The Unofficial Kevin and Kell Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List

This list is meant to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the cartoon strip 'Kevin and Kell'. It is unofficial, as it is not written by the author of K&K, Bill Holbrook.

"Kevin and Kell", and all the characters therein, are copyrighted by Bill Holbrook.  They may not be used in any work, art, or story, public or private, without prior appoval of Bill Holbrook.


Table of Contents - (updated or new: 1.18, 1.22, )

A Really Fast Introduction

1. The Strip And The Web

1.1 ) What is KEVIN AND KELL?
1.2 ) Who is Bill Holbrook?
1.3 ) Where do I find the strips?
1.4 ) Are the strips available on paper?
* 1.5 ) How do I get the strips sent to me?
1.6 ) Is there a mailing list?
1.7 ) I can't live without a K&K t-shirt! Where can I get one?
1.8 ) Can I link to the K&K web sites?
1.9 ) Is K&K available in other languages?
1.10 ) Why are there one-line descriptions below each script>?
1.11 ) What's that acronym supposed to mean?
1.12 ) How does Bill manage to run three daily strips at once?
1.13 ) Of all the characters from all the strips, Bill, which do you
1.14 ) Is there any chance of an Animated K&K Television series?
1.15 ) Where can I see Bill's other strips?
1.16 ) Is it true 'Kevin and Kell' appeared in PLAYBOY?
1.17 ) Can I use the 'Kevin and Kell' characters in my own stories and art?
1.18 ) How do you draw the strip, and scan it?
1.19 ) Where do you get your ideas?
1.20 ) Which cartoon is most popular?
1.21 ) Is there any special reason you (and most other cartoonists) use all Caps?
* 1.22 ) Can I buy the original artwork for 'Kevin and Kell'?
1.23 ) Did you have an idea of how the Kevin and Kell universe was going to work,
* 1.24 ) Do you ever use ideas, suggestions, etc. from the mailing list in the stories?
1.25 ) If a website wants to run Kevin and Kell... is it simply a matter of asking you?
1.26 ) Do you use idea men or gag writers like [other artist]?
1.27 ) Why isn't K&K on Keenspot or another syndication site?
1.28 ) What [do] we need to do to keep [Kevin and Kell] up and running?
1.29 ) Why bother with [newspaper] syndication at all?
1.30 ) How come you can have crossovers between your other strips but not K&K?
1.31 ) How much does it cost to produce a daily on-line strip, anyway?
1.32 ) Would you ever do a 'Guest Artist Week' for K&K?
1.33 ) If you had an emergency and had to take time off, would you reprint strips?
1.34 ) Who has been the greatest influence on your art?
1.35 ) Where else can I find out about K&K?
1.36 ) Did I hear that there is a 'Kevin and Kell' RPG?
1.37 ) Will there be more fan art in future 'Kevin and Kell' books?
1.38 ) Why are the characters dressed the same way every day?
1.39 ) How many people see K&K every day?
1.40 ) How did the concept of the strip come about?
1.41 ) Is there a "Kevin and Kell" community on SecondLife?
1.42 ) What's "Lindesfarne's Blog" about?


2. The Characters and Settings

2.1 ) Who is Kevin?
2.2 ) Who is Kell?
2.3 ) How did they meet?
2.4 ) Who is Lindesfarne?
2.5 ) Who is Rudy?
2.6 ) Who is Coney?
2.7 ) Who are Bruno and Corrie?
2.8 ) Who is Fiona?
2.9 ) Who is Fenton?
2.10 ) Who is R.L.?
2.11 ) Who is Ralph Dewclaw?
2.12 ) What are the mice doing in Lindesfarne's room?
2.13 ) Who is Candace?
2.14 ) Who are the Ursals?
2.15 ) Who is Dolly? Who is Mary?
2.16 ) Who are Ms. Aura and Nigel?
2.17 ) Who is Tammy?
2.18 ) Who is Ray Flambeau?
2.19 ) Who is Vin Vulpen?
2.20 ) Why isn't Kevin called Kevin Kindle?
2.21 ) What is Daisy?
2.22 ) Who is Dr. Caduceus?
2.23 ) Who is Rhonda?
2.24 ) What is that name supposed to mean?
2.25 ) Who is Angelique?
2.26 ) Why is it always the one of Kevin's ears that points away from the reader...
2.27 ) Who are Frank and Elanor Dewclaw?
2.28 ) Who are the Fennecs?
2.29 )Will Kevin and Kell ever have a baby who's an herbivorous wolf?
2.30 )What is that thing in Rudy's tail, in the early strips?
2.31 )Since her marriage and the birth of her daughter, does Kell still eat rabbits?
2.32 )Who is Grandpa Kindle?
2.33) Who is Zerda Zenith?
2.34) Who is Angstrom?
2.35) Who is Tree?
2.36) Who is Danielle?
2.37) Who is Rachel?
2.38) Who is Aby? Who is Coach Pardus?
2.39) Who is Mom Kindle?
2.40) Who (and what) is Francis?
2.41) Who is Fran Caudal?
2.42) Who is Quinn Rabelais?
2.43) Who is Leona Mangle?


3. Plots and Sub-plots

3.1 ) What is the Great Bird Conspiracy (GBC)?
3.2 ) What are Fiona's powers?
3.3 ) What is The Wild?
3.4 ) What is the Herbivore Forum?
3.5 ) What is Flea-Bay? What is Mating_call.com? What is HareLink?
3.6 ) What is HerdThinners?
3.7 ) Where do the Dewclaws live?
3.8 ) What is Rabbit's Revenge?
3.9 ) What are portals?
3.10 ) What was the GPF Crossover?
3.11 ) What is Aby's Auto Repair?

3.12 ) What is Ninth Life?"


4. The Universe of Kevin and Kell

4.1 ) What is the Predator/Prey relationship?
4.2 ) What is Domestication?
4.3 ) How are the species divided?
4.4 ) What is cloning?
4.5 ) How can there be a Santa Claus and an Easter Bunny?
4.6 ) Why do they wear clothes? Isn't fur enough?
4.7 ) Will humans ever visit the K&K universe?
4.8 ) Why are some interspecies matches acceptable and some not?
4.9 ) Are all the characters in K&K left-handed?
4.10 ) In our world, hybrid species are sterile. Does this apply to the K&K world?
4.11 ) How come the characters don't see through things like Corrie's wolfskin disguise?
4.12 ) How does the Kevin and Kell universe relate to ours?
4.13 ) What kinds of churches does the K&K world have?


"Kevin and Kell", and all the characters therein, are copyrighted by Bill Holbrook.  They may not be used in any work, art, or story, public or private, without prior appoval of Bill Holbrook.


A Really Fast Introduction

CAUTION : Spoiler material included. If you intend to read K&K from the beginning, some surprises are revealed here.

KEVIN & KELL is a cartoon strip for everyone today dealing with family, work, and the Internet. It's a world of sentient animals, living like us but with one very important difference: the predator/prey relationship still exists. It is normal for predator species to kill and eat prey species, despite both being members of society. The central family in the strip consists of Kell Dewclaw and her husband Kevin, her young teen son Rudy, his older adopted teen daughter Lindesfarne and their infant daughter Coney.

Kevin and Kell met online and fell in love, and it wasn't until they met that each learned the other's species: Kevin is a rabbit and Kell is a wolf! Balancing their marital relationship against their ecological one is one of the driving forces of the strip. This is the second marriage for both of them.

Kell is a staff predator at Herd Thinners, Inc. She has held several administrative positions at HerdThiinners, but found she was happiest doing what she did best, i.e., hunting.

Kevin runs the Hare-Link Internet service provider out of the basement of the Dewclaw treehouse, and takes occasional outside jobs. His first wife left him for an on-line suitor, and later married Kell's boss at HerdThinners.

Rudy is half wolf and half fox (his father was stepped on while trying to bring down a moose). Rudy has a hard time accepting a rabbit as head of the family, and periodically challenges Kevin for the status of Alpha Male.

Lindesfarne is an English hedgehog, who was adopted as a baby by Kevin and his first wife and raised as an American porcupine. It makes it hard for Lindesfarne to get close to people, including her parents.

Kevin and Kell have had one child of their own, Coney, who has her father's looks and her mother's, well, appetite. Both Kevin and Kell's families originally disapproved of the marriage; Kell's brother Ralph used to try to eat Kevin. Kevin's father is still very much against having a predator in the family.

The children have their own friends, of course. Rudy's best friend is Bruno, a wolf, who has an unusual relationship with a sheep named Corrie. Rudy has a girlfriend, Fiona Fennec. Lindesfarne's fiance is a bat named Fenton, the only person who 'saw her differently'. Fenton works for Kevin's ISP, Hare-Link. Lindesfarne shares a room at Beige University with Rachael Einhorn, a rhino. The teenagers attend the local high school, Caliban Academy, where Rudy and Fiona compete in the school's  hunting team.

KEVIN AND KELL is the only cartoon strip which can balance family life, technology, career pressure, teenage dating, and the need to kill something and eat it. Welcome!

"Kevin and Kell", and all the characters therein, are copyrighted by Bill Holbrook.  They may not be used in any work, art, or story, public or private, without prior appoval of Bill Holbrook.



1) The Strip And The Web

A bit of background on KEVIN AND KELL, the World Wide Web, and how the two couldn't exist without each other.

1.1 ) What is KEVIN AND KELL?

KEVIN AND KELL (hereafter K&K) is the first cartoon strip syndicated exclusively over the World Wide Web. The artist is Bill Holbrook, who is also the creator of 'On The Fastrack' and 'Safe Havens'. K&K has appeared five days a week since September 4th, 1995, and seven days a week since July, 2000.

Since January 2004, KEVIN AND KELL has also appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bill's hometown newspaper. It is not, as yet, syndicated to other newspapers.

KEVIN AND KELL was awarded the Ursa Major "Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip' Award for 2003: http://www.ursamajorawards.org

1.2 ) Who is Bill Holbrook?
(Information supplied by Bill Holbrook)

Born in Los Angeles in 1958, I grew up in Huntsville AL after my father was transferred to work in the space program. I graduated from Randolph High School in 1976 and Auburn University in 1980, majoring in Illustration and Visual Design.

While at Auburn, I became art director of The Auburn Plainsman where I produced editorial cartoons and a comic strip "Fenton Farnsworth." I was also having editorial cartoons published in The Huntsville Times and The Monroe (AL) Journal.

After graduation I was hired in 1981 by The Atlanta Constitution as an editorial staff artist, producing maps, charts and spot illustrations. In 1982 I resumed my focus on comic strips, inspired in part by an unexpected meeting with Charles Schulz on a trip to California.

A first attempt at syndication failed, but in 1983 I began developing a strip about office politics called "On the Fastrack." That was picked up by King Features Syndicate and debuted in 150 papers on March 19, 1984.

