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  Bookends: Dan Davidson

Rose is Rose: Running on Alter Ego

Reviewed: November 14, 2005
By: Pat Brady
Publisher: Andrews and McMeel
128 pages, $15.95

Rose Gumbo is the lead character in this delightful strip. Mild-mannered, child-hearted, affectionate wife and mother, she nevertheless harbours a secret alter ego in the person of Vikki the Biker Chick, who is taller, sexier, leatherier and much more aggressive - but mostly a daydream. Rose is married to Jimbo, who is her perfect counterpart, though he seems to lack a secret self.

Their child, Pasquale (that’s pas-kwall-ee), has an imagination to rival his parents’, along with a guardian angel (in two sizes, kinda like his mom) who makes regular appearances. Pasquale’s dreamship is a particularly neat piece of work.

Peekabo the cat would probably assault me with a “snub yoga” routine if I forgot to mention him (or is it her?). This is a cat with thought balloons and an attitude.

Brady’s range of both stories and design is very broad, from pure romantic schmaltz to wild tales of the imagination. For instance: Rose explains to Pasquale that the water in his wading pool is the snowman he built last winter. Pasquale replies that this must be why the water is sooo cold.

The art in this strip is a delight. Brady has found a style that make the most of the small space given to strip cartoons these days, and pushes his skills to the limit with odd camera angles and perspectives. This makes the Rose strips ones that I like to read twice - once for the gag and again to see how he did it.

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