Anyway...I really liked this one, and I can't wait to read more, hopefully soon-ish.
In the film 101 Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita howl for help once their puppies have been stolen. It is an interesting concept, this use of howling and work because any dog owner can believe it. Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson start their excellent series about a group of dogs the same way. The dogs of Burden, however, do so to call on the help of a wise dog.
Wise Dog = Merlin or Gandalf, he is an English Sheep Dog after all.
In Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites (the first four issues as well as a short story) chronicle the beginning adventures of Ace, Jack, Whitey, Rex, Pugsley, and their cat friend Orphan. The story starts as the friends with the help of the Wise Dog, investigate why Jack’s dog house is haunted.
Apparently, Burden is the Sunnydale of the dog world because there is quite a bunch of weird things going on.
Over the course of the first volume, the group of friends becomes wise dogs in training, guardians of the area, tasked to protect it. Like most fiction involving super hero teens, owners (the de facto parents) are largely absent and a dog owner sometimes wonders what is going on with these people. Yet, despite that wobble (and necessary plot hole. To be fair, owners do make some appearances), the series is pretty darn good.
In part, this is due to the dogs and cats remaining dogs and cats. It is also because of the strength of the storytelling. Animal Rites is in many ways, an origin sequence. But the stories are heartfelt, and while not having the lecture footnotes of Atwood’s Angel Catbird series, the stories do comment on how we treat animals and each other in the world.
At first, the group is seeming to be entirely male, but female characters in the form of a dog and a cat are added. In many ways, too, the dogs act like their respective breeds (though my Dobie was braver than Rex). This isn’t a story for children, there is death of some pets (but not of the major characters), and the dogs sometimes are a bit, well, fierce. It would be fair to say that the series is in part horror story from a dog point of view. It actually remembers me a bit of Wayne Smith’s Thor.
The issue Neighborhood Watch contains stories that are referred to in the later part of animal rites. Included are a story about a chicken stealing goblin and a flock of strange sheep. Honesty, the sheep story is one of the spookiest I’ve read in a long time.
Hunters and Gatherers and Issue #0 seem to occur after Animal Rites. Issue) details the story of one the cat characters in greater detail. It is also a story about family. IN the closing panels, you can easily see why the series has won awards. Hunters is an adventure tale that does seem to change Watership Down in part. The crossover with Hellboy is also very good, making Pugsley more than simply a downer. It was both funny and touching.
Old Faves in New Flavors
The Hobbit Graphic Novel
The novel stayed true to the book. However, I wasn't too impressed with the artwork. It could have been more attractive. Given that I've just finished reading Monstress, it is no surprise that everything else looks almost dull in comparison!
Words that have always made me sad and touched my heart:
Outtakes from the Grave
This book is solely for the readers who have loved the Night Huntress series. It contains deleted scenes and different versions that were scrapped for various reasons. It was a good way to revisit the duo that we'd all miss now that the series has ended. Since I have added books from the two spinoff series to my TBR recently, I'm guessing I'll come across Cat & Bones there too.
X-Men: Magneto Testament
Since I read this first, I didn't realize how heavily inspired it was by the book, Night by Elie Wiesel. Even so, I loved it, both for the content and the art. A scene that stayed with me was about the girl Magneto is trying to save. She is found among dead bodies and is found to have survived because she remembered what he had said to her & had hidden herself in the pile.
What I liked about this book was that the author wasn't interested in getting people to feel sorry for them. Instead, their objective was to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again. That is one of the reasons why the book felt much more authentic to me than The Book Thief ever did. Of course, the fact that the author lived through the events has a lot to do with that, as well.
I think this quote from the book says it all:
Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction
Find my mini-review here.
Monstress, Vol 1: Awakening
Everybody has been talking about this, so I'll just say that you might wanna check it out for yourself.
Asimov's Science Fiction
Detailed review here.
February was a good month. I read more graphic novels than I usually read and it is always good to try new things.
I finished Hellboy Vol. 1 Seed of Destruction & loved every bit of it. I would have loved it even more, if there was more Liz to go around. The artwork is so beautiful but what do I know because I haven’t read more than ten graphic novels/comics in my life.
However, that is all about to change!
Another graphic novel that I am loving because look how pretty!
Almost done with Asimov’s Science Fiction: Hugo & Nebula Award Winning Stories, which is the book that got me thinking. At the moment, I am engrossed in one of the stories featured in it, Barnacle Bill the Spacer, by Lucius Shepard. It is so unabashedly geeky and based on barnacles that I had to stop and think. It includes chunks about Barnacle biology & yet I am loving it. It reminds me of my 5k-word long short story, The Better to See You With. Not being able to publish it so far, I have been thinking if its the science that is preventing its acceptance. Shepard’s story has given me hope. Now all I have to worry about is that it might not get published because it is a sucky story. Phew!
Book Bingo continues with my girls from work. We already finished one round of reading & rolled the dice a second time. Check out the categories that we included in that super-bad picture below:
My teammate & I have complete our book for O i.e. New to You Author & are now looking for a book that will fit the requirements for N i.e. Non-Human Character. So far, I am looking at these three:
*Book source ~ Library
Anthology of 14 stories with the common theme of Hellboy and an introduction by Christopher Golden.
Ok, so every one of these stories is weird, some way more than others. Way, waaaay more. I’ve never seen a Hellboy movie (though we have them) or read the comics. This anthology is the first time I’ve read any Hellboy stories. I gotta say, Hellboy is fairly entertaining. I need to watch the movies and dig up more stories to read.
Jiving with Shadows and Dragons and Long, Black Trains by Joe R. Lansdale ~ Gross and yet enthralling. Probably my favorite.
Straight, No Chaser by Mark Chadbourn ~ Meh.
Second Honeymoon by John Skipp & Cody Goodfellow ~ Oooh, mythology. Nice touch.
Danny Boy by Ken Bruen ~ This author has an aversion to periods. The punctuation kind. I have no idea about the other kind.
Strange Fishing in the Western Highlands by Garth Nix ~ Really enjoyed this one.
Salamander Blues by Brian Keene ~ This reminds me of a Monster of the Week episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The Thursday Men by Tad Williams ~ I like the sci-fi aspect. Another good one.
Produce by Amber Benson ~ This one just didn’t seem right. Too adult for the narrator. Meh.
Repossession by Barbara Hambly ~ Weird.
In Cupboards and Bookshelves by Gary A. Braunbeck ~ I didn’t really understand this one.
Feet of Sciron by Rhys Hughes ~ Weirder than weird.
Monster Boy by Stephen Volk ~ Sorta reminds me of Ralphie in A Christmas Story.
Evolution and Hellhole Canyon by Don Winslow ~ Hellboy’s work is never glamorous.
A Room of One’s Own by China Miéville ~ Totally bizarre. And I didn’t really get it.