Books · Graphic Novels

A Book Review of Dogman Unleashed

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Dogman Unleashed by Dav Pilkey

Type: Graphic Novel, Superhero

Basic Plot: Dogman must again save his city from a variety of scheming, greedy characters.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The story improved from the last’s books in about two ways. First, the book had one story rather than several small ones. This led to more room to a suspenseful story. The story was also more creative and clever, especially in its humor. Unlike the first book, only one instance of potty humor (which includes only a toilet,) and a several clever and witty scenes.

Again, the characters are cliché, but that is one of the reasons the series can be fun, as well as typical of children’s books.

Graphics: 3/5 Average: Although still childish in form, the graphics are usually neat and attractive. Though it is believable a child could have drawn them, they are not as childish and purposefully sloppy as the first’s books.

Moral: 1½/5 A Hard to Read Moral: Again, the only moral that can be seen in Dogman is the triumph of good over evil, and that’s only if you’re grasping at straws. The negative moral of ignoring authority to do your own thing is not mentioned in this book, taking away the negative aspects of the first.

Overall: 3/5 Average: As harsh as I was with the original Dogman book, I will say that the sequel is much better. The art is more relaxing on the eyes and the story witty, entertaining, and laced with intelligent humor. There is much less potty humor (which I am very thankful for) and the rebellion against authority is cooled down. I would have to say that I recommend this book, mainly for boys six to ten.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Some Light Suggestive Themes: Dogman sniffs dog’s behinds three times, one dog being a girl he has fallen in love with. A cat makes a bunch of people (both men and women of various ages) fall in love with him by using a love ray, who then beg to kiss and marry him, though he has no interest in either. Though the scene is done completely for humor’s sake, some of the flirtatious comments given by Petey’s admires may not be in agreement with parents, including “Hubba-hubba!”, “Give me some sugar, baby!”, and “Granny needs some tender vittles!” A couple of times, Dogman wiggles his butt like a dog would when he gets excited. There is a reference to the song, “I Like Big Butts,” by a pair of scissors that says “I like big cuts and I cannot lie,” while trying to cut a characters behind.

The only possible potty humor in this book is when a character overflows the toilet to help him escape prison.

Violence: 2/5 Some Light Violence: Several objects are thrown at a piece of machinery. Characters fall off of things, are thrown through buildings, fall head first on the ground, jump on each other, and hit others on the heads with a rock, usually only once each. A character kicks a criminal, and a dog bites a criminal. A character runs a car over. A character says he was crushed by a billboard, though it’s really a piece of flat paper; a character believes this and begs him not to die as well as calls the ambulance. “Kung-Fu Kicking Feet” and “Supa-Punching Fist” are some of the mentioned abilities a man has.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Slight Misuse: “Gee” is used once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slight Disturbing Content: Dead fish bodies are shown, and a dog likes to roll in dead fish as well as once wants to buy one. A man and dog are injured by a bomb, and almost die. They are saved by combining the head of the dog and the body of the man. Throughout the book, one can see the stitches on Dogman’s neck. A character’s arm gets hurt after trying to yank out ball caught in Dogman’s mouth. A character threatens to hurt another with a rock if he misbehaves, though the threat doesn’t go through. A T-Rex skeleton chases Dogman through the town. The previews show characters getting chased by a flying fish and an airplane. A character cries when he believes another character has been crushed flat, and the supposed injured character cries a little, although this is all done completely for humor.

Religious Issues: 1½/5 Some Mention: A character reads a book about body snatching; he exits his body, but fails to get inside anyone else’s (as far as we know.) A character tries uses his mind to move things, calling it “telekinetic.”

Magic: 2/5 Some Magic: Some characters bring another character to a witch doctor, who looks like a wizard. He has both “Living Spray” and “Obey Spray,” which are used on various characters. When a character dies, he says what the wicked witch of the west (from The Wizard of Oz) says when she dies.

Others: A male cat causes both men and women humans to fall in love with him. They beg to kiss and marry him, which he refuses. This is completely done for humor, and was most likely not done to promote anything sinful (though that could be speculated.) There are a few references to pop culture things through puns, such as “Jurassic Bark.”

Overall: 1½/5 Almost All Ages Appropriate: A majority of the content that could be considered questionable (such as a dead fish obsession or a male cat making humans of genders fall in love with him) are all done for the purpose of humor, and have little, if any, inappropriate or disturbing features about them. There is also much less potty humor in this book. I would recommend it for children six and older, when it comes to morals.

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Graphic Novels

A Graphic Novel Review of Dogman

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Type: Graphic Novel, Superhero

Basic Plot: After a bombing incident, a super policeman with the head of a dog and the body of a man is created. The new “Dogman” must save the city from several different evil schemers, despite the protestations from the author’s teachers.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The stories ranged from cute and humorous to simple and predictable. The later stories were better than the earlier ones, as they had a bit more creativity to them, but unfortunately about half of the humor was disgustingly juvenile potty humor.

