by Will Holden
Beasts of Burden is a horror comic that proves to be a heady mix of whimsy, tragedy, comedy and terror that is, in my opinion, rarely done well.
Co-created by Evan Dorkin on script and Jill Thompson on art, Beasts of Burden was first published by Dark Horse Comics in several of the company’s anthology horror comics including The Dark Horse Book of Haunting and Dark Horse Presents.
Here, I am reviewing the 4 issue miniseries first published in September 2009. Put simply, I think this series is brilliant. The core conceit is that a group of domesticated pets, namely dogs and cats have banded together to defend their home town, Burden Hill from supernatural threats. All nice and whimsical so far. The art supports this notion with excellent cartooning and very expressive characters. The animals are all different in look and personality but are also able to be emotive and dynamic during action scenes.
The scripts are snappy and often funny. All the characters read differently and have individual voices without the need of heavy exposition. This contrasts satisfyingly against the contents of the stories in these 4 issues. The monsters and mysteries our intrepid gang face are often chilling and harrowing. The actions of the various characters have consequences and the creative team are not above letting an adorable pooch or fluffy kitty get gobbled up. It leaves a lasting sense of jeopardy and weight to the adventures that has left me hungry for more (issues that is, not fluffy kitties)
5 bean toes out of 5.
Check out the first issue for free here.
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