The Webcomic Watchman

Monday, February 27, 2006

Review #1: Joe and Monkey

Title: Joe and Monkey
Artist: Zach Miller
Collective: Boxcar Comics
Genre: Comedy
Format: Gag-a-Day with occasional continuity
Updates: Mon-Fri
[Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of Totally Boned: A Joe and Monkey Collection.]

Ahh, what a simple concept: Take a delivery guy named Joe, a talking monkey, and a robot with a compulsion to steal everything (hence the name Kleptobot), and throw them all in the same part of Minneapolis where hilarity will inevitably ensue.

This is a pretty good comic overall. The jokes are simple, yet solid for the most part. The art is pretty well drawn, nothing that will make your eyes pop out in rage or delight. There really isn't much bad you can say about this comic, other than some of the jokes may go over the reader's head, or the days when the joke becomes so simplistic that you just can't laugh at it no matter how hard you try.

After about 481 strips (minus a lot of filler and guest strips, granted), it's possible that Zach Miller would be suffering Jim Davis syndrome, and run out of ways to portray the same three characters in the same context. However, perhaps the reason why I and many others keep coming back to JaM is that Miller is both willing and able to take more risks and show the cast not just in their stereotypical roles. Joe may be an idiot most of the time, but he isn't afraid to pick up the megaphone when he needs to make a political statement, and he knows how to use a katana too! Monkey is pretty smart and plays a good character foil to Joe, but he isn't afraid to help Joe out in a pinch. Kleptobot may be the "evil" character of the story, but Miller actually lets him win some of the time, adding even more humorous opportunities.

Art: 4/5 (Very good, but nothing special)
Story: 2/5 (A few story arcs and references to past strips, but mostly gag-a-day strips, not much continuity.)
Humor: 4/5 (Pretty funny, yet simple. Though some in some strips the punchline is too obscure, or just too simplistic to laugh at.)
Action: 3/5 (Some hilarious slapstick humor, like the aforementioned "Wanna Katana?" strip or Joe shooting Monkey with NERF balls)
Characters: 3/5 (Generic "Talking animal smarter than dumbass human" pairing, but the Kleptobot is a real nice touch.)
Overall (not an average): 8/10
Evil Stuff: Cartoon violence, some swearing
Recommendation: Definitely one of the funnier comics on the "Internets." Go read it. NOW.


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