Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Mighty and Fearsome . . . Pug?

Battlepug:  Volume 1

by Mike Norton

Published by Dark Horse

5 Out of 5 Stars

I have always suspected that baby harp seals were capable of a vicious brutality that certainly merited clubbing.  Those big black eyes are pools of pure evil.  Battlepug has proven my suspicions correct as it is a giant baby seal that merrily lays waste to an entire Arctic village, leaving only one survivor:  a child hellbent on revenge against this monstrous beast.  The child grows into a warrior and, as all warriors need a noble steed, it is not long before he discovers the brave animal who will carry him into battle:  a giant, wheezing, perpetually happy pug. 

This is just a taste of the weirdness that awaits you in Mike Norton's Battlepug.  While Norton is best known for more standard comic book fare, this story of a Conan-like warrior carried on his quest for revenge by a battle ready pug is just pure fun.  The bizarre and colorful illustrations are often hilarious and always beautiful as they parody comic book stereotypes (such as the muscled and stoic barbarian, the ridiculously buxom and inexplicably nude woman, the mastermind villain whose identity has yet to be discovered by the hero) while simultaneously creating an inventive and imaginative storyline that stands on its own. 

So many comic books take their characters and their stories so seriously these days that it's nice to be reminded of what joy can be found in an unbridled imagination.

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