"Simple Beasts" is a new comic strip that begins today in the Deseret News, replacing "The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen."

Drawn by Doug Hall, 31, the strip is billed as a "simple" humor comic that is as entertaining as it is natural. The strip is set in the "Great North Woods," and the characters are described by the artist as lovable and loving animals.Woodruff the bear is the star. He loves to eat, sleep and watch people.

Supporting roles are provided by a squirrel, Rafkind, (who loves to dive into dumpsters and listen to hard rock) and Teether Bob and Teether Lou who are busy beavers raising their family.

Clarissa, another bear, is constantly rejecting Woodruff's affections, and she hopes to be discovered by Hollywood or National Geographic.

The Rens, a dazed flock of birds who struggle through life without a leader, round out the strip's characters.

"Simple Beasts" will show interaction of the animals with man and his complex society. Hall said the strip will provide the real story on animal courtship, shedding and the mysteries of plastic garbage cans.

Hall says he is a nature lover and hopes that the ever-increasing interest in nature, wildlife and the environment will make "Simple Beasts" popular.

A native of Indiana and graduate of Anderson College, Hall is a former magazine editor. He has done comic strips for his high school and college newspapers, as well as for the "The New Yorker" and "The Saturday Evening Post." He loves cycling, backpacking and canoeing and currently lives in Maryland.

"Simple Beasts" is being distributed by Tribune Media Services of Orlando, Fla.

Lynn Arave.