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Review: Southern Dog TPB

Southern Dog coverCollecting the critically acclaimed 4 issue series Southern Dog, this trade paperback that tells the story of Jasper Dixon, an awkward high school teenager.
Dixon sustains an injury while hunting with his family, and when his infected wolf bite, combined with the hormonal changes of puberty triggers, a disturbing physical transformation he’s forced to confront his deep south upbringing and monsters far worse than what he’s become.

As a forewarning, let me say that I am a sucker for modern stories featuring old monsters, such as werewolves and vampires. So the fact that we’re dealing with that subject matter immediately attracted me to this comic, However, it would be more accurate to say that is a socially conscious story that features werewolves.

Southern Dog, for the most part, is told through the first person perspective of Jasper, via notes that seemed scrawled on notebook paper, which is very fitting. The book really wastes no time getting to the meat of the story, allowing you to get an understanding for the characters as it progresses, instead of any flashbacks and back story. If you’re from the northern parts of the United States, or if you’re not presented with the reality of racism on the daily, then, like me, you may find the stark way it’s presented here as not offensive but truthful, without being preachy or heavy-handed. Make no mistake, racism and its many facets of white anger and aggression are alive and Southern Dog doesn’t hide from that, featuring our hero pitted against his family, his peers, and almost the entire town. Add into that interracial love story, and the resistance Jasper faces from African-Americans for being interested in a girl he simply finds pretty.

The artwork is simplistic, which is not to say simple. It is extremely fitting for the story being told, keeping it grounded in reality. The panels are beautiful and well drawn, the colors showing wonderful contrast at times. I would say the one drawback for me was at first it was a little difficult to tell characters apart, but as the book progressed that quickly ended.

It’s a quick read, but it is obvious how it became so lauded by the critics.

Writer: Jeremy Holt Artist: Alex Diotto Cover Artist: Riley Rossmo
Story: 7.5 Art 7.0 Overall 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Action Lab: Danger Zone provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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