Daily Archives: June 23, 2008

The Webcomic Overlook #46: Sequential Art

Catgirls: hot or not?

Most anthropomorphic creations look too inhuman to be sexy. I suppose I have a certain amount of … well, respect isn’t the right word. Astonishment? Disbelief? … for afficianados who can look at a curious amalgamation of female body parts and snouts, jowls, or beaks and find it attractive. Yet, I’ll make an exception to catgirls. Not all catgirls, mind. Generally, the fewer overt feline cues, the better. Anything with whiskers is a tota turn-off, and if the catgirl starts lapping a bowl of milk or playing with a ball of yarn, then I’m calling the cab and going home. Most renditions, though, barely look like cats at all. Rather, they look like humans with round faces, pointy ears, and button noses, and you can totally ignore that last one if you imagine that it’s actually a stylized rendition of a human nose.

The Japanese obsession with catgirls is well-documented. It’s like you can’t watch an anime series without at least one character showing up with a mournful “Nyoron~!” (For the advanced course, Theoretics of Catgirls II (CAT201), we will be studying whether or not Japan’s low percentage of cat ownership suppresses deep-seated affection that translates into a nationwide obsession with catgirls.) While you may be tempted to poke an laugh at Japan and snobbishly claim moral superiority, I should point out that we in the West are not above expressing cat love. Batman’s ladyfriend is the most famous example. Rival Marvel sports several from Black Cat to Tigra, but X-Men magna cum laude Chris Claremont came closest to developing the anthropomorphic furry ideal with Hepzibah of the Starjammers*. Cleo from Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats, Jenny from Bucky O’Hare, Felicia from Darkstalkers … they’re all pretty cool. If you wanted to take your obsession to unspeakable depths, there’s Omaha the Cat Dancer. A certain saucy minx has also captured the imaginations of the typically snippy Comics Curmudgeon readers even inspiring more than a few to wear a fairly questionable shirt that portrays Cassandra Cat in a bikini. (Not that I’m one to talk: behold my own Cass-inspired YouTube video scored to Steve Ibsen’s “Kitty Cat Dance.”)

So why does the central relationship between the human Art and the catgirl Kat Vance feel so very, very wrong? That’s just one of many questions I tackle in today’s review of Phillip M. Jackson’s webcomic, Sequential Art.

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