How Lisa Hanawalt’s Animals Teach Us About What it Means to Be Human

Lisa Hanawalt's characters make animals out of people. Or is it the other way around? Here's a video essay about how her animals bring us closer to what it means to be human.
Tuca And Bertie

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Lisa Hanawalt, the production designer of Bojack Horseman, creator of Tuca & Bertie, and author of a smattering of independent comics, makes animals out of people. Or maybe it’s the other way around? Hanawalt’s work envisions a diverse kingdom of animal-headed humans. And while at a glance her anthropomorphic style may appear to just be a stylistic choice, a closer look reveals that Hanawalt’s animal-headed characters serve a greater purpose than just being a “look.”

The latest video essay by What’s So Great About That? argues that Hanawalt’s characters, in assuming an animal form, are able to simultaneously distance us while bringing us closer to what it means to be human. It’s an authenticity independent of realism.

You can watch “Lisa Hanawalt: Being Human by Being Animal” here:

Who made this?

We’ve covered Grace Lee’s work on FSR before and with good reason: she’s an expert at tackling dense and challenging content with a keen eye, elegant flourish, and overwhelming cultural fluency. You can follow Lee on her YouTube channel What’s So Great About That? here. You can follow Lee on Twitter here. And you can support Lee on Patreon here.

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Meg Shields: Based in the Pacific North West, Meg enjoys long scrambles on cliff faces and cozying up with a good piece of 1960s eurotrash. As a senior contributor at FSR, Meg's objective is to spread the good word about the best of sleaze, genre, and practical effects.