Graphic novels are not my regular reading material but I like to read one now and then because I find them to be a very different experience. If you would like a really different experience, read Alias the Cat by Kim Deitch. I decided to read this one because it has a cat in it named Waldo! I thought Waldo would just be a minor part of the story since Alias the Cat is not Waldo but a sort of vigilante dressed up in a cat suit. But, it turns out that Waldo is behind everything that happens in the novel.
I’m not quite sure how to describe Alias the Cat to you. It begins sedately enough with Kim Deitch and his wife talking about their stuffed cat toy collection from the 1920s and 30s and how they like to go to rummage sales looking for antique cat toys. And eBay. They spend a lot of time on eBay. One day they happen to come across a booth a the local flea market where a guy was selling stuffed toys. There was a black stuffed cat, Waldo the Cat, that they wanted but the guy would only sell it for $1,000. They wouldn’t pay it but got a long story from the guy about where the toy came from. I won’t go into details but it had to do with a dessert island and the real Waldo the Cat enslaving the island’s natives to make Waldo dolls.
Then Waldo disappears, sort of. He keeps popping up now and then through the middle part of the story. The middle part mainly focuses on Alias the Cat. The Cat was a comic strip newspaper serial long ago but it turns out the serial was based on events that happened it real life. It’s a whole weird mystery that finally gets unravelled at the end by Waldo. And Waldo, it turns out, is actually an invisible cat demon that only crazy people and the occasional sage can see.
The story was pretty good. I liked that there were twists in the plot that I didn’t see coming (don’t worry, I haven’t revealed any spoilers in the above). As for the art, it is pretty good too. It’s all black and white and fairly detailed. Deitch is a good artist. Waldo looks like a mildly demented cartoon cat. And the costume of Alias the Cat appropriately reflects the slightly insane mind of the person who wears it. Everything combined well to make Alias the Cat an enjoyable read. I will count it a successful foray into the genre of graphic novels.