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Petey & Pussy: Puppy Love


If you enjoyed the first of John Kerschbaum’s Petey & Pussy books, you’ll know what to expect from Puppy Love: a gross comedy of anthropomorphic domestic pets, given the heads and voices of middle-aged men to bring a grim humanity to their characters. This book is essentially more of the same, which in this case is a good thing, though Kerschbaum has wrapped his characters in a loose theme: sex.

Petey and his litter in John Kerschbaum's Petey & Pussy: Puppy LoveThe titular puppies are only a small (but hilarious) part of the proceedings. Petey meets the brother of a previous liaison (and being a stray dog, he has had a few) who forces him to take responsibility for a litter of puppies he was involved in creating. Naturally, he proves spectacularly incapable of the job. Meanwhile, Bernie the parrot is given a mirror, which he believes to be a window, through which he finds a ‘neighbour’ who cycles from love interest to creepy stalker.

Pussy’s situation is more complex. He’s learning to use his owner’s computer to order things online and play poker, in the hope that his senile and deeply disturbing human doesn’t have the cognitive capacity to notice. This backfires, leading to a punishment liable to make your eyes water.

Pussy and Bernie in Petey & Pussy: Puppy Love by John KerschbaumIt’s a wonderful piece of work and the kind of anarchic comedy you won’t find in any other medium. There’s a generous splattering of deliberate, grimace-inducing bad taste (we see far too much of the octogenarian owner’s flesh and Kerschbaum doesn’t shy away from detailing the aftermath of a road accident, to name but two examples) leaving this clearly in the adult camp. However, it’s juxtaposed with observant, sharply written characters and dialogue, and the overarching theme brings it all together in a deeply satisfying manner.

It won’t be for everyone but if your sense of humour can stomach some harsh realities of animal life, and the balding, middle-aged man-pets appeal, this is a grossly entertaining read in the same vein as the original.

Story: 4 Art: 5 Overall: 4

Written by: John Kerschbaum
Art by: John Kerschbaum
Publisher: Fantagraphics
First published: 2018

Andy Shaw

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