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.
Less is More
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.
Bare-knuckle Fist Fight
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.