MixedMyth wrote: I realize I'm thinking about this all much too hard, but I can't help it.
Yet isn't that the most honorable purpose of art? Making you think?
I'm very well aware that anything you can read from K'n'K is mostly writer's incompetency (more precisely willingness to ignore some obvious problems of the comic under the guise of 'it's just a comic'), but I also do believe that art exists independently of the creator, that the comic can be clear social darvinism statement even if author didn't intend it to be. That's actually doing the favour to author by refusing to consider possible alterior mothives or subconscious messages or whatever.
Anyways, K'n'K isn't the only comic that applied rules from animal kingdom so strictly. Think of long-forgotten Keenspot comic "Suburban jungle", for instance, where there is also society of animals who eat each other. But only K'n'K gives this awful vibe because it's social darvinism isn't only in elements taken from animal kingdom, but also stretches to normal human-like relationships portrayed in comics. In K'n'K, if superiod characters don't eat inferior ones, they triumph over them in other ways - professionally, intelectually, etc.
There's many other comics that try to keep that predatory element in the comic. Most of them try to play it like whimsical jokes. K'n'K is, I think, the prime example of how that can fail miserably and instead be genuinely disturbing. Like Neko said, most of them fail because their world isn't fully thought throuth. Other comics like "Jack" work because their societies remain human-like and only keep 'furry' visually. These comics don't have to invent entire world because they use enough of real world. But those that use elements from animal kingdom are indeed creating a new world, much like fantasy writers. And like fantasy writers, if the world isn't thought through, it's not convincing, it fails, it has many holes in places where readers easily spot them. Difference between fantasy writers and writers of this kind of furry comics is that furry writers are blisfully unaware that they have to work on their world.
I personally prefere subtlety. Furry is a nice way of underlining the point. Say you have a tiger character who eats other characters - that's painfully obvious. But say you have a tiger character who is predatorial, but in the social sence of the world, as in, professionally, emotionally, etc. Now that's much more subtle.