Guide Dog Detective #2

Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Guide Dog Detective #2 Creator(s): Jess Bradley
Publishers: Panda Sushi Comics (Self Published)
From: 1QB
Price: 2.50

I seem to have come across quite a few comics like this recently. Comics involving animals who talk and act like humans placed in a grittily realistic urban human world normally revolving around issues of law and order/crime. ‘Guide Dog Detective’ falls neatly into that genre; I mean the title says it all really. It’s a kind of ‘Babe’ does ‘CSI’ thing.

A previous reviewer has described this title as “cute’ and there is a cuteness about the way in which the animas are drawn but there is nothing cute about the subject matter. This is a tale of homicide inquiries, moles in the police force, gang wars and ritual killings. The dialogue and the plot act to directly neutralise any cuteness in the art.
Having said that the art is attractive, but then again I am a sucker for the ‘bold outline around characters’ approach. Used effectively it can create an almost 3D effect and really adds a delightful element of contrast to frames. For the most part Bradley does use this technique effectively and as a result the comic looks good.

The deliberate lack of clutter in the frames and the dramatic use of black/ white contrast does add to this visual appeal. Here is an artist not afraid of white space, what they have drawn they have drawn carefully and with assurance and there is a real confidence present in the art on show here. Overall there is a clean simplicity of appearance in this comic and that does give it a visual sharpness.

The representation of the menagerie of animals present in this edition is impressive which is just as well really because it does take some suspension of belief to ‘buy’ into a world where the two gangs are a group of Mexican hyenas and a mafia style flock of Japanese sparrows? with razors in their wings. In the middle of this vicious gang war we have, as usual, the cops. Our hero is a renegade detective guide dog who is at odds with the Police commissioner [who is a stag]. So I guess it is just as well that he is cute [in that Labrador guide dog kind of way]. The various elements of the story are familiar to anyone who watches contemporary American television dramas. The element of the new is of course that they are all animals.

The incongruity does work and whilst this is not deep it is entertaining.

In a Word: Manageriemystic..

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