Saturday, 1 November 2014

Cat Person by Seo Kim Review

If you read lots of contemporary indie comics like me, you’ll probably notice that Seo Kim’s Cat Person is a lot like them - A LOT. Checklist for an indie comic these days: cats, your slobbish self, and your other half. 

Kim loves her cat Jimmy and plays around with him in her place. Besides the cat, she makes comics about eating too many oreos, texting too much, and lots of other mundane activities. And finally she makes comics about her boyfriend. 

In subject matter, Cat Person is near identical to Liz Prince’s comics, and shares a lot of common themes with Claire Belton (she of Pusheen the Cat fame), Philippa Rice, Kate Beaton and Julia Wertz (who, like Kim, is also on Koyama Press). That’s not to say her book is bad, nor is it just female cartoonists’ who focus on their feline pals - Jeffrey Brown’s done two books on cats alone and James Kochalka’s work frequently features his cats Spandy and Nooko (though I think Spandy might’ve passed on at this point). 

And I can understand why - cats are cute (I had 2 growing up and loved them dearly) - but also cartoonists are inside most of the time working on their comics. There aren’t many opportunities to go out and have adventures with others so a cartoonist’s experiences are going to be mostly ordinary stuff in the house with their pet. 

I do wish though that cartoonists like Kim and the others I mentioned would produce books that weren’t quite so similar. Kim’s art is competent but not particularly accomplished or intricate - many strips look thrown together in a rush and drawing hands and feet well is something that eludes her. 

But I did more or less enjoy Cat Person. Not for the dumb cat strips but for her everyday ones. Little things like rushing to an appointment and swearing at some pigeons who talk back to her are quite charming, and social networking/gadgets do get in the way of life while supposedly enhancing them. I’m not saying these observations are revelatory in any way but they’re entertaining - Seo Kim does have some fun snapshots of modern life here. 

That said, many of the strips in this book are too forgettable for me to say that this is must-read. One strip has her burning her grilled cheese sandwich; another has her accidentally spraying granola over a table. Yup. So…?

I suppose if you’re into cat comics (I do think this is now a sub-genre of the medium!) you might get something about of Seo Kim’s book, or if you enjoy indie comics and don’t mind reading stuff you’ve probably read elsewhere. But come on guys, do we need any more cat comics? Cats are delightful but they’re all the same - get over it and stop putting slices of bread over their heads!

Cat Person

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