Have you ever sat and wondered to yourself what it would look like if you took Silence of the Lambs and mixed it with 101 Dalmatians? Well, then today is your lucky day. It’s no secret that I love my comics dark and with some bite, so it’s no wonder that I fell in love with the Stray Dogs comic almost immediately after opening it.
Trigger warning: If violence, implied or otherwise, against dogs upsets you, then this is not the comic for you.
Stray Dogs manages to fulfil everything my little true-crime loving heart desires while still embracing being a comic book and using that to its advantage. The result is a story that feels new and fresh but also deeply familiar.
Created by Tony Fleecs (In My Lifetime; Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth; My Little Pony) and Trish Forstner (My Little Pony) for Image Comics (Home Sick Pilots; Saga; I Hate Fairyland), Stray Dogs tells the story of a young dog named Sophie.
Sophie, like most dogs, has a genuinely terrible short term memory. Sophie can’t remember what happened to her or how she ended up in her new “home” with all these other dogs that she doesn’t know. Still, even though her fear and confusion, she feels that something terrible has happened, if only she could remember what that terrible thing is.
Upon catching a familiar scent, she starts to put everything together. The man who brought her to this place is responsible for killing her owner, her lady. Soon the dark and sinister truth comes to life, the man that brought Sophie and all the other dogs to this place, he’s a ruthless serial killer. He takes his victims dogs as trophies and then uses them to get close to new victims. But, now that they know the truth, how will they stop him? Are they even able to? More importantly, can they do it before they forget about the whole thing?
Stay Dogs is a suspense thriller told over a limited 5 Issue series, and it more than achieves everything it sets out to do. The stark contrast between the light, almost playful “Disneyesque” art style and the dark, twisted story work to create a feeling of profound innocence, making the story all that more gut-wrenching to read.
Stray Dogs is one of the most unusual and enduring murder mystery stories you’ll read. I usually gravitate to more “human” stories in their setups, but honestly having the cast be dogs just added to the tension and the emotion instead of taking anything away. I felt scared for these dogs and invested in their story after just the first Issue. Even though the story is told through the eyes and minds of dogs, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a comic that feels more human in its delivery.
Want to grab Stray Dogs for yourself? Head over to Critters and Comics. The Stray Dogs comic series is currently available in the following formats: Digital or as Single Issues (5 Issues)