Kevin and Kell

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Not to be confused with Kenan & Kel.
Kevin and Kell
Author(s) Bill Holbrook
Website http://www.kevinandkell.com/
Current status / schedule Updating daily
Launch date September 3, 1995
Genre(s) Furry/Comedy

Kevin and Kell is a furry comedy webcomic strip by syndicated cartoonist Bill Holbrook. The strip began on September 3, 1995.[1] It is one of the oldest continuously running webcomics.

The strip centers on the mixed marriage between a rabbit, Kevin and a grey wolf, Kell Dewclaw. In their society, their major difference is their diet: Kevin is a herbivore and Kell is a carnivore. Their family includes three children: Lindesfarne, a hedgehog adopted from Kevin's first marriage; Rudy, a wolf/fox hybrid born during Kell's first marriage; and their only biological child Coney, a carnivorous rabbit.[2] The comic's plot revolves around species-related humor, satire, and interpersonal conflict.

Kevin and Kell receives over three million page views per month and is published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.[3][4] Holbrook has won honors from the Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards and the Ursa Major Awards for the strip.[5][6]

Setting[edit]

Kevin and Kell takes place in a town known as Domain, populated entirely by animals. The comic describes the world they live in as created by an organization of birds, commonly referred to by fans of the strip as the "Great Bird Conspiracy" (GBC). Birds were the next species after humans to reach sapience. After humans left the planet, the birds traveled back in time to create a world without humans, and gave intelligence to fauna. However, their plan fails to remove predator-prey relationships. As a result, the world created is similar to that of twenty-first century Earth, but with a greater likelihood of a violent death.[7]

The society in Kevin and Kell rather than identifying people by race or social class has class distinctions based on diet such as "carnivores", "herbivores", and "insectivores".[8] There is also a "Wild" where civilized animals can leave civilization and act like normal animals, walking on all fours and not wearing clothing.[9] Predation is central to strips and jokes are made about it being commonplace.[10]

Humans exist in an alternate Domain, and are referred to as creatures with no natural defenses. Most believe that they are fictional creatures; but a few, including the Dewclaws, know that they exist. This is developed further in 2003 by the introduction of the character Danielle, a human who enters the animal world via the Bermuda Triangle and transforms into a rabbit.[11][12] However, she later has a son, Francis, who is born human. The series features jokes on a variety of topics. Many draw satirical parallels between its world and ours, making fun and sometimes social commentary on politics, sports, society, class-snobbery, school, technology, pop culture and corporate culture, for example; in January 2008 the Predator's Union was described as going on strike, in a parody of the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike.[13]

Main characters[edit]

The strip's main characters are the Dewclaws, a blended family as a result of an interspecies marriage. The comic's primary characters are Kevin Dewclaw, a rabbit, and his wife Kell Dewclaw, a wolf. They met in a web forum for carnivores, where Kevin was "lurking".[14] They began to fall in love, but it was not until they met each other in person that Kell discovered Kevin was a rabbit. The relationship they developed online leads them to continue dating and eventually marry, despite knowing that they would be outcasts from the rest of society.[2][15]

Originally, Kevin worked as a sysop on a herbivore web forum,[16] although he's currently the co-owner of his own internet service provider, Hare-Link.[17] Kell worked for Herd-Thinners, a company that hunts down prey. Her job is to hunt down other animals. Originally she hunted down her own prey. Any prey not eaten by her is later sold in grocery stores as "processed meat". She later became an executive and then CEO of the company[18] , taking over from her old boss R.L., a ruthless wolf whose face is never seen apart from his drooling mouth, only to be pushed out later in a bloodless coup by R.L. and is now currently running her own start-up company, Dewclaw's Fine Meat Products[19] that exclusively doesn't hunt rabbits.

