Clair C and the limits of anthropomorphism

25 Apr 2016 |

Clair C is an unusually prolific furry comic artist. She has several long comic collections, including Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon satires, the delirious Unicorn in Black, and her ongoing comedy/adventures The Flying Lion and Mythical Adventures.

Yet perhaps her best work is not a long story, but her collection of one- or two-page comics, published under the title Slices of Something.

Slices of Something is thematically united by its exploration of the boundaries of an anthropomorphic universe. The comics are, to a furry reader, immediately engaging and funny and, to a lay reader, befuddling. Her ideas are subtle enough to feel magical, yet deep enough that the magic doesn't fade when you manage to put your finger on exactly what she's doing.

Clair's default character is an anthro unicorn, with a garish rainbow mane. He is always drawn in a version of today's world, as the magical furry counterpoint to mundane surroundings.

Clair C's unicorn highlights the absurdity of a universe that puts anthros inside our regular world. We furries, or at least a lot of us, exist in a version of this universe, when we fursuit, or roleplay online, seeing ourselves as a furry first (and a human second). Clair plays around at the edges of this fantasy construction; instead of creating an overt contradiction, she lets loose her unicorn everyfur in entirely unmagical roles. So he has the flu, or works behind a nondescript bar in the middle of a forest.

A panel from Slices of Something Vol. 1
A panel from Slices of Something Vol. 1

Clair also likes to explore the inherent contradiction between having anthro and non-anthro animals in the same universe. In one comic, an anthro duck out for a stroll takes a break to toss breadcrumbs into a pond. And an überanthro duck appear, perhaps out for stroll of their own, to toss our anthro some glazed doughnuts.

A panel from Slices of Something Vol. 1
A panel from Slices of Something Vol. 1

This isn't a groundbreaking idea, but it's executed with a lot of restraint. There are no punchlines in Slices of Something, just the introduction of a concept that challenges the very fabric of a furry world, and left alone for the reader to ponder and enjoy.

Another comic has a hamster confused to find himself in a cage with kibbles, a drinking tube, and an exercise wheel. It turns out to be all a dream—he awakes back in anthro form with his partner sleeping nearby—with a huge grin from the memory of the wonderful playground his imagination brought him.

Ultimately, Clair jettisons the hint of a punchline or payoff and just lets her anthros exist in a mundane world. We are all so used to seeing furry characters in stories with a start and finish, or to imagine/roleplay our own characters taking action. By taking furries and letting them be genuinely mundane—conversation at a coffee shop for example—Clair gently pokes at another limitation in an imaginary anthropomorphic universe: that all those furries are always doing something.

A panel from Slices of Something Vol. 1
A panel from Slices of Something Vol. 1

There is a lot more to be discovered in Slices of Something: woolly sheep in the shower, dragons worried about food being undercooked, bunnies playing DDR. It's simple and complex all at once.

All of Clair C's published work, including Slices of Something Vol. 1 & 2, can be bought as a magazine, or a PDF. All Slices of Something strips are available online at Tapastic.

We've written about Clair C before here on [adjective][species]. We interviewed her about her satirical work, and she drew our mascot, RandomWolf, for our third birthday.