cover image The Great Catsby: Volume 1

The Great Catsby: Volume 1

. NETCOMICS, $17.99 (211pp) ISBN 978-1-60009-000-4

At one point in this thoughtful and comic funny-animal manhwa (Korean for comics), Doha offers an image of a rip in the delicate wing of a butterfly. Will it fly despite its injury, or ""plump down""? This is the question that Catsby, an unemployed and depressed college grad, must ask himself as he struggles to overcome despondency after his longtime girlfriend, Persu, leaves him for an older, richer man. Until then Catsby was apathetically content with his life, permanently crashing in the ""penthouse""-really his best friend Houndu's squalid bachelor apartment. But when Persu leaves, Catsby is forced to face the emptiness and torpor of his life. Doha chronicles the angst and social dilemmas that accompany this transition from youth to adulthood and all the bad habits-heavy drinking and nights forgotten in the haze of the morning's hangover-that go with it. Despite a sometimes awkward translation, Catsby's self-pitying monologues have a poetic rhythm to them; a stream of consciousness narration portraying a young man's obsessive lingering on his own pitiful situation. First published as a web comic, the story does not translate seamlessly into book form. Page layouts can seem disjointed and yet the meandering fall of the panels on the page reflect the indolent lifestyle of the characters. Doha's often hilarious color drawings (almost everybody's a cat) are infused with a rich humanity and vivid, expressive faces. This is an honest delineation of the anxiety of youth wrapped in the innocent style of anthropormorphic animals.