“The road to hell is paved with good intentions. We didn’t even have to ask for directions,” is a line said by Dog, one of the leads from the Tapas Original webtoon series, Animal Heads. This line perfectly sums up the tone and themes of the story, which will stick in the minds of readers long after they put down this comic. 

Animal Heads

Created and written by Son M, illustrated by Sam Curtis, and with the assistance of Shelley Ostro as the colorist. Published by Dark Horse Comics, the Tapas original Animal Heads is an action thriller telling the tale of four best friends: Dog, Pig, Rat, and Bunny, each with unique characteristics. Dog is characterized by his messy black hair and tanned skin, adorned with tattoos, and takes the lead. Pig, the group’s sole female lead, radiates confidence with her pale-blonde hair matching her pale skin tones. Rat, the troublemaker of the group, boasts long brown hair. Lastly, there is Bunny, the most reliable member of the group, who stands out with his dark skin and short pale-blonde hair.

Together, they are four college graduates who are under the relatable pressures of the struggling economy, family life, and the difficulties of getting proper jobs. This prompts them to take on any gigs they can find, especially from the criminal world, to make some form of income. From the first few pages, it is made clear that to protect their identities, they take part in these gigs while wearing animal masks. 

Animal Heads preview page

From the first panel, it is established that this story starts with the murder of its antagonist, Axel Winder, and the events leading up to and the hours after his death at the hands of our characters. The story is told in a non-linear order with bold yellow text carefully imposed into the art and world as a visual indicator of the passage of time and how far or close to the murder we are. 

Curtis’ illustrations really elevate the story and writing by Son M, with the art complementing the serene and playful moments in the story and the dark, gruesome, and violent moments. The contrast in the tone, the art, the use of colors, and just the overall writing has me engaged and wanting to learn more about what happened before and after the opening moments. 

Animal Heads preview page

Each member of the Animal Heads has this enjoyable dynamic. You would normally expect backstabbing, distrust, and disorder between all four members in this type of story. But, it is surprising and refreshing to see that despite the situations they go through, they are still fiercely loyal to each other and do their best to support one another. They do this by saving each other’s lives, cracking jokes to lighten the mood, or just doing what they can to cheer each other up. Seeing these kinds of stories with such dark undertones and themes is wholesome and nice. 

I always enjoy reading comics in the scrolling format. The format allows readers like me to enjoy these stories wherever I am, easily accessible from my fingertips. So when a Tapas original such as Animal Heads gets revised into print, it will always catch my attention as I like to see how these stories are transferred from the medium of a scrolling comic into a page-by-page format. Reading the pages of the print version, it is amazing to see how well each panel flows from one to the other. This is in no part thanks to how the Tapas Original was created, with the panels already formatted in a manner to allow for easy reading but also allow for it to be readapted into print with little to no changes in the panels, preserving most of how the story was originally intended, not an easy feat to accomplish. 

Animal Heads preview

VERDICT: It is a pleasure to read this, and I am sure you will too.

No matter how you read it, on the phone or on print. You can read Animal Heads now on Tapas.io at https://tapas.io/series/ANIMALHEADS/info and print by Dark Horse Comics available now as of October 11 at https://www.darkhorse.com/Books/3011-343/Animalheads-TPB. It is an engaging and thrilling story with characters you begin to warm up to in a world that is unpredictable, one that you can’t stop reading.