Dog of Wonder #1 Review
Writers: Scott Fogg and Vito Delsante
Artists: Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt
Letterer: Full Court Press
Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment
Review by Joe DellaPenna
Action Lab: Dog of Wonder #1 is a cute tale put out by Action Lab Entertainment, and is definitely a book aimed at children. Action Lab is a publisher that has really showed up on my radar in the past view years with their diverse offerings, but one of the things that they accomplish so well and this book does is deliver a book I can give to my young daughters.
The story by Scott Fogg and Vito Delsante features the company logo who happens to be a labrador with an Inspector Gadget style backpack. Over the course of the story we see that this heroic dog takes action when it comes to animals in shelters and pounds, who are about to be put down. I have to admit that as someone who just visited an animal shelter and loves dogs, this tugged at my heart strings quite a bit. This isn’t even the only part of the story that will make you emote as the first few pages introduce the reader to a dog that has been rescued from a pretty vicious life.
Right off the bat, the writing was drawing me in and making me feel for what was happening in the book. Despite some of the allusions to some real world happenings that are never pleasant especially in regards to animal rescue, this is a light story and the art team of Higgins and Brandt have a neat visual style to convey the storytelling. This team puts out work that strikes me as being a very clean cartooning style that makes me think of the old Tin Tin cartoons I saw as a child mixed with 101 Dalmations. I’m no artist, but one thing that I can’t imagine is easy is how they create expressions on these dog that really sell certain scenes. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I really enjoyed a scene between Action Lab and a hot dog cart owner. This scene in particular shows the strength of these artists in conveying the story without using words. When there are words, the letterer is on point on everything from making sure it is clear which character is talking to the clever way the notes Action Lab leaves at the scenes of his rescues are depicted.
The way this story is set up is like there are two stories happening at once that are about to cross into each other. On one hand, there is a slow build to when Action Lab first appears in full in the story. They are almost setting him up as a Batman-like figure who comes out of the shadows and disappears again. Some people might not like this type of slow build, but I thought it worked well here. In addition to this, there is a story focusing on the workers in an animal shelter who are being questioned about how dogs keep disappearing from local shelters and pounds. This part of the story shows their daily routine as well as shows how they aren’t pleased about having to euthanize dogs that have not been adopted. Like I said, I couldn’t help but think about a recent visit to an animal shelter and seeing how long some of those dogs had gone without being adopted. While these stories only intersect slightly in this issue, I am interested in seeing where this is going in future issues.
Buy it! If you have kids, this is certainly a book that has very cute drawing of dogs and in the case of a dog that wasn’t being adopted can instill the lesson of not judging a book by its cover. In many ways it’s a fun and light read, but still manages to address things like dog fighting in a way that is a good learning experience but isn’t traumatic. The art is high quality cartooning and really nails making dogs seem expressive. If you’re an animal lover you may also want to take a look at this at your local store and see if it’s for you. Even though it seems to be particularly aimed at kids, this is a fun story that adults can enjoy as well.