DOG OF THE DEAD by Maxwell  Shepherd


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A man and his faithful canine wander through the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse in this debut graphic novel.

With the zombie catastrophe banging at their door, Alex Kelly and his dog, Boots, are about to have a very bad day. Their escape plan has been stymied by Alex’s dog-averse friends and so he and Boots prepare to brave the no man’s land without help. But when Alex succumbs to a nasty neck bite courtesy of one of the walking dead, he is left as glassy-eyed and shambling as the hordes outside. This will cause Boots to answer the age-old question: What if the owner of Greyfriars Bobby—the famous Skye terrier who spent 14 years guarding his caretaker’s grave in 19th-century Scotland—had risen from the dead? At first, Boots is confused by her owner’s new lack of interest and affection, but she nevertheless follows at Alex’s heels as the two encounter a George Romero–flavored landscape of staggering zombies, packs of ravenous dogs, and—perhaps the most dangerous of all—those few haggard survivors who will stop at nothing to stay that way. Throughout it all, Boots remains steadfast, but will her undying loyalty to her master get through that rotting brain of his, or is their relationship—like the world around them—doomed to destruction and decay? While the story may be wrapped in the familiar tropes of zombie fiction, Shepherd’s book is concerned more with the bond between man and man’s best friend than it is the standard apocalyptic nihilism of the subgenre, buoyed by sensitive work by Beaird (Action Land #3, 2018, etc.). Although the author’s narration occasionally veers into purple prose and Alex’s characterization is (understandably) minimal, Boots is effectively written and expressively drawn. And while some of the textured backgrounds, particularly in the smaller panels, threaten to overwhelm the action, Beaird excels with larger ones that allow him thicker, bolder lines and give the art a woodcut quality that fits the fablelike quality of the graphic novel. Should writer and artist embrace their strengths, they will undoubtedly be ones to watch in the future.

An unusually affecting tale of a man and his dog, complemented by frequently strong artwork.

Pub Date: March 12th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5255-1795-2
Page count: 108pp
Publisher: FriesenPress
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2018


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