Friday, January 21, 2011

Graphic Friday: Beasts of Burden

Author:  Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson
Summary:  Welcome to Burden Hill--a peaceful suburb like any other with white picket fences and vibrant green grass--home to an unlikely team of paranormal investigators.  Black magic, demonic frogs, and zombie roadkill are just a few of the problems plaguing this seemingly sleepy little town.  With the human residents unaware of the danger, it's up to a determined crew of dogs (and one cat) to keep their community safe.

The Dish:  I came across Beasts of Burden when doing a random search on Amazon for a different graphic novel title for my library's collection.  Being a doglover and a catlover, the cover immediately caught my attention with the six members of the Burden Hill section of paranormal investigators, particularly their leading figure of Ace, the Siberian husky.  When the title was on our next collection development list, I immediately requested it for the collection.  The book itself is told through stories, or rather events, revolving around supernatural beings that the group of six encouter.  Although the stories are connected overall, I actually favor the episodic format which allows for readers to pause easily, and with this type of material, sometimes readers need to pause.  If you are an animal lover, particularly of the dog and cat variety, some of the stories will tug at your heart. 

What really drew me into the story were the main characters: Ace-the brave Siberian Husky, Rex-the Doberman Pincher with a bark worse than his bite, Pugsley-the sarcastic Pug, Whitey-the eager Jack Russell Terrier, Jack-the stand-up Beagle, and Orphan (AKA the Orphan)-the Ginger Tabby and sole ownerless member of the group.  Each character has their own unique personality that makes them stand off from the others, though I will admit I sometimes got Whitey and Jack confused by their similar coloring.  The introductory story revolves around Jack's doghouse being haunted by the restless spirit of a dog, and it is here that readers also meet the Wise Dog, one of a society that practices and trains in means of dealing with the occult.  It isn't until a later story that the Wise Dog offers to train the group into becoming other Wise Dogs (and a Wise Cat, in Orphan's case).  And apparently their home of Burden Hill is ripe with paranormal activity, thus the Wise Dog's interest in bringing the group within the society.  

I was a little puzzled by the lack of human interaction with the group especially with their owners.  In fact, we do not even see the human owners at all throughout the book.  The only humans that are shown are those usually involved in a case that the Burden Hill group is investigating.  True, the focus is on Ace and the others as they are doing this all to protect their neighborhood, but I am curious to see who they are protecting aside from the neighborhood animal inhabitants.  Hopefully, their owners will be shown further into the story, and I am looking forward to the next book of Beasts of Burden.

Edit: Who knew Gene Ambaum of Unshelved fame would review the same title on the same day? :)


  1. I know! I saw both on the same day and knew I had to read it!

  2. Yay! I hope you enjoy reading it! :D If you want to check out the one-shot crossover with Hellboy, let me know and I'll bring the issue during the next visit.


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