Being a parent is not for the fainthearted.
Even so more so when you not planning to be a parent, and your meal, in this case eggs stolen by a fox looking for a deliciously yolky meal, hatches unexpectedly and declare you momma, poppa and every other surrogate parental figure on the spectrum.
That’s the predicament that the protagonist in cartoonist Benjamin Renner finds himself in when the chicks imprint themselves on him and he is forced to become a parent to what are essentially walk snack boxes to the predator.
It’s a delightfully unorthodox premise for a graphic novel and one, Renner told Comics Alliance, that was inspired by a teaching moment when he was a child.
“The story of the Big Bad Fox came in my head when I was 7 years old. I was visiting a barn and saw some eggs in an incubator. I wanted to see them hatch, but my father told me that the new born chicken would think I’m their mother if I happened to be the first thing they would see.
“At the time, I didn’t feel ready to be a single mom, but the anecdote stayed in my mind. Later I started to think what would have happened if a human had to raise little chickens. Should he teach them how to act as a chicken?”
While the idea that chicks imprint themselves on the first creature they say may sound fanciful, the wild imagining of a over-enthusiastic wildlife documentary producer, the reality, Renner told Comics Alliance, is that is actually does happen.
“Or would they have learned how to act as a human? I then saw some videos that really blew my mind, proving that this kind of thing really happen in the wild.
“Step by step I created this story of a fox, too weak to eat a hen, so he decides to steal eggs in order to eat the chicks, not knowing that they will think he is their mother…”
Mind officially blown and funny bone tickled in equal measure, and more importantly I am now all the more eager to read what looks like a thoroughly delightful read that even Sir David Attenborough would no doubt find amusing.
The Big Bad Fox, which is due to be animated as a TV special to debut next year (along with two other Renner specials based on his work), will hit the shelves on 20 June 2017.