Top Shelf: IDW. May 2020. 128p. ISBN 9781603094634. $14.99. Rated: Teen+. humor
DEBUT Based on his syndicated French comic, Crapule, creator Deglin’s first full-length work is a cat book. Ask yourself—do you love cats? Are they irresistible and intriguing, even when they destroy your stuff, pick at their meals, claw you in the night, and hiss at their own shadow? Then you will see yourself, and most likely, a mercurial feline close to your heart, in this, a cat book for people who like cat books. The titular Rascal arrives uninvited, pent up in a box for a week and bursts onto the scene frazzled, neurotic, and clingy. He arrives as a tiny kitten, with all the electric energy that comes with that, and enough antics to fill multiple volumes. The four-panel format is quite obvious and at times a bit repetitive, but not dissimilar from the rigors of life with a predictably unpredictable pet. Deglin’s illustrations capture the paradox of the housecat, a statue one moment and a cyclone the next, in the surprisingly expressive form of a small black blotch on a blue-and-white page.
VERDICT Abundant with snapshots recognizable to cat lovers the world over, Rascal appeals unapologetically to its base, but may alienate foolish cat-shunning detractors.

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