A Tale of Two Dogs: A Review of the First Issues of Teen Dog and Wild’s End

Teen Dog #1 (of 8)

unnamed-91Author: Jake Lawrence
Artist: Jake Lawrence
Release Date: September 10, 2014
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Source: Boom! Studios Press Site
Genre(s): Comedy

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Spoilers: Low

For a while after reading the first issue of Teen Dog, I had the hardest time understanding the hype behind it. I mean, I think I liked it, but I also didn’t feel super strongly about it either. Sam said she didn’t get it, which makes me wonder if I didn’t get it either. Which can be pretty hard for me to come to terms with considering my taste in animated shows.

Teen Dog is an eight issue miniseries from Boom! Studios focusing on a character named… well… Teen Dog. He’s an anthropomorphic golden retriever with the personality of a stereotypical 90s teenager. The best comparison I can make regarding Teen Dog is that he’s like Poochie from The Simpsons, but with less effort to try as hard to be cool.

I guess that’s what I liked about Teen Dog. The character is just so calm and chill that it’s not hard to imagine why people in his universe think he’s cool. I was also fond of Mariella, his pink-haired punk best friend, and her friendship with Sara Sato: Star Quaterback. Because I am a predictable lover of well portrayed lady characters and their friendships, they ended up being my favorite part of the entire comic. Even when Teen Dog jokes about them talking about boys when they weren’t, they just roll with it and continue to be their awesome selves. Lawrence promises more Sara Sato in the future and that makes me excited for future issues. Not to mention that the coloring on the comic is out of this world and perfectly complimentary to Teen Dog’s radical universe.

Really though, I think my main problem with the first issue of Teen Dog goes back to its original format. It was originally a web comic on Jake Lawrence’s blog TimecowboyTeen Dog as a long form comic follows a similar format, with the first issue being a series of non-sequiturs over the course of one day in the life of Teen Dog. As a webcomic, that works just fine, but it kind of bothers me as a format for a monthly comic book. That is not to say that webcomics can’t be sequential. One of my absolute favorites is currently deep into a storyline that’s been set up for years. I just feel like the humor of Teen Dog is probably more suited for the internet.

I would at least like to see if Thug Pug’s crush on Teen Dog goes anywhere though. Lord knows we need more things in All-Ages material saying it’s okay to have those feelings.

Wild’s End #1 (of 6)

WildsEnd01_coverAAuthor: Dan Abnett
Artist: I.N.J. Culbard
Release Date: September 10, 2014
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Source: Boom! Studios Press Site
Genre(s): Science Fiction

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Spoilers: Moderate

Wild’s End is a very different tale of a dog coming from Boom! Studios right now. Very different.

The story of this six issue mini-series is focused on Clive Slipaway, an anthropomorphic grey hound who has just moved to the village of Lower Crowchurch after years of serving in a war that we don’t know anything about. Lower Crowchurch is your typical quaint British countryside village, except filled with anthropomorphic animals of all types. That, and the impending HG Wells-ish alien invasion.

The first issue is mostly set up, introducing us to the setting of Lower Crowchurch as well as the characters of Slipaway, village solicitor Gilbert Arrant, journalist Peter Minks, and ne’er-do-well Fawkes. The whole adventure starts with Fawkes coming across a falling star with his friend Bodie after a night of drinking. They go to investigate, which ends in tragedy with Bodie getting burned up by a bright light emitting from it. The town isn’t quite believing of Fawkes’ tale, but Slipaway thinks there might be some truth to it. Of course, even with an old sea dog believing him, it might already be too late for the town.

I’m interested to see where the story of Wild’s End goes, especially in the next issue after the invader made its first appearance in the last few pages. However, I cannot emphasize enough just how British this series is. The characters may harken back to Richard Scarry, but it feels more like Sanford, Gloucestershire than Busytown USA. Perhaps that’s why I felt so uneasy reading it. Most of what I know about sleepy British villages is that bad things happen all the time, secrets are buried deep, and false pleasantness reigns.

Well, we already know one of those is correct with the impending invasion. I’m curious to see if the rest are even true.

Final Thoughts: Teen Dog and Wild’s End are two very different series that just happen to feature anthropomorphic animals. While I’m pretty on the fence about both after the first issues, I am curious to see which directions they take. For Wild’s End, it appears as if it will be very dark. For Teen Dog, it will potentially very radical.

 

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