IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE-AGED MEN by Matthew Inman
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE-AGED MEN is a humorous and truthful look at the oddities of dogs. The simple yet hilarious art lends perfectly to the comic.
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A Dog-Lover's Delight

IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE-AGED MEN by Matthew Inman (also known as The Oatmeal) is a comic that gives you exactly what you’d expect. Not that that’s a bad thing in any way. It’s nice that this comic reminds us all of the fun in pet-owning. Exhaustion tends to take over with a bunch of little poop factories in the house. As someone who spends her days with four dogs hanging off of her, the comic was a pleasure to read. Is it particularly deep? Well, no. Of course not. However, it’s extremely humorous, and very in touch with the mix of exasperation and fondness only dog-lovers know. After all, I can’t be the only one who doesn’t know whether to feel love or disgust when I wake up to a dog butt on my head.

What’s With Those Old Guys?

Obviously, Inman’s comic centers around imagining that his dogs are a pair of overweight older men. Beyond the hilarity of the idea, it’s also pretty brilliant. How many dog owners sit on their couch and give their dogs funny voices, pretending they have people thoughts? Maybe it’s just the weird dog owners. Then again, you have to be weird in the first place to have your own naked fur monster running around. IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE AGED MEN is the perfect blend of the oddities of dogs and their owners’ penchants for personification.

IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE-AGED MEN
Image from IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE-AGED MEN, courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Rather than one running plot, the comic is a series of one-off jokes. It touches on those all too familiar moments of ridiculousness. Agonizing over a bath, wanting to play as soon as their owner is busy, and inconvenient sleeping positions are some of the greatest hits. The spinning before pooping trope is there as well, but Inman adds a little something extra to the joke that had me rolling with laughter.

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The use of language is fantastic. Lines like, “My face is literally a Slip ’N Slide of tears,” are things neither dogs nor humans would typically say, yet so very relatable. I’ve certainly stepped on my terrier and seen that exact thought screaming in her accusatory eyes. While neither of the dog-men are particularly intelligent, they appear to have distinct personalities. The bearded one comes off as pretty grumpy, while the bald one seems a little sillier. Every household with multiple dogs knows that there is a definite dynamic between pups. It’s great to see that at play here.

But Where Are the Dogs?

The art style is a simple one — scarce details and mostly black and white panels. That’s not all that surprising, as it originated as a webcomic, which lends to a style less rooted in realism. Honestly, the style suits the comic very well. There’s the perfect amount of detail in the characters that I can tell, generally, what sort of dog each middle-aged man would be. The bearded man is clearly a shaggy dog, and the bald man has got to be something short-haired. I imagine a pairing of something like a Scottie or Bearded Collie with perhaps a pudgy Beagle. The exaggerated expressions on the dog-men’s faces are beyond funny, and really exemplify the ridiculousness of dogs.

IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE-AGED MEN
Image from IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE-AGED MEN, courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing.

That said, I only have two very minor and petty complaints. First off, there are a few illustrations that can get a little gross. This isn’t a huge complaint because let’s be honest, dogs can be gross. Still, I could live without vomit eating. Second, and this is the pettiest complaint of all, I would have liked to see a drawing of the actual dogs at the end of the comic. I know, it’s silly, but it would have been a very satisfying conclusion to a great comic.

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The Verdict on IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE-AGED MEN

I cannot recommend this comic enough for dog-lovers. It’s a near perfect comic. Honestly, I can see myself buying a copy to keep on my coffee table for down days. Bottom line: this comic made me laugh until my sides hurt, and it made me feel closer to my pups, too.

IF MY DOGS WERE A PAIR OF MIDDLE-AGED MEN releases on September 24, 2017. You can preorder it here! Until then, check out more of Inman’s comics, like RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS and AUTOCORRECT HATES YOU!

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