It’s not an easy thing to admit but, given that this is the eleven-year anniversary of Drunken Cat Comics, this issue is my first exposure to this title. Fortunately it was a great introduction. Drunken Cat was founded in 2001 by Brian Canini, who also writer and artist on the book, and not since the mid-ninties run of Evan Dorkin’s Milk and Cheese have I had this much fun with this genre of comic.
The anniversary issue is a series of variety stories from comedy, drama and action. First up is ‘Satan’s High School Reunion’ introduced to us by Drunken Cat recovering from what is his usual state of inebriation. This is a fun tale of long-time character Satan P. Lucifer and his attempt to be a big shot at his high school reunion. The idea is presented that Satan has a burning need to impress his former teenage peers with a “supermodel” girlfriend, a doctorate, and Lucky Strike cigarettes. No more so than to his high school rival, you guessed it, GOD. Canini does so with some clever humor and some classic non-sequitur. Canini even knows when the blatant Lucky Strike commercial campaign gag goes just far enough to take a shot at himself. It ends on a final twist than shows us that humor isn’t always what is obvious.
Drunken Cat returns after taking the edge off of the previous evening’s bender to set-up the second tale, ‘Fall Back’. Given that this is my first go round with Drunken Cat and, based on the humor of ‘Satan’s High School Reunion,’ the next story was not quite what I was expecting. ‘Fall Back’ demonstrates that Canini is no one trick pony. After the first few panels I was ready for a “joke” but what played out was a story of love, loss and one man’s attempt, trough time travel, to save the love of his life. Again, for the first few pages I was waiting for a punch-line or an absurd gag turn. It never came and by the end I was throughly engaged it one man’s quest to save his first love. An oddly reminiscent and welcome take on, a sci-fi, Groundhog Day. Stylistically I would be hard pressed to even know that Canini wrote each story without checking the credits. Fall Back threw me off track but in the best way possible and I was prepared for anything by story number three.
Drunken Cat returns and can barely articulate what we are about to read next all while reminding us that this same publisher has a more well-known title called Ruffians. This bit of self-promotion is tounge-in-cheek but for an anniversary issue is less than unexpected and more than well-deserved.
What we get is a sci-fi, action, comedy called ‘Big Metal Robots’. Monsters are invading earth and luckily scientist have created three do-gooder big metal robots, Destructoborg, Pzzt and V-Chip, to protect the planet. What plays out is some fun robot vs monster action and a grandiose rant from leader Destructoborg. The ending serves as a cautionary tale of what can happen when even while they are protecting civilization big robots with big egos can fail humanity. Again it was not an ending I was expecting but funny and insightful nonetheless.
S#!T Talking Central