That Monkey Tune, Michael A. Kandalaft / by Spandexless

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by Nick Chidgey

That Monkey Tune is a prime example of webcomics at their best, which is, ironically, when its being something else. Taking a cue from classic newspaper comic strips, That Monkey Tuneemploys a daily 3 panel gag strip format, with a larger Sunday strip, just like in the funny papers. In fact, the strip is syndicated in papers across the US as well as being published online.

While navigating the strip's October archive,  its slick and simple presentation makes me almost forget that I'm not reading this on the New York Times website's comics section. Too often when reading webcomics, it's easy to be put off by bad website layout. That Monkey Tune spares us the headache.

The set-up is standard fare for a comic strip, following two talking monkeys living amongst humans, though the monkeys are like children in many ways. Despite this, the humans don't seem to be any the wiser.

The deceptively sparse three-panel daily gag strip is widely considered  to be one of the hardest tasks to accomplish in sequential art, as the pacing and timing required will take its toll on even the best of cartoonists. Each strip must be structured to fit within the golden rule of comedy of "everything comes in threes."

This strip displays an occasional snarky sense of humor, while still maintaining a certain innocence in its fun. And though not as witty (though still somewhat similar in tone) as something like Get Fuzzy, it certainly has its moments.

As for the art, its got a style of its own, yet still with a sense of familiarity, as if it belongs on the same shelf as Dilbert. And as much as I loathe the oft-abused word "cute," which is usually used as a dismal, mildly annoying and crudely done drawing your five-year-old might have made at school today (apologies to all the mothers of the world), in this instance, "cute", in the good, actual sense of the word is really the best way to describe my initial impression of That Monkey Tune. It is certainly a nice, fun way to start your morning at work with a good giggle or two.

TL; DR That Monkey Tune is a stellar example of the three panel comic strip. It works both as a webcomic and as a syndicated newspaper strip both because of its wit and its classic artistic style. Overall, it is "cute" in the best sense of the word. It will give your morning warm fuzzies.

That Monkey Tune is written and drawn by Michael Al Kandalaft. It can be read online or you can purchase Ready, Set, Go! the new collection, on Amazon. If you would like to see That Monkey Tune in your paper, you can contact the author through his website.


Nick Chidgey is a contributor for Spandexless.com