Written and Illustrated by Pau
Published by Titan Comics
The cover of Atlas & Axis is described perfectly in a blurb from Newsarama as “Asterix and Obelix for the animal set.”
Yep. That’s the impression one gets from this book’s cover.
Luckily, the interior is much more original that that.
Atlas & Axis is another European comic translation from Titan, originally published in 2011 and 2013. The talented creator behind the series is a Spanish writer/artist who goes by simply, Pau.
The pitch is that you have two heroic dogs having adventures in a world of anthropomorphic animals similar to our own several centuries back.
Axis is a terrier, his partner apparently an Afghan.
Their story is a good balance of exciting and beautifully-drawn adventure with some pretty funny—even in translation—bits, many of them canine-related.
The McGuffin of the story is a magic bone that causes the dinner bowl of whomever possesses it to always be full. While in search of said item, our intrepid, fearless heroes stumble through a series of side-adventures.
Along with bones, there is also plenty of butt-sniffing, carpet scooting, poop, and other doggie references, all the more amusing because they are treated as perfectly normal—which they would be—in context.
Like any good adventure, there are sad parts such as the burning of a village, tender parts about friendship and love, and a particularly amusing running gag about exploding sheep. My favorite part, however, deals with the dogs arguing late one night in a candle-lit inn about evolution!
There have, of course, been hundreds of funny animals as humans in comics. What sets off Atlas & Axis is Pau’s gifted storytelling. Your eyes go right where he wants them in every panel and he has an amazing knack for getting across deep emotions in his cartoony style. He also has an impressive facility for backgrounds, be it the great outdoors or a pirate ship or an indoor scene. All of this is driven home finally by yet another instance of simply astonishing use of color. Those who read my reviews regularly will perhaps note that I’ve highlighted color several times recently. There seems to be a real trend right now—especially from Titan—toward paying a lot more attention to color in the comics than normal. And that attention pays off!
Atlas & Axis is NOT Asterix and Obelix but if you like the classic Gauls and their adventures, you’re likely to like these pups as well. If you’re a dog person, the odds are doubly high, because these aren’t just men drawn like dogs. There are dogs acting like dogs!