Eleven days before that I'd met Teri Peitso on a blind date. We were married on Pearl Harbor Day, 1985, and now have two daughters. We also gave birth to a second strip about kids called "Safe Havens." The four of us live in the Atlanta area. Teri has had two mystery novels published: "A Far and Deadly Cry" and "The Grass Widow," which have been nominated for seven writing awards.

Bill was written up in his hometown newspaper, too : click here. CAUTION: you will be asked for location and age information.

1.3 ) Where do I find the strips?

K&K can be found at:

K&K once appeared in "Boardwatch" magazine in Sunday-funnies format. These strips are maintained at the Kevinandkell.com archives.

"Kevin and Kell" is available as an RSS feed at http://www.kevinandkell.com/rss.xml

1.4 ) Are the strips available on paper?

There are several collections of K&K strips available from Plan 9 Publishing (http://www.plan9publishing.com). There is also a K&K comic book, 'Origin of the Species'.

Plan 9 also publishes collections of other on-line comics, such as 'Sluggy Freelance', 'Bruno the Bandit', etc., and collections of Bill's syndicated strips.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution now includes K&K in the daily comics page, making it one of the very few web comics to cross over to the printed media.

What are the ISBN numbers for the books, so I can order them?

Bill says :

Thanks for your interest in ordering the books! For purchasing, it's best to go through Plan 9. That way, my share is measured in dollars, not pennies. :)

Have you considered selling the entire archives on CD?

Bill says :

I did discuss it years ago with Plan Nine, but the judgement was that the market for it would be too small. Personally, I would very much prefer that readers buy the dead tree editions, as that keeps the strip going. (Now more than ever).

1.5 ) How do I get the strips sent to me?

You can have K&K delivered by email! For $20/year, you will have the strips sent directly to your email address. Check the Kevin and Kell Patrons Page at http://www.kevinandkell.com/support/patron.html  for details.  Bill accepts PayPal at bholbrook@gmail.com.

1.6 ) Is there a mailing list?

You can take part in the daily commentary on K&K. Bill Holbrook himself participates in the mailing list, giving unique insights into how a cartoon strip is done, details on the characters, and answering questions that haven't made it into the FAQ yet. Go to http://groups.google.com/group/kevinandkell and fill out the subscription information.

If you do join the list, please remember to set your mailer to "TEXT ONLY", no HTML. HTML adds enormous amounts of bloat to your mail, and makes the mailing list digest and archive (which are text-only) EXTREMELY difficult to read.

What are the ground rules for the "K&K" mailing list?

The "Kevin and Kell" mailing list is not moderated, so we rely on all the participants to exercise discretion and taste.

Rule 1 : No spam.

Rule 2 : Your posting should relate to "K&K"; if the discussion wanders too far off-topic, please consider contacting the other participant(s) directly, and not using the list.  If a thread is dragging on with little or nothing new being said, it is in everyone's best interest to stop it and move on.

Rule 3 : No spam.

Rule 4 : Treat the other list members with respect.  A limited amount of on-topic flaming is acceptable, but vulgarities, obscenities, personal attacks, etc. are not welcome, and may lead to your removal from the list.

Rule 5 : No spam.

Rule 6 : Bill and the moderator reserve the right to create Rule 6.

Rule 7 : No spam.

Rule 8 : If you are commenting on a strip very shortly after it has been posted, put the word "SPOILER" in the Subject line, so people who check their mail before they read the comics know not to read it. A pagefull of blank lines before you start the message is another courtesy, in case they don't check the Subject line.

Rule 9 : No spam.

Bill says:


...I try not to impose control on this forum. I feel that it's for you, the readers, not for me. :) Whatever I have to say, I say through my strips.

How do I change my options on the "K&K" mailing list?

You must be a Google list member to change your options on the list; people who were receiving the list when it moved from Herdthinners to Google-groups may not already be Google members. To do this:


What about IRC? Is there an IRC Chat channel?

Set your IRC chat client to:
IRC Server: irc.nightstar.net IRC Port: 6666, 6668, ot 6669 IRC Room: #kk

and discuss the strip in real-time with your fellow fans.


The Nightstar site has a Java client for those who do not have a chat
client already: http://nightstar.net/110.0.html and enter *#kk* for the channel.

1.7 ) I can't live without a K&K t-shirt! Where can I get one?

Kevin and Kell merchandise is available at Hyperbooks http://www.hyperbooks.com/catalog/kandk.html.

The Kevin and Kell books can be ordered from the Plan Nine website, http://www.plan9publishing.com.

1.8 ) Can I link to the K&K web sites?

The www.kevinandkell.com website has a collection of link buttons you can add to your page : http://www.kevinandkell.com/extra/index.html They link to that site specifically.

Legal notice : KEVIN AND KELL is created and copyright by Bill Holbrook. You're welcome to download, view, and print these strips, but please don't upload the files anywhere else, where the creator won't get paid.

1.9 ) Is K&K available in other languages?

K&K is available in German at :

http://www.kevinundkell.de

1.10 ) Why are there one-line descriptions below each script?

They serve as titles for the strips when they're archived.

1.11 ) What's that acronym supposed to mean?

Acronyms are the delight of the lazy typist, and the despair of the new list member. Some of the acronyms you'll see on the K&K Mailing List are :

BTW - By The Way
FWIW - For What It's Worth
FYI - For Your Information
IANAL- I Am Not A Lawyer
IOACS - It's Only A Comic Strip, i.e., don't take it seriously and be willing to suspend disbelief.
IIRC - If I Remember Correctly
IMHO - In My Humble Opinion
IMO - In My Opinion\
K&K - Kevin and Kell
LOL - Laughing Out Loud
ObKK - Obligatory Kevin and Kell, used to signal an abrupt return to the subject of the list, namely "Kevin and Kell", from an off-topic posting
OT - Off Topic (used for a thread digressing from the subject of the mailing list)
OTOH - On The Other Hand
RTFM - Read The @#%! Manual
RSN - Real Soon Now
ROFL - Rolling On The Floor Laughing
TIA - Thanks In Advance
TIC - Tongue In Cheek
WRT - With Respect To
YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary.

(note: there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other acronyms in common use, and that's not even thinking about emoticons. This FAQ will not attempt to be encyclopedic about them).

1.12 ) How does Bill manage to run three daily strips at once?

Bill says that he works on a three-week cycle. On the first week he completes 18 Fastrack dailies and three Fastrack Sundays while writing three weeks of material for Safe Havens. On the following week he draws 18 Safe Havens dailies and writes three weeks of material for Kevin & Kell. On Week Three he draws 18 Kevin & Kell dailies and three Kevin and Kell Sundays while writing three weeks of material for material for Fastrack, and then the cycle starts again. He tries to keep about two months ahead of publication.

Bill says:

[40 hours a week] is pretty accurate, as far as the drawing goes. However, it's the writing that takes most of the time and effort. :) Let's just say I work a lot more than six hours a day.

How hard is it to avoid jumping in with ideas based on current headlines, etc.?

Bill says :

Actually, I've only done that once, introducing Corrie's clone the day after the actual Dolly was introduced to the world.

Do you plot out stories in advance to dovetail later on?

Bill says :

I have a long-range view of the broad storylines, which still allows for a degree of day-to-day improvisation. As for the Y2K story, that was planned from the strip's beginning and was even more complicated as (sic) it was. I originally wanted the entire cast to converge on MicroTalon headquarters on Dec. 31, 1999, with a cascade of personal revelations. (For example, Corrie's relationship to Ralph). The end result was a pared-down version of that.

Were there any storylines that went in a different way than planned?

Bill says :

Yes, there was one in particular that I abandoned, concerning a very major character. I'd rather not divulge what it is, as it would put an entirely different spind on that character. Sorry to be so mysterious!

1.13 ) Of all the characters from all three strips, Bill, which do you think is the closest to you?

Bill answers :

I really can't answer that. I can say that the only character I expressly created to reflect myself was Bob Shirt in "Fastrack," who turned out to be so boring that the strip survived only by moving the spotlight away from him.

Which one [of the K&K characters] is hardest to draw?

Bill says :

At this point ... none of the major characters are hard to draw. After almost eight years it's second nature. (That also goes for "Fastrack" and "Safe Havens".)

Which is the hardest to color?

Terrence Marks says :

Kevin is the easiest, by far. Two colours. Three if you count the ears. As far as the most difficult? Isabel says Lindesfarne and Rudy, because they have similar-but-different colors. I'd have to go with Lindesfarne, because she has both very light and very dark colors, which means I usually wind up filling the whole strip with her facial color or having to go over her skirt with the pencil tool to eliminate lines, on account of they both require different tolerance settings*. But. mind you, it doesn't take much longer.

The house, mind you, is usually what takes the most time, on account of it has lots of detail and takes up the whole panel.

*: When you do a flood fill, it fills in everything contiguous of the color-that-you're-pointing-at-plus/minus-the-tolerance-setting. So basically, if you have a high tolerance setting and do a fill in an area that has light-coloured lines defining part of the border, those list lines get ignored - they're within the tolerance range of white. If that makes any sense.

1.14 ) Is there any chance of an Animated K&K Television series?

Bill says :

This has been as ongoing project for several years now. A script for a pilot has been written by myself and two veterans of animation, Pam Hickey and Dennys McCoy. It's being shopped around, and although there've been some nibbles we're waiting someone to take the bait.

Update 8/20/01 : Bill says :

I guess the story can be told; I personally pitched a "Kevin & Kell" TV series to the Cartoon Network last December. The meeting went well, and they said I'd hear back from them in three weeks. Three weeks went by, then four, then five...But almost six weeks later they called and politely passed on it. Oh, well. We're still trying.

The script being shopped around was written by Bill and the writing team of Dennys McCoy and Pam Hickey.

Have you thought of people to do the voices?

Bill says :

My partners and I came up with a "wish list" of voices (if money was no object). I favored John Goodman as Kevin, with Lindesfarne voiced by Jeanine Garofalo. :)

Have you considered [using] Shockwave or Flash animation?

Bill says:

I thought of that two years ago, so I took a night course in animation at the Art of Institute of Atlanta. You can see the animations I did for that class at http://www.kevinandkell.com/animation which is basically the Kevin walk cycle, and the 'turning around three times' piece.  The animation was done with Adobe Premier. Sorry about the 'hitch' in the Kevin walk cycle. That happens when the program comes to the end of the 24 frames and repeats.   That 25 seconds of animation took me six weeks to do, which is why you won't be seeing any more animations from me unless I'm able to pay other people to do it. :)

1.15 ) Where can I see Bill's other strips?

"SafeHavens" and "On The Fastrack" are printed in newspapers around the country.

