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|Author(s)||Isaac M. Baranoff|
|Genre||Comedy, philosophy, romance, science fiction, horror|
Horndog focuses on Bob, a skirt-chasing, marijuana using canine, who often finds himself in surreal adventures, primarily involving a variety of sexual experiences. Horndog is set on a planet — or alternate dimension — which closely resembles Earth in its development, culture and structure, but is inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. The strip establishes that the setting retains much of the same country and city names as Earth.
Black cats represent African Americans, with white dogs representing whites. The setting is strongly urban, but the actual city name is not specified. The strip strongly favors cannabis use, with hard drug users portrayed unfavorably.
Bob, a smooth talking dog, engages in meaningless sexual "conquests" with women which he doesn't admire or love. He meets Charlene Kat, an individualistic African American woman, and begins a relationship with her, but continues to sleep with other women, even though he ends up feeling bad about it.
Leonard, Bob's best friend, sees Charlene as the victim of Bob's insensitivity. The romantic relationship shifts between a number of different phases, with Bob and Charlene breaking up, then struggling through an open relationship while Bob continues to pursue questionable engagements with other women.
Charlene is conflicted over the reality of their relationship and its potential, having an unsuccessful one night stand with Leonard, who ultimately came out as a being gay in 2014. Ultimately, Bob and Charlene gain happiness when Charlene helps Bob to realize that his relationships with women he does not life is a form of self-hatred, and they happily continue their open relationship when Charlene influences Bob to practice sexuality as a celebration of his self-esteem.
Baranoff first created Horndog in 2003 as an underground comic published under Baranoff's publishing label Horndog Studios (formerly Mystic Studios Productions).
The online edition of the strip began in 2009, and was initially hosted on Geocities, continuing on Angelfire and Smack Jeeves until settling on Blogger. The strip has remained independently published in all of its incarnations.
Horndog has been relaunched multiple times, with its storyline rewritten in different forms, so that different incarnations of the comic vary in content and approach. The graphic novel Horndog, published in July 2014, shortens the storyline to mainly focus on Bob and Charlene's relationship, presented in a non-linear chronology inspired by the films of Quentin Tarantino to reflect the style of Baranoff's prose novels.
Horndog incorporate elements of comedy, political satire, philosophy, romance, science fiction, horror and other genres; the character of Andrea Mouse, originally introduced as a psychotic stalker of Bob's, shifted into being a horror movie-style killer, and several plotlines are similar to slasher movies as well as zombie movies, such as one storyline in which Bob's roommate Freddy dies and comes back as a zombie and another in which Bob and others face an army of the living dead. Horndog often features pop culture references in jokes, such as a reference to "Billy Bong Thornton", a tribute to the comedy film Half Baked, as well as literary references and quotes from assorted books and films, ranging from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to The Fountainhead.
The characters belong to the punk rock subculture, and references are often made throughout the comic's run to punk rock bands, albums and songs. The comic's stories are often surreal in nature, but it also explores a number of social issues, including racism, drug use, AIDS, and abortion.
Dramatic aspects within the strip are rare, and the stories are generally strongly comedic. The comic's themes include a philosophical analysis of the effectiveness of open relationships, in contrast with free love, as well as advocation of strongly pro-marijuana philosophy.
The characters Bob and Charlene have Twitter accounts, which contain exclusive jokes which continue the comic's satirical content and have their own original story arcs. For example, Charlene's tweets have a focus on African American culture and atheism, such as the following status update (satirizing a interracial dating website for Christians called "Interracial Christian Dating"):
OK so...#Interracial Christian Dating exists...where's INTERRACIAL #ATHEIST DATING? #AtheistBlackGirlsLoveAtheistWhiteBoys #Atheism #Dating
Additionally, Bob's Twitter satirizes GMO controversies, such as in one status update where he sarcastically tweeted that "people have a right to know" that organic eggs have been "inside a chicken's asshole".
- Yeah, the line is really blurred. I don't consider cartoons "furry" post on Twitter. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
- I wouldn't mind if someone called my comic "furry" if they liked the strip post on Twitter. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
- @HorndogCharlene tweet about interracial dating
- @HorndogBob tweet about organic eggs