ADVANCED REVIEW: Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us

“Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us” is a title that sums up our current age of rapid-fire meme-sharing and the fact that our own identities are lost and our cats are really the center of the spotlight. That and it’s just a wonderful name for a quirky and engaging book.

The stories of Johnny Wander began in 2008, and this collection gathers nearly 400 comics together in one big volume. The stories are light-hearted and give us a peek into the adventures of everyday life of a few interesting humans and some rambunctious kitty cats.

Anath Hirsh and Yuko Ota are the brains behind this anthology, and we are first introduced to them at around the time they were graduating college. So began the myth, the cats, the legend of Johnny Wander, and I ate up every little bit. Not literally, I’m a book sniffer not a book eater. Mmm books…

What attracted me to this autobiographical comic series was the art style, and the choice to have separations of timelines in different solid colors. At first, the illustrations are slightly sketchy, and completely pink. As the book goes on, we see blue, yellow, etc. At a whopping 418 pages, the color breaks give the reader’s eyes a break, but still keeps things simple and easy to follow the happy-go-lucky stories.

Most of the comics only consist of one page, but each of them are clean and complete. They are bits and pieces of the life of Anath and Yuko, and we learn more about every character as the book goes on. Each mini story is entertaining, and I felt myself laughing and showing certain stories to my fiance because of the ability to relate simply to life and all the silliness that happens in the little things.  And then come the cats. I fell in love with every cat in the book pretty much immediately, and they way each mew-mew is presented really shows their personality like only a cat owner can capture. The drawings are straightforward and adorable, with big eyes and even bigger bubbly nature. I was trying to pick my favorite one, but I honestly identify with an aspect of every cat. I may just be becoming…the cat!

Having so many strips to choose from, it’s impossible to pick a number one, but I loved their explaination of Pokemon (Spoiler: It’s Charles Darwin meets cockfighting) and the description of the cat Gonta. I feel you, Gonta. *frets*

This is a Kickstarter-born project, and naturally I want every single backer reward there is, especially that MAW plush. But this book also includes extras and tidbits from the whole nine year journey of Johnny Wander and is available with a gorgeous Slipcase. I can’t tell which way I want to display this: Harcover only showing or with the slippy. Though each contrast each other starkly, they both come together to make a beautiful presentation. In this case, you can definitely judge a book by its cover.

Writing: 5 Stars
Artwork: 5 Stars
Cover: 5 Stars

(W) Ananth Hirsh
(A/C/CA) Yuko Ota
(Publisher) Oni Press

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