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Blotch and "Dog's Days of Summer" - The End of Two Stories - A Retrospective

Edited by GreenReaper
Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

Bayshore dismayed Somewhere in the back of my mind – along with every other soul-searching moment of my youth – is a single panel from this novel featuring Bayshore clutching a fish and crying out Diego's name. I claim it as a symbol of a love long lost in the hazy days of my early adulthood, when uncertainty was the only certainty.

This is the story of a naive young otter chasing a free-spirited rascal. Through lovingly penned dialog and moody colours, it exposes the raw, vulnerable quick of youthful longing; Diego's light-hearted take on all things bursting into life against the shimmering backdrop of Bayshore's persistently searching but fatefully delicate glass heart. Through these illustrations, a pair of artists in love pour their hearts into their work in a way we can never see again.

The story ventures from "what does this mean" to "what do we do now," through "I knew it all along" and finally arrives at its natural conclusion of "I'm sorry" and "I was meant for you." But even after the second part – that was never published on the web, and only available in the printed work – it leaves us wondering how things will play out.

Although the comic, penned by a duo of artists under the pseudonym of Blotch, has been out of print for years, it will forever live in the hearts and minds of a generation of furries who discovered what it is to love and live in the forgiving embrace of furry fandom's nascent youth through to its maturity, and on through its inevitable slide into the mainstream.

Blotch's Dog's Days of Summer is an effigy to a secret summer of love that ended long ago, its pages a testament to the power of art and story to preserve in our memories an oasis of imagination we can return to only in our dreams – and, if we're lucky enough to hold a copy of this story in our hands, the pages of one of the most-remembered works of furry art and literature.
Dog's Days of Summer
A 2015 Reddit post references an uncited comment answering a question many had been wondering but were either too afraid or too polite to ask. The answer, short and to the point, came in response to a fan's question about the status of another Blotch project, Nordguard. In a single sentence it ended the circulating rumors, in much the same way Diego's bandstand serenade to Bayshore brings to a close one chapter of his life and welcomes another. Another story had come to a close. This one more real and far more permanent.

Today the LiveJournal account, the blogs and the web pages for each creative work are largely up, but no longer maintained. The dates on the last posts to each are a telling reminder that we'll never see an update – always left to wonder what could have been, had the artists' lives played out differently. But rather than mourn these lost possibilities, dear reader, we should be grateful for moments that don't last, this foregone collaboration and the unforgettable, iconic works that came from it. Like young love, smoky barbecue pits and summer on the beach, these moments are the bittersweet grapes that turn into the sweet wine of nostalgia, nurturing us in years to come. As we grow older, fall in love, break up and suffer our own dog's days, we can choose the comforting certainty that Diego and Bayshore will forever be young and in love, with their whole lives to look forward to.

The official website for Dog's Days of Summer is not directly linked because the domain has been compromised and now hosts possibly harmful content - an archived copy is available.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I think Majik Bear has won the "longest time between posts" award.

And they really have come a long way. I really do hope we get someone to review books and graphic novels more, that's been a bit of a void since Fred's departure.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

It'd be interesting to consider what fans would want of graphic novel reviews, whether thinking in line with Patten's work or not. Would folks want a typical "Read It or Not" style review, a review centered on how the animals are used, or something tying the works to furry and furry's history, whether the texts were fandom made or not? Certainly genre would have to be considered, I'm sure.

Brandy J. Lewis
Science Fiction Studies, Comic Studies, and Fan Culture History

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Style is pretty open.

I would recommend that the opening paragraphs that would be on the main page would be spoiler free and then denote any major analysis or plot spoilers if needed be 'below the fold' and in the main story in its own sections. Just so that people get to know if it of the right genre, topic, and quality for them before going too deep into feelings of twists and narrative items that may want to be left for the reader to explore.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

I'm kind of splitting hairs, but from my journalistic background, if it doesn't answer "who might enjoy reading this", it's not really a review. Or, the way I was taught, a review is a form of journalism that incorporates elements of art/literary/cinematic/etc. criticism, but is still basically reporting in order to give the reader an idea of what the art/book/movie/etc. is like.

Which is not to say if it's not a review, Flayrah doesn't want or need it! Critical analysis and historical retrospectives about a work are welcome, they just technically wouldn't be a review. Like I said, nitpicky, and honestly, the meaning of a word can drift, and if it has a broader meaning in more academic contexts I'm not aware of, well, will I look silly.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I must admit, I don't recall reading either work before this. Given what they say about production, I'm amazed DDoS worked as well as it did. One of those projects that seems like a good idea at the time, and ends up all-consuming - at least you learn fast!

Of course, I'd have been curious to see the other end to the story:

If you just want to know the ending: they live happily ever after, until rabies spreads through the beach like wildfire and Deigo must rush to the heart of the Congo to discover a cure in the relics of the Egyptians, then Bayshore gets abducted by space-dolphins who probe his like and dislike for various types of fish, and Raj returns to his Malaysian home to continue his apprenticeship as a scientologist ninja. The Brumby and Zeb eventually get married, much to the disapproval of Zeb's uptight British mother who wanted grandkittens.

While Blotch was great while it lasted, both artists had their own projects before and after - I have pack #81 of The Bestiary, organized by Kenket (who was a guest of honor at my first furry convention), and she's still putting out great pieces - she seems to be an artist for Tangletorn - while I've been reading Oren's Forge by BlackTeagan on and off since I learnt of it via the Ursa Majors. Long may both endure!

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Although I was too young to truly appreciate Dog's Days before its end (I was 16, only coming into finding my queer identity by a couple of years), the comic definitely holds an archival relevance for the way it imagined a happy, if not emotional gay lifestyle prior to the US's legalization of gay marriage in 2015. I'd argue we wouldn't have works like Out of Position become what they became without Dog's Days, just like we wouldn't have DD without Circles and Associated Student Bodies.

Brandy J. Lewis
Science Fiction Studies, Comic Studies, and Fan Culture History

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