 They are available on the King Features web site King Features The comic archives now display only the first week of the previous month. Subscribe to 'Daily Ink' to get the latest, and a year's worth of archives.

Newspaper sites that carry Bill's strips :
Seattle Post-Intelligencer : Safe Havens
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: On The FasTrack
Houston Chronicle
Arizona Central

Fastrack Sunday strips are  available at the Seattle P-I site; Safe Havens does not have a Sunday strip.

Please note: if you are a subscriber to King Features 'Daily Ink' service, Bill makes a little money from his daily strips, too. And you get to see them in high-resolution, too! Please check it out at "Daily Ink"

1.16 ) Is it true 'Kevin and Kell' appeared in PLAYBOY?

The August 1999 issue of PLAYBOY used a K&K strip to illustrate an article on computer hacking. They did it without asking permission, but paid Bill $300 afterwards when he wrote to them about using his material without permission.

1.17 ) Can I use the 'Kevin and Kell' characters in my own stories and art?

Bill Holbrook appreciates fans who may be inspired by K&K to create fan fiction or fan artwork, but asks them to understand that these works weaken his copyright protection. Help protect his livelihood and ability to keep entertaining us. Please, no fan fiction or fan artwork or other K&K-themed creations without Bill's specific permission.

Bill says :

Thanks, and I appreciate your asking. Unfortunately, I'll have to say that I prefer to discourage fan fiction. Even with the most innocent of intentions, artists in the past have gotten burned by the dilution of copyright. Sorry; I hope you understand, and that you'll continue to enjoy "K&K."

The same injunction applies to using Kevin and Kell in unauthorized 'crossovers' with other on-line comic strips.

Can I make a set of "K&K" icons?

Bill says :

You can use [the] images for your own site, as long as they include the line "Kevin and Kell characters (C) 2003, Bill Holbrook. All rights reserved."

Distributing the icons elsewhere, however, [is] something I'd rather not see happen.

I appreciate your conscientious request for permission.

1.18 ) How do you draw the strip, and scan it?

Bill says :

Thanks for your questions! I put tracing vellum over my pencil sketches, and ink with a #0 Rapidograph pen and an Osmoroid cartridge pen. The strips are drawn at 13 inches by 3 and three fourths inches, and I scan them them (in the 'TIFF Compressed' format) at 600 dpi. I open the file in Photoshop, and go to Greyscale mode where I apply the shading. Then I convert them to Bitmap and upload them to Chris Kohler's www.kevinandkell.com site, where Terrence Marks takes over. He does the coloring of the strips, and E-mails the files to me for my approval. Chris sizes them, and adds the titles and copyright notices. Finally, Doug Pratt adds the caption at the bottom of the strip and sends the finished comic to our client sites and E-mail subscribers.

I learned how to draw fast when I worked at the Atlanta newspaper from 1981 to 1984. It has become second nature by now! When I think up an idea, I sketch it in pencil at the size of my original drawings: 13 inches by 3 and three quarters. Then if that gag is one that passes judgment, I trace over the pencil sketch with ink on vellum. Eliminating the blue-pencil step was a major time-saver.

Terrence Marks says :

I use Photoshop exclusively. Bill sends me the strips three weeks at a time, at about 3900x1000, TIFFs in bitmap format. I open a week or two of strips, put on a prog album*, and convert them back to RGB and set then up in four layers :

Then I colour the characters. I've got a file that has everyone's stock colours, and I use that. I take two colours (like "Rudy's jacket" and "Kell's hair") and go through a week or two of strips and put them down. Then I repeat until everyone's all coloured. I generally use the flood fill and pencil tools.

A day or two later, I put on a different prog album* and fill in the background and scenery colours. I delete the safety layer and smooth out the borders between the panels, with the paintbrush and airbrush tools. Then, finally, I shade the comics using the burn (midtone) and dodge (highlight) tools and whiten the characters' eyes (where appropriate). I save it as a TIFF, then send Bill a 585-pixel-wide GIF. If he likes it, I upload the TIFF.

I generally don't bother with filters or other fancy effects because they draw attention away from the strip itself and because they're not usually visible after reduction.

*: Exotica, hi-fi percussion jazz, or moog records can be substituted if need be. We're experimenting to see if underground rap interferes with the process or not.

Update on the underground rap :

I've acquired a decent amount of Kool Keith/Dr. Octogon, Jurassic Five, Mixmaster Mike, Public Enemy, Kid Koala, and so on.

I highly recommend them (and DJ Q-Bert, and any of the Invisible Scratch Pickls) to anyone who's trying to get into that kind of music (and I realize that most of you probably aren't). Most of the DJs you find these days are good enough to put a record on, stand back for two minutes, then put another record on. These guys are the Hendrix to house DJs' kid-who-plays-guitar-in-the-dorm-stairwell.

Editor's note : it stops here. If you want to discuss music with Terrence Marks, please drop him a line at normal@grove.ufl.edu. We now continue with your regularly scheduled FAQ:

Also :

When you draw the daily strips now, do you draw them specifically to -be- colored? I'm thinking that you must do a lot less line shading, for example, before you send the strips to Terrence Mark.

Bill says:

Yes, I've eliminated the shading and most of the solid black areas. The pre-color versions now have a lot more "air" in them.

I've noticed that some of the characters will have different clothes in the Sunday strips.

Bill says:

In order to give Terrence and Isabel a break, I color the occaisonal Sunday.

1.19 ) Where do you get your ideas?

Bill says :

I'm really not sure where my ideas come from; I imagine the characters in various situations and interactions, and watch what they do. The actual drawing of a strip takes about half an hour. The writing can take anywhere to an instant to over an hour or more. One never knows!

Harlan Ellison says :

Schenectady!

Editor's note : This is an unanswerable question, for the simple reason that ideas don't leave a return address. I've found Harlan Ellison's reply to be a great time-saver, myself. -jfr

Do you keep a notepad around to jot down story ideas?

Bill says :

When I was first developing comics for syndication (while working at the Atlanta Constitution in the early 1980s), I tried carrying around a small notepad everywhere. I never got any usable material, whether during the day or in the middle of the night. I eventually found that my ideas rarely come in flashes (I wish they did!) but instead they emerge through developing characters and having them respond to unusual circumstances.

1.20 ) Which cartoon is most popular?

Bill says :

Judging from reader reaction over past four years, I think the most popular "K&K" ever was the infamous "Little Red Riding Hood" gag.

http://www.kevinandkell.com/1996/kk0528.html

1.21 ) Is there any special reason you (and most other cartoonists) use all Caps in your cartoons?

Bill says :

Simple; it's easier to read.

1.22 ) Can I buy the original artwork for 'Kevin and Kell'?

You can buy an original K&K strip for $100. The Sunday-size strips are also $100. The artwork is black-and-white only, as the strips are colored digitally. You can also get originals by particpating in the "Kevin and Kell" Patron Program.

Originals of Bill's other strips, "SafeHavens" and "On the FasTrack", are also available.

Please contact Bill to see if the artwork is available before sending money. His address is :

Bill Holbrook
P.O. Box 1011
Monroe GA 30655

(note: this address changed on 2/23/01, do not use the earlier Norcross address).

Does Bill do individual commissions?

Yes! Bill's Valentine's Day special in 2002 was so popular, he will continue to do commissioned work. The schedule is :

One person, black/white drawing $50
Couple, black/white drawing $100
One person, color $75
Couple, color $150

Contact Bill at the above address or his email with a character description.

Bill is also available for freelance commercial illustrations; contact him at the above address or at  bholbrook@gmail.com

1.23 ) Did you have an idea of how the Kevin and Kell universe was going to work, and did you write it down...or are you just making it up as you go along?

Bill says :

I created the basic structure and storyline, and let the characters do the rest. It's an old saying; I built the house, and the characters live in it.

1.24 ) Do you ever use ideas, suggestions, etc. from the mailing list in the stories?

Bill says :

It's my policy never to use suggestions of any kind in the strip. "Kevin & Kell" is created entirely by myself.

How many ... of Bill's strips were based on ideas discussed here in the group?

Bill says :

Zero, actually, although the feedback over what works and what doesn't is invaluable.

Even something as simple as, say, the species of a one-time character?

Bill says :

Well, if it's just along the lines of "I'd like to see an otter in the strip someday", yes, that would be fine. :)

Note : Bill has used one idea from a mailing-list participant in a strip : http://www.kevinandkell.com/2002/kk0729.html

Bill says :

This is a *one-time* event, not to be repeated! Please don't start thinking up "K&K" gags and submitting them to me. This is a singular occurence, and I'm breaking my long-standing policy only because the idea was too dang perfect.

Bill also says:

The secret of any strip's longevity is in having readers who care about the characters. WIthout the audience, there would be no strip. I've always been grateful for them.

I would like to say that I take all reader feedback seriously, both positive and negative. I never, never ignore readers' criticisms, under any condition. I feel that if anyone takes the time to write to me, they deserve a response.

[Note: that doesn't necessarily mean that any disputes will be resolved in your favor. Bill has many readers, and each one's opinion is important, but no more or less important than another reader's. Ultimately, a creator has to follow his own vision. This is an instance of Pohl's Law: nothing is so good that someone, somewhere, won't hate it. - jfr]

Update: Bill has had several experiences where readers have written to him, but his replies have been blocked by the reader's email services not recognizing him, and dumping the reply as spam. The reader never sees the reply, and thinks Bill is snubbing him. This is never the case.

If you write to Bill and want an answer, make sure 'bholbrook@gmail.com' appears in your list of acceptable addresses!

1.25 ) If a website wants to run Kevin and Kell... is it simply a matter of asking you?

Bill says :

It's that simple.

Chris Kohler says :

Bill and I have spoken briefly in the past about setting up a small contract agreement for subscription site owners like myself to sign.. just to legally protect both Bill and the subscribers and to lay down some ground rules on how things should be done (specifically concerning ad banners, release dates, etc..). It's been on the back burner for a while now, though.

And Bill adds :

I've written up one, but it hasn't been lawyer-approved as yet. So far, things have worked pretty well with handshake agreements. (I did sign an actual contract for the AOL deal, though.)

1.26 ) Do you use idea men or gag writers like [other artist]?

Bill says :

Well, my opinion is that depending entirely on gag writers for one's material is settling for mediocrity.

Would you start another strip if you used assistant artists?

Bill says :

I would never create a strip just to have it done by assistants. What would be the point?

1.27 ) Why isn't K&K on Keenspot or another syndication site?

Bill says :

The reason I'm not a member of Keenspot derives entirely from "K&K's" evolution in online syndication. I'd have to pick one of the client sites as the 'official' page, and I'm not going to choose one above the others.

Of course I wish Keenspot all the success in the world.

1.28) What [do] we need to do to keep [Kevin and Kell] up and running?

