This Week's Read: Tooth And Claw issue 1 / by Jaz Malone


I'm a little skeptical of comics with anthropomorphic characters. Mouseguard made use of actual animals, and I adored it. I've heard Blacksad is amazing, but have yet to read the volume I own, because the sight of animal heads with human bodies hits too close to furry-dom for my tastes. Luckily, I trusted my local comic dealer enough to look past the breast-laden cats and owls in Tooth And Claw.

In screenwriting classes (or at least, the ones I've been to), teachers tell students that white balance, color, and all those other signs of a well-funded film can be somewhat overlooked as long as the story holds up. Story is what people will remember most. TAC has a fantastic story setup.

The main character is a dog-boy named Dunstan, who lives in a floating city with a myriad of sorcerers (all anthropomorphic). One such sorceress, a boar-woman named Gharta, believes she can bring back the dwindling magic of their world using both a combination of spells and magic users. The plot is simple, and spirals outward. You know the rule: "K.I.S.S." Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The story is brought to life by the other elements: artwork, color, and even the style of the speech bubbles add to an already wonderful read. Somehow, it stays away from being overly cheesy or overdone. This isnt a comic where I need to pick and choose what I enjoy; there is no, "The backgrounds are great, but..." I enjoyed every aspect of it. I suppose I could do without the panel border style sometimes, but that's a personal quirk. I have many thoughts on panel borders, most of which are unnecessary and unfounded, so I'll let that go. I'm pretty excited to see where this comic ends up.

This right here is some badass work.

Busiek (writer); Dewey (artist); Bellaire (colors); Comicraft- specifically, Roshell and Betancourt (lettering)

Go read.