Cinnamon (#1) – Victoria Douglas

4 out of 5

A cat in a badass leather jacket does motorcycle stunts and fights a giant mecha, while its goldfish buddy runs ops from its tech-equipped bowl.

Nah, it’s just a cat trying to get the catnip from the top shelf. (And there is also a goldfish.)

Victoria Douglas’ Cinnamon is a silly cat comic. Our titular cat is fiending for the aforementioned catnip, and we see events from the cat’s imagined perspective, which is the biker / mecha scenario, as set in a rundown city landscape. Douglas’ color palette of red tones may seem like a shtick – the whole thing may seem like a shtick – but the artist imbues each page and panel with such fun attitude that judgements towards that are easily set aside, not to mention how well they manage that color palette throughout: at no point did I feel like we were actually limited in the visuals due to this device.

Douglas also does a great job of differentiating the real from the imaginary, with the former being looser and lighter and the latter lots of harsh lines and angles. But really, the masterstroke is in that ‘tude: every time we get a glimpse of Cinnamon doing something traditionally “cute” or cat-like in the real world, Douglas will flip to fantasy and veer it toward something visually exciting, inventively twisting things in amusing directions. Giving Cinnamon and the goldfish voices also helps add further comedic flair: Victoria’s dialogue is pretty funny.

So, yes: it’s ultimately a silly cat comic, but the creator dodges out of those tropes as often as possible. The only thing really holding it back, then, is its scope: this originated as a thesis, and a one-shot, and it has remnants of that: there’s a bit of a segue where the cat’s owner and Cinnamon start “talking” to one another, and this feels a bit forced to insert a personal touch, when the book is already very much vibing on its fantastical setup. And because we know this is all fantasy, there’s really not an “arc” to it, making turning it into a series interesting… but also meaning there’s not really a set hook to lead us to book two. Cinnamon wants the ‘nip, and that’s the scope of the issue, biker vs. robo battles aside.

But the hook could be said to be how much fun the issue is, and how dynamic Douglas’ art is. So while I’m not sure I need to read a series of one-shot cat comics, I am excited to see more of the creator’s work.