Sunday, December 16, 2012

Comics you've never heard of: DOG

The nineteen nineties was a simpler time. All you needed to be a bad ass back then was a mohawk and an attitude. Comics also started to appeal to a more teen-age demographic, with gritty, Dirty Harry type anti-heroes like Spawn, Wolverine, and the Punisher driving sales, and lots of blood and guts aplenty.

Enter DOG, the vigilante. You can tell how awesome this book is just from looking at the cover. See how he shows off his superhuman physique and bad boy 'hawk while bathing in a pool of blood, surrounded by the skulls of his enemies. I really like how the issue number marquee overlaps his head a bit there.

One thing this comic seems to scream is "Metal," like I should be listening to Slayer full blast and banging my head while simultaneously eating a big piece of raw meat while reading it.

The inside cover is filled with what I suppose is some kind of deep introspective type exposition, which contains informative descriptive passages such as "I am drunk" and "it's electric man, some real Riki-Tik inside the Apocalypso tonight."

Another paragraph reads "He knew nothing about Uptowners, Boppers, Pigs, Swishes, Biker Bobs, Gang Bangers, Hot Heads, Ex E-Squad members, the malcontents who bring the Boulevard to life." Apparently these are supposed to be gangs or something? Who the hell names their gang "The Boppers?"

We begin with some dude with a buttrock hairdo walking down the street with junked up cars and stuff all over the place. Apparently this guy got knifed or something, and is throwing up blood while simultaneously  holding his own guts in. 

Dog shows up and just like, chats with him, nonchalantly asking him "Can I help?" You could like, call an ambulance or something, bro. Instead, Dog shares a cigarette with him, and watches him die.

Anyway Dog then gives him a decent burial inside of a dumpster (like nobody is going to find the body,) and decides to go attack a biker gang called "The Flaming Skulls," whom Dog calls "Biker Bobs," or wanna-be's.  I don't think "Biker Bobs" is an actual slang term, couldn't find anything on Google, so I think the guy just made it up. 

The problem is whenever a movie, comic, and so on uses obscure slang terms (or tries to create them) is that  most of the time there isn't enough context for the reader to figure out what the hell they're talking about. For instance on the page above, when the guy says:

"Okay, it's cool. We gonna do some Riki-Tik or we jus' gonna watch? I wanna do one of 'em!"

What in the flaming skulls is this supposed to mean? Is Riki-Tik a drug? Is it another gang? So hen he says "I wanna do one of 'em," does that mean he wants to kill one of them, or have sex with them, or what? Maybe it's a type of hamburger, and he's just really hungry.

We never really find out if he's referring to homosexuals or a food-item, because at this point Dog decides he's going to start kicking some ass, and by kicking ass I mean hitting people so hard with chains that their heads explode.

I know it's a comic about a bad-ass vigilante who kicks butt and asks questions later, but holy shit man, people's heads don't just blow up when you hit them with chains like that.

Then there's like an entire page after this of just a dead guy with half a head slumped over his motorcycle. Why an entire page? What exactly is this supposed to do, except pad out the length of the book so you can meet the minimum required pages at the printer? Seriously, just think of some more shit to happen. A quarter of the page is filled in with black, for crying out loud.

This next page at least has two panels, although there's still this huge black portion of wasted space at the top. This guy just saw mohawk man hit his friend so hard his head exploded, but he's still going to try and fight him. That makes sense. 

I should be the last person to ever call anyone else's comic "amateurish," but just look at this shit. Dog looks like he has a stick up his ass, and the guy with the knife's body is all fucked up. Also the entire page is filled with these guys standing in these awkward poses and the part with the action is squeezed into the right hand corner. And how did Dog's knife get blood on it, if he killed the other guy with the chain?

Dog hits thug #2 with his magic head-explody chain, so hard he flies through a window. This also commands nearly an entire page to show how bad-ass it is. At least this time the artwork is a lot better.

 Dog then proceeds to kill everyone in the bar, only using the instant head explosion-chain technique a few more times. I like how a shotgun blast to the liquor cabinet causes the whole wall to explode.

Sans his head explosion-chain, Dog then is reduced to using his bare hands to slaughter several more douchebags. I call them douchebags because they're all wearing headbands and bowling shoes for some reason.

Then after watching mohawk man kill every single person in his entire gang, including causing several people's heads to explode in an overly gruesome manner, gang leader Randy still wants to fight him.

Which ends with predictable results.

Dog then decides to interrogate Randy's girlfriend. Of course since she's a woman, he doesn't brutally shove her head into a jukebox, but just yells at her for a bit until she "talks." Apparently the kid from the beginning was part of group of children who were kidnapped and tortured, and Dog is trying to save them. 

So this other gang, who I think are actually still the "Flaming Skulls," went and kidnapped a group of kids, who may or may not have been a different gang called the "Riki-Tiks," (unless that refers to a happy meal or some shit) and are torturing and killing them, which is what I suppose "doing" them means. 

Plus see how the word bubble covers that guy's mouth, when his face takes up half the panel, yet there's all this blank space to the left where it's just black shadows and such? You gotta think about these kinds of things when you're doing the composition.

Also from the line "That was one tough swish, spit in your face before you did him" and the fact that they wrote "Fag" in the naked, crucified, castrated guy's blood, leads me to assume the motive for these killings was that these "Riki-Tiks" are homosexuals after all. I guess my hamburger theory just went out the window. I like how it takes 22 pages before we can decipher what the plot is. They could have just said all this shit in the beginning, but that would make too much sense.

Dog shows up, but instead of exploding their skulls with his chain, he decides instead to explode their whole bodies. Because somehow he just happened to have a shitload of explosives, and somehow he managed to rig like the entire street where these guys were standing with it when nobody was looking. And what better way to end a bad-ass vigilante comic where people's heads explode than by a huge explosion, right?

Shit then proceeds to blow up, for like four pages straight.

Somehow all of the bad guys get killed, but the two kids Dog was trying to save are miraculously unharmed. That must be some kind of super secret bad-guy only-killing dynamite or some shit. 

So Dog the crazy mohawk vigilante man just killed ten or twenty people, splattering their heads open and destroying an entire city block in the process, and then decides to leave, but not before one more giant pin-up splash page to show us all how tough and awesome he is. The end. 

This comic is just amazing. It's amazing that it even got made, actually. Today with the internet it's easy to find cheap printers that will print small runs of your amateur comic for little amounts of money, but back in the nineties it wasn't that easy. Printing a comic like this took a hefty chunk of change for set up costs, often times it wasn't worth it unless you made several thousand. That means the guy who printed this up probably spent a good amount cash. I imagine he probably had boxes and boxes of these laying around for several years afterwards.

I will say it was a good try, not completely lame. I like some of the artwork, like the one where they guy flies through the window and all the little shards of glass and everything. But the ultra-gore, awkward poses, weird, nonsensical dialog, and useless splash pages obviously used to pad what would be a 25 page story into 35 pages tells me this was probably an early attempt by an aspiring comic artist who still had a lot to learn, much like myself. Something like this today would probably be laughed off the shelves.

But like I said, the nineties were a simpler time.