Guide Dog Detective #1

Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2006
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Guide Dog Detective #1 Creator(s): Jess Bradley
Publishers: Panda Sushi (Self Published)
From: UK
Price: £2.50(UK)

It a hard job being a cop. G.D. lost a partner awhile back and hasn’t quite got his nerve back. Now he’s on a trip down memory lane as associates involved with the death of his partner have information on his latest case, investigating the death by shotgun of a squirrel. The trail soon leads to some nasty rabbits, interagency conflict with the FBI, and a mole inside the force.

The title made me laugh – anthropomorphic comics with usually serious subject matter just seems funny to me. It’s hard to tell what Jess’s view of the whole animals as people thing is with this book. She keeps a very matter of fact tone running through out. The fact we are dealing with animals is the subject for the occasional pun, but death is just around every corner so things aren’t exactly jolly apart from the quite amusing artwork, even the nastiest of characters look so cute, especially the drugged out ferret.

So, if it’s not comedy, how does it rate as police thriller? Well, not very well really. It operates well on the level of a collection of clichés, but adds nothing to the genre and dons make much of an effort to even be exciting. There’s very little in the way of actual detective work going on. It aims for mystery with the issue of who the mole inside the department might be, but as there’s never any real hint who it might be it remains a plot device of very little direct concern to the reader. Sure, I have my suspicions, but no thanks to Jess.

I enjoyed Jess’s artwork; it’s cute as well as easy to follow. She also uses some interesting layouts with the bold black and white making for strong images. What the comic lacks is strong characters to add some weight to the assorted clichés on display. That might have made me care what was going on.

In a Word: guilty.

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