Review by Jamie McNeil
“It ain’t no party till a pig done a farty!”
When creator Jamie Smart claims that Looshkin is the maddest cat in the world, he’s not exaggerating! Not that the Johnsons, the family that adopts Looshkin against the pet store owner’s advice, provide a peaceful haven for a feline that should probably not be over-stimulated. Mr Johnson is a batty scientist whose attention to his inventions results in many arguments with Mrs Johnson, who has possibly only purchased Looshkin in an attempt to make their family seem “normal”. Well that’s definitely out the window when you have a talking cat who is a slave to his impulses by his own admission and has a penchant for ordering pigs online. Add into the mix crazy encounters featuring a horde of angry squirrels, a séance with the local politician, learning how to hunt mice, firecracker filled cheese, pig riding, plenty of farting and learning the dangers of ordering a baby shark through internet shopping.
Jamie Smart is a fantastic cartoonist with a hyper-active artistic style and love of slapstick comedy. Looshkin is in the same anarchic vein as Smart’s Bunny vs Monkey series, bursting with hectic energy, filled with detail and sporting an eternally cheery disposition. It’s less frenetic than BvsM, largely because Smart has more pages to work with, and features with fewer characters. It means there is room for Smart to ensure all the attention is on Looshkin’s mad, ridiculous and frequently puerile antics. Any decent comedic cartoonist goes for at least one chuckle a page, but in the last third Smart manages a few chuckles per sheet and one belly laugh every three pages. Its infantile slapstick, but bear in mind that Looshkin is intended for children; that adults with a peculiar sense of humour find it funny is an added bonus. Judge Looshkin unworthy based on age bracket or a personal distaste for toilet humour and you will miss out on what is also a thoughtful book under the raspberries and fart cloud. Subtle observations on fame are accompanied by musings on the pointless quest to find acceptance through improving one’s social standing. Additionally there are some fantastic splash pages that make you giggle, some feat considering those are just the chapter intros.
Looshkin is the kind of book kids will love for all the silliness and bum references. It is deranged hilarity so whether an adult will enjoy it is a matter of personal taste or a serious case of stickupthebumtitis, but you simply cannot deny that Jamie Smart is a terrific cartoonist with a crazy talent for cheering you up on gloomy days with bright colours, zany goofing off and a high fun factor.