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Is It Good? Family Pets #1 Review

The good news is that the comic industry is stronger than ever. Don’t believe us, check the numbers. There’s a plethora of strong-willed writers who’ve become superstars in their own right and comic book movies are hitting theaters nearly every month in the coming year.

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The bad news is that nearly all of these successes reside in the mainstream comic industry. Independent comics are still produced on a regular basis, but wild popularity is hard to come by. For every Blankets or Chris Ware release there’s literally hundreds of indie comics that are left unnoticed. Having had an early look at a new indie comic by writer Pat Shand and artist Sarah Dill I can safely say there’s more good news on the way, but as far as the comic goes, is it good?

Family Pets #1 (Silver Dragon Comics)

Hitting digitally on Comixology May 1st, Pat Shand and Sarah Dill are setting out to create an all ages experience, but don’t let that scare you off. No, this comic is rife with humor and exquisite art from top to bottom and can be enjoyed by all ages.

I’m sure we’ve all felt this way at some point.

The first issue introduces Thomasina. She’s an orphan high school student who lives with her grandmother in the basement of her aunt and uncle’s abode. It’s not hard to feel familiar with this character, largely because she’s just as lost as most teenagers. The fact that she wishes she was magic only adds to the endearing nature of her character and the entire comic for that matter.

Bring on the Nom Nom!

I won’t ruin what happens in the book, but you can gather from the cover it involves some magic. Its funny that magic comes up in the comic, because the art and pacing is magic in it of itself. There’s a balance between dialogue, exposition and clever ideas at play here that keep things light and interesting.

This book will make you laugh.

It’s hard to say what’s stronger, the writing or the art, but let’s agree it’s a good balance between the two. Sarah Dill is a master at drawing emotion be it body language or on the characters’ faces, and while it’s not the most detailed work it has everything you need to read the characters.

My immediate reaction to her style was to equate her to Doug TenNapel’s work, particularly his original graphic novels. They both capture an innocence in the characters but also an incredible amount of atmosphere using as few strokes as possible. It keeps things clean and fluid.

I want to be magic too!


  • Love the art
  • It will make you laugh!
  • Not too many surprises in the first issue that you can’t guess off the front cover

When it comes to indie comics there’s a balancing act: The artist and writer can try anything, but to hit the right notes it takes skill and probably a bit of luck. Comics that strike such a strong balance like this one come few and far between, so do yourself a favor and check out this first issue!

This six issue story can be found digitally May 1st on Comixology and will eventually be collected for your reading pleasure.

Is It Good?

Yes. You really can’t go wrong checking this out, especially with an all ages book that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike.


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