Monday, June 7, 2010

It Came From HeroesCon - Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit

Over the past two years, I've begun to discover how good independent and small-press books can be. This year, having gotten home from HeroesCon, I find I'm most excited to read the independent and small-press books I picked up directly from their creators.

The first of these is Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit by Panda Dog Press. Writer and self-publisher Rob Anderson had a table at the show to promote a preview book for this title and his energy for the concept is contagious.

In Animal Control's near future, genetic advances have brought with them an onslaught of designer 'pets'. Where the officers of Animal Control used to deal with stray dogs, endangered cats or the occasional snake, the officers in this series have pocket dragons, panda dogs and gator-snakes. It's a concept that's exploding with potential while remaining easily accessible to just about anyone who knows what a dog-catcher does.

The preview book contains two stories, 'Feral' and 'Breeding Stock', the latter of which was a project from Andy Schmidt's Comics Experience Writing Class. Both stories give you an interesting look at what the series could contain. They're backed up by quality visuals provided by Leandro Panganiban. While I have to confess that I don't have the fine eye for art that many comics fans possess, Leandro's pencils help bring Anderson's imaginative creations to life in a way that never veers from plausibility.

The package is rounded out with a third short, 'Girl Trouble', written by Anderson and with art by Eve Yap. It's a tonal shift from the straight-up concept of Animal Control as we follow a wandering Panda Dog's encounter with a young girl. This simple, lighter tale cleanses the palette nicely after stories of animal welfare.

The Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit Preview book accomplished it's mission by leaving me eager to see what directions Rob wants to take it.

According to the Panda Dog Press website, Rob will be at Baltimore ComiCon in August. If you're attending, I highly recommend saying 'hello' to Rob, and picking up a copy of the Preview.

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