Beach Safari

    (Top Shelf, 2003)
™ and © Top Shelf

The cover sports a cartoon bunny frolicking in the surf with a topless girl, so no one should fooled by the seeming innocence of this book’s first 20 pages. Shocked, maybe, when the protagonist bunny blurts out a semi-expletive, but not fooled.

This otherwise-unnamed rabbit, freshly marooned like a Looney Tunes version of Tom Hanks, seeks nothing more than to make his way in his new surroundings. At least, that’s his goal until he bumps into the aforementioned young woman, and from that point on he seeks nothing beyond spending time with her.

But Bunny’s steadfast, child-like naiveté clashes with the girl’s flirtation and budding sexuality. His childlike but clueless charm fails to make any kind of impression, and she enjoys his presence in only a sisterly kind of way. Witzel’s allegory is one of unrequited teen-age love, where changes brought on by puberty and maturity yield the kind of relationship that can only end in heartbreak.

Witzel hits on many different emotions, from humor to love to discontent, and hits them all head-on. Readers who enjoyed Craig Thompson’s Good-bye, Chunky Rice will enjoy this shorter and quickly read graphic novel.

— Jim Johnson

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2 copies available from $9.00
  Markus Mawil WitzelMarkus Mawil Witzel