Comic Review: ‘Good Dog, Whiskey’
Let’s begin with the story about me at a convention. The Supanova convention was the last one to come to this isolated corner of the planet, and I did my thing of interviewing anyone willing to sit down long enough and scooping up as much reading material as possible. Robin Hobb told me to read ‘Assassin’s Apprentice’, Gestalt publishers had some new stuff for me…good times. Towards the end of the last day of the convention I overheard a young guy giving a copy of a graphic novel to Justin Randall of Changing Ways and 30 Days of Night fame, explaining that he’d written and drawn it himself and wanted feedback. I butted in, telling him that I was a reviewer and could give him a write up. He was pleased. He told me his name was Kent Kobi. I asked him to repeat that because I was exhausted and couldn’t quite process it. He told me again he was named Kent Kobi and gave me a copy of Good Dog Whiskey.
It’s taken me a couple of months to get to it because the post-convention coverage takes time, then other stuff comes up and then you find it on the shelf and you kick yourself for not having read it yet, even though the author has sent you polite emails reminding you (sorry Kent). I’m glad I did though. It’s very good. I’ll read it again some time in the future. It’s about a dog whose master has died. The dog, Whiskey, passes into the afterlife on a quest to find him, with the truth about his demise coming out at the end. If you’re thinking that the story sounds depressing, like that damned episode of Futurama, it leaves on a positive and fulfilling note. It’s a well crafted story that doesn’t dwell much on the implications of the situation, giving the reading enough to fill out the landscape of imagination and enhancing the emotional experience of the journey.
Drawn in a starkly contrasting black and white, the afterlife is created in lights and shadows. In style it is similar to Frank Miller’s Sin City, but it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to copy that look. It does feel like it’s coming from a similar line of thinking, and it suits the story perfectly. Narratively it feels like a good Neil Gaiman short story, one that gives us a taste of the supernatural and leaving us carrying the emotions around for some time afterwards.
If you prefer your comics to experiment with form and act as a singular piece of art instead of being part of a series that always inevitably winds up being about Wolverine (sorry, off topic, also reading ‘Age of Ultron’. Why does every Marvel story have to be about Wolverine?) then Good Dog, Whiskey is worth investing in. Get out there and support a new talent. I don’t normally do this, but I’m putting the link to buy it on Amazon RIGHT HERE. It doesn’t cost much and you’ll enjoy it more than most things put out by the big two this month.