Comic Review: The Cat of a Madman

catofmadmanFirst of all, hi, I’m LeEtta aka leemsmachine, nice to meet you.  I am honored to be invited onto she’s in ur base and also that my first post will be reviewing The Cat of a Madman, a comic written by Alex Ponting, concept and art by Geneva Rosett-Hafter.

The creators describe the story as “a guide in the form of a cat comes to help a man in a dystopian world where he doesn’t fit.”  This post war dystopia is clearly conveyed to the reader in references and imagery of conformity that seem to be metaphor of the modern salaryman life.

The art is organic and composed primarily of ink washes that describe an unfocused and incorporeal environment.  Foreground objects and word bubbles are layered onto the page, creating depth in the shadow.  Each character is given a very distinct visual voice, allowing the reader to easily follow along with dialogue that spans pages.

The cat’s voice guides the reader through this world.  He is a visitor, a self-described agent on assignment in an alien world.  His promises to help the protagonist, Caulder, embolden the young man to break the bonds of community rule and escape.

The story is continued in The Boss of a Madman.   There is a note that this second installment was written while Alex Ponting was drunk, but the continuation of the story is seamless and without the clumsiness you’d expect from a drunken writing spree.

It’s in this second chapter that I started questioning my narrator most of all.  Caulder is a  young man pushing back against a society of conformity.  Modern literature is filled with such characters, and familiarity makes it easy to take them at face value.  It’s easy, too, to suspend my disbelief when a visitor in the form of a cat becomes Caulder’s guide.  But when a man in a white coat explains to Caulder that everyone has been watching him and waiting for him to come around to the right way of thinking, I am forced into a more careful consideration of the title, The Cat of a Madman.   Is the oppression that Caulder feels, the cat visitor with a voice he can understand and the ability to melt into his clothing, all in Caulder’s head?  And, if so, what are the chances that he can really escape?

I am usually impatient when trying new web comics, and only give a few pages of attention to find out if the comic hooks me.  The Cat of a Madman, needs more, as it establishes its story and environment slowly over many pages.  I am glad that I was committed to following its pace, and suggest that you do the same for a thought provoking visit through an agitated mind.

–leemsmachine

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