The characters are probably the best part of the book. Dog-man, the chief, and Petey the cat are all slightly cliché characters, but are all fun for children of the age group the book is aimed at.

Graphics: 2/5 OK: The graphics were probably the most disappointing of the series. Some may argue that they were intentionally made poor as the boys in the series writing the book are grade school children. This is a fair argument, and one nice feature that can be seen is the changing quality of the comics as the age of the author’s changes. This could also be looked at as a downer though, as this makes the graphics occasionally a bit unpleasant.

Moral: 1½/5 A Hard to Read Moral: There isn’t any real moral that is easy to see. There is the moral, possibly that good always triumphs over evil, as Dogman consistently defeats his enemies and sends them to prison. Unfortunately there are a few negative tones, as the two boys in the book that are writing the Dogman story tend to be rebellious to school rules. They disregard their teacher’s wants and are a little disrespectful in the way they treat their teachers. There is nothing wrong with being creative and having fun, but the attitude of disregard for what authority wants cannot be good.

Overall: 2½/5 Below Average: Because of a lack of moral and the quality of the art, below average is about where I would rank it. It would make a good book to read just for pure relaxation and shallow entertainment. I believe boys from age’s six to ten would like it best.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Some Inappropriate Content: There is a sketch drawing of someone’s butt. A cat pulls down multiple people’s pants and skirts, though their underwear is still on. A man once sits in his office in his underwear. A man is shown “scoot[ing his] butt on the carpet with joy” and says you will too. Characters watch a video of Dogman pooping, though only Dogman’s upper body is seen. There is a brief appearance of some shirtless men at the beach. Captain Underpants is mentioned.

There are several accounts of crude and potty humor, such as one appearance of poop, two of pee, and one of bird droppings, including a man holding poop and giving a high five while holding, spreading it throughout the air. When the whole world is turned “stupid,” a newsman says “Our top story: Me go boom boom in my panties.”

Violence: 2/5 Some Light Violenc: There are explosions of buildings, a car, and a robot, and a dog and man set off a bomb. A cat tries to crush dogs with a falling, spiked ceiling, but fails. A dog throws a bone at someone’s head five times. A man is briefly seen hitting himself with hammer. A character slaps himself in exasperation. Dogman happily jumps on a man several times, and once the man happily jumps on him. A cat gets whacked in the butt and head by various playground equipment, like “The Swing Set Smacker,” “The Seesaw Smoosher,” and “Spring Break.” A man trips over a dog. Sentiment hotdogs get eaten, and a living balloon pops. Characters fly through the roof twice. There is a store that sells bombs. “Kung fu,” “kickin’,” and “can’t punch” are used to describe the features of a man and his dog. A schools motto is “We put the ‘ow’ in knowledge.” “War” is used for descriptive purposes. One face in the “How to Draw” section is a character’s “Ouch!” face.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Slight Misuse: “Gee” and “geez” are each misused once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slight Disturbing Content: When a man and his dog are near death and covered in bandages, their heads are switched, creating Dogman, though this is not shown. The stitches are seen on Dogman throughout the book. Dogman once tries to bite a cat, but fails. Characters cry a couple of times. Some living hotdogs light fires that they once call “raging infernos of death” and threaten to destroy the town, but the fires are tiny and their threats completely disregarded. A character burns his hands a little when he tries to catch something on fire. Some kids are shown in three panels running from various bad guys, one trying to “zap” them.

Religious Issues: ½/5 A man thinks that an invisible character is a ghost, and one claims that some stores are haunted, though this is not true.

Magic: 1/5 Some Possible Magic: A character uses invisible spray and living spray, the latter to make things come to life. Whether this is magic or not is debatable.

Others: Off panel, a character gives another one a cigar. A cat is once shown with tattoos on its arms. One chapter is called “The Franks Awaken,” probably based off “The Force Awakens” from Star Wars, though there is no other connection. A note to some children’s parents says that they should use medical drugs to get their children to behave, though it is likely that this doesn’t happen. One character says once “Get ready to roomba! (rumba)” A “stupid” person calls a male cat a “lady.”

Overall: 1½/5 Almost All Ages Appropriate:  The nudity and potty humor are probably the most controversial things. Morally, it’s a bit difficult to pin. If one is against humor that is on the crude side, I would say to completely skip this book. If a person doesn’t mind jokes about such things, I would recommend the book for children six and older.

Graphic Novels

Graphic Novel Review of Peanut

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Graphic Novel

Peanut by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe

Type: Contemporary, Peanuts, School,

Basic Plot: Sadie is moving and will be going to a new school and to make friends, she decides to tell everyone she is allergic to peanuts. She now must make sure no one finds out, even if that means making life more difficult for others and even for her.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The plot was very, very cliché from the beginning until the ending. It was very predictable and a lot like the average chick flick in a comic form. The most interesting part was Sadie learning about what a person with a peanut allergy must do to stay safe, but otherwise it wasn’t really unique. I do like how it was realistic in some ways, though, despite it being very cliché overall, such as the way the teenagers interact with each other was at times very much like how teenagers interact in real life.

