Mr. Bun Has a Question

The Cubbycake Chronicles Continues

It has been a highly emotional week for panda fans around the US and around the world. Panda Research centers in China continue to have success raising not only single cubs, but also twins, and last year, the first instance of surviving triplets occurred. In the US, however, we have only had one pair of surviving twins at Zoo Atlanta, known here affectionately as Bert and Ernie, or the Meihem twins.

Last Saturday’s birth of twins to Mei Xiang at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC caused great celebrations, not only among the panda faithful. In a world that seems to be going nuts with new random shootings every week, and natural disasters like the out of control wildfires in my home state of Washington, two new baby pandas seemed like just the thing to cheer ourselves up.

It was not to be. One of the cubs was too small and too weak to survive, and he died on Wednesday. My heart and sympathies go out to all the panda house staff at the SNZ. They have been working around the clock since the start of Mei Xiang’s labor. They are exhausted as well as heartbroken and they deserve our support. If this cub could have been saved, they would have done so.

The surviving cub is doing well. Mama Mei continues to prove herself an excellent mother. This is the first time we will have two cubs in residence at the same time at the SNZ. I can’t wait to visit and see the new cub, which will remain with Mei Xiang for about 18 months.

But that is the real world, and THIS is panda satire. So we take a moment to wipe our tears and blow our collective noses and get on with the show. I wanted to do a cartoon that commemorates the loss of this cub, without getting excessively maudlin. I hope you agree that this fills the bill.

And of course, it stars Pinky.

Mr Bun has a question, daddee.

Mr. Bun has a question daddee.

Be the Bear,

Bob T. Panda

27 thoughts on “Mr. Bun Has a Question

    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      Thank you. I was really pleased, and not a little surprised that this was what came out of the deep recesses of my brain. who KNOWS what is in there? Not me, that’s for sure.

      Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      Pinky does have a BIT of a conscience, but she is unstoppable in reaching her goals. She is very directed!

      Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      Thank you. I started thinking about how little kids always think that they are the cause of everything. I thought Pinky should show that she has a sensitive side too, but is unstoppable once she knows that she was not responsible. I didn’t get the idea to add Mr. Bun and have Pinky pretend that HE was the one who wanted to know these things until I had started doing the rough sketch. I usually write the script out, then do a rough sketch, and then do a final pencil drawing which then I ink over with a dip pen and india ink. It came to me as I was drawing that Pinky would want to ask the question somewhat obliquely.

      Reply
  1. Winky Cat

    Anne, are you anywhere near the fire disaster areas in your state? If not, thank goodness, if you are, please take every precaution to keep you and yours safe during these horrific wildfires. My thoughts and well wishes go out to you and others in Washington state, whether directly or indirectly affected.

    {sniff} If that liddle panda, sitting on her Daddee’s knee, crying her liddle eyes out, didn’t tug at your heartstrings, ya don’t have a heart!

    NOW we know where Pinky gets putting signs on her door from, Mr. Tian “You ARE the Daddee” Tian! “Our cub”, {sniff} I am beyond thrilled that Tian Tian is the cubs Daddee.

    So glad to see Pinky & Mr. Bun made such a fast recovery from abject despair to foot/ear wiggling joy! Sorry, Mommee, looks like Pinky’s back on the cubpaign trail again!

    Lastly, thank you standing up for the panda house zoo staff. I truly believe they did all they could to save the little panda cub’s life. If I read one more criticism of them or Mei, I think I would have lost it! And the uproar over Larry & friends…I have no words.

    Speaking of Larry, is Mr. Bun Larry in disguise??? Very smart, Pinky!

    Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      Question 1: No, I am nowhere near the fires, as they are mostly on the other side of the mountains. We have been getting a little smoke over here. not enough to be really scary, but the air quality is a little bit bad. It is very scary over there. I am hoping for some rain to come their way very soon.
      2: Pinky does have a sensitive side, despite her vast quantity of Pinki-tude. I wanted to avoid an out and out sob fest, but Pinky wanted everyone to know that she occasionally thinks of someone other than herself.
      3: It will be next to impossible to permanently derail Pinky from the cubpaign trail.
      4: Being fortunate enough to have visited the NZ, knowing people who are there regularly, and having met some of the people who care for the pandas, I can’t say enough good stuff about the panda staff. If I can get one person to see the dedication of the staff that didn’t know it before, it will have been a good day.
      5: Mr. Bun is his own bunny self and not Larry. Larry has not spoken to me recently so I don’t have any story ideas for him. That could change at any moment.