Bill says :

Without getting too personal, things are tight since the dot-com crash slashed income from banner ads. What any reader can do is buy the books directly from Plan 9 Publishing, join the patron program at whatever level is most comfortable, and, on the Kevin and Kell website , go to the site sponsors that occupy the box directly below the strip's last panel.

As always, I appreciate your help!


I'll click when the ads are interesting, but not just for click-throughs.

Bill says :

Thanks, but the ads don't work that way :).  First, the banner ads never, ever paid that well.  Second, what you're seeing now are sponsors that pay a flat rate to advertise.  In order to support "Kevin and Kell" you can buy stuff from those sponsors (at least visit their sites to see what they're offering), giving them an incentive to continue to advertise.  

I like to use [package] software that copies strips for me so I don't have to visit the site.

Bill says :

Anything that extracts the strip from the website is something to which I'm totally opposed.  I don't have standard banner ads; I have sponsors who've made a specific commitment to support "Kevin and Kell".  Without them, I can't do the strip any more.

Join the effort to keep "Kevin and Kell"  on the air with the patron program.

Has the readership declined so you make less money?

Bill says :

No, the readership continues to rise even as the revenue declines.

Do you spend less time on K&K than on the commercially syndicated strips, since they bring in more money?

Bill has stated that he needs all three comics to make ends meet, so he treats all three with the same dedication and seriousness.

1.29) Why bother with [newspaper] syndication at all?

Bill replies :

Good question! The answer is that the syndicates take on many tasks that would be difficult for an individual cartoonist, and allow creators to focus on what they do best. The syndicates handle accounting, collections, distribution and sales, among others.

If the Atlanta paper were to call me and ask to run "Kevin and Kell", it would be relatively simple. I'd just send them the strips (before Terrence colors them) and invoice them regularly. However, if more newspapers asked for it, or if I decided to aggressively sell it to the newspaper market, a syndicate is the only solution. I have no plans of doing that, though. [Note : the Atlanta paper is now running "Kevin and Kell", so we must assume that Bill's providing them the B&W artwork, but still has no plans to syndicate. -jfr]

1.30) How come you can have crossovers between your other strips but not K&K?

Bill says :

Because "Safe Havens" and "On the Fastrack" are both King Features strips, I can (and do!) have plenty of crossovers between the two. (Samantha's father is Fastrack Inc.'s safety inspector). However, neither strip can have any contact with "Kevin and Kell".

1.31) How much does it cost to produce a daily on-line strip, anyway?

The following is gratefully stolen from David Allen of Plan 9 -jfr

The Cost of Drawing a Comic Strip.

#1 Time - The most valuable commodity in the universe. A planetfull of money will not buy back a single second. Allen's 17th Axion states "How you spend your time says much more about your character than how you spend your money." Comic artists spend 8-10 hours a day working on their comic (this of course assumes normal, merely mortal cartoonists with one strip, as opposed to god-like supercartoonists with three). They must write it, pencil it, ink it, scan it, then upload it.

Now, add to this the time needed to maintain the site, answer the mail and put together book covers, promo material, etc.

So, what the total? Well, based on my extrapolation which may or may not apply in Bill's case,

Monthly expenditure in time:

224 hours

Monthly expenditure in money :

Labor - $1,344 (224 hours at $6.00/hr or burger flipping wage)

Total monthly expenditure - $2,844, or $34,128 a year.

[We haven't even touched on web site expenses yet, which vary from site to site, and depend on arrangements with mirror sites, etc. We also haven't covered things like travel which is either not covered or only partially covered by honorariums.]

As you can see, a web cartoonist of a moderately popular strip must sell a ton of books, t-shirts, ads, and such to cover that big an expense.

Did I miss anything Bill?

David Allen
Publisher, CEO, Janitor
Plan Nine Publishing
1237 Elon Place
High Point, NC 27263
(http://www.plan9publishing.com).

1.32 Would you ever do a "Guest Artist Week" on K&K?

Bill says :

Well, I do enjoy them [on other strips].  So far I've contributed to "Ozy and Millie", "Sluggy Freelance", "Newshounds", and "GPF" [General Protection Fault]. They spread the word about the various titles, informing the readers of one about the existence of the other.Still [...] this won't happen any more than once a year or so. [I'm] hoping to be the Cal Ripken of comics. :)

1.33 If you had an emergency and had to take time off, would you reprint strips?

Bill says :

Well, I've been doing "Fastrack" for almost twenty years (it debuted March 19, 1984) and I've never missed a day on any of my strips. Even on the April Fools Day swaps I also did a "K&K" strip myself. So, I guess the answer is no, I don't have any plan of that sort.

1.34 Who has had the biggest influence on your art?

Bill says :

I've had many influences, but no one individual has influenced me more than Charles Schulz.

And also :

"Peanuts" is simply the greatest comic strip ever. Period. :) For sheer range of humor, from the slapstick to the poignant and everything inbetween, no one has ever matched Charles Schulz. (My strips are just sad imitations next to his accomplishments.) I also don't believe that his work suffered in his latter years. In the fall of 1999, before his illness, I read a "Peanuts" strip which I thought ranked with one of his best. He was in top form right up to the end.

1.35 Where else can I find out about K&K?

"Kevin and Kell" has an entry in the Wikipedia, the Internet free content encyclopedia http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_and_Kell. which includes character descriptions and a year-by-year story summary.

1.36 Did I hear that there is a "Kevin and Kell" RPG?

A role-playing game based on "Kevin and Kell" has been produced, with Bill's approval and cooperation, by Michael Hopcroft. It is available as a downloadable PDF from http://www.rpgnow.com/ The game includes more than 25 K&K characters from the strip, and locations such as Caliban Academy. The game manual is illustrated with strips from the K&K archives.

1.37 Will there be more fan art in future 'Kevin and Kell' books?

The fan art used in 'Straight Outta Computers' was a one-time-only deal. In future books, the space below the Sunday strips will be taken up with Danielle's story of Lindesfarne's disappearence from the human world ("Oh the Humanity"), and with the weekly postings of Lindesfarne's blog.

1.38 Why are the characters dressed the same way every day?
Bill says:

Consistent clothing provides for instant identification. Readers recognize the characters immediately in the first panel, and can proceed directly to the substance of the strip.

1.39 How many people see K&K every day?
Bill says:

"Kevin and Kell" gets about 15,000 to 20,000 unique visitors a day, seeing over 3 million page views per month.

1.40 How did the concept of the strip come about?
Note: This is salvaged from Bill's former site on http://reuben.org
Bill says:

In the early months of 1995, I finally decided to call the phone company and install a second line into the den, allowing me to hook up the modem I'd bought the previous summer. Within a week I was on CompuServe, and "Kevin & Kell" began to form in my mind.

In my other strips, "On the Fastrack" and "Safe Havens," I'd frequently had my characters take the form of animals in fantasy sequences, and I wanted to take this strip one step further by having it be populated entirely by non-humans. As I got into the online culture, I began to see a wealth of material in the contrast between the high-tech world and a bucolic woodland setting.

Contrasts became the theme of the project, and I started by having two natural enemies meet online, fall in love before they knew their backgrounds, get married, and raise a family. I chose a rabbit and a fox and named them Kevin and Kell. Get it? Heaven and Hell. Contrasts. Yuk-yuk. Never mind.

After getting a week ahead on my other strips, I took the first week of April off to develop this idea. I drew about thirty gags and showed them to my wife Teri, and she immediately had a negative reaction to the relationship since the fox has certain negative associations for underhandedness; plus, the "foxy lady" concept was too cliche.

I continued working on the rabbit idea, drawing version after version, as Kevin gradually bulked up into his present form. As for Kell, I changed her into a wolf because of its more noble reputation. I had some initial hesitation since rabbits and wolves aren't natural enemies (wolves prefer bigger prey), but now it all seems to have worked out.

One thing I had to change was the setting since I had them living in a hole they'd dug together. That made sense because foxes and rabbits reside underground. However, wolves don't. Thus, the treehouse was born, which gives them extra income by renting out the top branches to birds. Incidentally, birds occupy a specific niche in this world; they're the service personnel. Whether secretaries, teachers, nurses, day caregivers, etc., they make the society function.

As for the rest of the family, I had a baby rabbit and Kell's preteen son. The more gags I drew, however, the more something seemed missing. The baby and the son didn't interact much, and in this family some sibling rivalry was required. So I created Lindesfarne, so that the herbivore/carnivore relationship between the parents would be mirrored with the children.

I didn't want a third rabbit in the family, so for variety's sake I made her a porcupine. This was important because with her natural defenses the reader doesn't worry about her living with predators.

I took another week in May to write about thirty more gags incorporating these changes, which pulled everything together. "Kevin & Kell" came online on September 4, 1995.

1.41) Is there a "Kevin and Kell" community on SecondLife?

Gary McClellan and other K&K fans have opened the Herd Thinners Pub in the Village of Domain; look for the logo.  There is also a group for introducing K&K into Second Life; search in Second Life Groups for 'Herd'.

For those who are not "in world", this is the Herd Thinners Pub.

1.42) What's "Lindesfarne's Blog" about?

"Lindesfarne's Blog" is just that, Lindefarne's blog. She posts every Sunday to talk about things that have been happening at school and at home, which gives us a parallax view of life with the Dewclaws. The portal technology that allows us to see the blog is, unfortunately, one-way, so the comments we post don't make it back to her.

"Lindesfarne's Blog" is also included in each of the K&K print collections, appearing with the Sunday strips.

It is rumored that Bill Holbrook is involved here somehow, but he has not commented on that rumor.


  2. The Characters and Settings

Who are all these furry people, and what are they doing on my monitor?

2.1 ) Who is Kevin?

Kevin Kindle is a six-foot-tall rabbit in his late thirties, who works from home. He is married to Kell Dewclaw, his second marriage. Until Grandma Dewclaw came to stay, he provided day-care for their infant daughter, Coney. His daughter Lindesfarne was adopted during his first marriage. Kevin was originally the sysop for the Herbivore Forum. A later venture, an on-line grooming service called Flea-Bay, expanded into a dating service called Mating_call.com. Currently, he is running an ISP, HareLink. He's a herbivore, and combines lawn care with cuisine.

2.2 ) Who is Kell?

Kell Dewclaw is a wolf (carnivore), in her middle thirties, married to Kevin Kindle. She is a predator at Herd Thinners, Inc., but has also been the company webmaster, and Chief of Security. Kell was fired once because of a consultant's recommendation, and worked as the office manager at Aby's Auto Repair. This is her second marriage, her late husband being a hunting casualty (stepped on by a mooose). She is the mother of Rudy and Coney, and tries to be a good mother to her adopted daughter, Lindesfarne. She suffers from Domestication (see 4.2), and goes to great lengths to conceal it from the outside world. The Dewclaws are a proud family, descended from The Big Bad Wolf, and Kell's family did not take her marriage well. Over time, Grandma Dewclaw, Ralph, and Frank (Kell's dad) have come to accept Kevin to varying degrees; Frank came to it posthumously.

