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Comics/Graphic Novels

Read Harder: Anthropomorphic Animals (for Paul)

Chris M. Arnone

Senior Contributor

The son of a librarian, Chris M. Arnone's love of books was as inevitable as gravity. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. His novel, The Hermes Protocol, was published by Castle Bridge Media in 2023 and the next book in that series is due out in winter 2024. His work can also be found in Adelaide Literary Magazine and FEED Lit Mag. You can find him writing more books, poetry, and acting in Kansas City. You can also follow him on social media (Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, website).

The Panels 2015 Read Harder Challenge consists of 26 challenge categories spanning the breadth and depth of all things that may be considered comics. Every week we’ll give you reading recommendations from one of the categories.

As any astute reader of Panels will have discovered, our Consulting Editor Paul Montgomery has a soft spot for anthropomorphic animals. He tweets about them. He talks about them on our backchannel. They frequently show up in his reading lists. He even wrote about it as his kryptonite. So for Paul and everyone else, here are our recommendations for comics starring animals with human-like qualities.

Darkwing_Duck_Definitively_Dangerous_EditionDarkwing Duck: The Definitively Dangerous Edition by Aaron Sparrow, James Silvani, Tad Stones, Sabrina Alberghetti, Andrew Dalhouse, et. al.: Whether you remember the Disney Afternoon cartoon fondly or just enjoy goofy, smartly-written superhero parody, you’ll love this volume from Joe Books, which collects almost all of the Boom! series from a few years back. And keep your eyes peeled for a new ongoing by the same team, coming soon!  Bonus Disney Duck Rec: Anything Fantagraphics has published by Carl Barks or Don Rosa. – Jessica Plummer



Wilds End Abnett CulbardWild’s End by Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard: A navy dog with a past, a ghostwriting, chain-smoking cat, a cowardly pig, and more set out to defend their English hamlet from Martian invaders in a charming send-up of The Wind in the Willows and War of the Worlds. That’s a lot of Ws. Here’s another one: Wonderful. – Paul Montgomery





Castle Waiting Linda MedleyCastle Waiting by Linda Medley: Castle Waiting is a charming comic set in a world of fairy-tale characters and anthropomorphized animals. The characters are delightful, the stories refreshingly different and Medley’s artwork is beautiful. My only real complaint is that the second volume ends somewhat abruptly and Medley has been on a five-year hiatus from writing any further stories for the series. Nonetheless, this is well worth picking up – Hattie Kennedy




Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Eastman LairdTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz, and Dan Duncan: As a child of the ‘80s, I’m pretty attached to the cheesy, pizza-scarfing, kowabunga-yelling, Vanilla Ice-listening Turtles of the original animated series and live-action movies; so I had my reservations about jumping into the new IDW series. But, while it is darker and a little grittier than what I’m used to, I wouldn’t describe it as grim. The themes of family, friendship, looking out for the little guy, and violence as a last resort (unless you’re Raph), are all still there. As are the quippy, mid-fight scene one liners. — Becca Sexton


Other Recommendations:

Maus SpiegelmanMaus by Art Spiegelman – Chris Arnone

Mouse Guard by David Petersen – Chris Arnone

Blacksad by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido – Chris Arnone

The Abominable Charles Christopher by Karl Kerschl – Katie Schenkel





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