Review | Red and Rover: Fun’s Never Over
Red and Rover: Fun’s Never Over
By Brian Basset
Andrews McMeel Publishing, June 2022
For ages 8+
There’s something magical about relationship between a child and his dog, and thanks to Fun’s Never Over, the new collection of Brian Basset’s Red and Rover comic strip, we all get to share in the love and humor between best friends Red and his pet Labrador Retriever mix named Rover.
In this first collection of this long-running comic strip, the readers are introduced to ten-year-old Red (AKA Ronald Clampett). He’s a precocious but kind-hearted red-haired boy who dreams of going into outer space, climbing trees, playing baseball, reading comic books, and spending his days daydreaming. What Red wants to do most of all is spend time with his best buddy in the world, his pet dog Rover. Red lives with his parents Carol and Connor as well as his older brother Martin.
Rover is the constant friend in Red’s life. He’s the calm to Red’s storm ever since he rescued Red as a puppy from a speeding truck. Through adventures after school, camp outs, Trick-or-Treating, running a lemonade stand, snowball fights, and more, there’s nothing that the two of them won’t do without each other.
The collection is done in comic strip style with each strip taking up one page. There are mostly stand-alone strips but on occasion there’s a few strips that tell a short adventure such as when Red and Rover decide to camp outside to humorous results. The coloring is simple – mostly red, blue, yellow, and green with white backgrounds.
The series is set in suburbia sometime during the late 1960s to early 1970s, during the time of Brian Basset’s youth. It helps to give the comic strip series a timeless quality, a feeling that life was simpler. The collection focuses mainly on the two main characters with some supporting characters appearing only once in a while. Red’s parents aren’t prominent in the collection but appear on occasion. We’re also introduced to some of Rover’s dog friends and some other kids from the school and neighborhood but they aren’t the focus of the stories. What really shines is the loving relationship between Red and Rover.
Like Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes and Charles Schultz’s Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Red and Rover can talk to each other. Red can hear Rover’s thoughts even though no one else can. Allowing the two of them to communicate helps to give the series a good mix of humor and at times poignant moments as well.
There’s a lot of humor while the two of them discuss a dead fly that has fallen into Rover’s bowl of dog food or when Rover watches Red spit watermelon seeds. Their exchange also helps to give touching moments too such as when Red asks Rover what dog would he like to speak to again in the whole wide world and Rover replies that he’d love to see his mother. It’s a touching balance that gives the series a whole lot of heart and is the perfect introduction to dog lovers and younger readers to Basset’s ongoing comic strip.
About Mike Pawuk
Mike Pawuk has been a teen services public librarian for the Cuyahoga County Public Library for over 15 years. A lifelong fan of comic books and graphic novels, he was chair for the 2002 YALSA all-day preconference on graphic novels, served as a judge for the Will Eisner Awards in 2009, as well as helped to create the Great Graphic Novels for Teens selection committee for YALSA. He is the author of Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More, and co-author of the follow-up book Graphic Book II both published by Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO Publishing.
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