Cat Rackham

To know a cat is to love a cat, and to know Cat Rackham is to love Cat Rackham. Perennially depressed and clad in a green T-shirt, Cat is the anthropomorphic emblem of a certain type of being: striving, scheming and wondering about the point of it all. Throughout his exploits, he charms, a credit to Adventure Time artist Steve Wolfhard's keen eye for the liminal space between absurdity and humanity.

This collection of short episodes falls decidedly to the adult end of the spectrum, despite its often bombastic, caricaturish style. In one instance, prompted by his chipper buddy Jeremy the squirrel, Cat Rackham searches high and low for coffee, only to find a cabin nestled in the middle of the forest. There, he's immediately scooped up by a certifiable cat lady (this reviewer doesn't use that term lightly) and housed alongside an obese and pampered fellow feline. When Cat schemes his way onto the counter (using the other cat as a stepstool, naturally), he's caught in the act, and discovers that the mistress of the house plans to assemble him into a bathrobe made of other (live) strays.

Outlandish, humorous and tenderly rendered, Cat Rackham's most winsome element is its candid confrontations with mental health. The most moving frames are wordless, depicting the titular kitty as he descends into depression throughout the seasons, only to be reinvigorated by a glimpse at mundane love. It's a lesson Cat Rackham imparts effectively: that sometimes, the simplest, silliest pleasures are the ones that keep us going. --Linnie Greene, freelance writer

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