What Did I Learn?
Jake The Evil Hare, as written by Sam Medina, is a gruff antihero rabbit who is far more misunderstood than evil. He simply gets in trouble for doing the right things in the wrong way. Jake is watched over by a lawyer who is trying her level best to keep him out of jail and trouble, in general.
You may find it amusing as Jake has a lot of frenetic, haphazard reactions to the situations he finds himself in. In his latest adventure, he gets arrested by the cops but ends up playing poker with them in the latest installment. As you can see, Jake is not the derring do good rabbit he’d prefer people to think of him as but he’s actually trying to over aggressively do hero things. You will probably find yourself rooting for him but don’t call him a bunny.
In general, the black and white art (on DrunkDuck) is well framed with varied panel designs but could sometimes use a bit more visual clarity. Now, I say that not because the comic has any serious visual problems but seemingly random little things like Jake and his foe being hard to tell apart in some panels or Jake leaping to attack in the opposite direction than the previous panel flow throw me off. Color might help but imagine the third panel of this comic with his pink paws also colored. Had they been, the comic would have looked funny.
It’s very, very easy to allow your comic to work against itself and I don’t claim any special immunity from it, either. And to repeat, Jake the Evil Hare actually has great panel shapes that serve to accentuate the action inside each panel – and the dialog is snappy and clear. More comics could do well to look at this comic for pointers on those things.
Newspaper comics sometimes do the same thing, like this one where the middle bottom panels needing more gutter space (on all but the bottom) to be less of an interruption in the reading flow. It’s not a bad comic at all and it’s not that big of a deal, given the Sunday format constraints. And I know – I know, it’s heresy to question newspaper comics that are edited by professionals and I’m over analyzing. Fair enough.
But we were looking at Jake The Evil Hare, right? One really subtle, smashingly good thing about the comic’s art is the creative use of textures. It can’t be easy to pick out new textures to fit the elements in a comic. I mean, sure, you’d find that plaid pattern and want to immediately use it somehow but just try to come up with something like that more of the time. I’d wager you’ll spend more time trying to find patterns than drawing the comic.
And I’d like to take a second and talk about capes. Jake has a cape. Edna always says no capes, but capes are appropriate for depicting the visual swoosh of motion in comics. For most purposes, it was my opinion that capes are not for brawlers like Jake but for flying heroes to show off with. But I don’t have a problem with Batman’s cape and he’s a brawler… But he is always jumping from rooftops so I guess he’s an honorary flyer. But what about the Ghost or Gambit with their capes? They aren’t flight risks. Or the Silver Surfer, Wonder Woman, Zatana or most of the Legion of Superheroes as counter examples of flying heroes with no capes?
As I began to think about counter examples, I recalled that capes have a second function. They give their wearer dignity and majesty. That’s part of why the Dark Knight’s mantle seems so fitting – he’s all cape and shadows and authority in the night. In Jake’s case, it’s a little clue that we should give him more than a cursory glance. There’s going to be more to this ornery rabbit than we might give him credit for initially.
What Did I Learn?
Sometimes it’s the little things that put an experience over the top. In this case, it’s a little bunny with a cape and a BIG attitude who makes all the difference. Take a look at Jake the Evil Hare on DrunkDuck or see him in glorious color on his own website.