Over The Hedge is one of the many newspaper comic strip collections published by Andrews McMeel and one I was unfamiliar with until now (there are only so many comic strips your local paper can carry). Although this is a fairly funny and charming strip, Over The Edge and the fourth collection, Stuffed Animals fails to really impress me.
This comic strip by Michael Fry and T. Lewis is the story of Verne the turtle and R.J. the raccoon whose habitat has been taken over by suburbia. Consequently, they have to make do with what they can scrounge from various houses and this leads to sometimes interesting observations about human foibles. This is where the strip doesn't quite live up to expectations. The observations are not fresh and interesting enough to make Verne and R.J. stand out.
The humans who now live in R.J. and Verne's neighborhood are definitely weird and rely, it seems, on massive amounts of junk food the animals are more than happy to pilfer.
In addition to Verne and R.J., Over The Hedge features a few local animals like a crazy squirrel and a human tot (standard comic strip practice, it's in the perfect cartoonist's manual somewhere on page 1) to add to the gag possibilities. The most interesting aspect of Over The Hedge is the Tree That Knows Everything and the panels involving it. This gets particularly interesting when the tree starts to think it does not know everything.
Again, although some strips are funny enough overall this is not a great comic strip collection. Story-wise this comic strip is solid enough but the panel gags are not particularly consistent. As a collection, Over The Hedge Stuffed Animals is for fans only.
Dreamworks will release the animated movie version of Over The Hedge May 19, 2006