Family Pets is the new (and first) creator owned comic by writer Pat Shand (Godstorm & Robyn Hood to name a few) and artist Sarah Dill (Distillum). The book is being released by Silver Dragon Books which is the all ages imprint studio of the good people at Zenescope.
The book starts with a somewhat cynical teenage girl named “Thomasina”. You could well describe her as a fairly typical teen with an attitude problem. One big difference is that she has every right to be unhappy as both her parents were killed in a car crash, and on her fifth birthday to make things worse! We are gently guided into Thomasina’s world and introduced to her frankly, somewhat dysfunctional family. She has an all knowing, internet wiz of a gran, a silent brooding cousin, Neil, a seemingly normal uncle who is married to a busy business woman and a kooky cousin “Elizabeth”. Things don’t seem any better at school for our self confessed loner who finds solitude and peace from only one person, Smitty, the French horn player. At least Thomasina can turn to the one person at home that listens to her, a snake called “Sebastian” of course! It is here that things really take a turn into the realms of strange when Thomasina’s beloved pet snake goes missing and appears to have been stolen. What has really happened with surprise and delight you in equal measures.
After reading so much of Pat Shand’s work for Zenescope, I was very keen to read this book and see how the transition to a totally different genre would work. I am very happy to say that the book really works and is as well rounded and polished as any of his other studio work. The writing really does suck you in to the point of view of the main character and it all feels natural. Even the secondary characters are memorable however brief their interaction may be.
I have never seen any artwork from series artist Sarah Dill before this, but I have been won over by the quirky style and simple but elegant line work. The characters are all well defined and even though the style is simple, the expressions are all portrayed perfectly. The artwork is black, white and grey and this is where my only slight niggle comes from. It has some gradient of tone but only really one shade of grey, so you have black and white line work with some sections in a single grey tone. It looks just fine, but may have looked better either just black and white or fully grey scaled with multiple tones and shades. But this is just being somewhat picky, it still looks very cool and stylized.
Lettering from industry pro, Jim Campbell looks as you would expect. Clean, perfectly laid out, non intrusive of the artwork and understated sound effects fitting to the situations.
Overall I would recommend this series. It is cool, well written and something different. Issue one will be released via ComiXology on the 1st of May and then monthly. You can find out more information by visiting the Facebook page.