Does Kell still hunt?

Kell always hunted as a junior staff predator; when she became chief of Security, she still hunted at need.  When HerdThinners fired her, she coached the hunting team, and when HerdThinners re-hired her, she insisted on coming back as a senior predator, the job she always wanted.

2.3 ) How did they meet?

Kevin, newly divorced, met Kell, newly widowed, in an on-line chat room. Their cyber-relationship grew into love, and it was only on meeting face-to-face that they discovered each other's species. Each found something in the other that they could not find in one of their own kind, though; Kevin found Kell's independence and aggressiveness enticing, while Kell was won over by Kevin's openness and trust. Being a rabbit confers other talents, as well. Ahem. They decided to marry, much to the scandal of their families, and raise their children together.

The Kevin and Kell comic book, 'Origin of the Species', tells the story of their courtship and marriage; the book is available through Plan 9.

2.4 ) Who is Lindesfarne?

Lindesfarne is Kevin's 18-year-old daughter, adopted in infancy from an English hedgehog orphanage. Lindesfarne was brought up as a porcupine (herbivore), and became an insectivore when she switched back to being a hedgehog. Her quills give her the defense she needs in a predatory world, but make it difficult for her to develop personal friends. She is a expert hacker and scientific genius. Her boyfriend is Fenton Fuscus; she went back to her hedgehog heritage in order to become nocturnal, like him.  They have annoucend their engagement, but the wedding is on hold pending graduation from college.  She is a student at Beige University, near Domain.

Lindesfarne learned during the GPF Crossover (January 2004) that she was actually born human, but, as an infant, fell through the portal between the worlds. The portal changed her to a hedgehog baby. She was rescued and left at an orphanage in England, where she was adopted by Kevin and Angelique. The Dewclaws have learned what happened, and they have accepted her regardless.

For the record, the name is pronounced LIN-duz-farn.

Has Kell officially adopted Lindesfarne?

Bill says :

Yes, and Kevin has adopted Rudy.

2.5 ) Who is Rudy?

Rudy is Kell's natural son, age 15. He is a predator, half wolf and half fox. His father died in an unfortunate hunting accident (stepped on by a moose). As a teenage wolf, he has difficulty accepting a rabbit as the head of the house, and frequently challenges Kevin for Alpha Male status. Although his attitude towards Kevin has mellowed since Kevin rescued him from The Wild, Rudy still tests the limits. Rudy is online frequently, although not the hacker Lindesfarne is. He and Lindesfarne are rivals on the surface, but each will step up to save the other in an emergency. Rudy's girlfriend is Fiona Fennec, his best friend is Bruno. He is domesticated.

Wasn't Rudy once twelve, and is now fourteen?

Bill says :

Yes, I did change that after the strip started, when I realized he was acting more like a 14-year-old than as a preteen.

[Note: Rudy is now fifteen; everyone aged a year in (our year) 2005 -Ed.]

What color are Fiona and Rudy's eyes?

Bill says :

India ink black. (That's the answer Mort Walker gives when people ask him what color are Beetle Bailey's eyes.)

2.6 ) Who is Coney?

Coney is the daughter of Kevin and Kell, born a year after their marriage. Coney combines Kevin's physical appearance with Kell's predator's appetite, and is a very effective predator in her own right. Coney is two years old, at least for now. She is home-schooled by Kevin and Grandma Dewclaw.

2.7 ) Who are Bruno and Corrie?

Bruno Lupulin, a wolf (carnivore), is Rudy's best friend. He was a "wolf in sheep's clothing", since he always wore a sheepskin on his back. The sheepskin was Corrie, Bruno's girlfriend. For a long time, he carried her everywhere, to protect her from other predators. Through a chain of events that cannot be adequately synopsized, Corrie joined civilization. Bruno found that Corrie is the daughter of Ralph Dewclaw and a sheep (who died in childbirth), so now Corrie lives with her father. Corrie's true nature was revealed when she was injured saving Fiona from a cougar. Since she's half wolf and half sheep, her 'true' species was debatable; in an unprecedented display of democracy, the K&K readership voted that she was, and should be, a sheep. She is now known as 'Corrie Dewclaw'.

(I'm not making this up, you know! -jfr)

Corrie is webmaster of an 'Interspecies Relationship' web site, and is the webmaster at HerdThinners. Her mother was Wanda Woolstone.

Dolly is a clone of Corrie.

Bruno has had surgery to convert from a carnivore to a herbivore, adding three more stomachs.  Rudy and Bruno had a fight when Rudy found out, and Rudy knocked his teeth out, so Bruno has herbivore teeth, too.  He's still on the hunting team.

Why is Bruno wearing a sheepskin ... ? Didn't he stop wearing one when he started publicly dating Dale/Corrie? Or is it just natural for you, Bill, to draw Bruno with the sheepskin on?

Bill answers :

When Corrie began having a life of her own as a wolfcub, Bruno just didn't look like Bruno anymore. So I had Corrie create a new "sheepskin" by sewing her own wool onto a hunk of old carpet. That's what we'll see Bruno wearing from now on.

BTW, a while back Rudy gave Bruno another sheepskin, but Bruno doesn't wear it because it doesn't have Corrie's scent.

2.8 ) Who is Fiona?

Fiona Fennec is a fox (carnivore), Rudy's girlfriend, and a classmate at Caliban Academy. She is an expert hunter, and adept at stalking. Her parents originally disapproved of her relationship with Rudy; since her mother married Rudy's uncle and her father married Kevin's sister, they're pretty well over that. Fiona was once abducted by a flying saucer (actually operated by the Great Bird Conspiracy), and given an extraordinary power to 'heal' broken machines. She used her power to fix the Y2K bug in computers around the world. Her powers were revoked by the GBC when the job was done, but she became rich in the process. Fiona is the venture capitalist behind Kevin's companies, Flea-Bay, Mating_Call.com, and HareLink. She sold HareLink to her father to prevent a conflict of interest between Martha, Ralph, and Kevin.

What's with the ears?

Fiona is a hybrid of an African fennec fox and a North American red fox. As she matured, her fennec ancestry asserted itself, which was expressed as much larger ears. It has caused her some difficulty, but she has decided to take pride in her ancestry; she changed her clothing from her former white dress to an Americanized version of traditional fennec garb.

2.9 ) Who is Fenton?

Fenton Fuscus is a bat (insectivore), Lindesfarne's boyfriend. The nocturnal Fenton and diurnal Lindesfarne carried on an e-mail relationship until Lindesfarne decided to become a hedgehog. Fenton was abducted by the Great Bird Conspiracy and hidden at MicroTalon. He has been returned to his family, with no memory of how he got to MicroTalon or what he did there. Fenton is 20 years old, and currently employed by HareLink.  He bought Tree to save her from loggers, and had her fixed up to be his home.

2.10 ) Who is R.L.?

R.L. was Kell's boss at HerdThinners, Inc. He may be a wolf; he's only seen as fangs and hands. He is 'fifty-ish'. While he is an adept manager and savage predator, he is not particularly computer-literate. He is another secret sufferer from Domestication, a malady and secret that he shares with Kell and Rudy. His predecessor at HerdThinners was named 'L.D.'. R.L. is married to Angelique, Kevin's ex.

2.11 ) Who is Ralph Dewclaw?

Ralph is Kell's younger brother, a wolf (carnivore) and a rather feckless one. For quite some time, Ralph had a Wile E. Coyote relationship with Kevin : Ralph kept trying to eat Kevin, but, due to Kevin's size and strength and Ralph's native ineptness, Ralph usually took the damage. Ralph was webmaster at HerdThinners, and now works at HareLink. Grandma Dewclaw keeps him well, if not over-, fed, so he's no longer a threat to Kevin.

Ralph was actually a champion hunter in high school, but fell in love with a sheep he was hunting. The sheep died in childbirth, and Ralph, heartbroken, could no longer hunt. The child took after her mother, and grew up to be Corrie.

Ralph married Martha Fennec, George Fennec's ex-wife.

Are Ralph and Kevin finally friends?

Bill answers :

Not friends; I doubt they'd go out and have a beer together. :) However, they do have a workable boss/employee relationship.

2.12 ) What are the mice doing in Lindesfarne's room?

The mice were originally subjects for Lindesfarne's experiments in the effects of extended computer use, but her soft heart got in the way. Now, she thinks they're pets, and they think she's room service.  A squirrel moved in recently for protection (from Coney).

2.13 ) Who is Candace?

Candace Canid is a border collie (carnivore) who is Kevin's assistant sysop on the Herbivore Forum. She and her husband Buster adopted Dolly (they think they've adopted Corrie) and later adopted Mary (also Dolly). The Canids and the Dewclaws were partners in creating Flea-Bay. Candace's earlier job was an air traffic controller; she now provides customer tech /support at HareLink. The Canids moved to New Zealand.

2.14 ) Who are the Ursals?

The Ursals, Mannie and Majorie, (bears, omnivores) are retirees who lived next door to the Dewclaws. Mrs. Ursal was an expert hunter, but now they live on government assistance. The Ursals have since moved to Florida.

The Ursals' daughter, son-in-law, and grandson (Minora, Bob, and Harcourt Silvertip) are vegetarians who returned from the wild. They went south with Mannie and Marjorie.

2.15 ) Who is Dolly? Who is Mary?

Dolly is a sheep (herbivore) who was cloned from Corrie. Due to her sheltered life, she is not very savvy about the world at large. She was adopted by Candace and Buster Canid, who thought she was Corrie. An accelerated aging process (see Cloning) forced her to leave the Canids before they discovered the truth. Accidental use of Ms. Aura's time machine (see Great Bird Conspiracy) reversed the aging process a little too far, so she became a lamb again. The Canids have re-adopted her as 'Mary', not suspecting she was 'Corrie', and is really Dolly. Nobody ever said life was simple. Mary is one of Coney's playmates.

Did you ever imagine that you would get as much of a run with her as you did?

Bill says :

Dolly has surprised me. Sadly, her real-life counterpart did not have the same longevity.

2.16 ) Who are Ms. Aura and Nigel?

Ms. Aura is a buzzard (scavenger), who was Rudy's hunting teacher (those who cannot do...). She and her young son Nigel rented a branch apartment on the Dewclaw's tree. She was a key member of the Great Bird Conspiracy. When the GBC folded up, she and Nigel used the time machine to travel to Ancient Greece, but they have returned. Ms. Aura is now assistant coach on the Caliban Academy hunting team, and they have their own tree. Nigel is one of Coney's playmates.

During the GPF Crossover (January 2004), when Danielle Kendall and Lindesfarne Dewclaw were revealed as humans, Ms. Aura and Nigel crossed into the human world to correct the balance. They became dolphins, the planet's 'most superior species'.

