Tavisha Wolfgarth, Created by, Rikki Simons, Created by, Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons, Author . TokyoPop $9.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-59182-214-1

Few domestic cartoons have been as successful as Reality Check at attempting American manga-styled adventures. This series draws its setup from familiar elements: 10th-grader Collin Meeks escapes his humdrum life by putting on his TVR (True Virtual Reality) helmet and roaming the VIS (Virtual Internet System). However, giving proof to the adage "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog," Collin's cat, Catreece, gets into the act, putting on the helmet and surfing the VIS while Collin's at school. Once she's wearing the helmet, she becomes an irresistibly cute teenager. As readers might expect, hijinks of all kinds ensue: Catreece turns Collin's font database into a musical number, changes the outcome of an interactive TV show and embarrasses her owner to no end. Of course, she also becomes more popular than him in the virtual world, too. The Simonses elevate this work from mere pastiche by adding a sense of fun and imaginative details (e.g., in the scene called "Around the World in 80 Megabytes," Collin and Catreece take a virtual trip around the world while battling a virus composed of puffy cats and fighting Loopy, a firewalled superheroine of the computer world who looks like a pint-sized harlequin). Wolfgarth-Simons's art is notable, using elements of Disney, manga and other classic animation to create Catreece, a character with immense appeal. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 09/15/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
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