly started eating everything they could get. One grabbed the souvenir map of the zoo from David Bliss’ hands and started munching it. David grabbed it back but not before it had a large bite missing. Most of the other kangaroos tried to eat our trousers. They were more aggressive than goats. We exited that enclosure fast.