Warning: This review contains spoilers.
One look at the solicits for Teen Dog #1 should be reason enough to pick up this issue. Promising “John Hughes meets ‘90s Nickelodeon cartoons,” the premiere issue of BOOM! Studios latest series more than lives up to its end of the bargain. Part slice-of-life story, part psychedelic adventure, writer and artist Jake Lawrence presents readers with a delightfully absurd take on everyone’s favorite (or most hated) time of life: high school.
Teen Dog #1 reads like a collection of webcomics, which is fitting due to the titular character’s roots. Having spun out of Jake Lawrence’s Time Cowboy webcomic, the issue consists of several vignettes at one to two page in length. Truthfully, this is an issue borne from a single, silly concept that is exploited very well: the cool kid in high school is a talking dog in shades and a leather jacket. Anyone expecting something deep and meaningful from this should turn away immediately, because this comic is not for them. The intention for this series is to be pure, silly fun – and that’s exactly what it is.
Readers may be put-off by the all ages look and feel to the issue, dismissing it as merely “kid stuff.” Truthfully, this an issue that can be enjoyed by anyone from age six to ninety-six. Younger audiences will enjoy the ludicrous concept of a cool kid dog attending school, and older readers can identify with the scenarios depicted throughout the issue, no matter how absurd Lawrence attempts to make them.
One segment which summarizes the issue in totality is “Mystery Lurks Within.” Anyone who has a had a locker during grade school can understand the struggle of keeping it clean and organized. Between the garbage that accumulates, chaos that arises from constantly grabbing and returning books, and other day-to-day factors, lockers can get messy quickly that the task to clean it become daunting. Teen Dog’s locker has a cave inside it.
Thanks to it’s quirky sensibilities and great sense of comedic timing, Teen Dog #1 is this week’s true hidden gem. The diverse characters are instantly likeable, and the anthology-based structure make for a quick and satisfying read. Teen Dog #1 has a special kind of lunacy that anyone can enjoy. Don’t miss out on it.