Online artist and writer Matthew Inman (a.k.a The Oatmeal) released his second book in October, and a few friends and I went to his reading/signing stop in Kansas City. With our purchase of a ticket to the event, we each got a copy of the book, and stayed after for his autograph. At the event, Inman related a few humorous stories about his life and interests, including myriad animals, his befriending a neo-Nazi kid on the bus just to play his Gameboy, times with his girlfriend’s weird cat, and his parents’ one cat surviving a house fire. Ironically, Inman has never owned a cat himself… but you wouldn’t guess based on his astute collection of comics in How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You.
Mostly older comics found on his website with some new material, the book recognizes and celebrates the curious and often humorous behavior of house cats. It is sort of divided into thirds, with the middle third being devoted to his Bobcats characters. Personally, I liked the first and last parts of the book better than the Bobcats chapter, which kind of became stale and mean-spirited. There are a few more cat comics on The Oatmeal website I would have liked to see included in this collection, if even just to make it longer (you can easily read it in one short sitting).
Inman is obviously hyper-creative and his brand of over-the-top, ridiculous humor shines best when highlighting the irreverent in the mundane. My favorite pieces were the informational guides: “How to tell if your cat is a raging homosexual,” “6 ways to tell if your cat thinks its a mountain lion,” and “How kittens are plotting to take over the world.” It would make a great gift for cat lovers with a quirky sense of humor.
Read from November 28 to 29, 2012.