downloadCreated by Matt McCray, ZooDotCom is a webcomic-turned-graphic novel that follows a group of animals who have been forced to become the zoo’s new IT department. As McCray’s tagline goes, “and you thought your office was a zoo!” This broad premise allows for numerous storylines focused on the daily challenges of working in an IT department shown in a comedic light.

The cast includes the zany alligator, Stanley, who once decided to speak only in song lyrics; Apo, a lazy porcupine who would rather give orders than do actual work; Lenny, a lemming obsessed with tiaras; Charlie, a cheetah prone to action-packed daydreams; Boffin, the Linux-loving penguin; and Bexar, the bear in charge. McCray’s artistic style is perfect for the tone of the comic, and the animals’ expressions are reminiscent of classic cartoons.

Though character development is kept to a minimum, the strips in ZooDotCom are mostly continuous as opposed to each strip featuring a random, independent story. There’s a lot of office and computer programming humor, such as the running joke that Boffin stereotypically runs Linux (the Linux operating system mascot is a penguin). Additionally, there are a few side stories spanning multiple strips that parody popular franchises, including The Muppets and Star Wars. The characters’ silly antics will make readers smile, but unfortunately the humor doesn’t quite reach “laugh out loud” funny. If it had, it would have made ZooDotCom stand out, as the premise itself is hilarious.

While one doesn’t need to have a vast knowledge of computers to understand and enjoy this comic, its IT-centric nature makes it most appealing to readers interested in computer science and related humor. There is nothing inappropriate for younger readers, but the majority of the jokes may go over their heads, making this a better fit for the teen graphic novel section. ZooDotCom could also find readership with college-age patrons looking for a cute, nerdy office comedy with a unique and silly premise.

by Matt McCray
ISBN: 9781771350006
Arcana Studio, 2013

  • Marissa Lieberman

    Past Reviewer

    Marissa graduated with her MLS from Queens College, NY in 2011 and is a children’s librarian at the East Orange Public Library, NJ where she gets to share her passion of anime and manga by running the tween anime club, ordering manga and graphic novels, and planning Tosho-con. She organized Tosho-con, the first library anime convention in Nassau County, NY back in 2010 and continues to run this successful convention at her current library. Marissa has written articles and presented about graphic novels, manga and library conventions for School Library Journal, New York Comic Con, and library conferences. She also reviews for School Library Journal and Voices of Youth Advocates.

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