From "Watership Down" to "The Adventures of Milo & Otis," personified animal tales are capable of both melting hearts and inspiring terror just as well, if not better than, stories starring humans. This is especially true of the Eisner Award-winning team of Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson's "Beasts of Burden," which begins monthly serialization starting Sept. 15 with issue number 1.

The beasts made their debut within several Dark Horse anthologies, but rather than force fans to wait for a hardcover to collect these first appearances, the publisher has posted these tales to read online for free.

The comics follow the adventures of a group of pets living in Burden Hill, a suburban community they defend against supernatural terror. Dorkin's scripts deliver a lot of animal fun without ever committing the sin of corniness and Thompson's elegant watercolors capture the cuteness of a pug just as well as the horror of an undead golden retriever.

I'd say the series is "doggone" good fun, but then I'd probably have to punch myself in the face.

Oh well, it's seriously doggone good fun.

Now where did I put my ice pack?