Page 45 Review by Stephen
Poor Cat Rackham!
Sometimes he's Too Sad To Sleep. He lies on his side, tears streaming down his face, matting his fur, until a gentle duck soothes him with a "Shhhh..."
"Shhhh..." she or he sings, patting Cat Rackham's poor, tired head. Then the duck sits on his face - nests on his noggin - and Cat Rackham falls sound asleep.
Eight panels, simple but affecting, and thoroughly cute.
In a three-page episode Cat Rackham Tosses And Turns late into the night by a camp fire and pulls off his jumper. A spider descends, disappearing into its folds. Gradually the fire burns low, then out and it grows very cold. Cat Rackham reaches for his jumper. The final, single, daylight morning panel is hilarious. Superb timing.
The strip I have for you here is Cat Rackham Gets Depression. Initially enchanted by the fluttering-by of a bright, white butterfly, once all alone he is seized by inertia. His body lists, leans over until he lies on the ground, open-eyed, motionless, quite, quite paralysed by depression. Night falls. Morning breaks. Spring arrives, autumn falls, then winter comes too, as time accelerates in ROBOT DREAMS fashion and Cat Rackham is buried under a thick blanket of snow.
When the snow melts Cat Rackham awakens to the tiny sound of two love bugs making out.
This pleases Cat Rackham enormously.
Now, everything so far is ever so gentle and cute. He even has his ear licked by a deer.
But if you read the interview with Steve Wolfhard conducted by his wife, it will colour each one of those strips ever so slightly and perhaps make them even more affecting for you.
And the colours are delightful. Fresh as a daisy.
None of this, however, prepared me for the central, extended story when Cat Rackham is sent in search of coffee by exuberant Jeremy The Squirrel and finds himself adopted by a little old lady. Except she's not very little. Her dressing gown bulges as if under pressure from tumours. They are not tumours. And suddenly we're in transgressive, Fantagraphics territory.