Grumpy Cat / Garfield #3
Written by: Mark Evanier
Art by: Steve Uy
Published by: Dynamite Entertainment

Review by Dean Zeller

This review contains spoilers of Grumpy Cat Garfield #3, by Dynamite Entertainment.

I absolutely jumped at the chance to review this guy. Unlike most of Dynamite’s characters, I have a personal history with three major aspects of the comic: Garfield, Grumpy Cat, and writer Mark Evanier. I enjoyed Garfield so much as a kid that I eventually got Garfield ghost-artist Gary Barker to draw a Hulk vs Garfield sketch, pictured below.

Meanwhile my love of Grumpy-Cat can be summed up with one Facebook picture I put together. I have always been able to make the grumpy-cat face. Many years as a kid, my brother and I would have contests to see who could make the grumpier face. He was always better at it, but he taught me well.

I’m the dude in the next to the cat. No, the other dude.

So yeah, this issue had the most pressure, and potential, to be awesome. I wish I had read issues #1 and #2, but I counted on Mark Evanier’s classy storytelling to keep me up to speed.

Before the review, a background of the creators. I have been a huge fan of Mark Evanier since 1992. The strange thing is I’m more of a fan of his weekly “Point of View” articles in the Comics Buyer’s Guide, before it went to a monthly format in 2004. It wasn’t until much later that I actually read his comics. He actually started in comics the year I was born, 1969. He was a production assistant for some guy in comics named Kirby or something. He is one comic artist with a lengthy listing on the Internet Movie Database as well as the Comic Book Database. Much of his work has been for television, writing for Welcome Back, Kotter, Plastic Man, and Thundarr the Barbarian. He also write 11 episodes of Garfield and Friends, giving him practice for this series. In comics, Evanier wrote titles such as Crossfire and DNAgents back in the day, he is best-known for his work with Sergio Aragonés on Groo the Wanderer and many other comedy series. My all-time favorite Evanier story was the Bugs Bunny Superman teamup, where the Looney-Toons characters actually team up with the Justice League to defeat Mr. Mxyzptlk and the Dodo. It had class, and remained true to all characters and universes. There is much more I could go on with Evanier’s career, as he’s one of my favorites.

My favorite Evanier work

Artist Steve Uy has been in the comic industry since 2001, starting with Marvel and DC doing various issues. I could not find any long-standing work that would define his career. However, he did the previous two Grumpy Cat series, so he was already familiar with the material.

On to the review! Starting with issue #3, the challenge was to catch me up on the story. Not always an easy task. Evanier was able to do it in only one page. The first page was four panels, showing Grumpy Cat before, Grumpy Cat after, Garfield before, Garfield after. I immediately surmised that the two of them had somehow been reversed, switched, or the opposite. I trusted that more info would come on the situation, but was enough for now, and it started out very well. As best friends Odie and Pokey are introduced, their confusion adds to the story and background. Garfield’s nemesis, Nermal, is naturally suspicious, thinking Garfield is just plotting something mean again. And then Odie thinks… well, he tries to think, but is unsuccessful. I love Odie.

Attention turns to the bad guys, who created a “conversion ray” to turn “cynical, dour cats into cheery puppy-like fools.” Okay, this ain’t the Watchmen. I’m not looking for serious plot, symbolism, and intense conflict. My suspension of disbelief can easily accept some kind of ray to turn angry cats happy. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the smartest of villains. His method of accountability is to fire people over and over again. His goons weren’t the smartest either, continuing to following his commands at every turn.

The general fun continued with the main characters, which I just loved. It was great when Grumpy-Cat was trying to read the Garfield comic-strip in the newspaper. I enjoy self-referencing style in comics.

The ending of the book was a wee-bit rushed, with a slightly-unsatisfactory ending. Yes, the bad guys didn’t get away with their evil scheme. Not because Team Gar-n-Grump worked together to defeat a more powerful enemy, but the reverse-effect simply wore off at an inopportune moment. I was hoping for a better ending, one that I could add to my mental stash of Evanier-isms, but it just wasn’t there. It certainly didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the jokes and the plot of the rest of the issue.

If Mark Evanier and Gary Barker ever do a Hulk/Garfield team-up, my life will be complete. (hint hint)

Overall, I loved it, and I’ll be picking up the first two issues. It was well worth the read.

RANK: A- / 4½ Stars Out Of 5 / Thumbs Up

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