Elephant, Elephant, Hippo, Rhino…? by Mary Beaird

(This review was originally written for REDEYE magazine issue 2.2)

By Mary Beaird marybeaird@hotmail.com , 24 pages per issue (3 issues available), A5 booklet format, Panic Room Comics, £1.50/issue

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‘Elephant, Elephant, Hippo, Rhino…?’ (or ‘EEHR?’ for short) is a comic strip series about a long-suffering Rhino called Dave and his hyperactive neighbour, Keanu the tapir.  They live in zoo enclosures that face each other, and somehow manage to cause rather more chaos than you’d expect.

The strip sits comfortably between being cynical and adorable.  Jokes are often intelligent and deadpan, but they are coupled with super cute characters that should appeal to a wide audience.

Stand out strips are ones that bring in completely unexpected references, such as ‘Schrodinger’s Tapir’, or completely mad circumstances, such as when cute-yet-icky aliens invade on a slow day at the zoo.

The way the zoo and characters are drawn is incredibly simple and graphical.  The basic positioning of the two main characters remains almost entirely the same throughout each issue of the comic.  However, whereas in other styles of comic this might not work, EEHR? is a gag strip so the art suits it – any more complicated and it might get in the way of the punch lines.

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Writing-wise, for the geek contingent there are references to films, TV series and anime to look out for.  However these are mixed in with enough gags based on more general subjects to keep non-geeks happy too.  There are also handy dandy facts about rhinos and tapirs scattered throughout each issue.  These are a unique touch that make you realise that the author didn’t just choose her characters randomly – she really does have an interest in rhinos and tapirs.

Each issue is printed clearly on good quality white paper with colour covers printed on light card.  The lettering is always readable and at the right size for the comic.  Extras include: character profiles in issue 1, an introduction by Helen McCarthy (of ‘Anime Encyclopedia’ fame) and extra rhino and tapir facts in issue 2, and a ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ Q&A session with Mary in issue 3.

EEHR? is not an epic, but if you have a random 5 minutes to spare, or if you’re feeling tired or down, this is just the kind of comic to enjoy as a pick-me-up – it’ll put you in a good mood.

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2 Responses to “Elephant, Elephant, Hippo, Rhino…? by Mary Beaird”

  1. Ive always enjoyed EEHR, its a really fun gag comic, and Im not too big a fan of gag strips, but it does make me laugh out loud regularly XD

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