Review: Dume


Let me preface this week’s review by saying that the place I work had a big fund-raising event over the weekend—the night before Daylight Savings Time, choir rehearsal, and a handful of other activities. So while no alcohol was involved for yours truly, there was still enough running about and acting energetic that I’m running on fumes. So if this review comes off as something of a wreck, it’s just art imitating life.

I’m an Ohioan, born and bred, which says the following about me:

  • I grew up surrounded by history, mosquitoes, and Amish folk.
  • My classmates had names like Frajter, Slepko, and Rzeszotarski, but somehow spelling “Shepherd” was beyond anyone’s grasp.
  • I think of Cleveland as a major metropolitan area, no matter how much this makes people laugh.
  • I have a love-hate relationship with Nature, which is sometimes adorable and placid . . . but also has a disturbing tendency to devour the garden, dig up the foundations of various outbuildings, leave “presents” for people to step in, fling itself under the bumper or at the windshield with wild abandon, and get itself trapped in the dumpster where it caterwauls for help.

One animal particularly adept at the dumpster-diving arts is the raccoon. So prevalent and hilarious is the raccoon in the area around my hometown that the whole county takes its name from the local native word for the little fuzzy bandits.

So when a friend directed me to read Dume, on account of one main character being a raccoon from Ohio, how could I resist? Well, as Randall the raccoon himself states, the real protagonist (and title character) is Dume, a chubby otter who was raised by hippie sandpipers and splits his time between sport and harassing his roommate in implausible ways.

And really, that’s just about the whole plot right there: The Odd Couple with surfboards. Sure, there’s a twitchy barista and the Little Red-Haired (fox) Girl, but most of the jokes revolve around Dume bothering Randall with his cheese-monkey randomness.* He even winds up with another character to provide the crazy when Dume’s just not enough.

The art, at least, is pleasant enough and consistent from one strip to the next. Sometimes it’s even self-referential. Some of the jokes and facial expressions remind me of Bloom County, for whatever reason, but not enough to set off any warnings. And sometimes it’s fun to see how far they can stretch things.

Of course, Dume hasn’t updated in close to six months now, having come to a halt just after an author-insert comic. I’m not sure whether to take that as Jonas and Rayce running out of ideas, time, or enthusiasm. Perhaps they’re merely taking a break until better waves come along.

Comic Rating: three hefty piles of neurosis.

* Sometimes, Jonas and Rayce do it to us instead for a change of pace.

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