Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Review: A Rabbit in King Arthur's Food Court, Josh Latta (Wide Awake Press, 2010)


Image swiped from the Lattaland Facebook page

Starring in a title of regal proportions, Josh Latta’s Rashy Rabbit returns for a sixth outing in A Rabbit in King Arthur’s Food Court: A Rashy Rabbit Adventure. Like an even filthier Tex Avery, the Atlanta-based creator leads the titular lagomorph through one hell of a day, with the long-eared protagonist going through the wringer in order to procure an anniversary present for his girlfriend. Starting at his demeaning job cleaning horse poop at the medieval-themed mall food court where he works, poor Rashy continues on to drug deals, encounters with murderous mobsters and a climactic potentially-fatal jousting contest. The things we do for love, eh?

If you’re a newcomer to the world of Rashy Rabbit like me, there’s absolutely no reason to be put off from joining in the fun with this latest release. Although the characters have pre-existing relationships and history, such as Rashy and his single-mother main squeeze, Honey Bunny, their archetypes and dialogue are crafted in such a way as to be instantly identifiable to a reader, much like the classic cartoon look the comic adheres to. Whilst not entirely profane, there’s absolutely no shortage of butt-hopping, drug dabbling and all other manner of lunacy for the adults grown children out there; kind of like an inverse Looney Tunes episode, with all the sex and drug references on the outside, for a change.

Rashy & Jimmy on the run: action packed action in action

Outside of all that risqué hullabaloo, there’s actually something disarmingly wholesome to A Rabbit in King Arthur’s Food Court. In many ways, it’s a welcome reminder of well-designed North American/ western cartooning: reduced, ultra expressive, slap-stick and bizarre. It’s very obvious (as well as when browsing his blog/website, linked below) that Latta is highly influenced by the design aesthetics of classic comic and animation, and it’s a joy to see these techniques given such an earnest and loving reprisal here.

Something that I found particularly interesting is the evolution of the series itself. From what I understand, Rashy Rabbit has gone through several stylistic alterations since Latta’s pencil birthed him over five years ago. Starting out visually and thematically more akin to Fritz the Cat, Rashy and Co. have gradually moved towards more simplified, zany exploits. Not really a straight switch, the comic is actually more like a cross pollination of alternative and mainstream cartoon perspectives that offers something interesting in the middle of both. Combining the very-identifiable, oft-mundane routine of day-to-day existence with some good old-fashioned hijinks, there’s a joyous, engaging conflict at the heart of it all. 

Overall, it’s a whole lot of fun, and definitely recommended to anyone who thinks that comic books are losing a little of their traditional off-the-wall goodness. Either them, or people who think that comic books need more horny rabbit stoners. I’m definitely in both camps, as I’m sure many of you are too. A Rabbit in King Arthur’s Food Court is available for $4 alongside all the preceding Rashy stories and a great deal of other timeless looking stuff over at Josh Latta's website right now. Hop to it!

For the sake of my dignity, please ignore that last pun.


LINKS
  • Buy A Rabbit in King Arthur's Food Court at Lattaland.com.
  • Shannon Smith's excellent and informative Rashy Rabbit retrospective on File Under Other

4 comments:

  1. Great review. Here is a direct link to the review of the first four issues. It has some images where you can see the art style progress. http://fileunderother.blogspot.com/2008/08/josh-lattas-rashy-rabbit.html

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  2. Oh bugger, I've pasted the wrong link to FUO, haven't I? Sorry about that Shannon, consider it fixed!

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