Grumpy Cat vol. 1 (#1 – 3) – Various

3 out of 5

I’ll hand it to the marketers who figure this stuff out: internet memes as comics.  I never would’ve thunk it, but, hey, it makes enough sense in this case, as the meme – ye ole grumpy cat – is at least a living, breathing thing, as opposed to… I dunno, basing a movie off of Battleship.  (Not to say they didn’t figure out an effective way of doing that one, either, damn marketers.)  And the GC / Pokey sister / brother duo end up lending themselves to an okay Odd Couple type setup, and you already have a built-in Garfield-esque world-hating personality for Grumps, no ‘backstory’ required, so, yeah, kudos and all that.

Our writers and artists do their duty in this mini, with Pokey having harebrained schemes into which he entices Grumpy with the promise of treats, leading to GC either plotting for Pokey and Dog to be subjected to hijinks, or GC’s own short-sighted view of the world getting her into relative trouble.  (But always harmless trouble, ’cause kid comic, and all.)  The material isn’t terribly interesting, but it does manage to be amusing, and because both of our cats are flawed (Pokey’s naivety; GC’s arrogance), it creates a nice sense of balance that doesn’t always have the joke landing at the feet of a particular character, and the jokes even manage to be rather meta or more intelligent than usual at points.

The writer / artist pairings are mixed batch, though.  Steve Uy’s art is bouncy and colorful, but, paired often with Ben McCool on script, Ben likes to undermine his own jokes by pointing out the punchline.  Ben Fisher lands most of the meta stuff, but Michelle Nguyen’s art can’t handle his timing.  Royal McGraw has a tendency to write dialogue that is non-sensical; thankfully he shows up the least.  Elliot Serrano lucks into Ken Haeser’s energetic art, and complements that with intelligent, funny scripts.

The book works, despite those of us rolling our eyes at the marketability of this stuff.