Read Alikes – Anthropomorphic Animals (Not just for kids)

Poster for the film ZootopiaMovies like Open Season, Kung Fu Panda, and the recently released Zootopia all have one thing in common, anthropomorphic animals. After a month in the theater, Zootopia has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the highest rated films of this year so far. What makes these sorts of films successful is their appeal to both children and adults, because, I highly doubt a nine year old is reviewing movies on Rotten Tomatoes.

While these films are great for the whole family, there are many comic books where fluffy, anthropomorphic animals are anything but innocent. Here are five great titles for adults where anthropomorphic animal are the leads.

Cover for We3

By: Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
Published by: Vertigo
File under: Science Fiction

Three ordinary house pets, Bandit, Tinker, and Pirate, are the subjects of a top secret military weapons project. With robotic armor and enhanced weapons systems, this trio desperately attempts to escape their captivity. Their limited speaking ability terrifies the local citizens and the mutated animals the military sends to retrieve them provide quite the harrowing tale. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Felix or Fido became a war machine, let Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely show you the savagery and compassion of the four-legged friends we co-habitate this tiny marble with.

Cover for Rocket Raccoon vol. 1Rocket Raccoon
By: Skottie Young & Jake Parker
Published by: Marvel
File under: Superheroes

Most casual comics readers will recognize Skottie Young’s artistic style from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with Shanower orMarvel Babies variant covers. Young brings comedic gold to this talking raccoon and sentient tree as they cause a ruckus across the galaxy. Rocket Raccoon, heartthrob to the masses, is being tailed by Macho Gomez and the Ex-Terminators who seek to turn him in for a handsome reward. Along the way, Rocket is accused of murders he did not commit (but would gladly fess up to those he IS responsible for). He and Groot will travel to places unknown to discover the identity of this barbarous villain, while avoiding all authorities.

Beasts of Burden CoverBeasts of Burden
By: Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
File under: Paranormal

This is the first of three comics published by Dark Horse Comics focusing on unique animal tales. While the animals in Beasts of Burden are not anthropomorphic per se, they still talk and kick butt, so they’ve earned a spot on this list. In the small town of Burden Hill, a group of talking dogs and cats create the Wise Dog Society to protect the town from witches, ghosts, and demons. Dorkin’s storytelling is humorous while Thompson’s watercolor drawings evoke fanciful creatures rooted in reality. Winner of five Eisner Awards, including best Interior Art and Best Short Story, Beasts of Burden is a great fit for horror fans who aren’t big on gore and Hellboy fans, as there are two Hellboy/Beasts of Burden crossovers .

Blacksad coverBlacksad
By: Juan Diaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
File under: Noir

P.I. John Blacksad is a cat with an unlucky streak in Cold War America. In this collection of three shorts, Blacksad investigates the death of a movie star, the disappearance of a child in a segregated part of town, and the assassination attempt of a nuclear scientist and old friend. Created by Spanish duo Canales and Guarnido, Blacksad brings a different artistic style to the American audience. While they keenly understand 1950s era Americana, Canales storytelling is reminiscent of Euro-style comics, and contains notably noir plot devices, including heavy narration. Guarnido, a former Disney animator, brings that Disney realism to the animal characters. While some find the anthropomorphic characters unnecessary, they add a fantastical element to a story rooted in history.

Grandville CoverGrandville
By: Bryan Talbot
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
File under: Steampunk Noir

Grandville, much like Blacksad, is a story about sleuthing. In this case, Detective Inspector Archibald LeBrock of Scotland Yard is a Badger on the hunt for a murderer. Set in an alternative Europe where France won the Napoleonic Wars, LeBrock, as an Englishman, is a lower class citizen to his French counterparts. When investigating the murder, he finds himself and weasel assistant in the French city of Grandville, where he uncovers a political conspiracy involving technology and treachery. This Hugo Award nominated book by English graphic novelist Bryan Talbot is a mixture of French caricature, Sherlock Holmes, and H.G. Wells.