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What to Read #10 – Beasts of Burden

January 29, 2014
Motorists couldn't make it up the steep grade of I-20 east just east of Brompton causing a bottleneck of vehicles at the foot of the hill. This scene was common through Alabama today with travelers stranded in the storm. (Joe Songer/jsonger@al.com)

Motorists couldn’t make it up the steep grade of I-20 east just east of Brompton causing a bottleneck of vehicles at the foot of the hill. This scene was common through Alabama today with travelers stranded in the storm. (Joe Songer/jsonger@al.com)

Before we talk about the amazing graphic novel I’m recommending today, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the snowpocalypse.  I live in Birmingham, AL.  We don’t typically get much snow.  And today we were supposed to get a light dusting while areas in the southern part of the state were supposed to get hammered.  So most of our road crews and equipment were dispatched to those regions to be ready.  Yeah… it didn’t work out like they thought.
So, we’ve had roads closed, numerous accidents, stranded motorists, and tons and tons of people who have had to abandon their cars and walk, usually with a child or to meet a child at school.  And yes, that all happened over less than 2″ of snow.  But when you’ve got 2″ of snow and ice with no salt, sand, or plows, it’s a pretty big deal.  So please, if you’re in an affected area, stay safe!  Help where you can, and take a minute to throw a snowball or make a snow angel.  And if you’re not in an affected area… just remember to be kind.   Jokes will be funny in a few days when everyone’s home safe.  Thanks.

beasts of burdenBeasts of Burden: Animal Rites is a super fantastic graphic novel.  The protagonists are a motley group of dogs (and one cat) who live in Burden Hill, which is kind of a New England version of Night Vale.  Things look nice on the outside, but unearthly terrors seethe under the facade of picket fences and farm houses.  However, the humans of Burden Hill seem oblivious to this.  It is up to the intrepid band of animals to solve mysteries, stop murders, and generally take care of business.  Sometimes at great personal cost.
I’ll be straight with you.  This book will make you cry.  At least once.  Unless you don’t have a soul, but that’s a whole separate issue.  Jill Thompson’s paintings are beautiful and Even Dorkin’s scripts are haunting.  The series beasts 2came about, apparently, when Dorkin was asked to write something for a horror anthology and decided to do a twist on the haunted house.  He wrote, instead, about a haunted dog house.  Now, I love a good talking animal as much, if not more, than the next person (Oberon from the Iron Druid series being a personal favorite right now), but these animals are something special.  They’re a team and they’re adorable, which means it works so much better than just a motley collection of personality types should.
Please do yourself a favor and pick this book up.  (There are a few more Beasts of Burden stories that didn’t make it into this collection.  Of particular note, is a BoB crossover with Hellboy.  It’s heartbreaking in all the best ways.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 29, 2014 8:56 am

    Never heard of this graphic novel before, but now I totally want to read it.
    On the topic of snow, hang in there! I was in Tennessee last weekend, and I never in my life thought I’d be as cold there as I am when I’m home in Chicago. Definitely didn’t bring warm enough clothes.
    Snow in Alabama…will always remind me of the snow in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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