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Kevin and Kell

March 23, 2009

I’m still sick but I’m feeling okay enough to sit in front of a computer screen. I’ll be making this one pretty short though.

Background: Kevin and Kell is a web comic that could be considered one of the granddaddies of web comics. It’s been almost exclusively online since 1995 (it’s now printed in a couple of papers but that only happened in the last few years). 

The creator, Bill Holbrook, currently draws three comics Kevin and Kell, Safe Havens, and On the Fast Track.

One can see the influence of newspaper comics on Kevin and Kell as the strips mostly stick to a 3 panel, black and white scheme. Holbrook is an Auburn University graduate who decided to try starting his own comic after meeting Charles Schultz.

The Comic: As mentioned above the style of the comic is very much reminiscent of newspaper comics. Three panels (or four), mostly black and white, with an end punch line in the end panel. 

You can also see a clear style between Holbrook’s three panels. Many of the characters in each resemble characters in the other comics. It would be cool if he changed up his style a bit but if it works, it works. 

Kevin and Kell follows the story of a anthropomorpic of woods animals. Kevin, a rabbit is married to Kell, a wolf. They have an adopted hedgehog daugter and Kell’s son Rudy. Both the parents come from divorced households. 

Many, not all, of the jokes focus on computer culture. One can see the influence in jokes about ‘sysops’, modems, flame wars, forums, etc. in the early days and the evolution of the computer jokes as the internet and consumer behaviors changed. It’s an interesting trend to follow within the comic.

It’s still going, making Holbrook a very busy individual who still finds time to talk to fans on his forums. 

I have a lot of respect for him as a creator. 

My recommendation: While I did just say that I respect Holbrook and one of the oldest web comics, that doesn’t mean I enjoy it.

His work is typical newspaper comic. The jokes are cliche but I suppose that’s what you enjoy about newspaper comics. There is a familiarity to them that makes them an old friend. 

However, I expect web comics to break the mold (even if sometimes it’s just additional panels or cuss words). Holbrook’s online comic is just that an online version of a print comic. It doesn’t really do anything different. Which is fine in 1995 but in 2008 I think a little innovation is in order beyond color. 

I do and I don’t recommend this comic. Check it out if you enjoy newspaper comics, if not then this isn’t for you. 



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