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Bunny Suicides

With Andy Riley

bunny suicides

 

The other day, right next to my building, someone has throwed himself by third plane going to crash into the rear window of a car, down the street. At first I thought the umpteenth suicide for financial reasons, then a woman told me that no, it was not that. The guy has always been a bit “you know”, a bit strange. Came over me to ask what she meant by “strange”, but the woman pulled out a scratch card and gave me no more yarn. In the end it seemed to me there was nothing “strange” in that body spread on the ground, people choose to end their life in the usual ways. I tried a right feeling for that situation, then the horn, cranes, scratch cards and election posters did the rest. I thought of Andy…

Do you have some bunnies at home?

Me and my brother were given pet rabbits when he was about ten years old and I was about eight. Mine was called Biggles. He was a weak, small rabbits and he died about two weeks after I got him. Then my brother’s rabbit, Algy, became “our” rabbit. We looked after him for another couple of years, until one night a fox ripped his hutch open and took him.
Also, we lived next to a very busy road in the countryside. Flattened rabbits were a common sight. So I think that from a young age, I felt that a rabbit was a very vulnerable thing which could die at any time.

How did the idea of Bunny Suicides? Why the bunnies?

The title came first, then I worked out how the cartoons might actually work. I never questioned why it was rabbits until I did the second book. Somebody suggested I try tortoises. I did, for a couple of hours. Much more limiting. You can only make them die in one or two ways. Bunnies are so soft and defenceless that there are many more ways to kill them. Also, the White Rabbit is a symbol of innocence and purity so the idea that such a creature would want to kill itself is funny from the outset.

Where do you get the inspiration for the bright ideas of suicide?

When I was drawing those three books, I just thought of every single object that has ever existed in the world, and tried to kill a rabbit with it. There’s a bit more to it than that, but not much more.

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Is it just an ironic vision or there’s a meaning more “serious” to grasp?

The cartoons were meant to just be as funny as possible, but when you look at them all together perhaps they do seem to make a philosophical point. Some people do look at it this way. I never see them as cartoons that are about depression or sadness. I’ve never spent any time wondering why it is the rabbit wants to die. I just assume from the beginning that that is what they want to do. The cartoons concerned themselves not with the “why”, but the “how”. These books are about ingenuity and inventiveness rather than depression. That’s how I see it anyway.

You are also a scriptwriter of comedy and feature-length animation: do you have an ideological criterion you’re always sticking to?

I don’t have ideological criteria as such, but if I’m writing for an audience with a lot of children in it (like with Gnomeo and Juliet) then there are certain material you don’t put in.

Who is Andy away from the creative dimension?

If you are a comedy writer or a cartoonist (and I am both) then being creative is a sort of manic obsession. Your brain is wired up to work that way, and even when you are resting a little part of your mind is still trying to think things up. But I’m often at my happiest when going on very long walks. When I can find the time, I will happily hike for 30 km or more. I’m not normally very creative when I’m walking, but I am very relaxed and at peace.

What are ways a bunny overwhelmed by the crisis would commit suicide?

When you say “the crisis” is there any particular crisis you have in mind? Like the European financial crisis?

Yes, something like that…

Maybe it would just starve to death.

Thanks

Hope that’s okay. Love.

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