Sunday, September 21, 2014

Comic Review: Beasts of Burden

    Hellboy and Scooby-Doo mixed with Lassie?  OK.  A bunch of neighborhood dogs (and one stray cat) become a supernatural investigation and combative force.  This collection of short stories has a dash of the old Tales from the Crypt type anthology comics.

    Eight stories of varying lengths introduce us to the various dogs and their stray cat friend, as well as a building sense of something very, very big coming.  The stories are a mixed bag.  The art is excellent thoughout, but a couple of the stories (The Unfamiliar and Grave Happenings) aren’t all that good.  In fact, by Grave Happenings, I couldn’t help but wonder, was all this build-up ever going to built to something?  I love the things hinted at, the greater world of dogs fighting evil, weird forces building, etc.  But it’s not the kind of thing that can just build and build without coming to some kind of a head.

    The best stories are Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, A Dog and His Boy, and Lost.  But each story builds the mythology.  I know there have been some more stories published since these were collected.  Here’s hoping they too will be put into one volume.  Here’s hoping that like Hellboy, it eventually rises above aimless build-up stories and moves the concept forward.  Whatever the case, fans of horror comics and old style anthologies should check this one out.  A Dog and His Boy, man.  That one is rough.

Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites
Author: Evan Dorkin
Artist: Jill Thompson
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
ISBN: 978-1-59582-513-1

-Matthew J. Constantine

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