What do you get when you cross classic Don Bluth-type art (think All Dogs Go to Heaven, An American Tail, Land Before Time) with Silence of the Lambs? You get Stray Dogs, a new five-part mini-series from Image Comics that has been optioned by Paramount Animation.
Issue #1 has landed. So, is this new Image comic book series worth your spec? Is there a potential future increase in value? How’s the buzz about this new series?
Stray Dogs: The Concept
Firstly, the premise by writer Tony Fleecs is unique and intriguing. Add in the cutesy art of Trish Forstner of cute dogs who don’t know why they are all gathered in a strange house that is none of their homes. The cuteness of the nostalgic art is a stark contrast to the dark subject matter of murder, and not just murder but serial murder. It’s a fascinating and unexpected concept that works on lots of levels.
You get the story from the dog’s perspective, not from the killer’s or victim’s perspective. It turns out the dogs are trophies kept by the killer from the victims. In fact, the dogs are unwitting tools used by the killer to find, target, and trap new victims. The dogs seem confused about what is happening and can communicate only with each other when alone with other dogs (the dogs can only talk to other dogs rule). They have a mystery to solve, and the dogs have to work together to figure things out.
The series is definitely not for kids and is intended for mature audiences. The violence as drawn is not graphic but is still jarring and very dark.
Bottom Line: The concept of Stray Dogs is killer! (No pun intended). The premise is fantastic and the art is great!
Stray Dogs: The Covers
Nextly, Trish Forstner, artist of My Little Pony, brings the goods on the art in this series. The great animation-type art is what sets up the great contrast for this series against the dark, creepy action that takes place in the storyline. Trish is able to portray well the emotional struggles and expressions of the dogs as they wonder about their owners and why they are in this new house with its long hallways and locked doors.
The best covers? The B covers all are very cool homage variant covers of horror movies. All that have been released so far have been really well done.
Bottom Line: The art of the series is fun, great, and definitely a plus. In addition, the variant covers are great and worth getting just for the art.
Stray Dogs: Potential Spec
The Pros: The premise is great and draws you in. The art invokes classic animation movies and the variant homage covers are amazing! Lot’s of positive buzz about the series. The series is optioned. So, art, storyline, and a future bump in value are all a plus.
The Cons: It’s only a five-part series. The shelf-life of the series could be short and may not have much lasting pull. The plot seems a little jumpy at times, with lots of unanswered questions. Image has had some definite winners but also many series that were not.
Stray Dogs looks like a great read and worth a look. Spec-wise, the series is a bit of a long-shot. Still, there are only five issues to get and it’s already been optioned. That makes me think it’s worth a buy and flip when it is produced.