A lot has happened since Marc-Uwe Kling’s communist kangaroo hopped onto the public stage in a radio comedy in 2008. The former cabaret artist has become a successful bestselling author. Today its unusual hero is Germany’s most popular marsupial with a huge fan base.

After four “Kangaroo” books, audio books and a cinema film, “Die Kangaroo Comics”, a weekday comic strip, started at the end of 2020 at “Zeit Online”. The cartoonist Bernd Kissel (“Münchhausen”, “Freistaat Flaschenhals”) stages the stories newly conceived for the strips.

Now Carlsen Verlag has made the anthology “The Kangaroo Comics 1 – So I could do it better” from the first year.

With the crisp, short, black and white (during the week) as well as longer and colored (at the weekend) strips, newcomers can also experience what many have always liked: an anarcho-kangaroo as an anthropomorphic being whose gestures, facial expressions and puns are at eye level interacts with the roommate.

The kangaroo also fills a void for conflict-averse everyday fear-mongers, which can be safely lived out here: undeterred, it moves beyond the boundaries of taboos, the unspeakable and social convention.

With the anthology, the wave of success of the system critic in the cuddly fur can continue to be ridden. But the book also achieves something unexpected: In the “Kangaroo Comics”, the kangaroo and Marc-Uwe Kling’s alter ego comment on our lives on a daily basis. The volume thus mutates into a somewhat different “kangaroo chronicle”, which condenses the events of 2021 between book covers: climate change, corona crisis, coalition agreement. We look, read and look back in amazement.

Allusions to classic comic strips such as “Calvin and Hobbes” or “The Peanuts” are obvious. Kissel’s drawings also reveal how versatile he is: his detailed, dynamic strokes, reminiscent of Franco-Belgian classics such as “Tim und Struppi” or “Spirou und Fantasio”, are unmistakable.

Kling and Kissel are a well-established team. Just as Kling likes to go beyond the genre framework with his philosophical, political or self-referential stories, Kissels implements this in a congenial manner with a wealth of variety.

In doing so, the two casually break through the fourth wall or blur the dividing line between author and illustrator. In some strips, Kissel becomes a comic figure: sometimes as an almighty draftsman god who manipulates the plot, sometimes as a pedagogically incorrect family man.

The number “1” in the title of the book suggests subsequent volumes. So the marketing carousel keeps turning. The communist kangaroo has long since arrived in capitalism. We can laugh about that, too – albeit not quite as loudly.