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The pandemic: Doc Rat versus COVID-19

The pandemic: Doc Rat versus COVID-19 published on

Being a doctor, a nurse or a receptionist in a medical practice has changed a whole lot since March 2020. We’ve fallen into a completely different world, and it’s going to be difficult or impossible ever to go back completely to the way we were. The coronavirus pandemic – COVID-19 – has been the biggest global medical shock for generations. 

Why hasn’t Doc Rat been battling the pandemic from its beginning? Well, first I had to finish the tail end of the story about the bushfires, set in January.  With that done, and looking just a little bit late into the events, I’ve taken the chance to step back and condense a month or two of recent history into a short recap then set it going from April. So now we’ll get back to finding out how the virus is affecting Doctor Ben Rat, Nurse Mary Scamper and Gizelle Thomson, as well as Daniella Hood-Rat, Phil Krubnuckle, Jarrad Dryandra, Quarrydog Schlag, Flopsy and Jasmine Jaegermond and all the rest of the gang of friends. 

Some of you currently have a lot of enforced spare time. Whether you are bored, anxious, grieving or going stir crazy, I hope you’ll take a few of my recommendations of lockdown reading.

Endtown Topsider, from Aaron Neathery’s Endtown

Endtown, a webcomic by Aaron Neathery. If Pogo-Meets-Tank Girl were co-written by Arthur C Clarke, Neil Gaiman and Spike Milligan and directed by David Lynch, you may get some idea of where it’s going. In a post-war desert, biosuited humans try to hunt down the last remaining cartoon animals to cleanse their apocalyptic world of contagion, little knowing that the mutagenic virus is really a breach in the fabric of reality itself. It’s masterful writing and masterful art. Five stars. Endtown will enthrall you. Read it free on-line. Physical books can be bought.

The title characters from Bill Holbrook’s Kevin and Kell

Kevin and Kell, a daily comic strip by Bill Holbrook. It’s been around literally since the beginning of webcomics as we know them. A world of anthropomorphic cartoon animals in a semi-civilised world, where the predator-prey relationship is a matter of survival, until some of them prefer to buck the system and fall in love.  It looks like an innocuous comic, but the creator has been doing it for a quarter of a century, crafting an internally consistent world that’s quietly subversive in its message of tolerance and goodwill. Kevin and  Kell will cheer you up. Read it free on-line. Physical books can be bought.

Book 1 in the Travellers series by Paul Kidd.

Any of the books of Paul Kidd. They are fantasy in a variety of genres – Victorian steampunk supernatural sleuths, Japanese samurai ghost hunters, space-faring sword-duelling fortune seekers, magical mice and centaurs in the time of the English Civil War… they’re cracking good stories and gleeful fun. Paul Kidd novels will take you to happy worlds. Buy the ebooks through Kindle, Lulu and IBooks. Physical books can be bought. 

Try them out. 

Caption winners and the Nov/Dec 2019 Caption Competition

Caption winners and the Nov/Dec 2019 Caption Competition published on

Here are the last two winning entries, for all of you who entered. The first is a seahorse receiving a shot (of what?) The second is Doctor Bill, a social media celebrity medic, who happens to be an unbelievably gorgeous peacock. Ben and Daniella were following his videos on EweTube (here). So what did you all think Doctor Bill had to say for himself when you met him in person?

The real-life inspiration for Doc Rat's Doctor Bill
Doctor Mike

Sep/Oct 19
Joshua Morris caption competition winner CC-84

(Doctor Bill was inspired by Doctor Mike, who can be found on YouTube. Check it out, to see what all the fuss is about. To help identify him, I’ve drawn a useful caricature. Doctor Mike is a family physician, like me, so he gets my vote of approval.)

Jul/Aug 19
Nathan House caption competition winner CC-83

Click on the picture to be taken to the competition page. Then send me the funniest caption you can think of, and if yours makes me laugh the most, you’ll win the actual picture itself. Get to it.

Use your imagination and come up with something funny to complete the cartoon. The competition winners have usually been those whose caption adds more to the joke than just a recap of the picture. Pertinent, off-the-wall or sometimes just surreal in a perfectly-focused way. So go ahead – try your luck. You could be the next person to find some free, original Doc Rat artwork winging its way to your home. 

Caption Competition 085