Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites

Created by: Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson

Published by: Dark Horse

ISBN: 1595825134 (Amazon)

Pages: 184

Genre: Adventure, Horror

Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites

My wife saw Beasts of Burden and asked why I was reading an Incredible Journey comic. This may be great marketing on the part of Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson because, let me tell you, if you’re all bummed out because you think you’re reading a book about two talking dogs and a cat who are trying to get home after being unceremoniously abandoned by their owners, then you are going to be more excited than Tom Cruise when he discovered that he was a) not gay and b) married to Katie Holmes. (Presumably excited, at any rate.)

Think about it.

The Incredible Journey has animals that are kind of funny and get into adventurous scrapes all while never deviating from family-friendly formula. That’s okay right? If you have kids, I guess? Beasts of Burden, on the other hand, features zombie dogs, coven cats, a rain of frogs, werewolves, earthen golems, and king rats. Imagine you thought you were going to have to trudge through the former (which was fine when you were eight) and instead found yourself knee-deep in the latter. Best day of your life?

Probably.*

It helps that Dorkin and Thompson populate their book with charming characters who are skirting the boundary between bravery and cowardice, having been stuck with the role of paranormal investigators. It helps that Thompson’s art is beautiful and that she seems to really have a taste for painting animals. It helps that the book, while displaying a sense of humour, always takes itself seriously. It helps that the creators know how to give their suburban environs an atmosphere of danger. And it helps that I can’t wait to read about these dogs’ and cats’ future investigations into paranormal research and defense.

And that’s really what it comes down to, right? In any book that doesn’t have a definitive finale (as in: all of the characters die), the real question is, Would I care to revisit these characters and their story? And the resounding answer in Beasts of Burden‘s case is Oh My Yes! And that’s something for a reader who doesn’t hold any inordinate affection for dogs (and less still for cats).

*note: Look, I’m trying not to make any judgments about the life you lead and the level of personal dignity you enjoy.

 

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I am Seth T. Hahne and these are my reviews.

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