The concept drew me in immediately–an online blogger gets an invitation to ghost write the memoirs of a mysterious man who turns out to be a talking cat who then goes on to detail each of his eight previous lives as a major player in various historical moments.
As the blogger and her friend learn more about this cat’s past, they get pulled into a global catspiracy.
The story starts out exploring the cleverness of how a cat could be behind the scenes of major time periods and famous events–pretending to be a god in Ancient Egypt, becoming the cat from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or being the brains behind Napoleon’s conquests. Each issue covers one of Burma’s lives–so warning for the squeemish–each ends with a depiction of his death.
This is a fun, multi-layered mystery of sorts that (I believe) is complete in this trade paperback, so the ending brings a satisfaction and closure.
I Was the Cat will hit bookstores in August in this collection but is currently available in issues at your local comic book store.
The art is like continuity editing–it works in such a way that it almost never draws attention to itself; it just tells the story. But looking back at some pages and panels, I realized there was much more artistry to tell the relationships of the characters, foreshadow events, and evoke emotion than I initially recognized. I’m an art snob with comics, but I felt Benjamin Dewey’s drawings were an excellent match for Tobin’s story. Furthermore, there are fun cameos–besides the obvious historical figures and celebrities, Jules and Vincent from Pulp Fiction show in one panel, Neil deGrasse Tyson in another.
With each issue/chapter of the graphic novel progressed, I became less interested in the story of the past cat life and much more engaged in the larger conspiracy as it was unfolding. If I have one complaint, it was that the flashback recitation for the memoir became more and more shallow and disengaging as I went on, and I wanted more of the present-day story telling.