Monday, September 19, 2016

I always read Kevin and Kell with my morning coffee

I've been reading webcomics on a regular basis for more than fifteen years now. Kevin and Kell was one of the first ones I started reading and one that I still read on a daily basis. 

Which only makes sense. Having started back in 1995, it is probably the oldest running daily web comic out there. 

The world of Kevin and Kell is one of talking animals who walk on two legs and wear clothing but who still observe the food chain. So carnivores eat other people but it's never anything personal. That's just how the world works.

The title couple are a mixed marriage.  She's a wolf snd he's a rabbit built like a linebacker. 

The comic strip was originally designed for newspaper syndication (and is now actually in at least one major newspaper) and it shows. It is sized for a newspaper and, even during storylines, has a gag-a-day format.

Oddly enough, despite being a setting where people eat each other and a series that deals with racism, prejudice and even having a thinly veiled transgender character years before that became a mainstream issue, Kevin and Kell is probably the least edgy and least challenging webcomic I read. 

In fact, I would even go so far as saying it's downright banal. The main characters are always morally in the right and every problem will get worked out nice and easily within a week or so. It's the closest thing I read to Family Circus, not that Family Circus would ever come within a hundred miles within the issues Kevin and Kell discusses on a regular basis.

If it is so banal, why do I keep reading it? Well, Bill Hollbrook is one of the consummate professionals of the web comic world. He puts up a new comic every day without fail. He is consistently amusing, even if he isn't laugh out loud hysterical.

And, while he is sometimes cloying in his theme of acceptance (which is undeniably the overriding point of Kevin and Kell and one I have absolutely no problem with), he does a really good job not being preachy or offensive.

Even his antagonists are almost never straw men or monsters. They are either predators doing their job or folks who need to be educated. Even R.L., who eats his own employees, is a loving dad and respects Kell as a business owner.

I do wonder if Kevin and Kell, able to tackle such divisive issues with such inoffensive charm, is a model for 21st comic strips in general.

Kevin and Kell doesn't move me or challenge me. However, it has been a reliable and comfortable way to start my morning for over a decade.

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