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Review Brew: Grumpy Cat #3

Writers: Ben McCool, Ben Fisher, Elliott Serrano Artists: Steve Uy, Michelle Nguyen, Ken Haeser I guess you've made it as a pop culture icon when you've gone from being a gag meme to having your own comic series, and one that outsells a top DC character's title, to boot. (No, really--Grumpy Cat #1 outsold Green Arrow in October 2015.) Dynamite Entertainment has tested the waters of whether Grumpy Cat has a sustainable future in the comics industry and, surprisingly, she does--the book is now going from three-issue miniseries to ongoing comic. So how does a sample issue from the miniseries hold up?

It’s not bad at all, and I think it effectively taps into what makes a comic book work insofar as books about chronically pissed-off cats can get. Confession: I don’t know much about the character beyond it being a meme that constantly pops up in another Review Brewer’s messages and having a cheesy Christmas Special on Lifetime last year. What I can gather from the comic is that Grumpy is a glass-is-half-full cat who lives in the desert with another cat, Pokey (who’s the yang to Grumpy’s yin, the full half of Grumpy’s emptiness).  In true comic fashion, they end up in ridiculous adventures that only cartoon cats can get in, from 1930s-style detective sleuthing to outsmarting aliens.

What I like about the comic is that it’s written in anthology format, this particular issue being three short stories by three different creative teams. None of the stories have any common links beyond Grumpy being the pessimist and Pokey the optimist. But they’re all equally silly and fun, with the two cats randomly 1) trying to figure out who’s stealing their food; 2) traveling through time and accidentally meeting Nikola Tesla, and 3) arguing with aliens about whether Earth is a worthwhile vacation spot. The charm, of course, is as much in Grumpy’s sarcastic responses to everything as it is the trouble they get in. (Grumpy telling Tesla off was a nice touch.)

Grumpy Cat isn’t high literature, but it recaptures some of the sarcastic delight that was effective in Garfield comics so many years ago. Having test-run it on my nine-year-old cat-loving daughter, I can say that it effectively won her over. Grumpy Cat is recommended for young readers who want a funny animal alternative to superhero fare. It’s also probably good for anyone who has a cat’s dim outlook on life.

Rating: Five out five grumpy memes.

About Adam Frey (372 Articles)
Adam Frey is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. In the meantime, he's an attorney and moonlights as an Emergency Medical Technician in Maryland. A comic reader for over 30 years, he's gradually introducing his daughter to the hobby, much to the chagrin of his wife and their bank account.
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