Lost Dogs by Jeff Lemire

Top Shelf Productions published a remastered version of Jeff Lemire’s Lost Dogs in June 2012.  Chris Ross re-lettered the book and helped Lemire repackage it.  This is a powerful short story of a graphic novel using three colors and a brush.

Timothy Callahan reflects in his introduction on the first time he saw the Lost Dogs at a comic show.  He walked away without buying it.  He writes:

And before long, I returned.  The glimpses of imagery haunted me through the rest of the day at the MoCCA art festival.  Before I left for home, I stopped at Lemire’s booth and bought a copy of Lost Dogs, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (at a comic book show, at least).

That’s the kind of book Lost Dogs is.  It’s haunting, and it sticks with you. If you’re familiar with Lemire’s work, you will not be disappointed. Lost Dogs is his first work, and he is finding his style and voice. You’ll see how his work has evolved and become more refined without losing any of the power or rawness.

I came to the book from Lemire’s most recent graphic novel, The Underwater Welder.  The artwork in Lost Dogs is certainly rawer, but the power of the story and even some underlying themes remain the same.  The book has Lemire’s signature full page panels that stun you with their ability to capture crucial story elements.  I just linger on those pages.  And the text is kept to the bare essentials. Not one word is unnecessary.


Callahan’s introduction really captures the work well:

Lost Dogs is rough, it is raw as hell, but it’s rough like a bareknuckle fist fight and raw like a rusty knife into your gut.  Lemire’s artistic style has tightened up since he first worked on this book, but the grammar, the fundamental storytelling elements, remain the same as what you might see in the Essex County comics, or in his work for Vertigo.  He’s a true cartoonist, in the sense that his words and his pictures flow from the same source.

If you’re a Jeff Lemire fan, do yourself a favor and pick this up.  You’ll read it through it one sitting and then want to read it again.

Doctor Who: The Dave Gibbons Collection

I’m a latecomer to Doctor Who.  My 11-year-old son turned me on to the television series a few months ago, and we have been steadily making our way through the Netflix collection. When I saw Doctor Who: The Dave Gibbons Collection, I couldn’t pass it up.  I mean Dave Gibbons, artist of Watchmen and Superman: “For the Man Who Has Everything,” and Doctor Who together in comics?  How could you go wrong?

Since I’m no expert, my insight into how these stories relate to older episodes of the series will be admittedly limited.  The collection mainly focuses on the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor, with a few stories towards the end that include the Peter Davison incarnation, including one of my favorites in the collection “The Tides of Time.”   Sharon and K-9 are the Doctor’s companions for several stories, but most of the time he travels alone in these stories and meets people along the way.

Naturally, Dave Gibbons’ artwork lives up to his reputation.  The colors and detail are superb throughout the collection.  From what I can tell, he captured Tom Baker’s manic grin and personality perfectly, but I’m going on very limited knowledge of Baker.  Gibbons’ vision of creatures, space vehicles, and intergalactic communities completely drew me into the stories.

The book opens with several multi-part stories that I really enjoyed- “The Iron Legion,” “The City of the Damned,” and “The Star Beast.”  “The City of the Damned,” which has Orwellian themes, is probably my favorite of the collection.  The citizens of the city are controlled and programmed to be emotionless, but there is a gang of rebels, who each exhibit one emotion, fighting the controllers. There is a quirky ending befitting the Doctor.

“The Tides of Time” runs a close second.  It shows a side of the Doctor I haven’t seen in the latest seasons of the television series.  There are massive powers at play in the universe.  The Doctor is mainly along for the ride and is just as confused as everyone else.  The story takes some really bizarre turns, but is visually stunning.

There are several other stories in the collection where the Doctor seems to just be along for the ride without contributing much, but they are one-off, quick stories that seem to end as soon as they really begin.  There also seems to be a lot more Star-Wars-like space battles and lasers in these older stories, but that may be natural in the older stories and incarnations of the Doctor.

Overall, the collection is just as compelling as the television series.  Anyone who is a fan of the show and likes comics will certainly enjoy this book. Check it out here.