cover image Duncan the Wonder Dog: Show One

Duncan the Wonder Dog: Show One

Adam Hines, AdHouse (, $24.95 trade paper (392p) ISBN 978-0-9770304-9-1

Can this massive, brilliant graphic novel—supposedly the first of a nine-volume series—really be its creator's first published work? Apparently so, and Hines has instantly established himself as a cartoonist to be reckoned with. Duncan is set in a world almost exactly like ours, except that all animals can talk. Humans still have dominion over everything, and a lot of animals aren't too happy about it; they also see the world in very different ways from each other, and from people. The central plot of this volume is what happens after an animal-rights organization run by a deranged, bloodthirsty macaque detonates a bomb at a human college, but that's just a springboard for Hines to show off what he can do. Nearly every page has some kind of stunning visual set piece; Hines' range of black-and-white drawing styles incorporate clean-lined "bigfoot" cartooning, hyper-stylized abstract landscapes and near-photorealism, often on the same page. The book is an overwhelming assemblage of stories within stories, stories on top of stories (sometimes literally), and meticulously crafted anecdotes that aren't directly related to each other but add up to a portrait of a world whose desperate cruelties are more vivid when all its inhabitants can communicate with one another. (Nov.)