Prison comics are, often from Boom!, now a thing. Ryan Ferrier and Daniel Bayliss’s Kennel Block Blues is an animal kennel–a cross-species animal kennel–as a prison. It’s one of those books I sort of wish I’d see from Vertigo. Well, Vertigo a few years ago. Something media-friendly without being prepackaged for other media. It’s mainstream pop culture, but the more erudite varieties.
It’s also excellent.
Ferrier’s protagonist, whose name I don’t remember–Buddy, maybe–is freshly incarcerated. He’s the entry point. Through him, we meet the other canine inmates–the cats are the dominate species in Blues. There’s male and female inmates together. Not even a thought, presumably because they’re all spayed and neutered.
There’s funny pet stuff, there’s depressingly bleak prison stuff. Ferrier’s got the right tone and he’s got the right artist. Bayliss has been kicking around for a while and Blues has his work the tightest I’ve seen it. He gets to be busy but still restrained, still focused on moving the story forward.
Knowing Ferrier, the ride will be rocky but rewarding–or maybe he’s got a better plot line this series. Blues is a confident, assured comic. The creators, the editors. It’s deservedly slick. Ferrier’s gotten to be a writer I look forward to reading. And Boom!’s brand comes with some built-in respect these days.
Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Daniel Bayliss; colorist, Adam Metcalfe; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Mary Gunport and Eric Harburn; publisher, Image Comics.