The couple has three children. The eldest is Lindesfarne Dewclaw, an English hedgehog daughter Kevin adopted during his first marriage.[20] The second eldest child is Rudy, Kell's son from her first marriage to a fox. Rudy, a talented artist, once challenged Kevin for the position of alpha male, unable to accept a rabbit as head of the household and as his stepfather.[21] He has since matured and has come to terms with the marriage. The youngest child is Coney, a carnivorous rabbit and their only child by birth. Although only five years old, she is a capable hunter, though Kevin's mother, Dorothy, keeps trying to make her into an herbivore,[22] as well having an artistic streak like her half-brother,[23][24]

Other regular characters include Fenton Fuscus, a bat who went to high school and university with Lindesfarne, to whom he is now married; Fiona Fennec, a half-red, half-Fennec fox vixen who is Rudy's girlfriend; George Fennec, Fiona's father who is married to Danielle, a sister of Kevin, and have a human son, Francis (the first of its kind in this world)since Danielle herself was human once; and Ralph Dewclaw, Kell's brother who was originally hostile to Kevin, but now accepts the rabbit as family after several unsuccessful hunting attempts. He now works for Kevin as part of Hare-Link and is married to George's former wife Martha.[25] Another is Daisy, a daisy plant made intelligent by the GBC. It lives with the Dewclaws as a pet, having the same intelligence as a dog or cat in our world.[26]

Characters and cast[edit]

History[edit]

Kevin and Kell was one of the first comic strips to be syndicated online, although older webcomics exist. For example, Argon Zark! was created on June 1995, three months before Kevin and Kell.[27] However, Holbrook was the first syndicated cartoonist to invest heavily in online comic strips. T Campbell wrote that Holbrook brought "an air of legitimacy and professionalism that many web cartoonists lacked then and still lack now."[28]

The strip started in black and white, changing to a color-scheme on June 23, 2000.[29] It is colored by husband and wife team Terrence and Isabel Marks.[2] The strip has been considered for an animated television series,[30] the latest attempt being filmed in Spring 2011.[31] Kevin and Kell has appeared daily in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since January 2004, after winning a contest where several new comics, (syndicated and/or on-line) were considered and voted on by readers; Holbrook has stated that this constitutes the "bulk of his readership", citing the paper's circulation.[4][32] In 2009, Kevin and Kell survived a cull of several comic strips from the paper. In an online poll, the strip was voted as the favourite of readers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.[33][34]

Holbrook currently writes two other strips; On the Fastrack and Safe Havens. He uses a "three-week schedule", saying in several interviews, "During this week, for instance, I'll be writing three-week's worth of Fastrack material, and drawing the 21 gags I wrote for Kevin & Kell last week. Next week I'll write for Safe Havens while drawing the Fastrack batch. And on it goes… On a typical day I'll begin by writing four gags by 2:00, then I'll begin drawing, usually doing about four strips. At night, after everyone goes to bed, I'll write two gags."[35][36]

In 1998, Holbrook was named "Cartoonist of the Year" at Pogofest, in part for his work on Kevin and Kell.[37] In 2001, the strip won the award for "Best Anthropomorphic Comic" at the Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards,[5] and was nominated for the same award in 2002.[38] In 2003, Kevin and Kell won the award for "Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip" at the Ursa Major Awards.[6]

Supplemental Internet non-Comic-Strip content[edit]

Kevin and Kell has become more than just a webcomic. It has branched out into three other popular social network mediums (a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter channel), with several of its characters ostensibly participating:

Lindesfarne’s Blog: Virtual Quill[edit]

Since February 2006, Lindesfarne has had her own blog titled “Virtual Quill.” Originally, she was posting it as a sort of private journal, using the interdimensional portal to make sure that if it were ever seen by others, it would only be seen by humans from her native dimension (namely, our world), not the dimension she's called home for the vast majority of her life. She would post generally once a week, talking about the various events in her life and those of her friends and family, providing additional information and insights into what was shown on the strip. Many fans commented back to her as if she were a real person, but she couldn’t see those comments at first because her interdimensional Internet connection was one-way (write-only).

But beginning on Sunday, July 27, 2008, she activated a "portal receiver" that enabled her to, for the first time, read the comments on her blog, and post comments back to the readers.[39] Since then, she has shared the existence of this interdimensional blog to some of her closest family and friends, some of whom have also posted comments (though only Lindesfarne herself posts main entries). As with any other prolonged contact with humans, instinct loss soon sets in, so Lindesfarne must of necessity limit her participation to only one day per week (usually on Sundays). There has even been participation from characters in other strips set in other dimensions that have had crossovers with Kevin and Kell.

The blog has since moved from being hosted on the webcomic's servers to Tumblr.

