The reign of the lady comics continues! Long live the lady comics! Although Fluffy stars a man and a bunny of unknown gender. Nonetheless! Simone Lia is definitely of the lady persuasion and she wrote the book, and thus, it joins the ranks of the lady comics in my brain. And yes, I have The Beguiling to thank for this one too. I’m starting to feel like their unpaid PR team (my brain and I, we are a team). At least they let me have access to all their books. Mwa ha ha! I am drunk with book power!
… Ahem. Fluffy, yes. My brain recently took on the tiny rabbit known as Fluffy. It’s never really made clear just how Fluffy came to live with Michael or why the ridiculously adorable mammal thinks Michael is its father. The story just starts with Fluffy cozily sleeping in a box in the living room, a box that was clearly specially prepared for Fluffy, all pillows and blankets. Fluffy wakes up to the slamming of a door and rushes out to tell Daddy, “I’m awake!” But runs into thon (bringing back ye olde gender neutral pronouns here!) nursery school teacher hurrying out the door for a walk of shame. So you know, this isn’t your average fuzzy bunny story.
The character of Fluffy is so spot on, written like a toddler who’s had a few too many pixy stix. A *laht* of “why Daddy” and some pooping on the couch, which I guess is where Fluffy and an actual toddler with too much sugar in her system part ways. (Although I don’t know. I haven’t spent too much time with toddlers. Maybe they poop on the couch too. Toddler owners, feel free to school me in the comments.) Lia captures the voice so perfectly that you can practically hear it in your head as you follow Michael and Fluffy on their way home from the library where Fluffy got a book on tractors. The tiny rabbit (wearing a tiny jacket!) chatters away the whole time about how farmers drive their tractors and how Fluffy’s going to drive a tractor one day too. It’s endearing as hell.
And then there is the moment when Michael visibly braces himself, and then turns to Fluffy, “Fluffy. I’m not your real Daddy.” Fluffy protests, but Michael insists, leading to a temper tantrum and Fluffy fleeing the room. All this in the first twenty pages. The rest of the book has Michael trying to deal with the aftermath of sleeping with Fluffy’s nursery school teacher, who gets downright stalker-ish, and also with his family when they go on vacation together in Italy. Fluffy’s interactions with Michael’s family are, like everything else Fluffy does, freaking adorable.
But also poignant, and there’s a sort of bittersweet undercurrent running through the whole book. The fact that Michael really isn’t Fluffy’s dad, that Fluffy knows that deep down, that everyone in the book is just trying to make the best of what’s going on. The fact that Lia manages to create something with such emotional resonance out of a story that stars a bunny that thinks it’s human is kind of incredible to me. I had Fluffy living in my head long after I finished the book.
I think a lot of that has to do with how skillful an artist Lia is. There’s a casualness to the drawings, like she just dashed off a few panels while she was chatting on the phone, like some sort of comic doodling. But the expression she manages to wring out of faces that are nothing more than a few dots belies a real mastery of her craft. She even offers up a dust particle as a commentator later on, and its delight is one hundred percent there on the page (and in my heart!).
Basically, Fluffy is a force of nature. I was sad when the book ended, even with the dust particle returning to tie up any loose ends, like the explanations of what happened to who after the last scene at the end of a TV mini-series. Fortunately, Lia has a new book due out next month, and while I doubt that it will feature another “bunny in denial” (as she refers to Fluffy on her website), I’m sure it will be just as charming and slightly heart-wrenching with the same easy and confident art. As Fluffy would say, “Oh goody!”
PS. Even more goodness is Lia teaching us how to draw bunnies!