One of Zainab Akhtar's "2013 comics round up: stuff what I loved" selections at Comics&ColaRanked #4 (tie) on the Publishers Weekly Comics World 2013 Critics' Poll
Good Dog marks the welcome return of alternative cartoonist Graham Chaffee, who, after his successful 1995 collection of short stories, The Most Important Thing and Other Stories, and his acclaimed1997 graphic novel The Big Wheels, took a detour to devote himself to the art of tattooing, before charging back with his new, beautifully conceived graphic novel.
Ivan, who is plagued by terrible nightmares about chickens and rabbits, is a good dog if only someone would notice. Readers accompany the stray as he navigates dog society, weathers pack politics, and surveys canine-human interactions.
Good Dog's story and pen-and-ink art are deceptively simple, but Chaffee uses the approachability of the subject matter as a device to explore topics such as independence, security, assimilation, loyalty, and violence. Preteen-and-up dog fanciers, especially, will warm to the well-meaning Ivan and his exploits with a motley assortment of Scotties, Bulldogs, and mutts. Chaffee combines illustrative gravitas with cartooning verve and creates a richly textured, dogs-eye view of the world. The story is a rousing Jack London-esque adventure as well as a moral parable.
"Graham Chaffee has been one of my favorite cartoonists since I fell in love with his 1997 debut graphic novel, Big Wheels. Combining tremendous empathy towards his characters, concise storytelling and exquisite detail, Chaffee's comics are sublime. I am eagerly awaiting Good Dog. I'll plan my week around reading it." James Sturm (Market Day)
"Good Dog is a book as seemingly lost in time as its canine hero Ivan. Graham Chaffee has a real talent for charming anthropomorphic cartooning and his clean, appealing storytelling and expressive brushwork evoke the work of an alternative golden age of comics; an age perhaps in which superheroes never existed and the medium told more straightforward, poignant stories." James Romberger
"Getting into the mind of a dog that's a real trick. I know, I've tried. Getting into the whole heart and soul of a dog is another whole feat. Graham Chaffee not only does it with aplomb (he draws GREAT dogs), he gets into the whole dog's life and so should you." Nick Abadzis (Laika)
"I got choked up a couple of times which is the one of the best things a comic can do to me. Compliments to Mr. Graham Chaffee. Really solid storytelling and excellent art. Reminiscent the best way of Jack London's The Call of the Wild." Farel Dalrymple (Pop Gun War)
"The world does not have nearly enough graphic novels told from the perspective of adorable dogs. Let alone graphic novels that have a good chance of making you feel delighted on one page, then maybe like you might cry a little bit on the next page. Good Dog does those things, and also, did I mention its told from the perspective of an adorable dog? Seriously, the dog is so great! I would adopt him in a second and we would do everything together." Erik Henriksen, Wired, "The Best Comic Books of 2013"