Smash Pages Q&A: Evan Dorkin

The writer and co-creator of ‘Beasts of Burden’ discusses his long career in comics, his collaborations, ‘Blackwood’ and much more.

Evan Dorkin seems to have many careers. For many comics readers, he’s the writer and artist behind Dork, Milk and Cheese and The Elitingville Club. He wrote and drew Bill and Ted’s Excellent Comic Book series for Marvel back in 1991-92, which has since been reprinted. He’s contributed to MAD Magazine and other outlets. In television, he’s worked extensively with his wife, the noted creator Sarah Dyer, on shows like Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Superman: The Animated Series and others.

He is also the writer and co-creator of the award winning comic series Beasts of Burden. Dorkin’s approach to horror and suspense and his skill at writing animal protagonists — combined with the painted artwork of initially Jill Thompson and later Benjamin Dewey — have made the books a favorite among readers and critics. Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch was just released by Dark Horse, which collects a lot of the one-shots and other stories featuring the supernatural-battling pets, including a crossover with Hellboy co-written by Mike Mignola.

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‘Beasts of Burden’ returns in May

A two-part series by Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson and Benjamin Dewey will complete the second Burden Hill collection.

Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson will return to Burden Hill for another round of Beasts of Burden, their award-winning series about guardian dogs and cats facing supernatural menaces.

Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others Part One will arrive in May, featuring artwork by Thompson, who co-created the series with Dorkin. Part Two will feature artwork by Benjamin Dewey, who drew the most recent Beasts of Burden series, Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men. It will “complete the second Burden Hill collection begun with the Hellboy crossover published in 2010,” Dorkin revealed.

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‘Beasts of Burden’ returns in August from Dorkin + Dewey

Guest artist Benjamin Dewey heads to Burden Hill to help Dorkin tell a tale featuring the Wise Dogs.

Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s Beasts of Burden has appeared as a series of miniseries and one-shots over the years, winning awards and sharing tales from the fictional town of Burden Hill, where a group of dogs and cats defend their world against supernatural threats.

In the background of these stories has been another group called the Wise Dogs, who seem to have a much bigger jurisdiction than just Burden Hill. Dorkin and guest artist Benjamin Dewey (The Autumnlands, The Tragedy Series) will explore this other group in Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men. Nate Piekos will letter the four-issue miniseries.

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New ‘Beasts of Burden’ story due this year

The dogs and cat of Burden Hill return this year in a new story by Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer and Jill Thompson.

The dogs and cat of Burden Hill return this year in a new story by Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer and Jill Thompson. The “all-cat” issue will detail where Dymphna, the witch’s familiar who has allied herself with the protectors of Burden Hill, disappears to at night.

Dymphna
Dymphna

“Dark Horse is mapping out the issue, and if all goes well we’re looking at a Spring release,” Dorkin said on his LiveJournal. “However, we have some blank pages to fill in the back of the comic, and we’re trying to see if anyone has any questions or comments for us to print in a letters page for the issue. Even if we only fill a page, that’s one less ad in the issue and a little something extra to read. Right now we only have one letter. Eep.”

The Eisner Award-winning comic from Dark Horse Comics stars a group of dogs and cats that investigates supernatural events in their town. Beasts of Burden began as a recurring feature in the Dark Horse Book of … anthologies before graduating into its own miniseries. The animal protectors have also teamed up with Hellboy and appeared in Dark Horse Presents.

Update, 2/11: Dark Horse issued a press release on the return of Beasts of Burden, which you can find below with art:

Dorkin, Dyer and Thompson Discover What the Cat Dragged In!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MILWAUKIE, OR—Evan Dorkin (Eltingville Club, Milk and Cheese), Sarah Dyer (The Dark Horse Book of Monsters) and Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother) return to the characters that won them the Eisner Awards for Best Short Story and Best Publication for Teens with a new one-shot comic: Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In!

This standalone adventure is a perfect entry point for readers new to the award-winning series. When curiosity gets the best of Burden Hill’s cats (and one reluctant raccoon), sleeping demons are awakened and black magic is unleashed on the town of Burden Hill.

Multiple award-winning comics creators Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson first introduced these very special investigators in The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings and the other Dark Horse Book of . . . anthologies, for which they won coveted Eisner Awards for Best Short Story and Best Painter.

In 2009, the beasts of Burden Hill received their own miniseries, Animal Rites, which garnered widespread critical acclaim. In 2010, they met up with Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, cementing these unlikely heroes in the pages of Dark Horse history.

The one-shot Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In (MAR160030) is in stores May 4, 2016. Preorder your copy today at your local comic shop!

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