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Duncan the Wonder Dog Paperback – November 9, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Paperback, November 9, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Can this massive, brilliant graphic novel-supposedly the first of a nine-volume series-really be its creator's first published work? Apparently so, and Hines has instantly established himself as a cartoonist to be reckoned with. Duncan is set in a world almost exactly like ours, except that all animals can talk. Humans still have dominion over everything, and a lot of animals aren't too happy about it; they also see the world in very different ways from each other, and from people. The central plot of this volume is what happens after an animal-rights organization run by a deranged, bloodthirsty macaque detonates a bomb at a human college, but that's just a springboard for Hines to show off what he can do. Nearly every page has some kind of stunning visual set piece; Hines' range of black-and-white drawing styles incorporate clean-lined "bigfoot" cartooning, hyper-stylized abstract landscapes and near-photorealism, often on the same page. The book is an overwhelming assemblage of stories within stories, stories on top of stories (sometimes literally), and meticulously crafted anecdotes that aren't directly related to each other but add up to a portrait of a world whose desperate cruelties are more vivid when all its inhabitants can communicate with one another.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: AdHouse Books (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977030490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977030491
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By skrank on November 4, 2010
The book is gorgeous - a finely detailed look into a wholly unique world. The subject matter is heavy, and the masterful mixing of styles will keep you glued to the book. It's freakin huge btw... about 400 pages! Each page is extraordinary, not the kind of book you just blast through. Highly recommended.

BTW, the first reviewer's star rating seems more critical of Amazon's shipping methods than the quality of the book, which in turn screws over the author. Way to go!
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I sat and read this book straight through last weekend after receiving it and plan to read it again this weekend. The art is brilliant, each page is alive with exacting detail. The last book that I dove into with such complete abandon was GoGo Monster. Like that work, Duncan the Wonder Dog is simply told but amazingly complex. Subtle themes weave their way through the art and story sequences, and rise to crescendos that are shocking in places, heart wrenching in others and quirky in others. There is an epic world unfolding within these pages.
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Visually amazing, this whole thing works as a string of poignant vignettes woven into a larger story. The story isn't what matters, it's how the characters talk to each other, how someone's whole life situation can be communicated in 2 laconic pages. Buy it. Read it. Await the next one.
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It is almost impossible to describe Duncan the Wonder Dog. This ambitious, nearly 400-page work by first-time graphic novelist Adam Hines presents a visionary, nonlinear story that is both challenging and fascinating to follow. It is set in a world much like ours, with the exception that all animals can speak human languages (at least English) and are capable of comprehending (to varying degrees) human social constructs and philosophical concepts. This leads some of them--as explained in the promotional blurb--to "form a militant group in reaction to how humans treat them."

From the opening pages, the black and white images and innovative iconography drew me into a world that was both alien and familiar. One of the first scenes is a series of establishing panels of New York City circa 1954 that takes the reader from the Statue of Liberty to the June 17 boxing match at Yankee Stadium between Rocky Marciano and Ezzard Charles. Passersby in the background speak in word balloons containing muted gray symbols that give a sense of conversations without the unnecessary distraction of actual words. From the ringside announcer describing the boxing match we eventually transition to a group of circus workers listening to the fight on the radio and from there to the caged animals living in captivity as the circus' forced performers.

This is where the fantastic nature of this world is revealed. A monkey is reading Metaphysics, by ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras (who was a vegetarian), and discussing the book with a tiger in a nearby cage. This scene establishes that animals in this version of reality have a very different mental life than in our world and shows that this has very little impact on the similar ways they are exploited by humans.
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I don't normally bother to even write reviews for things, but Duncan the Wonder Dog is absolutely amazing. The story is well done and complex, the art is dense and stunning, and all of it will leave you impatiently awaiting the next volume!
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Duncan the Wonder Dog reads like a wholely new idea in a voice that you have not heard before in comic books. Fans of indie comics, capes, and strips should all find a way to preview this book to see if it speaks to them. Odds are good that it will. Hines style is pitch perfect for the tale, and he does not get bogged down in trying to explain every nuance of the world he's created or how it got to its current state. The greatest compliment I can give this book is that upon finishing it I was elated and sad all at once, and chomping at the bit for Hines's next release.
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Adam Hines' "Duncan" is bewildering and brilliant. It imagines a world in which animals can communicate with, and as do, humans, yet are still subservient in all ways. Hines has an amazing knack for writing dialogue, and his dark illustrations create a mood of mystery and wonder. I really loved it. It ends with a promise of a sequel. I hope that promise is kept.
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By Cara on January 23, 2013
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I stayed up all night reading this brilliant novel... sometimes gasping, or crying, occasionally setting it down to reflect on a passage, an idea expressed, or simply the artistry involved. Adam Hines is superbly talented and I'm so jealous and extremely grateful that I stumbled across this book. Our world is filled to overflowing with pop culture mediocrity, but beneath the dross are gems such as this. I wait, impatiently, for the next installment.
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