Review: GRUMPY CAT #1

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GRUMPY CAT #1
Written by Ben McCool, Ben Fisher, Royal McGraw, and Elliot Serrano 
Art by Steve Uy, Ken Haeser, and Michelle Nguyen
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Release date: October 7, 2015

I have got to be the worst choice of person to review this comic. I write this begrudgingly and with a cold heart. This is the part where you stop me and say, “Then DON’T REVIEW IT!” You’re right. Just stop. Stop reading now. My loathing nature of Grumpy Cat makes it so that you shouldn’t even bother continue reading.

You’re still here? Fine. *huff*

Just so you know this isn’t some magical deadpan fest where I miraculously start gushing about the comics against my better nature. It also will not be some devil’s advocate judgement to make you run out at buy this book. I was genuinely in the foulest mood by the time I was done reading the last story. There is a singular reason for my bad temper: This book is cute.

Not cute as in “YAY, cats!”

Not cute as in “Oh, so sweet!”

I felt like I was reading a Sunday morning Garfield comics strip but without any punchlines. Grumpy Cat is Garfield without as many biting view points on life. Pokey is Odie; hyper and adventurous. But unlike the dog counterpart, Pokey talks.

Grumpy Cat and Pokey set out on a series of adventures that are amusing though not overly insightful. These include run-ins with a dog, being dressed as superheroes, and attending a comic book convention. The anthology format is usually one of my favorites. However, the meandering stories come to a halt each time. With every one I kept asking myself, “Where’s the rest?” or “What’s the point?” Grumpy Cat’s motivations, always at first unwillingly, to go on each adventure with Pokey, are extremely devious and unsympathetic. Pokey’s desire to have Grumpy Cat go everywhere seem too naïve.

This is where you jump in and talk about the book’s message of best friendship, sticking with someone, or opposites balancing each other out. You go right ahead. I’ll wait until you’re done arguing your point.

Feel better? Fine. Let’s continue.

Sure, maybe there are times where song lyrics are evoked to sell a pratfall. Perhaps the snark at comic books fans can be slightly amusing. The superhero based story does give a single dynamic opening panel that comics fans or comic movie fans will appreciate with the easily identifiable icons. Plus, Grumpy Cat as a Batman amalgam is spot-on. I could have enjoyed these things. Instead, it just left a frown on my face and my head slightly hurting.

What kept this comic flowing was the art by Steve Uy, Michelle Nguyen, and Ken Haeser. They all tackle different stories. Normally having different artists in an anthology featuring similar characters can send your brain reeling from stark differences. However, these artists seem to evoke their own styles while keeping Grumpy Cat and Pokey easy to recognize. Large panels and low in counts help to make this book friendly and easy to use for younger readers. The expressions on Grumpy Cat and Pokey’s faces receive the most details and attention, which helps sell the story. Color palettes range from bright with massive highlights to give it more of a three dimensional feel to soft solid renderings with darker shadows to provide depth. Each artist’s choice helps to create the separation in story and set the tone.

Grump Cat is a meme that appeals to adults more than anyone. The message of being cynical, and unmoved by life certainly reverberates more through the adult experience. However, the all ages story telling blurs this message and instead delivers by the book adventures that kids will enjoy the most. It might be a good book for parents and kids to read together. It’s certainly not created for an adult who is not a fan of the meme and didn’t take the time to read it with her children.

So, in the interest of fairness, I asked for an outside opinion on the final verdict rating. There it is… below. You’re welcome. Now, go.

The Verdict: 7.0/10

 

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