Marvelette Missives – Kennel Block Blues

Kennel Block Blues is a short run comic that tells the story of Oliver, a good dog sent to Jackson State Kennel, and how he befriends fellow inmates and helps to plan an escape. And when I say inmates, that’s what I mean – the kennel is depicted as a prison, with multiple types of animals incarcerated therein. But mostly it’s cats and dogs and, not surprisingly, they don’t get along. 

When Ollie is stressed, his mind wanders back to earlier days when he was a pup, watching cartoon musicals with his human family. Then his imagination takes hold and it’s off to a big, bold musical number (yes, really). There are abrupt changes in the action and artwork as the colorful cartoon world overtakes him. And all the animals around him wonder just what’s going on – because even though the images may be in Ollie’s head, the singing and dancing isn’t.

Written by Ryan Ferrier (who worked on Sons of Anarchy), with great art by Daniel Bayliss, the plot is both sad and hopeful. It’s amazing how much of a commentary can be made on loss and mental illness through anthropomorphism, but it really works.