Review by Frank Plowright
For a few months in 2012 images of an unusually grumpy looking cat circulated around the world again and again. As with all such social media phenomenons, it briefly struck a chord, people passed it to their friends, the You Tube views racked up, then the meme was forgotten as people moved on to the ice bucket challenge. Consulting the Grumpy Cat Wikipedia page reveals the cat’s expression was caused by a combination of feline dwarfism and an underbite. Anyone who really wants to know can research further and may triumphantly reveal that’s just a hoax.
On the one hand Dynamite were blatantly bandwagon-jumping in releasing a Grumpy Cat graphic novel, but on the other, even had they been quicker off the mark than 2016, the bandwagon was already in the next state. If you’re still tempted, and bear in mind the Grumpy Cat will surely be retro-chic by 2022, this is a collection of eleven stories, most written by Ben Fisher, Ben McCool or Elliott Serrano, combined with one of three artists Ken Haeser, Michelle Nguyen or Steve Uy.
Given the lead character is a cat with a grumpy face, they take the Garfield role, the source of sarcastic comments on the foibles of its younger brother, the playful and enthusiastic Pokey. Despite his doubtful nature, Grumpy is consistently sucked into Pokey’s investigations, of a haunted house, a career as superheroes or confused by the speaking cellphone. These play out predictably, at inordinate length, and will really only grab the attention of children. Surely not even the adult recipients most delighted at receiving the first Grumpy Cat picture on their timeline are going to be swayed into enjoyment by what’s on offer here.
The artists do their bit by including as many pictures as possible of the cat looking grumpy, and all of them have the necessary polish for the other cartoon elements. Overall, though, it’s not enough.