Comic Strip: Footrot Flats
is a comic strip from New Zealand, by Murray Ball, about the life and times of a farmer's dog, known simply as The Dog, his owner and his friends, and the various animals that live in and around the farm. The comic itself does not exist on-line, but more detail can be found at an unofficial site
The characters include:
- 'The Dog': The main protagonist and mascot of the strip, a border collie whose name he never lets anyone reveal. Much like Garfield he seems as intelligent as a person but can only talk through thought bubbles. Has shades of Lovable Coward and Small Name, Big Ego, but generally good at his job and devoted to his master.
- Wallace 'Wal' Footrot: The Dog's owner, a no-nonsense farmer, amateur rugby player and more or less The Everyman (at least for farmers). Runs a large farm on his own with a large variety of animals, including sheep, cattle, pigs, chickens, ducks and geese. And at least one goat and one turkey, which is more than enough.
- Cooch Windgrass: Wal's neighbour, best friend and right hand man. A Friend to All Living Things whose farm is rather overgrown, and his house has a large tree growing through the middle. He farms goats, which are the perpetual bane of Wal and the dog, and owns Jess, the dog's girlfriend.
- Aunt Dolly: Wal's aunt, the dog's original owner, who runs a home for cats and owns a Welsh Corgi named Prince Charles. Something of a overbearing mother figure for Wallace, though she often helps him out on the farm, and the dog has a grudge against her for giving him his name.
- Horse: A tough, mean, near-indestructible stray cat that acts as an enemy, sometimes ally and sometimes point of interest to the dog. Based on a real cat.
In 1987 there was a feature-length animated film adaptation, Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale
The tropes the comic uses include:
Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale provides examples of:
- Big Game: A rugby game with an All Blacks selector present.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Wal is voiced by New Zealand-born, Australia-active satirist John Clarke.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: During the rugby game, Wal throws an uppercut in the scrum... and punches himself. To add insult to injury, the referee tells him that next time he punches himself, he'll be sent off.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Early in the film, the Dog starts drowning, prompting a flashback to his first day on the farm and his first encounters with Wal, Major, the Murphys, Jess, Cooch, and Pew.
- Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying over You: In the Dog's flashback, Wal's reaction to the new puppy going missing. He's too busy telling Cooch what a great little fellow the Dog was to notice that the reason for Cooch's visit is that he's found the Dog and brought him back.
- Third Person Flashback: The Dog's flashback is in third-person — and includes Wal waking up, getting dressed, spotting Aunt Dolly's car approaching, and rushing around clearing up... none of which the Dog (who was in the car with Aunt Dolly) was there for.