By Dan Berry
“So here’s the 24h Comic I made at the Maison des Auteurs in Angouleme this year. I finished in just under 20 hours this year, but my hand did swell up like a blown up glove. It’s a bit shaky here and there as a result, but on the whole I’m very pleased with it.”
“So again this year I took part in the 24 comics marathon at the Maison Des Auteurs in angouleme. I really enjoyed myself doing it. It seemed to go much much faster than last year though. I finished in just under 20 hours, which I’m extraordinarily proud of.”
20 hours. 20 hours. To do 24 pages of this quality……
Yes. They are simply gorgeous. 24 pages including the cover. But pretty art, even gorgeous art, doesn’t make great comics. Great comics make great comics.
Cat Island, just like the last work I saw from Dan Berry; After We Shot The Grizzly, is a great comic. Warm, emotive, and funny, you’ll love this.
But Berry wants it made quite clear that this is not autobiographical, that any resemblances between the man, the woman, the baby, and the cat and his own family are entirely co-incidental, and that he’s always wanted, yet never owned a cat. Which is good really, since neither the man, nor the cat, cover themselves in glory here.
23-pages of story, 23-pages of genuinely warm, silly, funny stuff. A look at a family in the terrifying days post birth, where it feels like a tiny little alien thing has sneaked into your home and has changed everything overnight. Sleep doesn’t exist anymore, silence doesn’t exist anymore, you don’t really exist anymore. It’s all suddenly about the baby.
Throw in the problem of the cat well used to being the centre of attention and you have a situation that can rapidly get out of control.
So after years of getting its own way, a baby is the final straw for the cat. Sure, the cat never got on with the man, who always seemed to stop the cat doing what the cat liked doing, but suddenly this screaming, crying, pooping little pink thing is diverting all the attention the cat used to get from the woman.
Something terrible must be done, which leads to the man doing something similarly terrible, something that means the woman joins the baby in tears, and the tired, unshaven, mess of the man has a mission to make things right once more.
Poor man, he was never going to win. The man vs the cat; anyone who’s ever owned one will know that’s no contest, no contest at all.
A great, great comic, and absolutely beautifully drawn as well. Sure, the whole 24 pages are available to read online, but seriously, the quality Berry puts into his printed work borders on the fetishistic, you need to get this (and Grizzly) in print form. Like Berry says:
“You can still read the whole thing for free here, but that’s a fleeting glimpse at it through a moving car window. It’s a much better experience in print isn’t it?”
Yes it is, it most certainly is. You can buy Cat Island, Grizzly, and original art in Dan Berry’s shop.