Review: ZooDotCom (TPB)

ZooDotCom is a comic strip style of story about a zoo that has run out of money and thus forced to put the animals to work in their IT and Web department. Its office work place style of humor with IT and programmer jokes, but with ridiculous animals running it instead.

While there isn’t a true beginning, middle and end to the story it does have a liner storyline that continues to go and make reference to past stories segments and jokes along the way. The main characters are a porcupine named Stan, a penguin named Boffin, a bear that everyone calls Boss (because he’s the boss) and a few other characters. I really didn’t catch or find more than one other character’s name, but it’s really not needed in order to enjoy the story.

As I said there are a lot of IT, programming jokes, but nothing that’s so deep that the average computer user with a little bit of knowledge wouldn’t get. The penguin is constantly asked if he knows Lunix and gets offended, but then confirms that he’s familiar with system. There’s the typical office place joke about working with idiots found in the form of mice that are hired and even a baboon that only knows how to spell the word “code” and can’t even do that properly. I did enjoy the numerous references to other comics and nerd culture. One chunk of the story line finds the characters doing a bit on the Muppet Show, while another has the penguin trying on new glasses that resemble some iconic styles of the X-Men and Star Trek TNG.

ZooDotCom_150DPI-1Overall the comedy was a bit fluffy. I didn’t bust a gut and most of the time I barely cracked a smile. It was more of an acknowledgement of the joke in the same way that you confirm food brought to your table at a restaurant, “yes, I ordered that.” While there were plenty of nerd references to enjoy none of them were new at this point. Really the jokes were the biggest problem with the story as none of them hit home.

The art is pretty good for the style of story it’s going for. It has a webcomic/comic strip look so you shouldn’t expect elaborate backgrounds or ground breaking porcupine detail, but again it works. What was strange was that during the Muppet Show section, the characters were spot on two-dimensional versions of themselves and it was great. The problem is it made the regular cast of characters look a bit average and lacking in any real detail. The art style was unique and a great fit for the story and animals, but I think it could have been better overall or at least cleaned up with the coloring more.

While it didn’t make me laugh, it was cute and I appreciated the office humor. The biggest problem though is that reading it will feel like re-reading other comic strips or webcomics that you’ve already enjoyed. Granted ZooDotCom doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, but it’s like it’s using the same tire as someone else or two comedians talking about the same topic; you already laughed the first time and now you’re just waiting for something new.

Score: 3/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Matt McCray Publisher: Arcana Studios Price: $9.95