and its continuing series Newshounds II
are a long-running Furry Web Comic
by Thomas K. Dye. It's about a human woman, Lorna, and the six (originally four) dogs, one cat and one rat she has adopted and employed to work in television news. The original strip lasted from November, 1997 to December, 2006. The continuation started in July, 2007 and ended on September 29th, 2014.
In the original Newshounds
comic strip run, the team ran KPET, a television channel operating out of Lorna's home.
- Kevin J. Dog was the cameraman.
- Wolfram Blitzen and Renata Fayre (both dogs) were the news anchors.
- Alistair Katt (a cat) was the meteorologist.
- Sam Shepherd (a dog) was the sports reviewer.
- Ferris the Rat was the janitor.
- Rochelle O'Shea (a dog) was later hired then permanently adopted as an on-location news correspondent.
- Della (a dog), Kevin's steady girlfriend later in the story, was hired as a technician, then was stranded in a remote location after her owners abandoned her, but had moved in permanently by Newshounds II.
In Newshounds II
, the comic developed a more page-oriented layout, with the entire team moving on to Mega News West to moderate video blogs as they slowly work to build lives of their own.
Newshounds has the following tropes:
- Affably Evil: Lampshaded by Wolfram here.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
- Lorna's parting words: "You guys do whatever you want. Blow up the house. Nuke the neighborhood. Organize a terrorist strike against the Pork Council for not having strict enough standards for fat content."
- Ferris' bad day: "First, I accidentally tripped Renata with the microphone cord... then I dropped the Mayor's Palm Pilot into his jacuzzi... then, as if it couldn't get any worse, I put too much ketchup on my curly fries."
- Renata's interview with adult film star Angie Lishus: "Let me get this straight... you're not doing a TV special on my work for charity... I came all the way down here just so you could pester me with some stupid questions about Virgiltech... and you still won't pay for my jumbo parsley?"
- Asshole Victim: Randy, Della's cousin who used Sam for his money, cheated on him, got Della kicked out by her owners, and sold out Rochelle, was sold to a lab and experimented on. Not even her new eyepatch earned her any sympathy, although the fact that she clearly felt no guilt over selling Rochelle up the river and felt KPET owed her in a big way for the information didn't help.
- Attempted Rape: Sam's new boss Slab tries to rape him after seeing him being chummy with Nigel. Sam does a Groin Attack and the two fight each other until the police arrive.
- Babies Ever After: The original run of the comic ended with Rochelle giving birth.
- Back for the Finale: Della returns at the very end of the original Newshounds, and a very briefly mentioned character is reintroduced in the distant finale at the end of Newshounds II as Sam Shepherd's girlfriend.
- Bestiality Is Depraved/Rape as Drama: Slab Hannibal, a human who has sex with dogs. The Bestiality Is Depraved trope is played with — the dogs in the series are sentient and verbal, and are perfectly capable of making informed decisions and saying yes or no, sidestepping a lot of the Squicky moral consent questions usually associated with sex with animals. But Hannibal rapes his canine bodyguards. He tried to rape Sam, but he fought back.
- Brainwashed: Wolfram has been brainwashed into thinking he has always been a fighting dog and doesn't recognize Rochelle, his wife.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Can anyone still remember when this was a light but somewhat political Gag A Day comic?
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Turns out that AOL Time Warner Corporate military's takeover of Starbuck's outlets has been largely unsuccessful. Why? Because the Starbuck's baristas wipe the floor with AOL Time soldiers. How? Because they know how to "handle caffeine crazed coffee addicts."
- Closet Key: Nigel. Alistair was already uncloseted when he and Nigel met, but Alistair's relationship with Nigel brings out his Straight Gay side.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Ferris.
- Cooland Unusual Punishment: How to you force a trespasser to tell you why he was spraying dangerous chemicals in your lawn? Simple: Force him to watch Baywatch with "Carl's Jr" commercials.
