Bee and Puppycat is the comic book for the slightly older Sailor Moon generation. We’re in our late teens/twenties, and have finished school, and most of us have jobs. Bee, our magical super-heroine, is like us in that sense, and her adventures with Puppycat add a little bit of magic we wish we had in our lives. Returning to the Sailor Moon analogy, Bee is Usagi, unwilling at first but ultimately fights against adversity, and Puppycat is a grumpier version of Luna. The comic runs alongside the webseries, created by Natasha Allegri from Cartoon Hangover and features Bee and Puppycat in a variety of misadventures. Each of the comics take on a slightly different format, with either one main story and a back-up strip, or a series of shorts, all by different creators. #5 is the latter, with a selection of strips with subjects varying from coffee addiction to karaoke!
The stories in Bee and Puppycat #5 are as follows: A Coffee Problem, by T. Zysk wherein Bee gets addicted to fancy coffee and has a caffeine rush; One Hit Wonder, by Chrystin Garland, where Bee and Puppycat have to appease an alien queen with karaoke; The Claw Game, by Flynn Nicholls, in which Puppycat gets stuck in an arcade machine and Bee tries to win him back; and Je Ne Sais Quoi, by Meredith McClaren, which features all the costume changes you’ll ever want! Bee and Puppycat #5 also has three super cute variant covers by Emily Hu, Zac Gorman and Emily Partridge.
I really enjoy the format of the Bee and Puppycat comics. They complement the main story set by webseries while also adding fun filler material and allowing us to get to know Bee and Puppycat a little bit better, as well as the strange world they inhabit. As each different creator comes in with a new story, they all become part of the wonderfully colourful tapestry that Natasha Allegri has helped to create at Frederator Studios.
However, my favourite story in #5 is a tie between A Coffee Problem and Je Ne Sais Quoi. A Coffee Problems functions so well because it’s straight forward, self-contained and downright hilarious. I’ve felt myself falling into caffeine spirals like Bee, and it’s the reality of the story that makes it so funny. Puppycat fighting through a mountain of paper take-away cups is incredibly funny, and Bee’s ramblings in her caffeine high are just as humorous. The story is charming, not just because it’s so humour and charm, but because Zysk’s artwork is adorable. Zysk uses cute, pastels as a main colour palette throughout the story and draws Bee in some downright cute outfits. Zysk also manages to capture the more cat-like actions of Puppycat, which makes him look more like the strange creature he is. Zysk writes great dialogue and has crafted an incredibly brilliant, charming story.
As for Je Ne Sais Quoi, I love it for its simplicity. It’s well known how much Bee hates her space-suit outfit from the temp agency, and everyone knows Bee has a slammin’ fashion sense. So, Puppycat takes Bee to the dressing room, and allows Bee to look through all the retired outfits, and choose something new. The outfits are a hilarious testament to the silly costumes in anime, including a kimono-themed outfit, and one of those ridiculously skimpy 18+ anime costumes. The one she settles on is super-duper freaking cute, and is part Japanese schoolgirl and part Puppycat. But these things come with a price; for the time that Bee spent choosing an outfit, she has to work the time back! D’oh! McClaren’s story is again, simple in concept, but brilliant in delivery. McClaren combines influences on the show/comic, and adds the usual type of twist on the end. McClaren’s artwork is again, super cute, with vivid colours and a simplistic layout. I like how modern the lettering is, and everything is done in simple bubbles with an easy to read font. The storytelling itself feels like it could be a mini-episode, and as a Sailor Moon fan, I absolutely adore the outfit changing reference!
The problem I find with comics that contain a series of short stories like this is that the good stories always outshine the weaker ones. Not to say that I don’t like One Hit Wonder or Claw Machine, but I feel that Je Ne Sais Quoi and A Coffee Problem are stronger, and have a good narrative with well-timed comedy moments and cute artwork. All the artwork in #5 is good in its own way, taking inspiration from anime and manga in the same way that the show originally did. All of the stories absolutely capture the very heart and soul of Bee and Puppycat, and reading it as a supplement to the webseries is an absolute treat.
If you’re a fan of magical girls anime combined with a fun, realistic slice-of-life story, then you should definitely pick up Bee and Puppycat #5. While it might be a little hard for new readers to jump on, it surpasses this by being suitable for all ages- as well as being downright adorable. T. Zysk, Chrystin Garland, Flynn Nicholls and Meredith McClaren all capture Bee and Puppycat superbly, while also adding something of their own to the mythos. Bee and Puppycat is fun, cute and totally hilarious.