Notables 2010: Anuj Shrestha’s American Cat

Anuj Shrestha, American Cat (read it online!). Rabid Rabbit, no. 10, 2009.

Anuj Shrestha’s “American Cat” —from a feline-themed issue of the anthology Rabid Rabbit— uses a visual strategy taken from Art Spiegelman’s Maus to paint a sad, bitter portrait of the lives of bottom-of-the-rung immigrants. The anthromorphicism is handled subtly and is counterbalanced with economically descriptive drawings of city life. There a somnabulistic quality to the lead character as he numbly makes his way to his new job, even as his thoughts turn increasingly to anger and spite. Then the last page takes an unexpected turn that is more devastating than the violent (but more facile) conclusion you might be expecting.

Age: high school

Read the rest of the comic.

What is this “Notable” thing all about? Matt and Jessica are the series editors for the Best American Comics, and are responsible for the Notable Comics list at the back of the book, which is comprised of virtually all the comics we sent to the guest editor that weren’t picked, as well as a number of others that we think are noteworthy for various reasons, but that we didn’t send to the guest editor.

We’ve always hoped readers will delve a bit into the list to find more great stories once they finish reading BAC. Realistically, though, we know that’s tough. What can you know about a story from a title and author? So this is one of a series of posts focusing on each of the Notables from the 2010 Best American Comics.

Have or know of a comic we should look at? Find submission info here.

The “age” suggestion is what we think might be the minimum age for reading and appreciating a work. All works on the list, though, should appeal to older audiences too. It’s a minimum suggestion only.



1 Comment to Notables 2010: Anuj Shrestha’s American Cat

  • by J T Guerrero

    On April 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I was expecting the owner to say, “I get a cut before you take a cut!” Excellent storytelling. I wasn’t expecting a violent ending – a lot of the immigrants have too many family members depending on them back home. If he exploded, he would have lost his job and no money to send back home. Still, a sad commentary but I’ve known a lot of immigrants who have struggle yet have improved their lives despite the harsh conditions.

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