Catherine Aura's Twitter channel[edit]

Shortly after Lindesfarne had discovered her true origin as a human, Rudy's former schoolteacher Catherine Aura (a turkey buzzard) and her young son Nigel used an interdimensional portal to travel to "our" world permanently, taking both Lindesfarne's and Danielle's places there to restore the balance and cure the global instinct loss crisis that would otherwise have forced both of them to return to the world of humans permanently. Since the portal transforms travelers into a sapient species found in the destination world (which is how Lindesfarne became a hedgehog and Danielle a rabbit, though both were born humans in "our" world and had counterparts of those other species in the Kevin and Kell world), travelers from that world usually transform into humans, but Catherine and her son transformed into dolphins instead (indicating that dolphins are, in fact, sapient, and perhaps more so than humans). That was the last time they were seen in the webcomic strip.

However, the adventures of Catherine and Nigel are available via Catherine's Twitter channel. She posts updates about what she and Nigel are doing, which include covertly monitoring the activities of a certain human code-named "Subject A" who appears to be psychically connected to the world of Kevin and Kell as well as of another mostly human world in which the King Features-syndicated comic strips On the Fastrack and Safe Havens are set. "Subject A" is noted to be writing and drawing three comic strips for both worlds (based on his presumed psychic connection to them), making it plain that he is, in fact, none other than cartoonist Bill Holbrook himself. She and Nigel are having other adventures as well, including finally transforming into humans to better monitor events in our society. She has married a human sea captain, and now has a daughter, Ursala, who is a bear-like human child. Recently, she has been dealing with a conspiracy by rogue birds who wish to seize the portal by violence, and to re-establish bird control over the "Kevin and Kell" world.

Rudy Dewclaw's Facebook Page[edit]

Since February 12, 2012, Rudy Dewclaw has had his own Facebook [1] page, usually consisting of witty comments and links to the daily strips and other visuals from the Kevin and Kell website.

Reception[edit]

Since its creation, Kevin and Kell been mainly been given positive reviews, although there has also been some criticism. Resident Zompist.com comic reviewer "Bob" praises the way the comic is written and illustrated, and its dealings with difficult issues such as divorce and death. However, he criticizes its suburban nature, saying: "All the family crises are defused within a week or two. No one has any aspirations besides a computer-related job and a quiet heterosexual romance. There seem to be no cities, no foreign nations, no art, no teenage sex."[40] Another review from Disjointed Ramblings comments on the use of satire in the comic, writing that "while the satire is usually gentle, there's plenty of it."[41]

Brandon Sanderson's review in The Official Time Waster's Guide cites the comic's world design, longevity and a discomforting setting where intelligent animals are killed as strengths. However, Sanderson also complained that Holbrook does not enforce this aspect in the main characters, saying, "While Kell, Rudy, and others make kills every day, none of the main character herbivores ever really have to worry about being stalked and killed. When they are threatened (such as when Lindesfarne is stalked by some cougars near the beginning of the comic's run),[42] the enemy predators are presented as dark, evil things to be defeated.…This sense of careless, off-handed killing gives the comic a lot of its humor—however, to maintain that air of humor, Bill never allows the society to work its everyday worst on any of the main characters."[43]

During a review in webcomic podcast Digital Strips, commentator Daku describes Kevin and Kell as "one of the few anthropomorphic strips that I actually like," saying that "this is as if animals had a society." Zampzon praises the quality of the artwork, but complains that the strip relies on too many animal jokes.[44]

Kevin and Kell and Holbrook are both popular within the furry fandom. Holbrook was first contacted by the fandom in late 1995, soon after the strip was published. He attended his first furry convention, ConFurence, in January 1997. Holbrook holds an annual "Kevin and Kell patron social" at Anthrocon for people who sponsor the strip.[36] Holbrook also works occasionally with other cartoonists, both furry and non-furry, and characters from his strip make cameos in other strips. Examples include Ozy and Millie,[45] General Protection Fault,[46] PartiallyClips,[47] and Schlock Mercenary.[48]

Products[edit]

The front cover of the first Kevin and Kell book, "Quest for Content".

