The Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizza Boy was an unexpected joy to read earlier this year. So, when Dark Horse announced this one-shot, I jumped at the chance to read it. Seriously. What could be better than a Werewolf P.I, his assistant who is a 6,000 year old demon, Pazuul, trapped in the body of a tweenage girl, and their unpaid intern, Euerico/Pizza Boy? It is as madcap and fun as it sounds!
Overweight Portuguese werewolf “Dog” Mendonça narrates his own bizarre origin story, taking us from a traveling circus to a Nazi laboratory to the depths of Loch Ness! And when we catch up with the present-day Mendonça, can his team adjust to the new fame and outrageous fortune that come from being published by Dark Horse Comics? Bite into the raucous adventure that was first serialized in Dark Horse Presents—now in one comic!
Dog Mendonca is a treat in the comics world. He takes the idea of the hard-boiled detective and turns it on its head. Dog is overweight, out of shape, and it takes a lot to get him riled up. Instead he rolls off one-liners, deals with whatever problem is in front of him, ad manages to piss off just about everyone in the process. Fun times!
This one-shot is a great introduction to the characters for two reasons. First, the book is immediately accessible. Even if you know nothing about the characters any reader can pick this up and enjoy the story for what it is. People who read the original Dog Mendonca graphic novel will also enjoy reading these “untold tales”. Second, this book gives a flavor for the humor, style, and feel of the larger graphic novel. It is difficult to balance horrific creatures and deadpan humor. Hellboy manages to pull it off. Dog Mendonca does it just as well. The stories in this one-shot create the appropriate amount of tension while injecting a level of humor usually not seen in these kinds of titles.
The art by Juan Cavia easily makes up 50% of the enjoyment of the book. Dog is a slob of a man, but a beast of a werewolf. Cavia is able to introduce a great deal of character in to his drawings, expressing greed, power, fear, and a host of other character traits through body language and subtle interactions. Characters who never move from the backgrounds become living, breathing people under his pen.
Cavia has an especially difficult task with Pazuul, the demonic assistant. Pazuul never speaks. Ever. But Cavia is able to turn Pazuul into the character and Dog becomes the straight man every time they are together. While I am sure that Pizza Boy was designed to be the foil for Mendonca (hence his name in the title), Pazuul manages to steal every scene he is in, thanks in large part to Cavia.
People often complain that there are not enough original concepts on the stands. Untold Tales of Dog Mendonca is just such a comic. It is unique, fun, and defies expectations every step of the way. Give it a shot when you head to your local comic shop. (At $2.99 for 40 pages, it is a steal!!!)