Beasts Of Burden: Occupied Territory – Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Benjamin Dewey, Nate Piekos (Dark Horse Books)

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The Eight Time Eisner Award-Winning comic book series goes from strength to strength.

There’s a reason why it’s won the Eisner Award no less than eight times and I don’t know what it is about a hardback comic book, but the feeling of instant gratification is in abundance and that’s before you even delve inside the absolute treat that is Beasts Of Burden: Occupied Territory. Conceived by Milk And Cheese creator, Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer, the canine crew made their first appearance in The Dark Horse Book Of Hauntings in 2003, evolving into their own four issue miniseries in 2009.

Beautifully repackaged and collecting issues #1 to #14, the concept is quite unique in that the protagonists in the book, are a pack of occult fighting dogs with this particular story arc, revolving around one elder member retelling the rest of the gang of his time in US occupied Japan in World War 2, battling demons such as disembodied crawling heads. Dorkin and Dyer’s skill at combining fantasy with real world events gives the story a certain amount of credibility, whilst the camaraderie among the crew recalls works like Watership Down, giving the whole thing a big dose of heart and wholesomeness. Their combination of Western and Japanese mythology is also something to be admired and blends nicely without creating any jarring contrasts to the story. Benjamin Dewey’s artwork is almost Tolkien-esque at times with soft strokes competing against more vivid aggressive works when the story calls for it.

The story, the artwork, the packaging, the whole thing really is something to be treasured and enjoyed and just one small step into the world of Beasts Of Burden will have you pining for more. Every now and again a book comes along and takes a seat in your heart. Beast Of Burden: Occupied Territory is that book… Chris Andrews

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