- Writer/Co-Creator: Tony Fleecs
- Artist/Co-Creator: Trish Forstner
- Colorist: Brad Simpson
- Layout Artist: Tone Rodriguez
Thanks to Image Comics for the review copy!
STRAY DOGS is both seemingly familiar and utterly original. Like the SECRET LIFE OF PETS, STRAY DOGS features the pets as the leads. The familiarity comes from the art style. The gorgeous illustrations remind me of classic cell shaded animated Disney films like 101 DALMATIANS and LADY AND THE TRAMP. I also got a strong ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN vibe (editor’s note, Image Comics describes the series as “A five-issue Don Bluth-style suspense thriller”), but that isn’t a Disney movie. Each dog is given a unique design that exudes personality, but the style remains consistent. Like a Disney cartoon, the dogs are given anthropomorphic facial expressions that show emotion.
The story is the source of the originality. This is no ‘let’s see what fun stuff pets do while the owner are out’ story. While the story starts out like a classic Disney plot (complete with friendly and wholesome animal pals), it soon turns into a psychological mystery. This hard plot swerve coincides with a shift to a darker tone that is particularly effective when juxtaposed with the bright family friendly art. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I can honestly say there were two fairly shocking plot points that I didn’t see coming. While I would read the series just to stare at the art, the mystery has me hooked.
While it looks like a kids cartoon movie, STRAY DOGS touches on some more adult themes. There isn’t any blood or cursing, but I do recommend reading it before giving to your children.
STRAY DOGS #1 will be released on February 17th 2021. The issue is the first of a 5-part series with each issue getting variant covers based on horror movies.
Are you going to pick up the issue? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.