I must admit, when I first saw the title of this webcomic (PussyOwl), I was a little skeptical about what I might find upon visiting. My fears were unwarranted though, as this comic is delightful, not dirty.
The comic follows an owl and a cat as they drift about the ocean in a small boat. If you think that would limit the type of shenanigans these two adventurers could get into, you would be quite wrong. All manner of hilarity ensues, and the setting changes frequently enough so as not to become repetitive. Some strips are pretty much gag-a-day, but there are enough recurring themes and sub-characters that there is some semblance of continuity that gives mini-stories enough pull to keep you coming back for more.
At first, I thought creator Stuart Wood’s writing was a bit…simplistic. I suppose it was a strange contrast to what I considered to be quite excellent aesthetics (especially backgrounds, coloring and gradient work – all of which are exceptional). However, upon further reflection, I believe that is what gives PussyOwl its particularly charming appeal; the writing is as complex (or not, rather) as it needs to be, and the pacing of panels and punchlines lure you in and end up deceptively funny. These qualities are reflected in character body language; often subtle changes make all the difference in conveying the scene. Not to put too fine a point on this line of thinking, but the practiced restraint is one of the most endearing qualities of the comic. This is balanced by the sometimes…unconventional panel arrangements, which are both unexpected and delightful.
As for things I didn’t care for, the list is actually quite short, and only one has to do with the comic itself, which is where I’ll start. Some of the most recent strips have employed a great deal more white-space than earlier strips. Normally, having so much breathing room is a welcome change, but for some reason, perhaps because of how detailed backgrounds tend to be, I felt things were a little too spread out. Just a thought. The other two things have more to do with the site. First, the domain name is, as I said, a little mis-leading. When you read pussyowl.com for the first time, well, maybe I am just demented but a lot of non-savory thoughts came to mind that had nothing to do with a webcomic I was about to like. Not much to be done there, given how much brand-equity I’m sure the name has. Second, I absolutely detest how you navigate through the comic. The whole reading backwards, with the latest strips on the homepage, but the archive starts on archive page one and the oldest strips are on the bottom thing drove me nuts! With so many comics employing comic-press, perhaps we are all just spoiled, but if there was one thing I would fix, it would be that!
All in all a trip through the archive will be well worth your time.