      Reply
  2. Karen Wille

    Bob: This is just so perfect. You captured our precious Pinky’s sensitive side, along with Mr. Bun, but also showed how determined she is. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      I’m so glad you like it. I think that it perfectly captures the complex being of her Pinky self. She is both determined and sensitive.

      Reply
  3. Jayelle (@GreenEyedLilo)

    This is really perfect. I wondered how or if you could handle it. It stays so true to the spirit of the strip while being so sweet. And what adult human or panda wouldn’t want to comfort a crying Pinky…I mean, Mr. Bun? Thanks for reminding us the smiles and laughter can go on.

    Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      To be honest, I wondered how I would handle it too. I used my favorite method of just starting to write or draw and see where it took me. The idea to add Mr. Bun didn’t come till I started to draw the rough draft. Then I think he just drew himself in there and then the idea really came together. I’m glad you like it. I think it will stay as one of my all time favorites.

      Reply
  4. Anna

    This was perfectly done and thank you so much for standing up for NZ staff- that press conference was a heart-breaker for sure!

    Will Pinky warn her baby brother about the endless “baff time”? I am eager to see all four of the pandas in January at the cub’s debut (guessing- since Pinky’s was in January!)… I’ll be sure to bring cuppycakes that say “I’m a Big Sister” <3

    Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      Glad you liked this one. I think it will go down as one of my all time favorites. I haven’t thought too far ahead about Pinky’s relationship to her little brother, and his to her. I think a large amount of spoiling was done on Pinky’s behalf because she had a lost twin, and because it had been so long, with so many tries to have another cub. It was only natural that she would become an overindulged child with no limits to what she could achieve. Her new brother, however, has the disadvantage of Mei’s recent memories of Pinky’s exploits, and we don’t know if she will be as lenient in her discipline of the new cub. I’m sure of only one thing, and that is there will be interesting times ahead for the pandas of the Panda Chronicles, not to mention of the real pandas at the NZ.

      Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      Ha ha! I kind of thought that too, but of course I am too humble to bring my genius-osity up in polite company.

      Reply
  5. Vicky V

    I laughed at Tian’s Tian’s door signs. Then I cried at Pinky’s tears and Mr Bun’s question. Then I wanted nothing more than to throw myself into Tian Tian’s lap with Pinky.
    Such a beautiful way to deal with this event. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      It was hard to think of a way to address the event, without going totally over the edge with sentimentality. Glad you think I got it right. Mr. Bun showed up at the last minute, and I think he added just the right touch.

      Reply
      1. Panda in Chief Post author

        I really hope this is the year for Wang Wang and Fu Ni. I know one of your other countrywomen who volunteers at the Adelaide Zoo ( you must introduce yourself if you go there) and I know she would dearly love to have a cubbie or two (or three, but hey! let’s not get greedy!) We are still on pins and needles here as to Junior’s survival. But the first week has passed and he is getting his panda markings faintly and getting quite round. Huzzah!

        Reply
        1. Vicky V

          No news yet from Adelaide. I would love Aussie Panda Cubbies!!
          I’m hoping to visit Adelaide Zoo again so I will introduce myself to your friend. I’ll let you know when I plan to go 🙂
          Junior is so adorable. His markings and tubbiness are beyond cute.

          Reply
          1. Panda in Chief Post author

            Do let me know, so I can put you in touch with Rosemary. She travels a lot, visiting other pandas. I met her in San Diego, visiting the Wu self and his family.

          2. Vicky V

            What a fun life – visiting pandas around the world!
            Hopefully I’ll get to met Rosemary at Adelaide Zoo – and maybe a little cubby or two 🙂

          3. Panda in Chief Post author

            Rosemary is a lovely person. I am so glad I got to meet her when she came to Pandiego last year.

What does your inner panda think?