written by Chris Grine
Chickenhare, a black-and-white comic first published by Chris Grine in 2006, has had a long and wonderfully strange life, much like its title character (who is, of course, half chicken and half rabbit). There have been three volumes in the story so far: two b&w volumes from Dark Horse and a third (color) webcomic, with the first volume now being offered in glorious color from Scholastic’s Graphix imprint.
Chickenhare has a best friend, a turtle named Abe. They have the distinct misfortune as the tale begins of being caught by a hunter named Mr. Barley, who sells them to a rather mean taxidermist, Mr. Klaus. Klaus has two more animals held captive and waiting to go under his knife: the bossy Meg and the argumentative Banjo. It’s unclear what kind of animal Meg is, but Banjo looks like a monkey. Except he’s really a krampus. Whatever that is.
The quartet manages to escape from Klaus’s cages, but the taxidermist wants his animals back, and he’s going to chase them across the frozen countryside. Meanwhile, Chickenhare is seeing visions of a ghostly goat who needs his help. And on top of it all, the vicious shromph are out and about and spelling danger.
It’s all not only hilarious, but it’s great fun, as well. Writer/artist Chris Grine is adept at telling a kids’ story with the requisite thrills and adventures, and he’s doesn’t bog the story down by explaining all the whys and hows of this wonderful little world he’s created. Instead, he propels the highly enjoyable storyline forward at top speed and lets his readers simply revel in the fun. Plus, his artwork is delightful.
The banter between all the characters, particularly Meg and Banjo, is a hoot, too. It’s age-appropriate, but it doesn’t talk down to young readers.
You’ll love this tale, whether you’re a kid or not. And it’s wonderful to see it come to life in color.