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Culture

The Barking Dead: Dogs inherit the Earth in apocalyptic comic

Every dog has its day in the new comic series Legend, where pit bulls and pointers navigate a devastated land. And don't forget the felines.

Post-apocalyptic comics are known for featuring rotting zombies and terrified humans, but author Samuel Sattin and illustrator Chris Koehler are barking up a different tree.

Their new comic series Legend tells the tale (tail?) of a world where humans as we know them no longer exist, and domesticated animals have to find their way in a barren wasteland.

Our central character is Legend, an English pointer, but other dogs, including pit bull Herman, will play important roles. And their breeds matter, Sattin said.

"English pointers are wary and good at spotting danger," he said. "Pit bulls are associated with negative stigmas, while beagles are thought of as submissive. Each of our breeds is chosen with particular traits in mind." (Never fear, pit bull lovers, Herman will be breaking those negative stereotypes -- in fact, his poor treatment in the past might work in his favor.)

Felines have a role to play too. And old four-footed rivalries won't matter much when things get desperate. "The cats in particular have a big part to play, with their mysterious technology and battle wear," Sattin said.

Legend will be published May 4 by Z2 Comics, with at least 10 issues planned. Koehler's artistic style sets a moody stage, with panels colored in unexpected hues, representing a world that's no longer seen through human eyes.

"Dogs have limited color visibility due to the number of cones in their eyes, and (artist) Chris Koehler is taking that notion as a central task," Sattin said. "As the story evolves, so do the colors, in order to take our characters through this frightening, mysterious, beautiful world."

If you're wondering if Legend is a dog version of Rick Grimes, with Herman as his Daryl Dixon, well, that dog won't hunt. But Sattin is indeed a "Walking Dead" fan.

"I've sometimes described Legend as 'Watership Down' meets 'The Walking Dead,' with dogs and cats instead of rabbits, minus zombies, plus monsters," he said. "But the similarities might not stretch far beyond the state of the ruined landscape filled with threats. I always did wonder why it was so rare to see animals in ('The Walking Dead'). I assumed they'd been eaten, but surely many could escape the zombie hordes? 'Legend' might be an unconscious answer to some of the questions I had."