Book Reviews

Tony Fleecs’ and Trish Forstner’s “Stray Dogs”

Credit: Image Comics

When we adopt a dog from a shelter, do we ever truly know how they got there? What was their history? Was there any sort of trauma experienced like say, oh, I don’t know, murder? Would a dog even be able to remember something like that? And would their recollection of the events as they unfolded even be accurate? This idea is the basis for Tony Fleecs’ and Trish Forstner’s comic book series, Stray Dogs.

When I first heard about the series from my comic shop guy, it didn’t automatically catch my interest. The art looked good, and the idea of a horror series with dogs who were drawn a bit like Disney characters seemed like something that should go on my weekly pull-list, but I didn’t really care to pick it up right away. As it is, I already have a ton of books that I’m trying to get through, some going back more than a decade since I first purchased them (yes, you read that right). Besides, there are so many great stories to be gobbled up, quite literally on a weekly basis, that sometimes you simply have to pick and choose your literary battles; or suffer the fate of being crushed under the weight of one too many long boxes (never stack your comics by the bed, kids). But I eventually relented, opting to wait it out for the trade (in the end, my comic shop guy always gets me).

There’s not much I can say without running the risk of spoiling the story for you, and the idea of murder is something that is revealed pretty early on in the first issue (so no spoilage there). However, it’s the mystery of it all that keeps you reading until the very end. The story is introduced through the eyes of a little dog named Sophie. She arrives at what looks to be a home for stray dogs, and at first is super skittish (as most tiny dogs naturally are), but slowly she begins to warm up to the welcomed environment the other dogs have fostered for her. It isn’t until something happens which triggers what she believes to be a memory, that things begin to unfold.

The trade was a quick read, and I really enjoyed the slow burn. Tony and Trish keep you on your feet throughout the whole book, giving you clues here and there, but then making you doubt the credibility of what you think you know. The cast of characters is great, too. And I loved that the whole story is told from the perspective of the dogs, who themselves even doubt the reliability of their own memories, adding another layer to the mystery of where they came from. You can’t help but feel a deep level of anxiety for all of these cute dogs as they sneakily traverse through the house in search of clues while their “master” is away, especially since Trish has drawn them to look like they belong in The Fox and the Hound.

Credit: Image Comics

Additionally, if you’re a fan of We3 by Grant Morrison, then this one definitely deserves your undivided attention.

Stray Dogs is out now in trade through Image, and on comiXology (for those of you who prefer digital). I feel like this book is ripe for a Netflix or Amazon series, so pick it up now while it’s hot off the press. Don’t be caught jumping on the bandwagon when it’s announced later down the line. Be one of the cool kids, so when it is eventually picked up, you can be all like, “Pssshhh, Stray Dogs? Already read it. Old news, son.”

UPDATE: Actually, looks like it’s already been optioned by Paramount. So, on the bandwagon you all must now ride. Kidding. Only a little. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk

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