REVIEW: Cat Girl – Volume One (2022)

A Comic by Ben Dunn

As my readers already know, one of the main things that I generally fund on Kickstarter are comic books. Many moons ago I grew tired of the “big two” names in superhero comics and started branching out into independent comics and four in comics of all kinds. Kickstarter is a hotbed for some of the best underground and underfunded comic companies working right now. Yeah, there’s a lot of amateur rough that you have to get through to find those proverbial diamonds, but when you do they’re generally pretty fun. I’m not going to say that today’s topic is an instant classic, nor does it break the mold in any way in the genre of superhero comics, but for a staple of many a Comic Con such as Ben Dunn to still be cranking out indy titles in 2022 is quite the feat. Ben was one of the founders of Antarctic Press, a comic producer that specialized in Western homages to Japanese Manga. Known for his long-running series’, Ninja High School and The Marvel Manga-Verse, he’s at it yet gain with a new superhero comic – Cat Girl.

“From the Golden Age to the Modern Age we are proud to present an all new hero for an all new generation! Introducing the mysterious and vivacious female feline known as: THE CAT-GIRL! We hope you will join us in her all new adventures as she begins her journey in battling evil and discovering her destiny! From the pages of the Golden Age is the hero known as THE CAT-MAN! Over the years he has made many enemies and they have come for him. His daughter, Katie, is not aware that her dad has been moon-lighting as the crime fighting CAT-MAN until his enemies finally catch up to him. Will she be able to step up to the mantle and save her father? Find out in this exciting new debut with what we hope will be an on going series!”

On its surface Cat Girl is not necessarily the most imaginative comic out there – the character’s origin is vaguely similar to the Halle Berry Catwoman movie with a spunky teen heroine in the place of the brooding whip-cracking anti-hero. This is then blended with something that reminded me a little bit of the series Kick-Ass (Hit-Girl especially), in that an established “old-school” superhero is ostensibly training his own daughter to follow in his footsteps after fate intervenes on her untimely death granting her special gifts. in this comic, we find out that Cat-Man, the aforementioned costumed vigilante, takes his power from a pact that he made with the Egyptian goddess Bast. She traded relief from an untimely death in exchange for being in her service. That means that whoever is in this position has the abilities and strength of an Egyptian goddess AND the nine lives that we know cats are supposed to have. Cat-Man’s daughter ends up in a similar situation and also takes the oath becoming a miniature version of him in a lot of ways. I think this dynamic will be the most interesting thing about this comic moving forward, seeing if they retain this father daughter relationship throughout.

I think the only thing I did not particularly enjoy about this comic is portions of the art. Ben Dunn always had somewhat of a classic anime inspired style that Lynn did itself well to some of the comics that he did such as Robotech and Captain Harlock. Well, I have not kept up with his comics too much since picking up a copy signed of one called Agents at Project A-Kon Nearly two decades ago, I could tell that he has changed his style considerably due to tinkering with digital art. In many ways done is really good with this format, and in other ways I would prefer more of a traditional approach. Small things like Cat-Man’s 5:00 o’clock shadow looking like someone scribbled in him MS Paint on his face Were a little bit distracting.

Overall, I still enjoy this comic despite its flaws and would not mind reading more to see where he goes with it. It breaks no new ground, nor does it excel artistically in many ways, but it has a heart that you don’t really see sometimes in modern comics, and I respect it for that. While Ben Dunn’s name does not hold the same sort of prestige as many of his larger company-based contemporaries, you have to respect the guy for getting out there and producing his own comics for upwards of forty years now. While I probably paid more for this than I would have had I picked it up in an actual comic store, I feel like this was a solid investment and being part of the project that got this out into the world is always a good feeling.

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