Graphics: 3½/5 Above Average: The graphics were OK. They could have been improved, as they looked like the rough sketch drawings a little. The only color besides the blue ink to draw was a red-orange piece of clothing that Sadie always wore. That caused a few issues as I actually confused Sadie’s mom with her friend because they looked so similar. The graphics were realistic in how the body was shaped, though, and were natural looking. They could have been done fancier though.

Moral: 3½/5 Mostly Good Application: The moral was a good one, despite the fact that there were a lot of other things that were not so good or interesting. The moral was the idea that you shouldn’t lie, because if you do you will have a miserable time during the lie and a humiliating time after you are found out. In the end though she decides not to spend her whole life regretting it or really worry about what will happen, but just worry about right now. Now that was a 90% OK moral, but you should not just worry about now but at what will happen later, because if she had done that earlier she might not have lied. Otherwise it is a very good moral.

Overall: 3/5 Average: The graphic novel was not very unique in any way, though the moral was good. The best thing story wise was the realistic themes in it, but otherwise the plot as a whole was very cliché. The graphics were nice, but I think they had more potential and could have been better than they were done. Overall it was only average.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 4/5 Verbally Sexually Inappropriate: The clothes are a little tight, but are more so realistic and natural than revealing or tight. There is a scene when the girls are in a locker room and are in their underclothes. There is a picture of a guy with no shirt on. When a purse is emptied woman’s health products are seen coming out. When a girl is told to see a physician as a joke, the girl asks if she should go for birth control. “Hottie” is used once. Girls are called “hookers” twice by their friend. “Sexy” is used to describe someone once. A teacher thinks about how teenagers have a lot of hormones. A girl tells a friend about how she was alone with a boy and they did something together that was not specifically said, but was probably making out. Menstrual cycles and pms are mentioned. Sadie’s mom said that sed-ed and health class were equivalent when she was in high school. When talking about problems that should be reported, sexual abuse is mentioned, and later some girls talk joke about it. Sexually inappropriate functions that will not be named for decency are mentioned and suggested in speech, but are not being done. A boy and a girl kiss in a non-sexual way. Parts of the body that are slightly inappropriate are mentioned in conversation, though not in an inappropriate way. A girl says a boy saw a girl in a bikini, but it is not shown. Nothing sexual is shown.

Violence: 1/5 A Little Violence: Some girls talk about frogs that were dissected. One of the things the teacher says is reportable is violent behavior. Sadie imagines choking some gossipy girls. Sadie discusses what should be done if someone attacks them with guns or bombs. A nurse jokes that she will punch a teacher. A boy falls off his bicycle.

Swearing and Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain: 5/5 Extremely Bad Language: God’s name is taken in vain thirty-five times, and “gosh” and “jeez” are each used once. A form of “damn” and “hell” are each misused twice. A boy is called an “anus.” The phrase “a-hole” is used once. The term for a female dog is misused once. A form of the “p” word is used twice. The “s” word is used twice. The words “wench” and “sow” are used. A girl sticks out her middle finger at a phone.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 0/5 None

Religious Issues: 2/5 Some Small Issues: There is a light trace of Religious People = Bad People. There is a Christian girl briefly mentioned by some of the kids and the impression is mainly what the average person has of a Christian: a bit loony and overenthusiastic about their religion and doesn’t seem to realize everyone has a right to believe what they want, besides that though, an OK person. Also Sadie says that she is not really close God. A boy calls his little brother “Satan’s spawn.”

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: A girl asks Sadie if she is “high” because she thought her question was funny. A boy has a tattoo. A girl goes to an AIDS walk with male friends dressed in female Hawaiian clothes, and mentions how she had wanted them to go in women’s clothes like dresses. Sadie calls her friend’s friends “homophobic.” “Queer” is used in reference to homosexuals. Some girls talk about how some boys are probably homosexuals and joke about them dating. Sadie says at two different times that she thinks different people may be gay. Some girls gossip about a woman that divorced her husband for so that she could be with another woman. Some teenagers talk about using fake IDs to sneak into a nightclub and go drinking. Sadie’s mom says that some medicines are probably not open to public use as teenagers would use them as drugs. One of the things Sadie considers that she could have done besides lie was be with teenagers known to do drugs. One of the medical problems she considered having was being an “alcoholic.” Sadie has a disrespectful manner to her mom sometimes and often treats her mom like a peer.

Overall: This book is not recommended at all. The language is awful. There are sexually inappropriate things said. There are blunt references to drugs and homosexuality. Religious teenagers are looked down on. This book is not recommended moral wise to anyone of any age whatsoever whether you are a Christian or not.