Furry Confusion: Newspaper Comics
- One of the running themes in the ''Pluggers'' commentary at The Comics Curmudgeon is the question of what, exactly, the interaction between anthropomorphic and non-anthropomorphic characters is like; since the characters in Pluggers are drawn as anthropomorphic animals, but the ideas used in the strip are submitted by readers (i.e. humans), the overlap can range from confusing (an anthropomorphic bear taking a normal dog for a walk) to disturbing (a chicken-woman storing her jewelry in an egg carton.) One strip in particular may require two or three readings to understand — its caption refers to the "dog", meaning an off-panel pet dog, even as the reader can see the family's husband, a dog-man.
- Tom the Dancing Bug did a brief, 3 panel comic that made fun of trope. An anthro dog walks a normal dog. An anthro pig asks "I don't understand, aren't you both dogs?" The anthro dog replies "Well, isn't that a pork chop in your bag?"
- In the newspaper comic Pearls Before Swine, a strip populated mainly with talking animals, the little guard duck (usually an over-the-top violent military type) attempts a rather tender relationship with a non-anthropomorphic female duck. This is quite explicitly mentioned in the strip, with the author making an appearance to explain things to the characters. (In the end, the non-anthropomorphic female duck flies away to migrate, but the little guard duck is incapable of flight. He is quite sad, for a duck who blasts sedans with RPGs on a semi-regular basis.)
- Also, in a rather gruesome early strip, Pig is thrown out of a club for pigs due to his love for BLTs. And before that, there was the strip where a diner owner refused to bring Pig the ham sandwich he ordered because it might be one of his relatives. Pig proceeds to call a relative and ask about every member of his family. Upon finding out his aunt is missing, Pig orders a fruit salad.
- Another example is the non-anthropomorphic sheep that joined the Pearls Before Swine crew early on, providing the proverbial lampshade.
- Subverted in the newspaper comic strip My Cage. While all the "people" in the strip are anthropomorphic animals of some variety, all the "animals" are, in fact, enormous microbes. The main character, Norm, even has a pet amoeba named Squishy. There's also one strip where one character is said to suffer from a condition that makes him think he is non-anthropomorphic.
- Lampshaded in a Far Side strip: A chicken is serving her sick husband a bowl of soup, saying, "Just eat it. First of all, chicken soup is good for a cold, and second, it's nobody we know."
"Interesting, interesting... I'd say we taste a little like chicken."
- There's another strip where a cow is grilling beef, with other cows pointing and screaming: "You're sick, Jessie! Sick! Sick! Sick!"
- An even creepier strip shows a cow eating a steak while the other cows watch, apparently as an experiment. Why they decided to do it is probably best left unknown.
- Then there's the one where a young bull walks into his house in a leather outfit. Two of the on-looking cows are horrified, but a third explains, "Don't mind him. That's our calf Randy — he wears leather for the shock value."
- Don't forget the one where the chicken was baking a cake, noticed that eggs were on the ingredients list, and then looks over at her unhatched children. Perhaps it would be best just to leave it at "Gary Larson is in love with lampshading this."
- Since the cast of Rocky is portrayed as humanistic with animal heads, Furry Confusion occasionally happens.
- Happens in-universe to Otto of Beetle Bailey, who feels sorry for a dog that walks on four legs and wears no clothes. Otherwise usually averted, because Otto is still "animal" enough to interact with other dogs on the same level, even though he's closer to anthropomorphism than they.
- The Finnish comic strip Nanna tries to justify its usage of this trope, though there's still some confusion left. The main concept of the strip is that regular wild animals can turn into anthropomorphic animals if they decide to live in the city with humans, thus becoming "city animals". This way the strip can show its eponymous character, a talking anthropomorphic fox, interacting with her mother and little brother, who are regular non-anthro foxes, as the latter two still live in the wild and haven't become city animals. However, the anthropomorphic animals are sometimes still treated as if they were regular animals, and vice versa. Also, some domesticated pets, such as cats, are shown both in anthro and non-anthro forms, even though by definition they should all be "city animals".
- Ziggy plays with this a bit; he owns several pets, a fish, a dog, a cat and a parrot. The former three are normal animals but the parrot speaks in plain English, not by repeating, but literally asking Ziggy questions and such. As well, many comics show Ziggy talking to his pets and regular animals as if finishing a conversation that we didn't see. And the rats in his house seem to be completely anthropomorphic aside from the fact they live in his walls, to point of asking Ziggy if they could pay him 10 bucks let them have the house to themselves for the night.