Conundrum: should I review Black Dog here or over on my biblioblog? It is a book, after all, albeit an ebook in my usage. On the other hand I reviewed the graphic novel here, as media and culture, and it was definitely that stunning cover image by Swedish artist Daniel Egneus that attracted me. Decision made: it has to be both.
So Black Dog isn't a graphic novel, it's a novella (short, even by novella standards) within the American Gods series. It features, front and centre, the flawed hero of the series Shadow Moon, who seems to have wandered into a mash-up of American Werewolf in London and Reservoir Dogs. My favourite kind of hangout. He duly admires the mummified cat they dug out of the pub foundations, he pals up with odd couple Moira and Ollie, who literally provide Shadow with shelter from the storm. Ollie is big on local folklore, primarily the black dog, barguest, boggart or padfoot, the demon dog who brings death to your house the way lesser dogs bring fleas. Moira used to be an item with Cassie, who now seems set on becoming an item with Shadow. This causes Shadow no misgivings whatsoever as Cassie reminds him of his old flame, the Egyptian cat goddess Bast.
Gaiman is truly on top of his game with this one. The ideas fizz. Take for example how he draws the parallel between the folkloric black dog and Churchill's anthropomorphised depression. I loved the cats and dogs material. I loved every minute of it. But I'm still not forking out to watch the TV series on Amazon Video. I will, however, fork out regularly for more of the source material, especially if it features artwork like the above.