Jake the Evil Hare‘s tagline is: What happens when a very bad jackrabbit goes good? Jake is an Anthromorph, or ‘Furry’ if you prefer, which the comic explains in a ‘Secret of NIMH‘ / evil-scientific-experiment-gone-wrong kinda way. He’s also evil and a bit of a dick, fond of random violence and justifying murder to his own satisfaction, but he is the lesser of two evils and moreover trying to change.
This is a story of redemption althought that’s hard to see at first, largely because Jake keeps acting like a dick – an amusing dick but a dick nonetheless. Jake the Evil Hare is a complete lampoon of the Superhero genre and it’s anti-hero protagonist is probably as anti the Marvel-stlye Superhero as you are going to get.
The storytelling starts out a bit shakey and I was tempted to throw in the towel before the end of Chapter 1. But Chapter 2 shows a marked improvement, and I think it’s fair to say the author was finding his feet to begin with. You see Jake the Evil Hare, like my own comic Epic Fail, is a mix of story and humour, so it’s not quite long-form nor gag-a-day. I think the writer initially struggled to find a balance between random jokes and the need to tell a story thus keeping the momentum going. That’s no easy balance and I sympathise, but… yeah… it pretty much starts out with random people who randomly turn up to have random conversations and random fight scenes!
Jump to chapter 2 and you have plot, you have structure, but you don’t lose the humour – there are still plenty of wacky characters and amusing one-liners. I appreciated the geek-culture referances such as the Banana Computer (LOL) and Jake’s immunity to Iocane powder (The Princess Bride is awesome). It was a pleasure to read and magical artifacts are always fun to play with!
The art style works most of the time and overall I like it: It’s cartoony but with enough real anatomy to make the action sequences believable. Jake, in particular, is really well drawn with a lot of energy and movement. Generally I prefer the Anthro characters to the humans, but I guess it’s easier to make them look individual. Some of the human characters look suspitiously similar, for example Paco in Trenton prison looks exactly like Nadine with a beard! Mind you it’s possible this is a future plot point and he’s her evil twin or something…
My main art complaint is that the scale doesn’t seem very consistent. Jake is supposed to be small but he’s rarely seen it relation to other characters and when he is he seems to change size. There are a few other things such as characters speaking offscreen that can make understanding what is happening, and who is talking, unclear. The close-ups, too, appear awkward when the enviroment has not been established; sometimes it looks like the view is teleporting between characters at completely different locations.
JTEH‘s website uses ComicPress – and there’s nothing better for a webcomic in my opinion. The design is solid and the navigation works. There are quite a lot of extras for you to explore and I recommend reading ‘The Story So Far‘ so you can get straight into the story NOW! There’s also a Sketchbook where you can see development drawings for Darkfell, a fantasy comic Sam Medina is planning to do in the future. Personally I’m very excited about it – it sounds just my cup of tea!
But the website can’t escape without a bit of critism – oh, dear me, no! You see it has a big archive (which is good) but no easy way to navigate it (which is bad). I know ComicPress has support for both an archive and chapter navigation so I hope that will be added in the future.