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Review: ‘Anna & Froga: Fore!’

fore!Anna & Froga: Fore!
Writer/artist: Anouk Ricard
Drawn & Quarterly; $14.95

Let’s see, if we start with 2012’s Wanna Gumball?, this is the fourth collection of Anouk Ricard’s Anna & Froga comics that Drawn & Quarterly have published on their Enfant imprint, which makes the sub-title–”Fore!”–all the more appropriate.

That title, and the cover illustration just below it, comes from the story “Mini Golf,” in which little girl Anna, frog in rain boots Froga, cat Ron, and Richard Scarry-esque dog Bubu play mini-golf. The self-important Bubu causes trouble as usual, first by transparently cheating, and then by using his putter like a driver, explaining he’s so used to real golf that he forgot to adjust to the course.

While this may be the fourth book in the series, one need not have read any of the others to enjoy it, as these books are all full of short, standalone comics stories of four pages in length, each a different variation of a circle of five friends–in addition to those mentioned above, there’s also a very large, semi-anthropomorphic worm named Christopher–hanging out and engaging in some sort of fun, leisure activity that leads to gentle character conflict and humor.

So, for example, here they attend Christopher’s piano recital (he and nine other worms all share the bench and play the same piano simultaneously, if you’re wondering how that works), they visit a restaurant, they go swimming in a public school, they pick cherries, they hold a garage sale, and they experiment with fashion.

While funny, Ricard’s comics aren’t exactly gag comics in the traditional sense. They don’t spend their entire time building to a single punchline or pay-off. Rather, the humor is all character-driven, and the humor comes organically from the characters’ interaction with one another and whatever situation they find themselves within.

As with the previous volumes, the comics are all broken up with large, two-page paintings, featuring an additional joke related to the stories that precede them.

If Fore! is the number one Anna & Froga book you’ve read, then you’re in for a treat. If it’s number two, three or four, well, you’re still in for a treat, but you already know what to expect.

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J. Caleb Mozzocco About J. Caleb Mozzocco

J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.

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