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Beasts of Burden Volume: Animal Rites Hardcover – July 6, 2010
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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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Top Customer Reviews
The artwork of Jill Thompson is absolutely wonderful. With each story Evan Dorkin managed to surprise me with unexpected, unheard of twists.
The book is a decent size and all the story's illustrations are in color.
The stories have just the right blend of creepy horror, adventure, a dash of comedy relief, and alot of heart.
The general premise is about a group of dogs and cats dealing with seemingly supernatural events that are happening around their neighbourhood. The story is darker than I thought but well written and told. The characters have personalities and the stories are fun and exciting.
One thing that really bugged me is the lettering used. The whole story is told in a series of short chapters - maybe that was how the original comic was released but I'm not sure. The lettering is inconsistent throughout the chapters. There are the all uppercase (typical), sentence case (not so bad), sentence case but with uppercase height (worst of the lot in terms of legibility), and sometimes the animals will have their own unique lettering style. The inconsistency of lettering is quite jarring across chapters.
The comic overall is entertaining but the lettering takes away a bit of the experience.
Full reviews posted at robinhoodreads.wordpress.com
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.
The artwork in this is beautiful. I love that the artist uses watercolor rather than another medium. It adds to the eeriness of the darker scenes, and something about it makes the animals seem more human in their emotions. The art is what drew me to the series, and as I was reading it I would stare at the pictures for several minutes before turning the page to continue reading. Some comics have trouble filling in the blanks that novels fill in with words, but the artwork more than makes up for anything that would be lost between word and art.
The storytelling is also amazing. Some of the stories will make you laugh, the others will have you crying because they are so moving. The personification of the dogs and cats helps you to relate to them, and the fact that they're like our own pets makes you fall in love with them within the first few pages.
I wish I could say more about this, but you really need to read it yourself to understand. If you love horror and the paranormal, this is for you. If you love pets and their spazzy quirks, this is for you. If you like drama in personal relationships, this is for you. If you like a good mystery, this is for you. So get it already!