2.17 ) Who is Tammy?

Tammy Tussock is a moth who was Fenton's girlfriend until Lindesfarne found out. Tammy and Lindesfarne have become good friends; Tammy provides a 'social butterfly' contrast to Lindesfarne's reserve. She is married to Ray Flambeau. They have a son, Angstrom, who is a glowing moth.

2.18 ) Who is Ray Flambeau?

Ray Flambeau is a six-foot tall firefly, Tammy's husband. Originally not the brightest guy on the block, he was accidentally hit with the GBC's "intelligence beam", and became a genius. Since he deduced the existence of the Great Bird Conspiracy, he was hidden at Microtalon. Ray was in love with Lindesfarne before he started dating Tammy. When the Dewclaws found Vin, Ray, and Fenton at Microtalon, Ray put the intelligence beam in reverse and made himself stupid again, so he would not come between Fenton and Lindesfarne. He is married to Tammy Tussock, and works at a remote lighthouse.

2.19 ) Who is Vin Vulpen?

Vin Vulpen is a fox (carnivore) who was once a star high-school predator.  He is Rudy's worst enemy, and, much to the chagrin of both of them,Rudy's half-brother by his father Randy.  Vin is domesticated. 

For some time, he worked for Angelique at HerdThinners, and then went back to  Caliban Academy, trying to get an athletic scholarship to college.  After at attempt to blackmail Angelique and R.L., he fled to the Wild, (10/21/02), and is officially presumed dead.

Vin was last seen (6/1/03) living happily in the Wild with an (adopted) family of kits, having abandoned Civilization to the point of forgetting his former name.

His tombstone reads 1983-2002. That's older than I thought he'd be.

Bill replies :

He was a high school senior, and I also somehow had to account for the time he spent at MicroTalon and HerdThinners. Having the characters stay frozen in age can lead to some odd conflicts like that, but the alternative would be to have Rudy be 21 now, Lindesfarne at 24,Coney at seven...

He has had cubs in The Wild? I though he was sterile..

Bill replies :

His mate's cubs aren't his own. Whether he can father his own cubs is an open question.

2.20 ) Why isn't Kevin called Kevin Kindle?

Kevin was disowned by his family for marrying a carnivore, so he took his wife's family name, Dewclaw. His family still isn't speaking to him. His father is still trying to break them up.

Bill says :

Kell kept her name when she married [Kevin], in order to help her career. As we know, the Dewclaws are a highly respected lineage, which makes Ralph even more of a mystery. :)

Rudy used to have his father's name, but Kell's parents convinced her to switch him to "Dewclaw" after [his father died in] the hunting accident.

[Lindesfarne] took the name Dewclaw when Kevin married Kell.

2.21 ) What is Daisy?

Daisy is a flower that was supposedly domesticated by Ray Flambeau. It was actually given intelligence by Ms. Aura, to protect the Great Bird Conspiracy. It now lives in the Dewclaw household as a pet. Bill says Daisy is about as intelligent as a dog or cat in our world.

2.22 ) Who is Dr. Caduceus?

Dr. Caduceus (snake, carnivore?) is Kell's family doctor, and the one who diagnosed her as suffering from Domestication. His 'Guide to Accepting Domestication' appears in the third Kevin and Kell print collection.

2.23 ) Who is Rhonda?

Rhonda is a tigress (carnivore), a student at Caliban Academy. Originally Vin Vulpen's partner in the mixed-doubles hunting competition (and then called Rhoda), she teamed up with Rudy, Fiona, and Bruno as a hunting foursome.  Her boyfriend was Edgar, a lion.  She was Lindesfarne's roommate at Beige University. She is now married to Quinn Rabelais.

2.24 ) What is that name supposed to mean?

Many of the names in K&K are easily found in the dictionary, like 'Canid' and 'Ursal'. Some of them have significance to the strip, character, or artist that aren't immediately apparent.

Some Names and Their Origins:

Bill has confessed that Harcourt Silvertip and Fenton Fuscus took their names from Harcourt Fenton Mudd, of "Star Trek".

Bill also says that "There's no Latin classification background to Nigel's name; when I drew him he just looked like a Nigel."

2.25 ) Who is Angelique?

Angelique is a rabbit (herbivore), Kevin's first wife and Lindesfarne's adopted mother. Angelique left them for a cyber-suitor, "User #458", who turned out to be Kevin's father. After that disaster, Angelique married a skunk with twenty young children. He eventually ran out on them, leaving her with his offspring to raise. The oldest skunk is named Gweneth; the others are unnamed.

Angelique is married to R.L., Kell's former boss at HerdThinners. Relations between Angelique and her former family remain uneasy. Kell reports to her, which Angelique enjoys. Vin Vulpen once worked for her. Angelique has had plastic surgery to change her appearance to that of a rat. The kids now live at R.L.'s mansion, and go to the HerdThinners' company day care center.

2.26 ) Why is it always the one of Kevin's ears that points away from the reader that's folded, sometimes his left one, sometimes the right?

Bill Holbrook explains :

Thanks for your message, and I'm glad you noticed Kevin's ears. There's only one reason why Kevin's bent ear is always the one away from the reader: it looks better that way! :) (Similarly, in "Li'l Abner," Al Capp always drew Abner's hair with the part towards the reader, no matter which way he was facing.)

2.27 ) Who are Frank and Elanor Dewclaw?

They are Kell's parents. Frank is recently deceased, but still puts in an occasional appearance; Elanor has moved in with Kevin and Kell, having lost her life savings by daytrading.

2.28 ) Who are the Fennecs?

The Fennecs, George and Martha, are Fiona's parents (fox -carnivore). Mr. Fennec is an African fennec fox. Mrs. Fennec is a North American red fox.

The Fennec marriage was arranged to bring diversity into an old bloodline; the Fennecs have a superior attitude about the Dewclaw marriage. The Fennecs have divorced; Martha and her new husband, Ralph Dewclaw, still lives in the mansion Fiona built, next to the Dewclaws. George is married to Danielle Kindle; they have a house of their own in the same neighborhood..

Bill named them after the couple in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?"

2.29 ) Will Kevin and Kell ever have a baby who's an herbivorous wolf? The only drawback ... is that a herbivorous wolf would not be nearly as funny as a carnivorous baby bunny.

Bill says :

That's an excellent reason for it not to happen!

Do you know if Kevin and Kell will have any more kids?

Bill says :

No, they won't.

2.30 ) What is that thing in Rudy's tail, in the early strips?

Rudy used to have a safety-pin through his tail, as a teenager in our world would have a safety-pin through his ear. Bill dropped it, because at 72 dpi, no one could tell what it was.

Attentive readers will also note that Kell's paws used to be the same color as her hair. This made her look like she always wore gloves, so now her fur is the same all over.

2.31 ) Since her marriage and the birth of her daughter, does Kell still eat rabbits?

Bill says :

She makes sure that she doesn't eat *in-laws*. Generally, however, she confines her efforts to deer and larger game. Her quota is filled quicker that way.

2.32 ) Who is Grandpa Kindle?

Grandpa is Kevin's dad, a con-man who claims to be behind every "get-rich-quick" scheme on the Internet. Kell met him once while investigating a rabbit burrow, and hired him as a security consultant for HerdThinners. He's on good terms with Lindesfarne, reluctantly tolerates Kell, and loathes Angelique. He still does not approve of the Kevin and Kell marriage.

Grandpa Kindle was revealed to be "User #458", the on-line suitor for whom Angelique dumped Kevin and Lindesfarne. He didn't know who she was on-line, but of course he already knew her by sight, and the relationship ended immediately. By that time, though, she had already left Kevin and Lindesfarne.

Grandpa Kindle is currently serving time in prison, covering up for Danielle Kindle's accidental murder during a Rabbit's Revenge initiation. As such, he is no longer employed by HerdThinners.

2.33) Who is Zerda Zenith?

Zerda is a fennec fox (carnivore), who is an assistant to Steve Lops,CEO of Carrot Computer.  HareLink was hired to provide Internet service for Carrot Computer in the Domain area, and Zerda is Carrot's liason with HareLink.  Zerda, like George Fennec, was always being mistaken for a rabbit. Unlike him, she embraced  the image, and now prefers rabbits to her own species.  George pretended to be a rabbit in order to keep seeing her.

Zerda broke up with George when she fell in love with another fennec, and decided to ditch her 'rabbit' boyfriend. Revealing himself as another fennec did not improve the situation.

2.34) Who is Angstrom?

Angstrom is the son of Ray Flambeau and Tammy Tussock.  He takes after both of his parents, having moth-like wings and glowing like a searchlight. 

2.35) Who is Tree?

Tree was an innocent bystander who was caught in the intelligence beam that got Ray Flambeau.  Tree is sentient at a human level of intelligence.  Fenton bought Tree to save her from the lumber company, and has built a home inside her.

2.36) Who is Danielle?

Danielle Kindle was Kevin's sister (sibling #29). She was involved with the radical group Rabbit's Revenge, and hid out in the Dewclaw tree for some time. She and George Fennec had a relationship that began after his breakup with Zerda Zenith. Danielle was killed in a raid on Rabbit's Revenge headquarters.

Soon after Danielle's death, a human named Danielle Kendall accidentally went through the portal between the human world and the world of Domain, and manifested as a rabbit, identical to Danielle Kindle down to the DNA level.

Although she has revealed herself to George and the Dewclaws as not being the original Danielle, she has been accepted by them. Her human habits (she eats meat) and lack of experience with Domain still can cause problems. Her inability to scamper like a rabbit cost her her rabbit license.

The death of Danielle Kindle and the appearance of Danielle Kendall has caused more debate, discussion, and acrimony on the Kevin and Kell mailing list than perhaps any other topic in the life of the strip. Bill has refrained from voicing his opinions at any point, with the exception of:

I didn't think there was anything constructive I could add, except to say that I never mean to hurt anyone with my strips.

2.37) Who is Rachel?

Rachel Einhorn, rhinoceros (herbivore), was "Rudolph" to Bruno's "Santa" in December 2003. Her poor eyesight, combined with the scent of female wool from Bruno's fleece, gave her the impression that Bruno was female, right up until the point when she was confronted with Bruno's girlfriend, Corrie. Bruno now wears large ram horns, to avoid further embarrassing mistakes.

Rachael was on the Caliban Academy hunting team, taking the place of Rhonda.  She has graduated, and has become Lindesfarne's roommate at Beige University, again taking the place of Rhonda.  She has not yet decided on a major.

2.38) Who is Aby? Who is Coach Pardus?