There are 19 books containing collections of Kevin and Kell strips, including bonus strips. They are currently published by Holbrook's own publishing label Pencil Rough Productions,[49] with older books originally published by Plan 9 Publishing.[50]

# Name ISBN
1 Quest for Content ISBN 0-9660676-0-6
2 Seen Anything Unusual? ISBN 0-9660676-1-4
3 Accepting Domestication ISBN 0-9660676-6-5
4 Run Free! ISBN 0-9660676-9-X
5 For the Birds ISBN 1-929462-18-2
6 Election Night Fever ISBN 1-929462-29-8
7 Booth Bunnies ISBN 1-929462-26-3
8 Carrots & Sticks (Hardcover & Soft cover) ISBN 1-929462-30-1
9 Straight Outta Computers (Hardcover & Soft cover) ISBN 1-929462-87-5
10 Oh, the Humanity ISBN 1-929462-65-4
11 Iron Rabbit ISBN 1-929462-07-7
12 Yo Momma ISBN 1-929462-79-4
13 Pregnant Paws ISBN 978-0-9748915-2-1
14 Rules of Engagement ISBN 978-1-9395440-4-9
15 On Strike! ISBN 978-1-9395440-5-6
16 Honeymoon 2.0 ISBN 978-1-9395440-6-3
17 Alpha Female ISBN 978-1-9395440-7-0
18 Predator Camp ISBN 978-1-9395441-0-0
19 Mouscar ISBN TBA
Treasury 1 Historic Kevin & Kell ISBN 978-0-9748915-7-6
Treasury 2 The Great Bird Conspiracy ISBN 978-1-9395440-9-4

A role-playing game based on Kevin and Kell was released in July 2005 by Comstar Games.[51] Hare Link, the Internet Service Provider run by Kevin, is a real-life ISP available at www.harelink.biz.[52]

In November 2010, a Kevin and Kell iPhone/iPod/iPad application was released to the iTunes App Store.[53] The app is a joint product between the developers of the app, WareTo, and Bill Holbrook. Rather than selling a limited number of strips, this app allows users to read the entire Kevin & Kell library of cartoons. The app also contains additional features and content including video, cast descriptions, and hidden surprise "easter eggs."

