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.