Tuesday, November 22, 2011

MUSH!: Sled Dogs with Issues

Glenn Eichler and Joe Infurnari either have a whole lot of time on their hands, or really, really well-developed senses of anthropomorphic intuition because MUSH!: Sled Dogs with Issues is a graphic novel that--if you could read it with your eyes closed--comes off kind of like The Office: ALASKA!, with a little of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH thrown in.

Reading the description on IndieBound, it's clear why this might be a no-brainer. Eichler is a writer for the Colbert Report, while illustrator Infurnari does more than draw dogs; as a dog-channeler he also draws forth dogs' thoughts. (I confess I'm not sure what this means, but I don't think it involves Scooby Snacks and animal print turbans).

While MUSH! didn't strike right every chord, it hit enough of them properly for my half hour in the heads of snow-bound running dogs to be mostly pleasant. Eichler packs each narrative (Guy's resentment, Dolly's insecurities, Venus's bitterness, and Fiddler's ennui, plus a couple others) a little two tightly into the snow, but aside from a bit of over-analysis each problem entertains and creates realistic and sympathetic personalities. Infurnari's sketches (as may be seen from the cover) achieve the same sort of character with an amount of sparseness other, more detailed illustrations do not, and while again, not my preference in style, get the job done!

I'm not sure what the humans were doing in the story, as the only thing I can assume their flat plot line is meant to accomplish is providing a mini-breather--a kind of palate cleanser--between each transition from one doggie drama to the next. Or perhaps the creators wanted them as a foil against which to compare and contrasts the beasts humanity to that of actual humans. I could have done without it, or with some alternative mechanism.

At any rate, I doubt readers will be able to simply Borrow an indie title like MUSH! from smaller libraries, and at around thirteen bucks for 128 pages it's difficult to think all but graphic novel afficianados will consider the purchase price a "deal". Still, if you're lucky enough to live within a reasonable distance of a library or friend in possession of MUSH!, and you're a fan, by all means, get your paws on it for the time allotted.

MUSH!: Sled Dogs with Issues is available for purchase as of December 6th, 2011, and is currently available in pre-order at multiple book retailers, including IndieBound.

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