‘Legend’ – Dogs and Cats, Working Together… and Mass Hysteria

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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I’m a big fan of writer Samuel Sattin. While I absolutely enjoyed his first novel, League of Somebodies, it was his follow-up, The Silent End, that put him in my Google Alerts with my other favorite authors. His writing style is unique (in a good way) and there’s something about his plotting and tension build-ups that is hard for me to explain in words… I just like it. After discovering his first novel, I reached out to Samuel and asked him to keep me informed on any future writing projects, and he’s didn’t disappoint… a copy of The Silent End showed up and I stormed through it in less than two days.

And now Samuel has reached out again with something quite different. Very unique. And just totally off-the-charts bonkers. It’s called Legend, and here’s the blurb that I got before digging in:

What if a biological terror agent wiped out most of humanity, and our domesticated animals were left in charge? How would our dogs and cats set about ruling and rebuilding the world? Legend is the story of animals uniting to fight mutant creatures and attempting to restore the world their masters destroyed.

Okay, here’s the deal: The dogs live together and hunt in the Grounds, banding together after the fall of mankind during the Fault. They’ve been happy with the uneasy peace agreement with the cats since The War ended, but a new enemy has invaded the Grounds. The dogs have a new leader, Legend, who has sworn to his fellow dogs to destroy the evil that killed their previous leader. But Legend knows his group will need help. This is the basic setup for Issue #1.

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Issue #2 has the dogs entering the cats’ domain to ask for help. Leader Bagheera has her own method for dealing with the dangers of the evil — the cats are leaving for a new home. But Bagheera has a soft spot for the dogs, and she’s sending two of her warrior cats to escort the dogs across a bridge to find a potential new ally… Oz the hawk. A little glimpse of the backstory of the end of humankind is also provided.

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The first two issues are available on Comixology – Issue #1 here and Issue #2 here. Issue #3 releases in print on June 29, and has the dogs making their way across the bridge, where the dogs encounter something… new and disturbing. Meanwhile, back in the Grounds, the evil has attacked the cats.

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As I mentioned earlier, Samuel’s very good at the slow-burner story, and this tale is a perfect match for an episodic comic book. Chris Koehler provides the artwork which jumps from shadowy images to full-color recollections/dream sequences and back again. One of my favorite things about the first three issues I’ve read is Koehler’s use of silhouettes. Characters such as Legend and Daisy and Fidget are easily identifiable by breed (and Samuel and Chris have done a good job of instilling each breed with a behavior and personality that helps us humans keep it all straight).

I don’t know where Legend is going, but I’m hooked. And with Issue #3’s cliffhanger, there’s no doubt I’ll be hunting down Issue #4 to see what happens next. I have so many questions! But knowing how my questions were answered by the end of each of Sattin’s novels, I know I’ll get my answers… eventually. I know the wait will be worth it.

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Sam Sattin is a novelist, comics creator, and essayist. He is the author of the The Silent End and League of Somebodies, described by Pop Matters as “One of the most important novels of 2013.” His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Salon Magazine, io9,Kotaku, The Fiction Advocate, Publishing Perspectives, The Weeklings, The Rumpus, The Good Men Project, Litreactor, Buffalo Almanack, SF Signal, and elsewhere. Also an illustrator, he holds an MFA in Comics from California College of the Arts and has a creative writing MFA from Mills College. He’s the recipient of NYS and SLS Fellowships, and lives in Oakland, California.

Chris Koehler is an artist and illustrator working out of San Francisco. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Popular Science, Utne Reader, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wired, the Boston Globe, OnEarth Magazine, Stanford Magazine, and SF Weekly, among others. His illustrations have also been recognized by Communication Arts, American Illustration, Society of Illustrators, and 3×3. In addition to being a freelance brush for hire, Chris teaches in the Illustration and MFA in Comics Programs at California College of the Arts and regularly shows in galleries. He can often be found hunched over a sketchbook in a coffee shop.

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