OK, first, I have to preface this glowing recommendation with the admission that I probably wouldn’t be writing this review out if I didn’t have a chance to win something out of it. Nonetheless, the comic in question is worth the effort, even without an incentive. Therefore, I feel that I’m somewhat redeemed.
Anyway, first I’ll drop some basic information. But I’m a Cat Person’s author is Erin Ptah, known as: SailorPtah on DeviantArt or bicatperson here on Tumblr. The comic’s second anniversary was this February, so Erin is trying to get the word out. As both an old friend and a great writer, I felt obligated to oblige her.
BICP is the story of Bianca Washington, Sparrow Applebaum, and their contracted Being, Patrick. Beings are magical, well, beings that exist in a parallel universe to our own. The Beings have basic animal forms, but they can take the forms of any animals or humans. Beings are perpetually in a state of competition known as The Game. The Game appears to have no real rhyme or reason outside of amusing the human Masters of the Beings, but recent developments in the comic seem to indicate some sort of meaning to The Game outside of keeping bored millionaires and young women occupied.
Patrick, as the story’s main Being, has a shrouded history rife with abuse from his last Master and many millennia of fighting in The Game. Along with Patrick are Cybele, the cute rabbit Being whose Master is the Stephen Colbert proxy Arthur Bennett; the Raven Poe, whose Master Miranda is Patrick’s last Master’s daughter, Reseda, a cat Being with the sweet Timothy as her Master; the Tiger, media mogul Ann Walker’s Being, and most recently Kara Lynn, young and temperamental Jany’s Being and girlfriend.
As far as humans are concerned, the above Masters join Bianca and Sparrow as well as several supporting characters like Sparrow’s boss and her mother. There are also the usual “bad” people in Arthur Bennett, Miranda’s father, and others. However, Erin has a way of stirring murky waters as far as characterization is concerned; we won’t know who is truly malevolent until the last page, I suspect.
Concisely, The cast of BICP is extremely fleshed-out and varied. In fact, Bianca, the co-main character of the comic, is a person of color, as is Cybele, Miranda, Poe, and many other characters. Part of what drew me to BICP is the fact that it doesn’t star nothing but attractive, straight, white people. Besides many ethnicities and races, there is representation of nearly every sexual orientation and body type—though I’m holding out hope for a truly BBW at some point.
The story itself kept me around. Although you’d expect your typical “collect ‘em all” fare from the premise of BICP, the comic is anything but. Both a parody and a deconstruction of the genre, so far there is no real point to Beings and The Game. Bianca and Sparrow are not gunning to be PokeBeing Masters or the saviors of the DigiBeing world. They just happened to have contracted with a Being who needed somewhere to go. The story is deepening every page, but that alone is a refreshing taste.
Besides The Game and its purpose, BICP does a great job of focusing on interpersonal relationships. Even a relationship as simple as Bianca and Sparrow is more complex than at first glance. They’re best friends and roommates, but there’s history there. Sparrow helped Bianca through some heavy stuff during their Sophomore year—stuff the readers still don’t know. As well, Bianca is bisexual and Sparrow is a lesbian, so there IS a possibility of romance in the future, though compatible friends who stay just friends seems to be the path that they’re taking, and that’s refreshing as well. Then there’s Patrick’s subservient relationship to Bianca (which we’re seeing is NOT how all Beings act), Miranda’s relationship with her father who drove Patrick away, Bianca’s relationship with Miranda as Miranda fights to retrieve Patrick—there’s so much more to this tale than your typical fighting comic.
However, a comic is a visual medium, so I feel that I must also sound off on the artwork of the story. Erin has a neat way of only coloring eyes, hair, and important items of note. The style leads the eye to the things that matter, like the characters’ special trinkets or those oh-so-cliché “lipid pools.” The artwork itself is unique, though I occasionally feel that the characters models aren’t always as uniform as could be. Sparrow’s prodigious nose, for example, might seem bigger or smaller in one scene compared to another. However, generally, Erin gets the characters down well, and the comic is always alive with backgrounds and details that many other comic artists lack. Some people might be put off by that—you silly minimalists—but I personally feel like the world of BICP is more “real” with the extra details.
Overall, I can truthfully say with truthiness that But I’m a Cat Person is one of my favorite comics. Erin utilizes a strong sense of equality to create interesting characters in a unique world. The story is dark and light, serious and hilarious. I highly recommend it (even if I don’t win the points).