Rating if the Book Were a Movie: PG-13

Writer: Tony Fleecs
Artist: Trish Forstner
Colors: Brad Simpson
Layouts: Tone Rodriguez
Flatter: Lauren Perry
Logo/Design: Lauren Herda
Pre-Press: Gabriela Downie
Cover: Trish Forstner and Tony Fleecs
Publisher: Image Comics

It’s been a while since I talked about the power of a good cover on a comic book. WIth all the terrific artwork that is out there a good cover will have something about it that makes it stand apart. It has to be eye catching. Otherwise it will be passed over by those that don’t have it on their pull lists. A good cover is a book’s opportunity to advertise for itself and shout, “You know you want this!”

I was at my local comic book store when I saw this cover for “Stray Dogs” #1. I wasn’t LOOKING for a new title when I picked up my pulls this week. In fact, I was celebrating that one title on my pull list had finished it’s run so I was about to be up a little extra cash each month. That’s when I saw this cover for “Stray Dogs” #1. 

My initial reaction was, “What the Hell is that?!” I instantly recognized the “Silence of the Lambs” homage and wondered why there would be a cartoon version of it. As I went through the volumes of new books I asked the store owner about it. He told me it isn’t as dark as some of the stuff he knows I like; but “Stray Dogs” was an interesting read. Curiosity got the better of me and I added it to the stack.

“Stray Dogs” tells us the tale of Sophie, a long haired chihuahua (I think). When we first meet her she’s at the vet getting a shot. In the next panel she’s in a strange house with a large group of dogs. A German shepherd named Rusty shows her the ropes. During all of this Sophie has a flashback of her new master killing her old one…. But none of the other dogs believe her. How can she prove she’s not lying? We’ll have to sit, heel, or lay down while we wait for an answer in the next issue.

Artwork: .75-Stars

The artwork in “Stray Dogs” is cartoonish, but it’s meant to be and works perfectly in this story. It’s very well done and helps to keep the tone for the story light in places.

Story: .75-Stars

A canine whodunnit murder/mystery is a unique concept. After round one I’m saying it’s working well enough for me to want the next book in the run. This one reminds me a lot of “All Dogs Go to Heaven” or “Lady and the Tramp”. The big difference being that this is a touch darker and has some swearing in it.

Dialogue: .75-stars

Most of the information we receive in this issue is through the dialogue. It does a great job of giving personalities to the dogs in the house. So far Gucci and Imogene are my favorites of the additional dogs.

Editing: 1-star

The lettering in “Stray Dogs” is crisp and in an easy to ready font. There aren’t any moments that leave the reader wanting information that wouldn’t be a spoiler for the story.

Mechanics: 1-star

The book was very easy to fall into. It reads like an outtake of “Oliver and Company” or “Secret Life of Pets”. It’s just dark enough that I’d say it isn’t a children’s book. That doesn’t stop it from being a very interesting read so far. I’m curious to see where the story will take us next.