Written by: Ben Fisher, Elliott Serrano, Royal McGraw, Ben McCool
Art by: Ken Haeser, Agens Garbowska, Michelle Nguyen, Steve Uy, Mauro Varas
Colors by: Mohan, Steve Uy
Letters by: Bill Tortolini
Grumpy Cat (and Pokey!)’s volume includes several short strips known as: “Grumpy Cat, Hidden Doggie”, “A Grump In The Grass”, “Pokey Falls In Love”, “The Tallest Tree”, “The Magicians Unpaid Intern”, “The Visitors”, “The Good, The Bad, and The Grumpy”, “Drone Alone”, and “Road Trip!.” Each short story is narcissistic, and as negative as can be – just the way Grumpy would like it. A reader can assume, by the colors and artistic choice, that this is meant for a young audience between the ages of 6-9 years of age. Some of the vocabulary is above that expected reading level, but just like movie hits such as Shrek or Finding Nemo it is easy to find adult humor within the dialogue.
The reader follows the adventure of Grumpy and his sibling Pokey on their daily kitty adventures through suburbia. Together they tackle rival cats, Pokey’s first love, dealing with the drooling dogs, and so much more. Most readers will know the dry sarcasm that is evident in every Grumpy Cat meme on the interwebs, and so will be easily available to follow Grumpy’s hatefulness. Cat lovers will probably appreciate this more than the average Joe, since there is some cat humor within the pages.
The expectation was for the comic to be funny, but it disappointed. While there was appreciation for the poet quotes such as “We should have taken the road less traveled” which was clever and well done, the comic had an odd flow. The other segments did not quite have the charm that was expected of something as well-loved as Grumpy Cat. Garfield came to mind with some of the negativity, except without the lasagna obsession and hatred for Mondays.
Readers do not want to see a happy Grumpy Cat (that’s a terrible oxymoron), but there was a sense that some parts were drawn out. Throughout the shorts, Grumpy continues to make up excuses about how she is better than Pokey due to her ancestry. At one moment she tells tall tales of China and ends up landing in the Wild West. While all of this sounds appealing, Grumpy’s tales of her past were the most interesting part of the volume. The rest of the dialogue, however, felt bland and boring. Her back stories allows the readership to explore maybe even why Grumpy is so grumpy? There’s doubt that one will ever truly find the cause of Grumpy’s bad attitude.
The coloring was bright and happy, and well-blended to fit the scene of a suburban American neighborhood. Props to the colorist for “The Visitors”, who created a beautiful scene filled with lanterns in the night sky, making the panels reminiscent of the scene in Disney’s Rapunzel. The art also has a lot of rounded edges, which are less menacing and hard. Ultimately, everything looks fluffy and cuddly, which draws a young crowd to a happy place – just another thing that Grumpy would hate.
In summary, readers who own cats (or are owned by cats) will get some of the jokes. If you’re like me, however, then dog humor is more your jive. The dialogue between the characters felt forced, not only because Pokey did force his thoughts onto Grumpy, but also because it made it more difficult to go from one speech bubble to another. Applause to the artists and colorist, who brought this world to life, however. Young readers will be enthralled by the artwork and will want to learn more about Grumpy and her sibling, Pokey.
3 out of 5 cans of wet food.