According to Write 2 Now's December 2010 newsletter, Holbrook and Phil Rogers are working to get the strip made into an animated cartoon series, with a pitch to cable executives, but as of this writing no deal has been made.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holbrook, Bill (September 3, 1995). "The first strip". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  2. ^ a b c Kohler, Chris. "The Story Behind Kevin and Kell". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-11-09. 
  3. ^ Reynolds, John (September 6, 2007). "How many people see K&K every day?". The Unofficial Kevin and Kell FAQ. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  4. ^ a b Markstein, Don. "Kevin and Kell". Toonopedia. Retrieved 2007-11-09. 
  5. ^ a b "2001 Winners and Nominees". Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards. February 19, 2001. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  6. ^ a b "Award Winners 2003". Ursa Major Awards. Retrieved 2007-11-09. 
  7. ^ Reynolds, John (September 6, 2007). "What is the Great Bird Conspiracy (GBC)?". The Unofficial Kevin and Kell FAQ. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  8. ^ Holbrook, Bill (February 2, 1998). "Odd Couple. There are support groups for everything..". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  9. ^ Holbrook, Bill (June 12, 1997). "The Wild. Rudy is running away from civilization.". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  10. ^ Holbrook, Bill (July 17, 1997). "Carnivore Shopping. The grocery stores are different.". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  11. ^ Holbrook, Bill (October 11, 2003). "Portal. Danielle crosses over". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  12. ^ Holbrook, Bill (October 12, 2003). "Transported. The GBC is in charge.". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  13. ^ Holbrook, Bill (December 31, 2007). "Predator strike!". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  14. ^ Holbrook, Bill (September 4, 1995). "The first daily strip: how our heroes met and fell in love online.". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  15. ^ Zampzon and Daku (November 27, 2005). Digital Strips: Show 48 (mp3) (Podcast). Digital Strips. Event occurs at 8.30. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  16. ^ Holbrook, Bill (September 12, 1995). "Intense threads on the Herbivore Forum.". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  17. ^ Reynolds, John (September 6, 2007). "What is Flea-Bay? What is Mating_call.com? What is HareLink?". The Unofficial Kevin and Kell FAQ. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  18. ^ Reynolds, John (September 6, 2007). "What is Herd-Thinners?". The Unofficial Kevin and Kell FAQ. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  19. ^ http://kevinandkell.com/2012/kk1008.html
  20. ^ Reynolds, John (September 6, 2007). "Who is Lindesfarne?". The Unofficial Kevin and Kell FAQ. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  21. ^ Reynolds, John (September 6, 2007). "Who is Rudy?". The Unofficial Kevin and Kell FAQ. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  22. ^ Holbrook, Bill (September 18, 2007). "Coney's Garden.". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  23. ^ http://kevinandkell.com/2011/kk0731.html
  24. ^ Reynolds, John (September 6, 2007). "Who is Coney?". The Unofficial Kevin and Kell FAQ. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  25. ^ Reynolds, John (September 6, 2007). "Who is Ralph Dewclaw?". The Unofficial Kevin and Kell FAQ. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  26. ^ Reynolds, John (September 6, 2007). "Who is Daisy?". The Unofficial Kevin and Kell FAQ. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  27. ^ Parker, Charley. "About Argon Zark!". Argon Zark!. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  28. ^ Campbell, T (November 2003). "The Stone Age (The History of Online Comics: Part 3)". Comixtalk. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  29. ^ Holbrook, Bill (June 23, 2000). "Color! Social services visits.". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-11-09. 
  30. ^ Reynolds, John (September 6, 2007). "Is there any chance of an Animated K&K Television series?". The Unofficial Kevin and Kell FAQ. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  31. ^ "Newsletter". Write 2 Now. December 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  32. ^ Holbrook, Bill. "Holiday". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-12-18. 
  33. ^ "Poll brings two comic strips back to fold". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. January 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  34. ^ TheChainedWolf (January 19, 2009). "Kevin and Kell are in the papers". FurteanTimes.com. Retrieved 2009-01-19. [dead link]
  35. ^ "Ten Questions with Bill Holbrook of Kevin and Kell". Comixtalk. October 2004. Retrieved 2007-12-18. 
  36. ^ a b Geusz, Phil (September–October 2006). "Guess who's coming to dinner? Phil Geusz interviews Bill Holbrook". Anthro. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  37. ^ Ficca, Donielle (November 12, 2007). "Ah, Love ... Between a Rabbit and a Wolf? Bill Holbrook". Sequential Tart. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  38. ^ "2002 Winners and Nominees". Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards. February 19, 2002. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  39. ^ "Virtual Quill – Entries from July 2008". kevinandkell.com. July 27, 2008. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  40. ^ "Bob's Comic Reviews – Bill Holbrook: Kevin and Kell". zompist.com. October 2000. Retrieved 2007-11-09. 
  41. ^ sQuonk (April 2, 2006). "Kevin and Kell: One of the classics". Disjointed Ramblings. Retrieved 2007-12-18. [dead link]
  42. ^ Holbrook, Bill (July 10, 1996). "Cry for Help. Lindesfarne's in big trouble!". Kevin and Kell. Retrieved 2007-11-17. 
  43. ^ Sanderson, Brandon (April 12, 2004). "Kevin and Kell". Time Wasters Guide. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  44. ^ Zampzon and Daku (November 27, 2005). Digital Strips: Show 48 (mp3) (Podcast). Digital Strips. Event occurs at 12:50. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  45. ^ Simpson, D. C. (April 1, 2000). "April Fools Day strip, by Bill Holbrook". Ozy and Millie. Retrieved 2007-12-20. [dead link]
  46. ^ Darlington, Jeffery T. (January 26, 2004). "GPF Archive: Monday, January 26, 2004". General Protection Fault. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  47. ^ Balder, Robert T. (August 28, 2005). "Empty Nightclub". PartiallyClips. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  48. ^ Tayler, Howard (September 21, 2001). "Name That Cameo, PART III!". Schlock Mercenary. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  49. ^ Thechainedwolf (May 11, 2009). "New Books Out from Newshounds and Kevin & Kell". FurteanTimes.com. Archived from the original on 28 June 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  50. ^ "Plan Nine Publishing - Kevin & Kell". Plan 9 Publishing. Archived from the original on October 21, 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  51. ^ "Kevin And Kell: The Roleplaying Game". comstar-games.com. Comstar Games. August 5, 2006. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  52. ^ "Hare Link Homepage". Hare Link. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  53. ^ "Kevin & Kell for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store". Apple Computer. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 

External links[edit]