Like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the webcomic Love Me Nice is set in a world where Toons live among us as a separate race. But it focuses more on the emotional consequences of a culture so focused on making cartoons.
Amanda Lafrenais' Love Me Nice opens, appropriately enough, on the set of the "Mac the Monkey" show, a remake of a classic cartoon with a storied and tragic history. From here, we're introduced to Mac T. Monkey Jr., who has stepped into his father shoes in the starring role; Claire Domani, Mac's manager/girlfriend; and Carolina, Mac's canine co-star who literally has stars in her puppy-dog eyes.
Life behind the scenes at a children's show provides the perfect opportunity to explore the politics of Toon culture. Carolina was raised by normally-proportioned humans, and finds herself thrust into a world she doesn't begin to understand. Claire grew up dreaming of becoming a Toon star, only to grow into a body better suited to more adult cartoons. Other characters cope with the strange duality of being cartoon stars with real – and not always happy – lives.
This Toon-filled universe invites necessary comparisons to Roger Rabbit, but Love Me Nice doesn't fit in quite the same world. So far, all the characters we've encountered thus far are bipedal – no sad little squeaky shoes here – and no one's claiming to be cuckolded over a game of Patty-Cake. But Lafrenais has some clever notions up her sleeve. The looks of the older Toon characters are drawn more from classic Disney cartoons, Looney Toons, and Betty Boop, while the younger characters have shades of anime and Jim Henson. Toons are instinctively drawn toward gags and acts of slapstick (Mac Jr. slips on banana peels as regularly as we normal humans might sneeze), and a human character who likes to hang with and dress like a Toon is accused of fetishizing their culture. And amidst the slow unfolding of the characters and their relationships, Lafrenais plants tantalizing clues about Toon products that are forbidden in normal human quarters, and clubs and neighborhoods where few human tread. Hopefully, she'll give us a peek inside soon.