Planet Saturday is a Web comic that can be found at www.planetsaturday.com. It's a freebie and well worth checking out. This volume, asking price $12.95, collects the first group of those cartoons--about 78 pages worth, as well as a few pages of preliminary sketches and notes about the stories.
The tales last about two to three pages: measuring a quick pace for the setup of the joke, the body, and the punchline. On occasion, an epic will last ten pages, but no story wears out its welcome, and there are no advertisements.
The stories are all based upon true-life occurrences discovered while parenting. The characters include a middle-aged father named Emory and his daughter, Dot, both at various stages in their lives.
The story "Tick" describes one of the more personal episodes. Here Kane reveals a specific lingo his toddler daughter created and how her age-appropriate obsession led to a frustrating afternoon.
"Loud" frames the war between the generations, with Emory deciding to act his age in a weird rebellious way while decrying the way Dot, now a little girl, acts just like his younger self.
Kane hones a unique style of cartooning that captures emotion, body language, and characterization. "Fight or . . ." exemplifies the illusion of animation in four panels. The bully's threat comes in the first panel. He rolls up his sleeve in the second panel. He winds back his fist in the third panel. Thanks to the twist, he registers surprise in the fourth panel.
Dot's exertion and Emory's exaggerated exhaustion in "Cold Weather" is obvious thanks to Kane's skills. In that same story he shows a flair for realism. Emory's usually drawn as a bulbous-nosed, pie-bald man whose skull shape resembles something like an upturned rounded flask, but when Emory demonstrates "squinching" he looks like a neighbor.
Kane has studied cartoon history. He uses the flexibility of the medium to better his craft and his gags. Dot grows up real fast in one tale. Metaphors become visual reality in others. Wild takes break the general design of the series, and these nuances make the comic strip more novel.
When I read the promotional copy for this book, I have to admit to rolling my eyes. I expected insider parenting humor--the kind of harmless unfunny stuff that thrives on sit-coms. Instead, these charming, amusing and occasionally absurd stories made me grin throughout. A couple of moments I laughed aloud. The artwork only enhances the comedy.
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