Aby Eyeshine is a cat (an Abyssinian) who runs her own auto garage. She and Kell met when Kell's car broke down, and Aby was able to perform an emergency fix. When Kell was fired from HerdThinners, she took a job as Aby's office manager. She moved into the house next door to the Dewclaws when the Ursals moved south.

Coach Sam Pardus is her brother, who changed his name. He is the coach of the Caliban Academy Hunting Team. He is a male calico cat, who has disguised himself as a leopard. Note: Male calico cats are rare, and usually sterile; Bill has confirmed that this is the case for Coach Pardus.

Kell has a reluctantly-admitted prejudice against all felines, and her contact with Aby has helped her deal with it.

2.39) Who is Mom Kindle?

Dorothy Kindle, Kevin's mother, left civilization to live in The Wild after her divorce from Grandpa Kindle. She is a full lop-ear, which explains Kevin's half-lop. Kevin, being unusually large for a rabbit, was delivered by C-section, and was the only one of his litter. He is her first-born child. The rest of her litters were the usual multiple births.

Mom Kindle is also none too fond of her daughter-in-law, but accepts the rabbit side of Coney's nature. She wants Coney to become more herbivorous, and tries various schemes to attract her to vegetables. This may be how she thinks Coney should develop, or Coney may be the trophy in the contest between her and Elanor Dewclaw.

Danielle once tried to explain her human-world origin to Dorothy; Dorothy seems to have marked it up to a side-effect of pregnancy.  Whether she actually believes Danielle is unknown

2.40) Who (and what) is Francis?

Francis is the son of George and Danielle Fennec. His species is, at the time of this FAQ, indeterminate; his DNA contains enough of George and Danielle's to prove their parentage, but does not give an unambiguous answer to his species. Regardless, he is fiercely loved by his parents and the Dewclaws.

2.41) Who is Fran Caudal?
Fran Caudal first appeared as a rival candidate when Kevin ran for a seat on the School Board. Kevin won, but he recommended her as the new headmaster for Caliban Academy, where she works now.

2.42) Who is Quinn Rabelais?
Quinn Rabelais, a porcupine, was betrothed to Lindesfarne Dewclaw, by her mother Angelique, when Lindesfarne was a baby. When Lindesfarne and Fenton announced their engagement, the Rabelais parents were set to enforce their contract. Quinn had already fallen in love with Rhonda through their encounters in Ninth Life, and married her instead, which released Lindesfarne from the contract.

2.43) Who is Leona Mangle?
Leona Mangle, a lioness, is the daughter of Frank Mangle, one of Kell's co-workers at HerdThinners. She  joined the Caliban Acadmy hunting team to impress  Edgar, Rhonda's former boyfriend, not knowing Edgar was also on the team, disguised as a lioness.  The truth came out, Leona forgave him, and they are a couple.


3. Plots and Sub-plots

KEVIN AND KELL has been developing since September 1995, and unless you know some of the background, you might miss some of the jokes. And that would be a pity.

3.1 ) What is the Great Bird Conspiracy (GBC)?

After Humanity left Earth, the avians were the next to rise to sapience. They inherited the artifacts left behind by us, which was a good thing, because we left the planet in a real mess. The Birds went back in time and created an alternate history where Man did not exist, and gave intelligence to the local fauna. Unfortunately, they botched the job, and didn't re-write the predator-prey relationships, so that what arose was a mirror-image society to that of 20th century Earth, one where violent death is even more likely.

The Birds took measures to keep this civilization from tearing itself apart from the "violence inherent in the system." They did this through taking key roles in society whose influence is out of proportion to status (teachers, secretaries, support staff, etc.) and tried to keep things on a more or less even keel. They deliberately introduced the gene for Domestication into the other species of the world. This was supposed to bring stability between the species; it didn't work very well.

The GBC had a massive computer project under development at MicroTalon that would take over the task of running the world, and released it at midnight, December 31st, 1999. Once this happened, the birds were freed to live their own lives. They have zapped their advanced technology into the far future, to protect it from tampering. One 'world portal' still exists, the one between the K&K world and ours.

The head of the GBC, Catherine Aura, has departed the K&K world to live as a dolphin in the human world. The current state of the rest of the GBC is debatable.

Bill says :

This may be a good time for me to point out I've never taken the position as to whether I personally approve of the the Birds' plans. I'm just the reporter here. :)

Bill was not the originator of the term 'Great Bird Conspiracy', which is why you will not see the term in the strip, only on the mailing list.

And when asked if the GBC was really, really over, or if we should keep an eye out for it, Bill says :

I haven't mentioned it on the mailing list. Go by what's in the strip.

If the Birds have such powerful tools, why don't they do a better job?

Bill says :

I think that by now we've ascertained that while the birds are intelligent, they're hardly super-intelligent. :) (They just found a lot of really cool gadgets left by the humans.)

and

...I just wanted to point out that the memory erasing devices, time machines, etc... no longer exist. The only technology the birds have is that which is available to everybody, like, say, trampolines.

Were all birds required to participate, or did they have a choice?

Bill says :

They had a choice. It was a very laid-back cabal.

3.2 ) What are Fiona's powers?

Fiona had the ability to 'heal' broken machines. She was given the power when she was abducted by a flying saucer, and realized she had a duty to use this power to solve the Y2K Bug and save civilization. The flying saucer was actually piloted by the Great Bird Conspiracy. Fiona went on on a world tour to fix all the world's computers. The GBC revoked her powers just before she used them on the MicroTalon computers. She is now just an ordinary vixen, albeit one of the richest people in the world.

3.3 ) What is The Wild?

The Wild is an extremist back-to-nature cult. Members of the Wild remove all traces of civilization, including clothing and names, and live out in the forest. The leaders of the Wild kill any member who tries to leave the organization.

The Wild is also the term used to refer to an area that has not been 'civilized', with roads, schools, housing developments, and DSL service.

Do predators in The Wild respect society's limits on predation?

Bill says :

Anything goes in the Wild. That's why it's the Wild :)

3.4 ) What is the Herbivore Forum?

The Herbivore Forum was an on-line Web service used by prey species. Kevin was the sysop, with Candace acting as assistant sysop when not at work. The Herbivore Forum offered chat rooms on many subjects, guides to hiding places, and other on-line attractions.

The Herbivore forum was closed for lack of activity in September 2000 .

3.5 ) What is Flea-Bay? What is Mating_call.com? What is HareLink?

Flea-Bay was a company formed by the Dewclaws and the Canids as an extension of the Herbivore Forum, to enter the Internet auction marketplace by matching grooming opportunities. Specifically, a person who has a parasite they don't want could match up with a buyer who was looking for a snack. R.L. agreed to provide Flea-Bay with start-up funding. Fiona bought Flea-Bay from him, before Angelique could fire everyone. Flea-Bay expanded into a on-line dating service, www.Mating_call.com. With the slack market for IPOs, Mating_call.com folded. Kevin is now running a local Internet Service Provider, HareLink. Fenton is the system admin for HareLink, and Candace provides remote telephone support; Lindesfarne occasionally assists both of them. Ralph Dewclaw, Kell's brother, is the webmaster.  Kevin and George are co-owners.

3.6 ) What is HerdThinners?

HerdThinners is the company where Kell worked as a staff predator. Her job was to take down prey animals; what she did not eat herself, she took back to the office. These leftovers are packaged as 'processed meat', and are sold in grocery stores. Each predator must fill a monthly quota, or risk being downgraded to 'prey'.

The personnel at HerdThinners are mostly predators, although elephants are employed in the IS department.

HerdThinners is also one of the primary K&K websites, and is host of the chat room : http://www.herdthinners.com/.

Is HerdThinners global or local?

Bill says :

It's global, with many branch offices. The worldwide headquarters are located in the city of which Domain is a suburb.

3.7 ) Where do the Dewclaws live?

The Dewclaws live in the city of Domain. Their treehouse is at 8888 Nail St., on the corner of Tooth and Nail. Grandma Dewclaw lives upstairs on a branch.  Aby Eyeshine lives next door in the Ursals' old house, the Fennec family lives in a mansion down the road, and George and Danielle live in another nearby house. Ma Kindle is living with the Fennecs.

Where Domain itself is located is vague. According to Bill Holbrook, "All I can say is that Domain is a typical suburb of residential dwellings, about fifteen miles away from the center of an unnamed major North American metropolis. (...Which is where the headquarters of Herdthinners, Inc. is located.)" It bears an uncanny resemblance to Atlanta, GA, but that is only a rumor.

3.8 ) What is Rabbit's Revenge?

Rabbit's Revenge is a radical hate group of rabbits attempting to disrupt the social order. There purpose is to 'reflect' society's violence back on itself, namely, by killing carnivores. Their trademark weapon is a gun that shoots a wooden stake shaped like a carrot. Their goals and methods are rejected by most rabbits, who see them as unnatural.

Grandpa Dewclaw was a member until he was hired by HerdThinners. Danielle Kindle was involved with the group for a while. Both of them rejected the group when they learned its true purpose. Danielle was killed during a raid on Rabbit's Revenge HQ to destroy their computer systems.


3.9 ) What are portals?

Portals are passages between one place and another, one time and another, or one world and another. They are generated by the GBC's advanced technology. One of them was used to take the Auras to ancient Greece and back again, and another is a passage between the "K&K" world and "our" world. The latter was located in the area commonly known as the Bermuda Triangle, another bit of misdirection on the part of the Birds, like Y2K.

The portal between the 'human' world and the world of Domain was accidentally found by Ralph and Martha on their honeymoon, and was also the means of bringing Danielle Kendall, human, into the K&K world as Danielle Kindle, rabbit. Lindesfarne is another human crossover, as explained in the book "Oh, the Humanity", a story Bill wrote that did not appear in the daily strips.

The portals have the ability to 'rewrite' a person's DNA to accommodate them to their new environment.

3.10 ) What was the GPF Crossover?

Bill Holbrook and Jeff Darlington, creator of General Protection Fault http://www.gpf-comics.com/ got together at a convention in 2003 and planned a crossover between their two strips. Entitled "A Tale of Two Species", it involved two GPF humans, Nick and Ki, accidentally crossing over to the K&K world, and becoming a white mouse and a cat, respectively. They ended up meeting Lindesfarne and Fenton, and learned how the K&K world works. At the time, Lindesfarne had just discovered her human origins, Danielle was preparing to marry George Fennec, and the Great Bird Conspiracy was trying to deal with a world-wide loss of instincts. Nick and Ki made it back to their own world, but the instinct loss continued. Danielle and Lindesfarne determined to cross back to the human world, in order to save their families and everyone else, but they were stopped by Ms. Aura and Nigel, who crossed over themselves and restored the balance.

The crossover was planned to incorporate events that the creators had planned anyway, so it would be integrated into both storylines (instead of turning out to be a 'dream sequence' or similar cop-out).

3.11 ) What is Aby's Auto Repair?

