July 15, 2012

Character Spotlight: Beasts of Burden

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Written by: Billy
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This week’s spotlight will be an unusual one in that it will be focused on a group of animals. The Beasts of Burden, the fantastic book by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson! I personally have only read a few issues of the franchise, but I can honestly say that I was very impressed (hence why I’m writing about it).

The series centers around a neighborhood group of dogs, and two cats, that get into adventures of the supernatural! It sounds crazy, but rest assured, each animal has its own personality, and is fleshed out as a human character would be. The group of dogs consists of Ace, Rex, Jack, Whitey, and Pugsley, while the two cats, Orphan and Dymphna, add a contrast to the stories that make it perfect chaos. Each dog is noticeably different in size, shape, and attitude. They have strong characters, more timid, crafty and witty, everything you can think of. Dorkin really has a firm grip on how to get the most out of these characters, and he’ll be producing more and more great material with them for a long time.

Jill Thompson is the perfect artist for this title. She draws beautifully when it comes to the animals, but also the settings. A forest, the neighborhood, or anywhere you can imagine, she’s right on the money. Her colors are a big part of it for me, as well. The animals are, again, perfect, but the way she draws the houses in the book are picture perfect. My favorite scene of all, though, has to be when the group was showered with frogs (below)! That’s right, frogs falling out of the sky! Sound crazy? You betcha, but when presented in this series, it’s awesome!

Beasts of Burden hasn’t been around for too many years, but if you give it an honest chance, I guarantee you’ll love it. Dorkin has humor, action, supernatural phenomenon, and just about every other angle you can think of in this book. You also get some emotional moments, too, and I’m not a pet owner, so if it hit me, it will hit you, too. Not enough can be said about Thompson’s artwork either. You need to go pick up the books to see this great combination of writer and artist to appreciate how well they work together.

Recommended Reading
Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites HC
Hellboy/Beasts of Burden: Sacrifice (one-shot)
Dark Horse Presents #4, 6, 8 (ongoing)

Billy Dunleavy



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