I apparently do hate myself because I decided to read yet another dog comic, and even though I haven't been able to prove it yet I still believe that there is some unwritten code amongst comic creators that dog centric comics must be depressing. Fortunately this one mostly bucks that trend, or at the least wasn't the most depressing thing I've recently read.
The solicit info paints this out to be a a sort of evocative fable about the boundaries between society and nature, the split between domestication and freedom, and overall a sort of existential soul journey. It's....sort of, I guess? Honestly, it reads a bit more like a quckie Lifetime documentary, gliding over a series of events and hoping the reader attributes more meaning to what's actually there in the first place. Which isn't to say it's bad, and there certainly are some elements to that solicit pitch that are present. But it never really delves too deep into any truly interesting ideas, essentially just manifesting itself as a reactive road trip for our main character.
The story follows Silver, an affectionate if somewhat dim-witted dog that's been bought by a farmer to act as a guard for a flock of sheep.
The story quickly establishes that Silver is essentially a good boy, who may or may not be a little tired of the mundane and repetitive aspects of his life. He really doesn't seem to be yearning to learn much about what's beyond this life though as the solicits and summaries may paint. He does seem curious, but he's mostly carried along by sheer chance and accidents of fate, and a little too simple minded to reflect on the events that follow. I'm not really decided though on if this is the fault of the pacing, issues with the translation (of which there are many misspellings, missing words, or wrong words), or just a solicit pitch that overreached.
After encountering a pack of wolves who later manipulate him to their advantage, he accidentally runs away from home along with two of the wolves as gunshots scare him away. What we get is a meandering journey as he embraces natural instincts and slowly discovers some of the oddities of the changing world. Again though.....he's kinda dumb. He really doesn't learn much from his adventure, so I guess that responsibility lands solely on the reader.
On one hand I'm ok with that, because he is a dumb good boy and probably doesn't have the best memory. That does give me a sense of a sort of reality (in this adventure full of talking animals), but I also don't think it was on purpose. It's difficult to get a real good read on any of the other characters because all of them are fairly shallow. Silver's wolfy love interest has a little bit of personality, but beyond that the next character with about an equal amount of development is Princess, the replacement dog for the farm. Still, she's introduced halfway through and doesn't really get time to develop in many meaningful ways.
Really, one of the only characters that has a strong personality is the farmer, and that personality is 'asshole':
I do enjoy Clayton Junior's art as its simplicity conveys a lot of personality and action, offering a bit more momentum to the overall storytelling. It also works well with Junior's sense of humor as he infuses animals with different minor quirks that are worthy of a Pixar animal adventure.
While it's possible that I could have enjoyed Wild Thing a bit more if the ecological and existential themes could have taken stronger root in the narrative, I also don't think I was in the mood to be hit over the head too much with that type of material. That being the case I did like the book, but just as a quick little story with engaging moments and ideas. Just remember, always be weary of solicits and summaries that don't quite convey the project properly.