Blotch and "Dog's Days of Summer" - The End of Two Stories - A Retrospective
Somewhere in the back of my mind – along with every other soul-searching moment of my youth – is a single panel from this novel featuring Bayshore clutching a fish and crying out Diego's name. I claim it as a symbol of a love long lost in the hazy days of my early adulthood, when uncertainty was the only certainty.
This is the story of a naive young otter chasing a free-spirited rascal. Through lovingly penned dialog and moody colours, it exposes the raw, vulnerable quick of youthful longing; Diego's light-hearted take on all things bursting into life against the shimmering backdrop of Bayshore's persistently searching but fatefully delicate glass heart. Through these illustrations, a pair of artists in love pour their hearts into their work in a way we can never see again.
The story ventures from "what does this mean" to "what do we do now," through "I knew it all along" and finally arrives at its natural conclusion of "I'm sorry" and "I was meant for you." But even after the second part – that was never published on the web, and only available in the printed work – it leaves us wondering how things will play out.
Although the comic, penned by a duo of artists under the pseudonym of Blotch, has been out of print for years, it will forever live in the hearts and minds of a generation of furries who discovered what it is to love and live in the forgiving embrace of furry fandom's nascent youth through to its maturity, and on through its inevitable slide into the mainstream.
Blotch's Dog's Days of Summer is an effigy to a secret summer of love that ended long ago, its pages a testament to the power of art and story to preserve in our memories an oasis of imagination we can return to only in our dreams – and, if we're lucky enough to hold a copy of this story in our hands, the pages of one of the most-remembered works of furry art and literature.
A 2015 Reddit post references an uncited comment answering a question many had been wondering but were either too afraid or too polite to ask. The answer, short and to the point, came in response to a fan's question about the status of another Blotch project, Nordguard.
Today the LiveJournal account, the blogs and the web pages for each creative work are largely up, but no longer maintained. The dates on the last posts to each are a telling reminder that we'll never see an update – always left to wonder what could have been, had the artists' lives played out differently. But rather than mourn these lost possibilities, dear reader, we should be grateful for moments that don't last, this foregone collaboration and the unforgettable, iconic works that came from it. Like young love, smoky barbecue pits and summer on the beach, these moments are the bittersweet grapes that turn into the sweet wine of nostalgia, nurturing us in years to come. As we grow older, fall in love, break up and suffer our own dog's days, we can choose the comforting certainty that Diego and Bayshore will forever be young and in love, with their whole lives to look forward to.
The official website for Dog's Days of Summer is not directly linked because the domain has been compromised and now hosts possibly harmful content - an archived copy is available.