Shanda The Panda

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Cover of Shanda the Panda #12 from Antarctic Press, showing (l-r) Shanda, Terri, and Double R. Art by Terrie Smith

Shanda The Panda is a sometimes-adult furry comic book created by Mike Curtis.

Much like its predecessor, Omaha the Cat Dancer, the series is set in a world largely like the real world except for the fact that the inhabitants are humanoid versions of various animals, birds, reptile and insect species with some traits of their more primitive relatives - for example, characters rendered as American Bison represent Native Americans. It is the longest-running anthropomorphic slice of life comic book series.

The title character is Shanda Bruin, a Chinese-American panda and manager of a movie theater in a small city named Cedar Rabbits in Iowa. The series involves in part the personal and professional lives of Shanda, her family, friends, and her staff.

One important story arc is her romantic relationships with a cajun raccoon nicknamed Double R and her lesbian cricket bartender lover, Terri. Another storyline concerns their clashes with the villainous Wing and the emotionally abusive and bigoted ex spouse of Double R, Trixie. The comic has a cast of almost 50 characters, from infants to senior citizens. Several cast members and storylines are based on real people and events in Mike's theater career, such as an armed robbery and a riot.

[edit] Publishing history

The comic's first issue — then numbered "issue 1" but now referred to as "issue 0" — was published by Mu Press, where Shanda first appeared as part of the comic anthology A Very MU Christmas in 1992. The series continued for fifteen issues with Antarctic Press, then moved to Vision Press before becoming the flagship title of Shanda Fantasy Arts in 1999 at issue #22. At last count it was up to issue #48, with ten annuals and nine adult digests. It has also spawned an adult comic, Shanda's Bedtime Tails.

Several artists have drawn the adventures of Shanda, in short stories and backup features. The main story of each issue is usually drawn by alternating illustrators, including original artist Mike Sagara, Michele Light, Carla Speed McNeil, and Heather Maranda, among others. Since the beginning, the covers have set a trend of being parodies of popular feature films. In fact, author Mike Curtis says that is the hardest part of each issue, finding a movie poster that relates to the story.

In 2011, issues 49 and 50 of SHANDA THE PANDA will be published, ending the series. In issue 50, Michele Light does the cover, Benjamin Rodriguez does the lead story, dealing with Shanda's wedding. Then original SHANDA artist MIKE SAGARA reteams with Mike Curtis to do the backup story, concluding the series.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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Shanda Fantasy Arts
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