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cover

The Dog's Days of Summer


An 80-page, large-sized graphic novel, Sofawolf Press, 2008.

Category: anthropomorphised animals, slice-of-life.

Author(s): Blotch.
Website: http://www.dogsdaysofsummer.com/.

Diego and Bayshore

This graphic novel collects a webcomic story, with almost forty all-new pages added. The double-headed author Blotch (in fact, a collaboration between Tess Garman, a natural history illustrator, and Teagan Gavet, an animator) has created some of the most wonderful art I've seen in a while. Of course, the printing job doesn't hurt: the colors fairly leap at us, and the blacks are so thick you can feel them on the page. So, yes, even before reading the story, I was hooked. But the story, while simple, is also very charming.
Set on an Australian beach during a summer, the story follows Diego, a seemingly carefree Australian dingo beach bum, and his friends, in their pursuit of happiness (or at least, a good hook-up). Most of the cast is gay, with a couple of straight characters thrown in. Diego meets again Bayshore, an American otter student with whom he'd had a rather disastrous fling the previous summer. Bayshore professes to have gotten over it, and after all, Diego has always presented himself as a one-nighters kind of guy. Meanwhile, Rajiv, a tiger bartender who knows what he wants, has decided he'd get Diego in his bed, which doesn't seem that hard, considering the reputation of the guy.
The webcomic had worked in an interesting way: the readers decided the course of the action after each episode (you can read that part of the book on the website). It's all the more surprising how coherent the behavior of the characters is. I wouldn't say this is an Ingmar Bergman story, but there's a fair amount of soul-searching here, especially from Diego and Bayshore.
Of course, this wouldn't work as well with less assured art. And assured it certainly is. From the rich backgrounds to the varied facial expressions, from the body designs and language to the layouts, everything on the page is a testament to the perfect way the two artists work together. And those colors... painted art doesn't always look that warm and alive, that's for sure.
It's obvious by now how much I've enjoyed this graphic novel. I certainly hope the artists will work together again, and in the meanwhile, I'm going to pore over the pages (and the characters/background sketches) of this book.

Diego and Rajiv
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