I was first introduced to Natasha Allegri‘s Bee and PuppyCat in a rather unlikely place: Facebook Messenger. Having never heard of Allegri’s webseries, I assumed the poofy-haired girl and her cross-looking pet/sidekick were from an aeni or manhwa. It wasn’t until I bought Bee and PuppyCat, Vol. 1 in a Humble Comics Bundle that I found out the history of what’s become one of my favorite comics series.
Allegri rose to fame as part of the Adventure Time crew. Her gender-swapped versions of the series’ protagonists were later featured on the show and in its comics spin-offs as Fionna and Cake. Adventure Time fans will recognize her art style, but those who come to Bee and PuppyCat just for Allegri’s touch are in for a surprise.
Bee and PuppyCat, Vol. 1 features illustrations from 10 artists, including Aimee Fleck and Allegri’s fellow Adventure Time alum, Ian McGinty. Fans of the webseries will be pleased to see familiar faces return in these new escapades, and art nerds will appreciate the graphic novel’s showcase of written and artistic talent.
For readers who are not already familiar with Bee and PuppyCat, some of Vol. 1‘s vignettes may appear to have no place within the larger narrative. The sudden appearance of minor characters Deckard and Cass in “A Fighting Spirit” goes unexplained until the former shows up alongside the title heroes in Coleman Engle’s one-page comic, “Play the Game.” This is not to say that newcomers won’t enjoy Bee and PuppyCat, Vol. 1, just that they may be jarred by sudden introductions of the series’ minor players.
Despite the obvious focus on cosmic comedy and adventure, the first four issues of Bee and PuppyCat offer a look at the banalities of life as seen by an imaginative young woman. Bee isn’t the best at anything, and she often forgets or ignores her responsibilities, not out of malice, but simply because she doesn’t have it all together. In that way, magical animal sidekick or no, she’s just like the rest of us.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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