4 out of 5
I really, really, really need to qualify this rating, because I do not find this book funny in the slightest. But that’s not fair, because I didn’t buy it because I like Dave Coverly’s Speed Bump cartoons – I don’t; his brand of lightweight dad humor is nigh painful to me – but rather because a cartoonist whose work I generally love, J.P. Fosgitt, had apparently contributed to the book.
So it’s not fair for me to rank something I’m not buying for the bulk of its material based on that material, and especially if I’m already not keen on said material.
Instead, I’m trying to offer something as impartial as possible, based on the construction of the book and the presentation.
Assuming you do like Coverly, this is a well-printed collection of his cartoons, 1 per page, all – logically – associated with cats. The designer (I don’t see or I am missing the credit for this, if it’s someone other than Coverly) has done a good job of making the page-by-page reading enticing: solid background colors are used to frame the panels, and are chosen so as not to conflict with any choice colors in the panels themselves. The color swaths are broken up with some white pages as well, though, so it’s not all overload. This makes the collection easy on the eyes to flip-through, and also gives your brain a reason to stop on a random page, if a color catches your attention. The printing quality is also solid, with thick but flippable paper stock, and a gutter near the binding that’s enough to allow the panels to be shown at full size without losing anything in the crack. I also like the idea of breaking up the cartoons into chapters (with a table of contents!), grouping them by theme; anything to give collections like this a sense of structure are a good call. And the addition of other cartoonists – such as Fosgitt – offering a drawing and a comment with each chapter gives it all a nice, familial feel.
That said, there is some repetition here – Dave goes back to the well often on cats liking to do that leg-up licking position, and having 9 lives – and the chapters actually don’t amount to much, in the sense that cartoons could probably be swapped between sections and it’s not a big deal. And this is maybe a bit pricey – 16.99 – for a 200 page, 6″ x 9″-ish collection, but it’s not super outrageous if your the sort who likes to relive these dad jokes, or wants to gift a cat fan some dumb yuks.
I won’t sit here and berate the material further than that, having already stated it’s not my bag. But for any who are possibly purchasing this for similar reasons as me, the description of “contributions” by these other artists is overselling it – only one actually writes anything of significance, with the others offering up 1-page illustrations that aren’t anything different from other images they’ve published, and maybe one or two lines of accompanying text.