Friday, June 24, 2016

"Real ball of yarn, that girl. You sure know how to pick 'em." Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In review

At this point, Dark Horse publishes Beasts of Burden about once per year. My blogging about this series is now intended more to remind fans this series still exists; my recommendation for the book comes without reservation. The latest is the recently-released Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In.

"What the Cat Dragged In" brings to mind the earlier story "Something Whiskered This Way Comes" (issue #3 of the Beasts of Burden limited series). Like that story, the featured players are cats: Orphan, Dymphna and the Getaway Kid, joined now by a raccoon named Hoke, giving the book some variety. These tales stand out becaues the series is - nominally - about dogs battling supernatural threats.

In this story, Dymphna needs help returning to the vacant home where her owners once lived. Breaking in, the animals discover Dymphna had conjured up a demon the last time she had been there and said demon had taken control of the household, tormenting the other cats living there. Thus, Dymphna has to outsmart the demon; by the end of the story, there's a major revelation about Dymphna.

Regardless of characters or plot, the best two things about Beasts of Burden are writer Evan Dorkin and artist Jill Thompson. Thompson's painted art keeps the animal cast believable but emotive. Dorkin's stories repeatedly delve into horrific encounters with demons and black magic, yet always have a deep emotional core. When I recommend Beasts of Burden to friends, I choose those friends who love their pets. The animals of Beasts of Burden are tortured and die, but are also loving and courageous.

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