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Review Group Week 188 - BEASTS OF BURDEN #1

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Postby ****** » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:15 pm

This was a breath of fresh air. It didn't bother me at all that I hadn't read any of the previous stories, everything needed for this story was there on the page and what was on the page was awesome. I'm rather partial to stories with talking dogs and cats to begin with, but throw in a giant paranormal frog? That's my kind of comic book. The only other Evan Dorkin material I've read is Milk and Cheese so it was cool to see him doing something so different but still be able to maintain his own creative voice.

Jill Thompson's painted art is really what makes this comic work. A lot of times, painted comics can feel stiff and posed. That's not at all the case here. I love how each of the animals have distinct personalities and the setting of Burden Hill has the perfect atmosphere.

I'll definitely be picking up the trade for this when it comes out. I hope they include the previous material in that, I read a bit of it online after reading this issue and it's just as good.

Story: 8.5
Art: 9.5
Overall: 9

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Postby Old Man » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:16 pm

Oh, Punchy!

That's 9, Punchy.

Wha choo gonna do, Punchy?
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Postby Punchy » Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:58 am

Did I say less than 10 or just 10?

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Postby thefourthman » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:21 am

Punchy wrote:Did I say less than 10 or just 10?

less than ten and withholding your review is cheating and the sod will ignore it anyhow, so post review or take the red letters of doom.

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Postby Punchy » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:23 am

thefourthman wrote:less than ten and withholding your review is cheating and the sod will ignore it anyhow, so post review or take the red letters of doom.


Dammit!

I'll do it this afternoon.

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Postby thefourthman » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:25 am

back to Jury Duty for me. They didn't even get around to the selection process yesterday! :x

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Postby MrBlack » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:37 am

Beasts of Burden #1

I enjoyed this book. The story was quite good, and it was just the thing I was in the mood for coming off of Pet Avengers (which I highly recommend). The supernatural elements worked very well with the story. My only complaint is that I felt a bit lost as I began reading this issue. Although I was able to pick up what was going on by the end of the story, a summary page naming all of the characters and giving some backstory would have made things a little easier, and given the two deaths more resonance.

The art was a good fit for the story, and the stark white space between panels gave this a clean look. Excellent book overall.

Story: 9
Art: 9
Overall: 9

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Postby Punchy » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:41 am

Beasts Of Burden #1(of 4) - 'Chapter One: The Gathering Storm' - Dorkin and Thompson

Story - I've never been a fan of talking Animal comics, sure I've read We3 and enjoyed it, but that's Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely! Talking animals are for kids! I'm an adult, give me Superman and Spider-Man! The height of maturity! I've also never read any Evan Dorkin (except one issue of Bill & Ted) or Jill Thompson comics before, so I had no idea what to expect from this. Talking animals solving mysteries? What is this, Scooby Doo? Well it is, but if Scooby Doo wasn't shit.

The premise of Beasts Of Burden is that a group of Dogs (and one Cat) investigate the Supernatural. It's pretty simple, and Dorkin and Thompson do it well, the Mysteries are interesting and just plain weird, a rain of frogs that eat and merge with eachother. I particularly love how the cutesiness of the animals is juxtaposed with the rather grisly and scary violence. It's really interesting to see a talking animal story treated seriously. The Giant Frog they face is genuinely creepy, and the way they take it out is violent.

There are some problems with it, this isn't the first Beasts Of Burden story, Dorkin and Thompson have done a few stories for Dark Horse anthologies, and having not read them, I was kind of dropped in at the deep end. The characters are not particularly well-defined (but that seems to be planned, Dorkin has said that they are just dogs, so their personalities aren't that distinct) and I was kind of confused as to which characters were which, I think perhaps the only one to stand out is Pugs, the uh, Pug, simply because of his distinctive look and Ben Grimm nature. There is also a wider mythology at work here, one of the lead dogs is a Werewolf or something, and there is a Society of 'Wise Dogs' that is in charge of the Dogs. I was a bit confused to be honest, and it knocks the book down a slight notch as there is no real explanation, but thankfully Dark Horse provide an online link so you can check out the earlier stories, which helped a bit. But on the whole, a new reader like me can follow on well, and the backstory is not essential to the main Giant Frog plot.

Overall, this was a great first issue, the idea is a great one, it mixes the cute with the sick, and is very funny in parts, I loved it whenever Dorkin would emphasise the dogginess of these characters. And the art, man... the art. But I'll get to that later. If you're looking for something a little different, and a surprise, Beasts Of Burden is a great pick, just make sure you read the Online stories first.

Art - As I've said, I'm not familiar with Jill Thompson's work, but after this I will definitely try and check her stuff out. She paints this issue, and it is beautiful, the colours just pop, it looks magical. I particularly liked how she drew the cats and dogs not in a cartoony way, but realistically, yet they remained very expressive. And she handled the creepy gore stuff very well too. That deer's head, shudder. Lovely stuff, and it elevates the story to another level.

Best Line - I know it's obvious, since it was on the back cover, but 'Oh, Crap. Looks like stupid's back in season...' is a damn good line.

8/10, knocked up 2 whole points because of the art, could have been a nine if the backstory wasn't just eluded too.

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Postby ****** » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:32 am


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Postby Punchy » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:43 am

Everyone loves talking dogs except me? I like it!

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Postby doombug » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:47 am

11, punchy as usual is proven wrong. :lol:
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Postby Punchy » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:48 am

doombug wrote:11, punchy as usual is proven wrong. :lol:


Proved wrong by myself! I have issues.

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Postby Old Man » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:21 pm

Punchy wrote:Did I say less than 10 or just 10?


Interesting question, given your avatar. :-D
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Postby Old Man » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:34 pm

I am a big fan of what is normally called "Kids Comics". I absolutely love Casper, Wendy, and Hot Stuff from the defunct Harvey Company. Those are usually found as reading copies at conventions for $1, but are sadly mostly $2 these days. I read Super Friends and Tiny Titans every month.

Jill Thompson has done an amazingly good series of books aimed at little kids called Scary Godmother. It won an Eisner Award for Best Title for a Younger Audience in 2001. I highly recommend it for anyone who has little kids in their family. It's available with hard or soft covers.

Thompson also did the art for The Sandman #41-49. Her depiction of Delirium is one of my all-time favorite interpretations of a character.
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Postby guitarsmashley » Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:39 pm

Old Man wrote:I am a big fan of what is normally called "Kids Comics". I absolutely love Casper, Wendy, and Hot Stuff from the defunct Harvey Company. Those are usually found as reading copies at conventions for $1, but are sadly mostly $2 these days. I read Super Friends and Tiny Titans every month.

Jill Thompson has done an amazingly good series of books aimed at little kids called Scary Godmother. It won an Eisner Award for Best Title for a Younger Audience in 2001. I highly recommend it for anyone who has little kids in their family. It's available with hard or soft covers.

Thompson also did the art for The Sandman #41-49. Her depiction of Delirium is one of my all-time favorite interpretations of a character.


have you checked out the Boom studios books or my favorite, Owly?
doombug wrote:You really are the george carlin of the outhouse. that's fucking hilarious.


doombug wrote:and yeah, Yoni called it. :drunk



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