On Monday I announced Oaks, my new webcomic that will be hitting the internet on October 27. I also said that I’d spend some time this month introducing you to all the characters, before the series kicks off. I’m a pretty busy lady these days (I’m getting married in 17 days!) so I decided to delegate this task to my trusty companion, Conscience Cat. This morning, CC talks with the Oaks character Alex Rabbit.
Conscience Cat: Thanks for chatting with me.
Alex: Of course. I love chatting. I’m a chatty rabbit.
CC: Breena introduced Oaks as a “comic soap opera”. Does that make you a soap star?
A: Weird, I guess so? I’ve never been a star before. Get my autographed headshots ready!
CC: Is this your first webcomic appearance?
A: Oh yeah, it’s my first appearance anywhere!
CC: Can I get hard hitting for a moment?
CC: You’re a cartoon rabbit. Your pals are other cartoon animals. Do we really need another story about cartoon animals?
A: Well, no one has ever told our story before.
CC: Okay, sure, but let’s look at this. Bugs Bunny. Roger Rabbit. Buster Baxter. Peter Cottontail. Peter Rabbit. Velveteen Rabbit. And those are just the rabbits – that’s to say nothing of other animal buddy stories: Winnie the Pooh, Fantastic Mr. Fox, the Getalong Gang… I could go on!
A: Yeah, but that’s just it – it’s a genre. It’s clearly an effective genre, to see how many animal stories have been told. But that’s it. It’s a shell that we get to fill with our own experiences, our own personalities, our own story.
CC: So, you’re not just a poor-man’s Bugs Bunny.
A: (laughs) I take offense to that. If anything, I’m a poor-man’s Woody.
CC: From Toy Story?
A: Yeah! And he’s not even an animal! But he’s, you know, kind of a ring leader. I look up to him. He doesn’t always make the right decisions, but he’s got a big heart and he really cares about his friends.
CC: And he has a pretty important relationship with a human, his owner Andy. Which is another theme that Oaks touches on. The relationship of the animals with a human.
A: Yeah, I suppose you’ve read ahead a bit, but you’re right. The animals in Oaks – me and my friends – don’t live in a vacuum. We live in a world with ups and downs, joy and pain, and at the end of the day we are still animals, dealing with animal problems. Which includes humans.
CC: In her introduction to the series, Breena claimed that the characters would be “exploring some very human conditions.”
A: Yes, that’s a big part of the story too. On one hand, Oaks is a story about animals who are trying to survive. On the other hand, it’s a story about people who are confronted with all kinds of things that maybe the author is trying to work out in her own life. Love, friendship, fear, loss.
CC: You’re keeping it pretty vague.
A: Well, we want people to tune in.
CC: Alright, so as for your character, you’re a rabbit who wears clothes…
A: Just a necktie! We wear accessories, not clothes. It’s an important distinction.
CC: Okay. And you go to parties. And play cards. What else do you do?
A: Oh, I have my hobbies. I like to do puzzles, read mysteries, go for walks through the forest. Mostly I just like being with my friends.
CC: Tell me about your best friend.
A: That would be my buddy Evan. We go way back. He helped me out of a snare once when we were kids and we’ve been brothers ever since.
CC: He’s a squirrel, right?
CC: Actually, I think he’s my next interview so don’t tell me too much.
A: Ha, okay.
CC: Alright, here’s my final question. Why do you think people should read Oaks?
A: Well, it’s not for everyone of course, but if they’ve gotten this far in the interview and have smiled even once, then it might be up their alley. All I can say is that we [the Oaks cast] have a lot of heart. And we have fun. I think the nice thing about a webcomic compared to a novel is that you get to spend prolonged time with the characters, much like a television show compared to a movie. You get to keep coming back and checking in where everyone is at, and in that way the readers can kind of travel along with the characters and feel like a part of the story. That’s just an endorsement of webcomics in general. Oaks has all that, plus cute animals.
CC: If you do say so yourself.
A: Yeah! But really, it’s a good story. I can say that, since I’m just a character. It’s worth a read. You’re already killing time online anyway, right? So read it!
Check out the premier of Oaks on October 27, and check back here for more of Conscience Cat’s interviews with the characters!