Glenn Eichler’s “Mush!: Sled Dogs with Issues”

TCR writer Glenn Eichler has written a new book, “Mush!: Sled Dogs with Issues”, with illustrations by Joe Infurnari.

Glenn Eochler Mush Sled Dogs with Issues

Venus wants Buddy to quit asking her to “make puppies.” Buddy wants Winston’s help wooing Venus. Winston wants Guy’s respect. Guy wants Dolly’s job. Dolly wants to know the meaning of it all. Nobody knows what Fiddler really wants, not even Fiddler. But mostly . . . these sled dogs just want to run.

Sounds simple? It should be, but even dogs have their office politics. Office politics with sharp, sharp teeth.

From Colbert Report writer Glenn Eichler and dog channeling artist Joe “Fur” Infurnari comes a postmodern tale of heroism on the tundra, epic romance, and yellow snow. (Hint: don’t eat it.) Mush! is Arrested Development meets Call of the Wild—two great tastes that taste pretty funny together.

David Berry from the National Post has wonderful review of the book:

The story that Glenn Eichler hangs his mushing whip on isn’t much more complicated than your standard office dynamic, but Mush! benefits greatly from Joe Infurnari’s wildly expressive characterizations. There is a pure, unbridled joy perfectly evident in the way these dogs tear through the wilderness, but more impressive is the personality that shines through when these dogs are in repose. There are some classic cartooning tropes at play here — the rotund, well-meaning-but-dim galoot, the dark, angular schemer — with just enough of a rough edge to make them jump off the page whether or not they’re talking. It’s a bit of a shame the story isn’t quite as exuberant, but Infuranari’s good, old-fashioned comic capability is enough to carry this fairly slight volume.

Paul Gravett also has another glowing review of the book:

Putting Media tie-in Lassie aside, and excluding super-powered mutts like Superboy’s pet Krypto or the Inhumans’ teleporting bulldog Lockjaw, American adventure comics about realistic dogs are not that plentiful. Imagine if they’d become the dominant genre instead of superheroes! As it is, DC’s Fifties series Rex the Wonder Dog, with lovely Gil Kane art, is unlikely to get an Archive edition soon, I suspect.

Meantime, fortunately, Mush! plunges us into the great outdoors of Alaska with the jubilant dogs out on a run. Eichler & Infurnari exult in all the ‘SSSFWOOOOOSSH!’ sound effects and ‘ABSTILACK GOMMA DEY!’ driver’s calls of that pack-like human and animal fusion in the ‘bliss’ of dog-sledding. Coloured mostly in muted snow-blues and wood-browns, this 120-page graphic novel open wordlessly before introducing us first to its canine cast. Once you adjust to talking animals, you find their different personalities soon emerge, united mostly by boredom between runs, anticipation of the next one and rivalries for who gets the front harness. We then cut to the human couple, known to the dogs as ‘The Boss’ and ‘The Boss’s Mate’. So this prepare us that is not solely an anthropomorphic tale. The dogs speak in slightly thicker, rougher, almost furry outlined balloons, while humans speak in tidier balloons.

The indeterminate time period also becomes clear, as we realise the tale is not set in the past thanks to the woman’s initial reference to her former Seattle apartment, a very different world they have left behind to get back to nature. But how will the two of them fare living two days’ away from their nearest neighbours? Can their relationship survive? The chapters weave between the contrasting and comparative emotional strains, feuds and rows between two humans and between six animals and their common search of ‘the meaning of life’. We get the unique dogs’ eye view of the world, including appropriate metaphors such ‘as subtle as an avalanche’. Lovely design devices for the chapter titles and the skilled layouts that go full bleed and manga-esque in high-drama scenes show a creative team that knows how comics can really work. This is an utterly beguiling and touching dog story and not in the least bit ‘shaggy’! It will whoosh you away and make you want to shout out loud, ‘YAPABRA! BLEE DRAY CALLA SCOW!’

Real Media Design and First Second have posted an 11 Page excerpt from the book: [Link]

Release Date: December 6th, 2011.

  • CN Helper

    Who won their “Which Colbert Writer is putting out a book?” Office pool? Now we have Mr. Eichler with a book. My bookshelf grows heavy with all of these publications. Well, bravo, look forward to this one too.
    It’s neat to see how each writer has a book with a totally different premise…

  • Katt

    Please help support the book and join the “MUSH! Sled Dogs with Issues” Faebook Page.