Art Imitates Life

Fun fact: the story arc of strips 219-229 (begins here) was inspired by real-life events.

It all started when my car flooded. I had no idea what to do, and I’m about the least car-savvy person to have a drivers’ license. It would not be an exaggeration to say I lost my shit. Was the car ruined? How expensive would it be to fix? How the hell did I fix it? Could I drive it to a mechanic safely or would I get shocked and die when I turned the ignition?

After multiple panicked freak-outs, I reached out to a few people who all managed to calm me down in their own ways. They gave me their time, their patience, and their knowledge of what parts of cars have electrical wiring.

A waterlogged car isn’t usually the end of the world. But a flooded home might be. In a few years that seemed to see a surreal number of natural disasters, I watched countless efforts for aid. Some were structured and expected, like Direct Relief, but others seemed to materialize out of thin air by sheer force of compassion.

Games Done Quick is one of my favorite charitable organizations. It’s one of the most joyous things the Internet has ever seen and each event is a highlight of my year. The biannual marathons benefit the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders, but the team mobilized a near-instant disaster relief marathon to help the recovery effort after hurricanes in Texas. It also wasn’t the first time people banded together in the name of charity and playing video games really, really fast.

One of the core ideas behind Dog and Bird is that while the critters are studying (and frequently misunderstanding) humans, they’re unknowingly exemplifying the best of humanity. When someone needs help, you give it. That’s just as true to be whether it’s a single person who needs a sympathetic ear in a bout of anxiety or a whole population trying to fight against centuries of oppression.

Few things give me as much hope as humans’ ability to care for each other. So here’s your reminder to care.


I know it’s unusual, but there will be no new comics this week. Things are going to be a little wild over the next few weeks for my various works, so I’ll need a little extra time to get the next arc written and finished up. Normally I’d keep posting the cute fourth-wall fillers, but I think I just need one fewer thing on the ol’ to-do list right now.

But I wouldn’t leave you hanging with nothing happy to look at! So instead of anthropology and puns, I’m sending you to one of the best things I’ve seen on Twitter. It’s the #VisibleWomen hashtag. The campaign started as a way to promote women working in comics, and the latest wave just happened last month. Check out the hashtag for piles of portfolios by wildly talented individuals. I guarantee you will find something that inspires you. And who knows, maybe you’ll stumble on a new favorite comic too.

There have also been similar efforts to get more eyes on other less-represented populations in the field, including both gender and racial identities. #VisibleWomen was the first I saw, but I’m in favor of any moves to improve representation in creative work. So keep both your eyes and your mind open. Who knows what fresh awesomeness you’ll see.

Regularly scheduled critter cuteness will ideally resume on March 13. Til then!

A post about other people

Hey critter fans,

The comic is off this week while I catch up on some work projects. (Yes, that does mean playing lots of video games and yes, it really is for my job). Besides, I have a very definite vision for the next few strips and I want to take the time to do them well.

The story will resume on Aug. 30, but I will not leave you without other cool things to look at and read in the meantime!

I’m fortunate to have many incredibly talented people among my circle of friends. M.S. Khan is one of the sharpest, smartest people I’ve ever met. She wrote a short story called Benjakiti Park that was published in a collection by The Bangkok Women’s Writers Group. Her work there is excellent, but you can read the entire anthology on Amazon.

Sarah Lokay is another delightful human. She’s a freelance illustrator/artist who also has mad animation skills. She also has incredible hair. Take a gander at her stuff on the Twitters  and on Tumblr (fans of Bioware games, take note!).

Enjoy, and see y’all next week!

An Excuse and Some Rad Websites

Hey critter fans,

Sorry to run a filler strip today. But we’ve all had those times where life or travel or work or interruptions get in the way of what we planned to accomplish. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have filler strips for the world outside of webcomics? A chance to put a placeholder down and catch a breather? I could get behind that. So let’s say this strip is actually a nuanced meta commentary on the need to press pause sometimes given the fast-paced nature of our hyper-connected world. Yes. Let’s go with that.

If you do want to look at and read some other fun, exciting stuff on the Internet today, however, I will not disappoint! My friend Keir Briscoe, photographer and adventurer par excellence, has been off on world travels for the past couple months. He’s making the trip with an unusual paper companion and he’s got a knack for meeting really fun people. Fortunately for the rest of us, Keir has been posting thoughts and lots of awesome images from his journey. Share his experience from the comfort of your own laptop at his photo site, his travel blog, or though the #roadtripnick hashtag on Facebook.