Beasts of Burden

The fourth and final issue of the Beasts of Burden mini series came out this week.  I thought it a good time to look at the title as a whole as Dark Horse plans to collect the mini series and the original shorts that first appeared their horror anthology series into one hardback sometime in 2010.  I’m a long time fan of Jill Thompson’s art work and that was all the incentive I needed to check this out.

Beasts of Burden is about a group of mostly dogs and a few cats that help protect their town, aptly named Burden Hill,  from supernatural forces.  It’s classic horror comics just with talking animals as the good guys and a healthy dose of humor to keep things from being too dire.  One of the strengths I found with the book was the balance of the characters.  Each dog and cat have a distinct personality while taking advantage having them being different breeds so it’s easy to tell them apart.  Jill Thompson’s really shines through here.  It’s easy to see why she won an Eiser for best painter back in 2004 for the first anthology installment of this series.  While I think it’s great that Thompson has found success with her children’s books, I’m very happy to see her working on something that geared for a older audience.  

The only fault I found with the mini series is that it relies a bit too heavily on knowing the previous storeis that appeared in the horror anthologies.  Dark Horse did briefly put three of the four stories from the anthologies online, which helped but now only one remains.  Because of that it really is best to wait for the collected version so everything will be all in one book.  Jill Thompson’s art is worth having a nice hardback anyway.  If you would like to read the first Beats of Burden story it can be found here on Dark Horse’s website.  It is safe to say if you like the first story you will want to pick up the collected version or keep it in mind for something to give to an animal lover who is not interested in super heroes.