Aby's Auto Repair is an auto repair shop run by Aby Eyeshine. Aby is a very competent mechanic, and hired Kell to run the office. Since the shop's clientele is mostly cats, a canine was very effective at persuading them to pay their bills on time. Kell was later re-hired by HerdThinners.

3.12 ) What is Ninth Life?

Ninth Life is an on-line virtual community where members can create virtual avatars, interact with each other, create virtual communities, businesses, etc. Many species like to play with new identities; feline species tend to use pictures of themselves because, after all, how can you improve on that?
Parallels with our world's "Second Life" may be seen, although in Ninth Life, Linden Dollars do grow on linden trees.


4. The Universe of Kevin and Kell

The Universe of Kevin and Kell is similar to our own, but there's a little more latitude in the laws of physics, genetics, etc. The rules are true within their own framework. If you can handle the concept of a six-foot-tall, tool-using, mouse-clicking, funding-seeking, bipedal rabbit, the concept of his daughter being a carnivore shouldn't worry you too much. Nevertheless, some explanation as to how things work may be helpful.

4.1 ) What is the Predator/Prey relationship?

The relationship between Predator and Prey is similar to that in our world, with the problems of a civilized society on top of them. Predators are expected to kill and eat prey; prey are expected to resist and escape, but accept their eventual fate. Both sides are expected to use their own natural abilities, without outside or artificial help like firearms, but they can use technology to enhance their own abilities. The rule for predators is essentially 'Eat what you take, but take only what you will eat'. Prey species show an understandable fear of predators, but do not bear grudges against individuals.

Do prey species have any taboo about guns, or using them for self-defense against predators?

Bill says :

It's not taboo exactly, just an admission of abject incompetence. For both predator and prey, gun usage shows that one is either unable to hunt or to defend oneself.

Why shouldn't a prey species be willing to use a weapon? If I were prey I would be thinking, "I might appear to be incompetent, but at least I wouldn't be eaten."

Bill says :

The mindset of any prey species is, "Let 'em try. My (speed, camouflage, quills, safety in numbers, etc.) will protect me."

Chris Kolher, the webmaster of kevinandkell.com, has summarized the predator/prey relationship in the two 'Prime Directives' :

THE PREDATOR RULE: "As a predator, you may kill and eat someone as long as they are not in any way related to you. You must completely devour them, or leave the rest to be completely devoured by scavengers. Disobey either of these two rules and it's considered murder."

THE HERBIVORE RULE: "As a herbivore, you may defend yourself from predator attack. If, during an attack, a herbivore were to kill an attacking predator, the herbivore would be spared a murder charge, as long as they could prove it was "self defense". Any herbivore who kills cannot eat the individual they killed and be spared a murder charge, since herbivores are not subject to the Predator Rule."

Do the HerdThinners wolves hunt in packs or individually?

Bill says :

Both, depending on the prey they're after.

Are there predators that prey on other predators?

Bill says :

In our world, predators do prey on other predators. Things are no different in the world where the Dewclaws live.

If the standard is to go after the old or weak, what happens when a K&K family member is hurt or handicapped?

Bill says :

As has been pointed out, Rudy has found that he's had more success going after the young and stupid.

Are there rules restricting predation against pregnant females? Is there a minimum age protecting children?

Bill says :

This being a light comic strip, I'd rather not deal with the concept of children being the targets of predation. Of course, our animal kingdom provides many examples of just that.


4.2 ) What is Domestication?

Spontaneous Domestication is the secret fear of all predators : the loss of one's ferocious nature, leaving one trusting and less aggressive. Domestication is, unbeknownst to the world at large, a result of genes introduced by the Great Bird Conspiracy (see 3.1). Kell, Rudy, and Ralph carry the gene. R.L. is another secret sufferer. Vin Vulpen's domestication is known to the world. Lindesfarne was working to discover the cause of Domestication and develop a cure. Ms. Aura was aware of this, and used Daisy to lead Lindesfarne off on a false trail. When Lindesfarne identified the Domestication gene, she gave up her research, fearing that a cure would drastically alter peoples' personalities and lives. Kell's affliction was discovered by the Personnel manager at HerdThinners; she could have been downgraded from 'predator' to 'prey', except for some fast work by Coney. The third K&K book, 'Accepting Domestication', includes Dr. Caduceus' Guide to Domestication, a medical self-help booklet.

Will domestication ever be accepted in the society of the Kevin and Kell universe?

Bill says :

Well, it's a slow process...

Since Domestication is genetic, does Coney have it? At what age would it show up?

Bill says :

Just because Kell has the gene doesn't mean she passed it on to Coney. :)

4.3 ) How are the species divided?

The species are divided by their ecological niches : what they eat and when they are active.

Tammy Tussock, a pollen-eating moth, is not strictly a herbivore.

As in our world, like tends to run with like; the herbivores do not voluntarily associate with carnivores, and it's tough for a nocturnal bat and a diurnal porcupine to stay in touch.

4.4 ) What is cloning?

Cloning is the process of using a cell from one creature to create a duplicate of that creature with an identical genetic pattern. In essence, cloning creates an identical twin. Dolly is a clone of Corrie. Dolly escaped the laboratory and was eventually adopted by the Canids (who think she's Corrie). Recent development in cloning technology show that the clone's aging depends on the age of the original donor cell : if an old cell is used, the clone will show signs of premature aging at a cellular level. In the K&K universe, the effects on Dolly were more drastic, and manifested as wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.

4.5 ) How can there be a Santa Claus and an Easter Bunny?

Given that the K&K Universe is separate from ours, why are there such human institutions as Santa Claus? There are several schools of thought :

And :

Egbert Morris Bryant suggests:

Since it was possible for Danielle Kendall to cross the portal into Domain, it is possible that such crossings took place in the past. Finding themselves trapped in Domain and not knowing of a way to go home, they attempted to adapt but tried to keep as many human-based customs and rituals as possible. The GBC never discovering these "humans" and having very little knowledge of humanity, allowed these human based customs and rituals to flourish in Domain. Thus, it is possible for the citizens of Domain to know of stockings but not know or any use for them besides decorations for over the fireplace.

In Domain, are Batman and Robin really a bat and a robin?

You are definitely taking a comic strip too seriously.

4.6 ) Why do they wear clothes? Isn't fur enough? And if everyone wears clothes, why don't the birds wear clothes?

Everyone wears clothes because civilized people wear clothes: for protection, to show status, and because there's nowhere else to put your car keys (except for marsupials). Recall that members of The Wild regard clothing as a sign of civilization, and go au naturel.

Birds regard their plumage as sufficient clothing, but sometimes wear clothing for protection (nurses) or to display status (in the GBC).

4.7 ) Will humans ever visit the K&K universe?

For several years, Bill's standard answer to this was :

I think the Human species works best in the strip as something that comes out of Lindesfarne's imagination.

However, this rule started getting bent when Rudy had an on-line comic strip featuring 'humans', an invention he credited to Lindefarne's role-playing. The Birds saw it as a threat, and arranged to stop it.

Later, the rule was seriously fractured when Ralph and Martha accidentally 'crossed over' to the human world through a portal that the Birds had left active; Martha inadvertently stayed human when they crossed back. She was able to change back to her foxy self when her human behaviours started affecting her family.

Finally, the rule was broken for good when, after the death of Danielle Kindle, a human named Danielle Kendall went through the portal and became a new Danielle Kindle. Despite repeated requests, Bill is not giving out the GPS coordinates of the portal. The portal is reputedly at "70 degrees 15 minutes longitude, 30 degrees 4 minutes latittude" which could be Bermuda, but could also be Pakistan. In a crossover with "General Protection Fault", Ki Oshiro and Nick Wellington have visited Domain, manifested as a cat and a white mouse, respectively.

Trivia: The Dewclaw family name in the crossover universe is 'Dubois'.

4.8 ) Why are some interspecies matches acceptable and some not?

Relationships between different species that have the same diet are acceptable : thus Rudy and Fiona (two carnivores) and Lindesfarne and Fenton (insectivores) are OK. Mixing predator and prey (Kell and Kevin) is taboo.

4.9 ) Are all the characters in K&K left-handed?

Yes; you might say that in this respect, they are made in their creator's image.

Bill says :

Yes, I'm left-handed, as is the entire cast of "Kevin & Kell" and my other strips "On the Fastrack" and "Safe Havens." I occasionally draw right-handedness when the visual composition of the strip demands it.

4.10 ) In our world, hybrid species are sterile. Does this apply to the K&K world?

Bill says :

Hybrids *can* have children in this world. I would like to add, however, that species difference in "Kevin and Kell" represents all human conflicts, whether racial, religious, national, ideological, gender, etc.

4.11 ) How come the characters don't see through things like Corrie's wolfskin disguise?

In the "K&K" world, sight is not as dominant as it is in the human world. Scent is much more important to both predators and prey, and appearance is discounted. Thus, since Corrie smelled like a wolf while wearing her wolfskin, everyone accepted her as a wolf. Since she smelled like Ralph Dewclaw, she was accepted as Ralph's daughter, despite discrepancies in size, fur, dentition, etc.

One area where sight is very important is communication : reading another person's tail position is necessary for clear speech. Someone with a partial tail has, essentially, a speech impediment.

Corrie has no wolftail, so how could other people understand her clearly?

Bill says :

Each species has its own language, plus the common language everyone understands. Corrie may have difficultly speaking Canine, but have no problem with speaking in general

4.12 ) How does the Kevin and Kell universe relate to ours?

The relationship between the two worlds is explained in one Grand Unified Sunday Strip (GUSS) on

http://www.kevinandkell.com/2003/kk1214.html

Once Mankind had fled a terminally polluted Earth, the birds were forced to become intelligent to survive. The birds learned how to use the leftover advanced technology, and went back in time ten million years to create a world where humans didn't evolve and animals became intelligent and domesticated. There are essentially two Earths, separated at the 10,000,000 B.C. mark, but mirroring each other's development.

4.13) What kinds of churches does the K&K world have?

The focus of religion in the K&K world is leading people to be at peace with their role in a world of predators and prey.

There are, of course, other faiths in the world. Bill has stated that the Fennecs are of Arabic descent. Fiona wished everyone a Happy Hannukah one December.

The ultimate statement was the Nativity Story as told in December 2000

http://www.kevinandkell.com/2000/kk1224.html


CONTRIBUTORS, ADVISORS, REVIEWERS AND OTHER ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS :

This FAQ would not have existed without the efforts of :

The Mark I FAQ was assembled by John Reynolds <reynoldsjfr@netscape.net> Omissions, commissions, errors and terrors can be laid at his feet.

Last Update : 3/6/08


"Kevin and Kell", and all the characters therein, are copyrighted by Bill Holbrook.  They may not be used in any work, art, or story, public or private, without prior appoval of Bill Holbrook.