- Corporate Warfare: AOL attempted a military takeover of Starbucks, but their troops proved no match for stressed out baristas.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Hal O'Peridol was more delusional than corrupt, but then there's General Swallowemup and several executives that the KPET crew interviewed back in the gag-a-day days.
- Darker and Edgier: Newshounds II takes on some significantly more mature themes, to say the least.
- Fake Memories: Rochelle's memories of being a death-defying thrill-seeker never happened.
- Foregone Conclusion: Thanks to Kid Gloves, we know that no matter what, Alistair and Nigel are staying together. Not to mention that things with Rochelle and Wolfram end up okay.
- Funny Background Event: In the gag-a-day era, there would often be a panel showing some people watching KPET at home while doing something (such as swearing while adjusting the rabbit ears on a television to clean up picture problems).
- Furry Comic
- Genre Savvy:
- Hannibal Lecture: There's a reason why this race horse is nicknamed "Big Time Guilt Trip".
- Heel Realization: Virgil realizes how counterproductive his virus would really be.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: According to Lorna's mother, her dad's lover was one of these.
- Insane Troll Logic: Or as Lorna calls it, "Bankers' logic."
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
- Love Hurts: Kevin brooding over Stormy, and then again over Della when she's stranded far away.
- Logic Bomb: "It would be irresponsible to hail who was responsible for making us responsible?" Lampshaded in the next panel.
- Mega Corp.: Swallowemup/Kerslake Enterprises. Also AOL once attempted a military takeover of Starbuck's.
- My God, What Have I Done?: "Read the story of Pandora's Box, kid. You'll learn something."
- Nice Guy: Nigel.
- Near Death Experience: Renata deliberately causes one for most of the main cast after she sees everyone drifting apart, to remind them of what's truly important in life.
- Official Couple:
- Wolfram and Rochelle.
- Alistair and Nigel (currently separated).
- Sam and Randy (broke up).
- Kevin and Della.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: When you're trying to cover the kidnapping of several rats and mice, do not talk about Area 51.
- Psychic Powers: Renata somehow develops these in Newshounds II. Up to and including near-omniscience.
- Reality Ensues: When two fishes planned to take the Panama canal by blocking its entries with a "chain of fish", Alistair points out the obvious flaw on this plan.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Quite figuratively red and blue, with conservative Sam and liberal Alistair.
- Sequel Hook: The jobs offered to the characters at the end of the original Newshounds run to work at Mega News West.
- Spit Take: Subverted with the caption "spit take held in check excellently!" when Wolfram proposes to Rochelle.
- Straight Gay: Alistair.
- Straight Man: Kevin.
- Take That:
All right, Mr. Spleen, don't hurt anybody in there. Just tell us your demands. Mr. Spleen:
I want someone to run over Michael Bolton with a steamroller! Policeman: (Beat) (into bullhorn)
WHAT'S THE CATCH?
- Apparently, the fact that Amazon once made Jackie Collins author of the month is considered their darkest, dirtiest secret.
- Throw The Rat A Bone: Ferris has finally sold one of his many, MANY ideas, and it's being optioned as a TV Series.
- Twisting the Words
- T-Word Euphemism: Whereas the original Newshounds was almost completely devoid of harsh language, Darker and Edgier Newshounds II has some characters frequently cursing aloud, with their still-obvious words masked with strategic scribbles over most (but not all) of the letters. Sam, Slab and Randy do this the most.
- The Vamp: Randy owns this trope so bad.
- Villain Ball: Swallowemup's less than ethical moves led his enterprises into bankruptcy.
- Virtual Ghost: Manny the mink, after being made into a stole.
- Webcomics Long Runners
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Virgil wants to create world's peace and prosperity through "Progressive Revolution".
- White Gloves
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Recently, Sam's legal rights have been brought into question by Alistair. Among an increasing number of other incidents.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Newshounds II ended with one of these, showing the lives that the characters had built for themselves after the end of the series.