Friday Funnies Presents: Dick Duck, Duck Dick #14> Jim Engel

First appeared in The Comic Reader #179, April 1980

Jim Engel: Nothing more dramatic in comics than killing your lead character, right? And introducing (if only verbally) his long lost love on the same page…
I said last time I’d name the Doc, and explain his name… Richard Adams’ “WATERSHIP DOWN” is my favorite book (well, it vies with “THE LORD OF THE RINGS” for that title). My being a “Funny Animal Cartoonist” has a lot to do with my lifelong love of animals, and anthropomorphic animal characters in books, comics, cartoons, etc…

WATERSHIP DOWN is an epic story about a band of rabbits leaving their doomed warren in England, and traversing the countryside to find a new home. I can’t recommend it to anyone reading this highly enough (and I can’t discourage you from seeing the abysmal animated adaptation strongly enough). My love of W.D. and adams took me naturally to another of his books– “THE PLAGUE DOGS”, another anthropomorphic animal epic. To quote Wikipedia: “This book tells of the escape of two dogs, Rowf and Snitter, from a government research station in the Lake District in England, where they had been horribly mistreated. They live on their own with help from a fox, or “tod,” who speaks to them in a Geordie dialect. After the starving dogs attack some sheep on the fells, they are reported as ferocious man-eating monsters by a journalist. A great dog hunt follows, which is later intensified with the fear that the dogs could be carriers of a dangerous bioweapon, such as the bubonic plague.” The “research center” is where Rowf & Snitter are experimented on daily–Rowf drowned (nearly) over and over, and Snitter having his brain probed & poked, giving him delusions & visions. Snitter was one of those characters you can’t forget, and the doc in DD,DD was my little tribute to great character and book (and a lousy cartoon).

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