Shortly before I attended Emerald City Comicon last month, I read and enjoyed the first issue of a comic titled Good Boy, written by Garrett Gunn and Christina Blanch with artwork by Kit Wallis. As I was wondering around the con on Saturday, I happened to stop by a booth with a stack of copies of Good Boy #1 sitting on it. As I started talking to the guy that was sitting at the booth, it turned out that I was speaking with none other than Gunn himself.
As we discussed his comic, it felt to me as though sheer fate had placed me in front of his table that day. Gunn told me that Good Boy was intended as a bit of a twist on the movie John Wick which, to my chagrin, I admitted that I hadn’t seen. Still, I’d been entertained by the comic without ever having seen the source material, which I think says a lot.
Now that I have seen John Wick, the similarities are unmistakable. The quirk to Gunn’s comic, however, is that, instead of a man avenging his dog, Good Boy is about a dog avenging his murdered human.
Flint the dog and his human best friend, Jon, are former professional hitmen who both officially retired after Jon met and fell in love with a woman named Tiffany. After Tiffany was tragically killed by a drunk driver, Jon went back to work, rejoining the organization he had formally been a part of, the Guild. Unfortunately, it seems that others didn’t appreciate Jon leaving and coming back when he pleased, and a group of mysterious men murdered him in his home as a result.
Now, Flint vows to hunt down and avenge his companion, even if it kills him.
An important thing to know about this comic, something that I wish I’d understood going into it, is the fact that dogs in this world are humanlike in that they can talk, walk on their back legs, wear clothes, etc. When he and Jon were happily retired, it seems that Flint acted more like a stereotypical dog – walking on all four legs and wearing just a collar. Now that he’s back in the hitman (hitdog?) business, however, he’s back to his humanlike persona.
One thing I really appreciated in Good Boy is the fact that the comic calls itself out on this point when a character chastises another by saying “You know anthropomorphic characters exist in this literary universe” in reference to Flint behaving in humanlike ways. That line made gave me a chuckle. I only wish that it had come earlier in the comic as it didn’t show up until the second to last page, which left me a little confused about Flint’s abilities earlier on.
Still, Good Boy is a clever and amusing take on the John Wick universe. Also, anyone who has ever had a dog can testify to the absolute authenticity behind the idea that the dog would go to any length to protect or avenge their person if they had the means to do so.
I also think that the artwork by Wallis fits the comic well. It’s a bit gritty and raw but, like the story itself, there are more layers hidden within the art the more you examine it. Impressively, Wallis also somehow manages to give Flint a range of emotions not typically seen on dog features.
Fans of John Wick will like this comic, but even those not familiar with that universe should enjoy this revenge story. I’m looking forward to following Flint’s journey.
Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.