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Beasts of Burden Volume: Animal Rites Hardcover – July 6, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Burden Hill looks at first glance to be the epitome of the idyllic suburb, but unbeknownst to its human populace the place is rife with all manner of supernatural menaces, both great and small. Werewolves, hauntings, black magic covens, and less easily defined things that go bump in the night wreak havoc just under the radar of man's perception, but do not go unnoticed by the unlikeliest occult protectors of all: a group of household pets comprising several dogs and a stray cat. These four-footed paranormal investigators, occasionally aided by "wise dogs" trained in the arcane arts, take on all comers with devotion and diligence. Dorkin's clever writing and Thompson's charming painted art effortlessly draw in readers--Thompson's realistic take creates a full world to get immersed in. Loaded with fun in every panel, this series has massive crossover appeal for those who enjoy horror, humor, and stories about endearing animal characters. This gorgeous hardcover edition contains the short stories that introduced the characters, along with the 2009 miniseries and supplemental behind-the-scenes material with notes by Dorkin. A stunner.
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Product Details

  • Series: Beasts of Burden (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books; 1St Edition edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595825134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595825131
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Hughes on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book collects the four issue miniseries and three previous short stories. They are all supurbly written and beautifully illustrated (watercolors, folks- not Photoshop) supernatural/horror stories. Please don't be misled by the fact that our main characters are talking animals- there's nothing childish happening between these pages. In fact, parents, you may want to read the whole thing through before offering it to the little ones. I'd give this book a strong PG-13 rating.
The stories have just the right blend of creepy horror, adventure, a dash of comedy relief, and alot of heart.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rosewater on September 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Beasts of Burden is surely one of the greatest comic titles to come out in years, a fantastic combination of elements that don't seem to fit together at first glance.

The world of the book is a sunny, idealic suburb with the dark forces of the supernatural creeping in at the fringes. There to fight back are the eponymous beasts, a group of dogs (and one cat) who find themselves reluctant heroes. Evan Dorkin's writing gives each member of the cast (even characters who only pop up for a few panels) a distinct personality and an arsenel of sharp dialog and Jill Thompson's watercolor art is gorgeous - it looks even better due to this hardcover's slightly oversized dimensions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ObiWanShinobi on February 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those rare things that is simple, straightforward and just plain old fashioned fun. I purchased this as I was a huge fan of Evan Dorkin back in the days when he was responsible for Milk & Cheese and Dork! and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this here book.

This doesn't take a lot of explaining. Basically there's a group of suburban house pets (mostly dogs), that band together to protect their neighborhood from a host of supernatural occurrences.

You know those terrible Disney films where the animals talk and jazz? It's like that, only crossed with Tales From The Crypt/X-Files. What's so great about this book is the way that both Evan Dorkin's writing and Jill Thompson's watercolor style of illustration create this neat world of simple creatures dealing with supernatural horrors. And the "horrors" aspect of this is important. As much as this book creates this warm environment of talking dogs and cats - the stuff they deal with and see is often sad, brutal and fairly gory. But not so gory or intense that it would make this "inappropriate" for older kids.

So if you're looking for something cool to read - here you go. This is fun, easily accessible and just plain cool. Totally worth a purchase.

I must say it is pretty cool to see a guy who went from drawing punk/ska comics about tiny, angry dairy products running around brutally maiming New Yorkers, mature into someone capable of writing such a thoughtful and largely innocent work. Not that Milk & Cheese wasn't genius or anything because it sure as hell was.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Keefe on September 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I couldn't resist the pun. Sorry.

These shorts were undeniably the best stories in the Dark Horse Presents books, and when I found they were making a four-part miniseries I was beside myself with glee. The story and art combine to create the pathos and heroism we all know and recognize in our canine counterparts. The animal characters retain their dog-ness or cat-ness, while simultaneously creating depth of character and complexity. This title is an example of the current comics scene at its best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By on December 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What if there were a world of magic and terror surrounding us, but humans were too wrapped up in their busy little lives to notice? Who would protect us? Well, in Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson's Beasts of Burden series, our protectors are our best friends: a pack of neighborhood dogs (and one tag-along cat).

It's a great concept. Dorkin (best known for writing and drawing Milk & Cheese) fills his scripts with wonderful characters, intriguing situations, humor, pathos and more than a few scares. Thompson (Scary Godmother) paints the stories, bringing them to life (and/or un-life) in gorgeous watercolors. Together, the two creators have turned in some of the most inspired work of their careers.

This oversized, affordable hardcover collects eight of the nine Beasts of Burden stories to date (a ninth--teaming the characters up with Mike Mignola's Hellboy--was published in pamphlet form in October 2010), including four short stories from anthologies and the four-part comic series from 2009 and 2010. Just in terms of production values, it's a good-looking book, both nicely designed and beautifully printed. And only twenty bucks? A bargain.

But what about the stories? The book kicks off with "Stray," an eight-page story first published in The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings back in 2003. Here we meet the main characters--including the enigmatic Wise Dog, who leads our characters into their lives of magic and mystery. "Stray" is a neat little ghost story, and it's a nice hint at what's to come later in the book. The lettering is a little rough here, but that's the only criticism I have of this smart little introduction.
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