FF1987: Dog Boy

Dog Boy #1-10 by Steve Lafler.

Lafler had (self-published, I think?) Dog Boy under the Cat-Head Comics moniker for a few years, but moved to Fantagraphics in 1987, and restarted the numbering.

I didn’t read Dog Boy back in the 80s. That is, I had the first issue, and I vaguely remember being vaguely puzzled. Vaguely. I liked serious comics, and I liked funny comics, and I loathed “spiritual” stuff, and I can see why I wouldn’t find Dog Boy appealing.

But I got all the issues now, so let’s read.

Ah, yes. Very undergroundish: Bikers, werewolves, werewolf bikers and super-exaggerated cartooning.

This page is rather representative. Dog Girl has a machine gun, Dog Boy tries to break in, violence ensues, and then you have a non sequitur. It’s amusing… The Dixie cup telephone is Zippy-ish, but the violence isn’t. It’s a bratty, drunken, druggy update on 60s underground tropes, I think?

I kinda like the tension between the cartoony Dog Boy head and the more non-cartoony figure work.

That is pretty funny, I have to admit. But vaguely. I only admit it vaguely.

The third issue is the “How To Publish Comics Books: The Direct Market.” issue. It’s mostly just jokes about Dog Boy wanting to start his own comic book, but there’s one pretty incongruous page:

That sounds like actual advice. Reading Dog Boy I get the feeling that he has less of a plan on how a story is going to unfold than most cartoonists.

Lafler vaguely apologises for getting very political this issue, but I think there’s like three pages of overtly political stuff here, and the rest is the normal goofiness.

Lafler explains his technique, and I think he was accelerated here:

Much cosmic.

And very political, too!

I’ve been wondering who Lafler’s art reminds me of, but I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on it. But this drawing from a late issue, at least, looks quite a bit like Kim Deitch…

After ten issues, Dog Boy was cancelled due to low sales. Lafler has continued to do comics, and is still active today.

This post is part of the Fantagraphics Floppies series.

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