I’ll admit that when I read the name for this series, I got a tingle of fear. I’ve read indie comics featuring anthropomorphic characters before and they’re not always good. In fact, a lot of them are just plain bad. So with a title like Henry: The Cantankerous Hamster… I had to hope for the best, and the best is what I got. I’m not going to sugar coat it, this is one of those books in which animals are doing things that they have no business doing… but it’s pretty damn good at it. Henry lives in a town of drunks. It’s because the town has a lake of alcohol for… well a lake. Henry is just hiding out in the town and as his narration reveals, it’s a good town to hide in because the locals are always drunk. The locals are anthropomorphic mice by the way. We meet a few of them as Henry leaves his house to work on a mech suit of some kind. One of them asks to fix his car which turns out to be a vegetable. From there, some rats invade the town and declare it under the rule of the Rat King. Too bad these rats are dealing with annoying drunks that can’t be reasoned with. Eventually Henry gets involved and ends up taking care of several problems with one fail swoop.
This book is funny. I wasn’t really expecting that. I mean I was expecting it to try and be funny, because that’s usually the case with books staring anthropomorphic animals, but this one was actually funny. Even re-reading parts for review put a smile on my face. The mice in particular are the driving force for the humor. I hope that they either play a role in future issues or they have a suitable stand in to drive the humor.
The characters are simple, but very effective and well-written. You get a strong impression of Henry’s personality, but also a hint of his past. It’s a great introduction to him without it being an origin story. The humor is also very well written, the jokes pacing is spot on, but never overkill. It doesn’t hit you over the head with funny, but rather pats you on the head at the right times.
The art was also very enjoyable. I know I keep saying this, but this isn’t my first foray into this genre. It is my first with Rising Sun Comics and I’m thankful that Jason Richard Long has a wonderful style. The animals aren’t overly realistic with the exception of the rats. The rats look like something out of Secret of Nymph, which is always a good thing. Otherwise the other animals are recognizable once you know what they are. You don’t instantly look at Henry and think “he’s a hamster”, but once you know he is you can see it.
I was honestly really surprised by this comic. I always like to give a book it’s fair shake before judging it and books like Henry are why. You never know when you’ll find a gem when you were expecting a dud. If you’re looking for a laugh or just like animals doing human things, then check out Henry: The Cantankerous Hamster.
Henry: The Cantankerous Hamster #1 Writer: Ryan Salazar Artist/Letterer: Jason Richard Long Publisher: Rising Sun Comics Price: $4.00 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital Website