“What do you get when you crossbreed Silence of the Lambs with All Dogs Go To Heaven? Well, you get Stray Dogs” (Forbes). Yes, what a perfect description of this dark tail (tale)!
Sophie is a new dog in a house full of dogs but she senses something is off. Where is her beloved female owner? Unfortunately, dogs have faulty, short-term memories so she can’t quite remember what happened, but she knows something bad occurred. The man who brought her to the home wraps her in a scarf with the scent of her previous owner, and suddenly Sophie remembers this man is a killer. She frantically tells the other dogs but they dismiss her allegations, as they too have forgotten their previous owners and the tragedy that brought them to this new remote house in the country. But eventually, it becomes evident that each dog is a trophy of a killing, and the other dogs help her search for answers. You will gasp and have to contain your tears when you later witness a certain trophy case. Despite all this, most of the killing is implied and off-page, so the story is remarkably bloodless.
The art style is based on the Don Bluth style of animation, showcased in classic children’s movies like the aforementioned All Dogs Go To Heaven, plus An American Tail, The Land Before Time, and The Secret of NIMH. You will fall in love with each heroic dog, but then because of that, be devastated when some dogs don’t survive. Make sure you check out the cover art from the back of the book and look at the covers from each issue. They are inspired- leaning into the horror genre- by paying homage to famous movie posters.
While some people, especially dog lovers, might not enjoy this wicked thriller, I believe the juxtaposition of cutesy art and a deadly storyline make it a graphic novel not to be missed!