Battlepug Vol. 1: Blood and Drool
Writer & Artist: Mike Norton
Colours: Allen Passalaqua
Letters: Chris Crank
Cover Artists: Mike Norton and Dominic Marco
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Battler: Giant Pug
Here’s the short version of what you need to know about Battlepug: A hot naked lady regales two talking
pugs dogs with a story about a mighty warrior who is definitely not a Cimmerian barbarian-king that rides a giant pug (a Battlepug, if you will) and kills other giant animal things. Also, there’s a crazy hobo old man who tags along while he kills things? Oh and this warrior trained under Santa Claus and then killed him. Yeah. It’s great! Go read it.
And now for the long version: It seems like telling stories is a tradition wherever this hot naked lady is, and she relates the tale of the warrior and the battlepug to Colfax and Mingo, two normal sized talking
pugs. (One’s a French bulldog and the other’s a pug. Together they fight crime. Also, hobos.) The story begins with the warrior’s childhood with the rest of the Kinmundy people. One fateful day, a terrible hell-beast wreaked havoc in his village, destroying everyone and everything dear to him…
As he mourns his loss, the young boy spies a suspicios figure at the top of a nearby ridge, surveying the carnage and vows revenge on the terrible murder-giant and its possible human accomplice. He is taken in by the Northland Elves and serves their king and ruler as a slave and gladiator, growing in stature and martial prowess. Finally, as a man and a warrior, the last Kinmundian enacts his bloody revenge on the carnage-monster and razes the kingdom of the Northland Elves as he leaves on his journey to find the mysterious stranger.
While on his travels, he encounters a crazy, scribbly-scrabbly hobo in a swamp and has his fateful meeting with… the Battlepug! Unfortunately, their first meeting does not go well as the nameless (and definitely would not be called some tall redhead late night talk show host’s name) warrior has a seething hatred for all beasts of the giant variety. He flings his sword at the mighty canine, but misses. Unluckily, his weaponless state is immediately regretted as the Witch Toad of the swamp reveals herself. Luckily, Battlepug…fetched.
And thus it was that the warrior and the Battlepug became unlikely companions and walked distant lands slicing and slobbering over all who opposed them.
It’s a fun comic, much in the vein of something like Nextwave or Axe Cop, where cool things happen because they are cool and shut up about how giant animals are not realistic because that giant hamster is going to chew out your innards run run run! It’s also an online comic because those are cool these days and are totally the future of all comics zomg.
What’s funny is how the warrior is played almost completely straight, as if he was in the wrong book. No matter what ridiculous circumstances befall him, he continues to act the part of the wandering savage. All the while, crazy hobo guy is trying to get him to play nice with the humongous Battlepug and they get attacked by all sort of silly large animals.
The art is really, really nice. The character designs are stylised and visually distinct. It’s amusing how the warrior is a caricature of the best Schwarzenegger character of all time, and you can tell straight away who this character is supposed to be. Even more amusing to me is the Battlepug itself. There’s nothing really scary about it except its enhanced size. Really, pugs look kind of silly as it is, with that sort of quiziccal expression, and having it as a giant pug just seems to enhance the silliness. The colours are solid and vibrant, adding to the cartoon-like feel of the book. The only real complaint I have is the irregular size of the book itself. It’s longer than it is tall, which is a product of its origin on the web. It make for pretty nice layouts though, but it is going to be such a pain to store nicely on the shelf.
I guess you could read the comic online instead, but I always like to have a physical copy and Battlepug’s art does deserve the shelf space. The print version also contains one of my favourite sketches:
All in all, a fun romp if you’re in the mood for such silliness. You might want to check out the webcomic first to get a feel for the humour, as I know it’s not for everyone. 3 out of 5 giant meerkats!