Picture comics’ Stray dogs is back for a short interlude in Stray dogs: dog days # 1. So, if you’re in the mood for more stories (and heartache) from this team, listen to this latest issue from Tony Fleecs and Trish Forstner, available December 29, 2021.
Stray dogs: dog days # 1 brings readers back to the beloved dogs featured during Stray dogs. This miniseries (consisting of two issues) is a prequel, so everything takes place before the events of the previous plot arc. Most of the stories involved take place before the dogs even find theirâ¦ new home.
As you can imagine, this translates into a series of very bittersweet stories. On the one hand, it’s nice to see a lot of these dogs happy and with their owners. On the other handâ¦ not all stories end on a happy note. Not to mention, we all know how it’s going to end.
On the bright side, if you have a favorite dog from this series, you’ll probably love their moment in the spotlight here. Each of the dogs introduced in the main plot arc will have their own story to tell throughout these two issues.
* Spoiler / content warning: Stray dogs and Stray dogs: dog days is essentially Thesilenceofthelambs merged with All dogs go to heaven. It gets quite heavy at times, especially for animal lovers in the audience. As the saying goes, the viewer’s discretion is advised.
If there was ever a series explicitly designed to touch the hearts of readers, it would be Stray dogs: dog days # 1. Written by Tony Fleecs, this issue is everything it promised to be: vignettes from the lives of the main characters.
However, there is a darker twist to each of these stories. Take the story of Killer. His story (pun intended) reveals the family he once had, including the friendly monster of his life. There is this uneasiness that passes from one panel to another. Probably because we’re all waiting to see how it all goes wrong (hint: it’s horribly wrong, we already know that!).
Then there is Gucci. Its story would be pretty cute if you removed just one panel. This short story is a perfect example of using pictures to tell a story. We can immediately tell the beloved Gucci and what kind of life she had. Likewise, it’s pretty hard to miss that sense of foreshadowing that crept in.
Aldo’s story is one that stands out from the crowd. Her story takes place when all the dogs are in their “new home”, but before the story actually takes place. It is shocking and more than a little upsetting. But it’s also a good choice for the main series.
Remember, Henry, Imogene and Roxanne have some short films in this issue. Theirs are in the same vein as the first couple described. However, their stories are also more graphic when it comes to timing.
All in all, there are six short stories in Stray dogs: dog days # 1, and I have no doubt the rest of the pack will follow in issue two. It is a reading that weighs heavily on the heart. And yet, it’s so hard to look away.
The artwork in Stray Dogs: Dog Days # 1 Cannot be ignored. Trish Forstner was the main artist, with Brad Simpson providing the colors. Together, they created a problem that rings true to the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Much of the story relies on visuals, especially the story of Gucci. There is almost no need for words or explanations at any time. It is brilliantly done. Naturally, this style of storytelling is well suited to a story with dogs as the main characters.
As mentioned above, there are still a few graphic scenes in these pages. Overall, they do a great job dancing around the worst of those elements – letting the scenes go out of the frame and so on.
The work of art shines when you look closely at the expressions of the animals. You can almost feel what they are going through – and it will make you want to give them a hug. One scene in particular really struck me with the amount of emotion in such a small space. I’ll be curious to see if other readers react as strongly as I do.
Brad Simpson’s colors are vibrant and so vivid. This is another intentionally shocking element of this series. However, it also makes the connection with All dogs go to heaven even stronger. Simpson knows how to make the foreground stand out through the use of solid backgrounds as needed, and that is never overdone or overrated.
Another impressive achievement is the severity of this problem, despite the relatively low number of actual conversations that occur on these pages. Every knock or bark makes you practically jump, and the lettering has a lot to do with that reaction. It all feels so real and raw.
I won’t say that Stray dogs: dog days # 1 is the closure that fans needed (I feel like number 5 of Dogs stay handled this fairly well). But I will say that there is something beautifully bittersweet about these tales and how they fit into the larger whole.