It all started as just another random comic idea. A cat and a dog, and their unlikely friendship.
“Pixie is a tiny, joyful, energetic kitten,” artist Ben Hed, told Bored Panda once. “She’s innocent, and also somewhat oblivious to the serious, dangerous stuff around her.”
Brutus, on the other hand, is a large, scar-faced German Shepherd. “He was adopted by Pixie’s owner after retiring as a Military Working Dog (MWD). Brutus, in many ways, is the exact opposite of Pixie. He’s… seen things. He’s a very serious and intimidating military dog, but he has a soft spot for Pixie, and does what he can to protect her from the harsh realities of the world around them.”
Ben didn’t even plan to make their adventures a series, but his followers (and pretty much the entire Internet) fell in love with Pixie and Brutus so deeply, he thought it would be a sin not to.
As you can see from these strips, there is no pandemic where Pixie and Brutus live. “I’ve never really included current events in any of my comics,” Ben told Bored Panda. “It’s not that it’s a conscious decision, it just doesn’t happen naturally for me. Maybe if my comics were more about humans and less about cats and dogs, then it’d be different.”
While we’re on the subject, the coronavirus outbreak hasn’t really affected the artist’s creative work too. “I draw comics alone in a dark room in my own home, so I’m already pretty much quarantined all day!” he said. “Nothing really changed in that regard.”
If you were to open up Ben’s Instagram account, you’d instantly notice that his work doesn’t revolve only around Pixie and Brutus—you would also find fish who go on dates, over-confident fitness trainers teaching people to act like tigers, and much, much more.
“It’s really just whatever I come up with. Naturally, Pixie and Brutus comics aren’t the onlycomic ideas that pop into my head. Sometimes I think of a joke or story that doesn’t really fit with P and B, so I make it using other recurring characters or even completely new characters instead,” Ben explained.
Pixie and Brutus fandom has been rapidly growing (currently Ben has over 2.5 million Instagram followers). Keeping up with demand might pose pressure for some but instead, Hed has used it to push himself: “I do worry about each comic’s performance, but I worried about that before I created Pixie and Brutus too. Following that interview, his fan army substantially increased, which he said never ceases to shock him.
Not only does he not feel pressure from his fans, but they inspire him through their comments. “Tons of feedback. What they liked about the comic, what they thought was going to happen, ideas for future comics, ideas for new characters. There are probably a couple of funny comics in my feed that are entirely inspired by a comment on one of my posts.”
It’s absolutely wonderful to see someone being so passionate about their work as Ben is. For example, just a couple of months ago, Ben revealed the full story and the emotional details behind how Brutus the dog got his scars while serving in the military.
The artist told Bored Panda that creating this comic took far longer than absolutely any other he’s posted on Instagram so far. The reasons for this were the amount of work he put in: not just into drawing the cartoon, but also into the research. “This comic took longer than any other comic I’ve posted to Instagram, partially because of the length and detail, and partially because of the amount of research I put into it before drawing anything,” Ben said.
Something tells me this is not the last time we feature Pixie and Brutus.
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Rokas is a writer at Bored Panda with a BA in Communication. After working for a sculptor, he fell in love with visual storytelling and enjoys covering everything from TV shows (any Sopranos fans out there?) to photography. Throughout his years in Bored Panda, over 235 million people have read the posts he’s written, which is probably more than he could count to. Read more »
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