Jeff Lemire writes from an optimistic but dark and ultimately tragic place. Lost Dogs, set in an abstract and murky world is a story about a physically strong man’s cataclysmic, emotional fall as he is beaten down and loses his family. This is a sad story. But it’s gripping and original because of the way that Lemire’s tells it. He provides details about his world and characters that no one else can; he makes these recognizable ideas pop with his own life. Lost Dogs is where all comic books should be.Lemire’s Lost Dogs doesn’t tell a story that hasn’t already been told – it’s tragedy: man has family, man loses family, man falls from grace. Lemire pulls no punches. He sets up a close knit family that is full of happiness and love. But they family quickly makes a poor decision which ultimately leads to their being torn apart. As the story continues, there are moments when Lemire seems to be bringing around some level of redemption but this never quite surfaces which makes the book that much more impactful.
Visually, Lost Dogs is remarkable because of the way that Lemire represents his characters – specifically the protagonist. At the beginning of the book, the main character’s daughter sees her father as huge and hulking and protective. As the story goes on, the father visually changes size – sometimes smaller than other, similar characters. This makes the presentation of the world seem abstract and “incorrect” at times but it conveys the emotion and makes for spectacular storytelling.
Lemire won a Xeric Award in the making of Lost Dogs – it was well deserved and ultimately encouraged a career that would not only bring us this stunning tragedy but many other incredible titles to come including The Underwater Welder and Sweet Tooth. Lost Dogs showed promise through incredible grief and amazing storytelling.