Monday, 17 September 2012

It's not a review. It's just my opinion! #8 - BEASTS OF BURDEN - ANIMAL RITES

I read a lot of graphic novels, more so than floppies. So I have decided to tell you all what I am reading and what I thought about those particular books. I want to stress though that I am not looking to review these books in the style of a critic, or to give them a rating, only to express my opinions as a fan of what I personally thought of what I have read. Please do not let my opinion sway you in any way, as I have always lived by the credo that I will make my own mind up about something and so should you. Plus, they say that critics are people that can't actually create themselves and that aint me.
Finally, this is my actual reading pile. All the books I have bought myself for the purpose of my enjoyment and as I am not tieing myself down to any kind of formulated structure, you may notice that I read whatever takes my fancy, rather than switching characters or publishers etc...


Beasts of Burden - Animal Rites - (w) Evan Dorkin (a) Jill Thompson

I'm an animal lover. I love them because they're better than us. Sure, they don't have bowling alleys, iPads and Spider-Man comics, but they don't go out of their way to fuck each other over and they're cute, especially Cats and Dogs.
I also love Horror. It is my favourite genre within storytelling. It is primal and instinctual and even though I'm not easily scared anymore, when it is done right, it is the best experience in the world.

So you'd imagine that when I heard of this book, published by Dark Horse, a horror story with Cats and Dogs as the protagonists of the story, I would be extremely excited to check it out right? Except I wasn't. I thought it was gimmicky and I let it slip by. Never let it be said that I am not open to the opinions of others or that I am not willing to admit when I am wrong, because my interest was piqued when the hardcover collection, Animal Rites, was released and sold like gangbusters in my shop. So I bought myself a copy and it sat on my shelf and gathered dust. I wasn't avoiding it, I just have hundreds of graphic novels that I haven't read yet and it was just waiting its turn.

Before I even read page one, the first thing I noticed was Jill Thompson's incredible watercolour artwork. It pops off of the page and hits you with a nostalgic feel of a beautifully painted children's story book. Her attention to detail, not just in the realism of how the characters look, but in their facial expressions and the suburban setting they are living in, throws you into the book and carries you along smoothly and easily. It is truly some of the best and most unique art I have ever experienced in comics.

So the first story, which is the introduction to the cast and the world that they live in, is a haunted house story. Classic horror, been done 101 times before. What can be original about that? Well the haunted house in question is a dog house and Jack, the dog whose house it is, and his friends Ace, Rex, Whitey, Pugsley and a stray cat named Orphan, want to get to the bottom of it. Calling for the advice of the Wise Dog, an elder "wise man" of the canine community, together they discover why the house is haunted and what they need to do to exorcise the spirit.
This really sets the tone of the book moving forward as the group have to face off against Witches, Zombie Dogs, Werewolves, Killer Frogs and an army of rats, among other threats.

This book is just wonderful in every possible way you can think of. The characters are incredibly well fleshed out and their interactions with each other are great in a buddy movie sort of style. The horror is genuinely spooky and gives you the urban legend, campfire story vibe from childhood days. The stories are clever and the dialogue doesn't drag, so it is incredibly easy to read and fall into.

I seriously cannot recommend this book enough and I pray that there are more volumes to come of this beautiful world of crazy mysticism among our furry friends.


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