What Did I Learn?
Let me give you the quick rundown: two alien researchers have come to the Earth, disguised themselves as dogs and got themselves adopted by nameless owners. And in true comic fashion, they are not left to accomplish their research unmolested. Both their rabid manager and a renowned researcher continually stick their nose into Zorphbert and Fred’s business. And then there is that neighbor kid who wants to “help” and that the alien Fred repeatedly insists that he would rather have been in a cat suit.
It probably sounds like it is a little on the zany side but that gets balanced out by the job and the characters. Besides studying their owners and environment, Zorphbert and Fred have a sense of justice as well. They will tolerate some foolishness but will often help right wrongs inflicted on their study subjects. From time to time, they take a … researcher’s road trip. This gives them a chance to visit some of Earth’s crazier locations and takes them outside the bounds of the yard.
Sounds like a good overall setup, doesn’t it? Some normalcy, some variety, some alien research into human weirdness stuff, the occasional visual gag, some cute animal schticks and decent character play.
Simplified somewhat, Zorphbert is basically the more logical, dedicated scientist and Fred is the more emotional and favored ‘dog’ of the two. That’s a pretty good pair. The personality tension is present but is not something that would drive one or the other insane. We’ve all read comics where one character is such a jerk that any redeeming characteristics they might have just don’t make up for the bad one.
Periodically, there are wordless comics as well. I always enjoy those and these are pretty good in communicating the jokes. With Zorphbert and Fred, I found myself missing the witty comments at the end of the strip.
And I am not sure if I can say that I always prefer the color comics to the grey scale. The color comics are more visually captivating and the clarity seems better – but – there is something about the greys that makes it easier for me to concentrate on the main focus of each panel. Better contrast, perhaps? Let’s just chalk it up to my inordinate fondness for black and white comics.
What Did I Learn?
It’s clear that the artist enjoys the work and that the audience does too. It also seems to me that she would make this comic just because she wants to – or maybe that she just has to. Either way, I have to say I can respect the effort. By sheer chance and random coincidence, the first Zorphbert and Fred has gone on sale. Get it now.