Alley Cat: Cats on Bikes (with Ninjas) by Danno Klonowski, Steve Stwalley, Kevin Cannon, Zak Sally, Anders Nilsen, etc.

Categories:  Reviews

Alley Cat: Cats on Bikes (with Ninjas)
Danno Klonowski, Steve Stwalley, Kevin Cannon, Zak Sally, Anders Nilsen, etc.
VAS Littlecrow

SchmapplesI wonder. Maybe it’s not fair for me to review this anthology. Maybe being a contributor forces me to be a partial reader. Maybe I can’t be critical of something that came about in the way Alley Cat: Cats on Bikes (with Ninjas) has come about: a tribute anthology to a friend of mine who passed away. On the other hand, maybe I’m the perfect person for the job: close enough to the project to know it exists but removed enough from the contributors to have something genuine to say. I’ll try, at least, to be fair. But my first and last impressions have remained the same: this is a good anthology.

I tend to get excited about anthologies in the same way I got excited about themed essay assignments in high school. They’re kind of a chore, but I like to see what unique ideas people come up with when working on a common theme. Topics and deadlines can challenging to a person’s creativity and generate unexpected things. I view anthologies as smarty-pants and talent fisticuffs for the totally dorked-out. An anthology, like a themed essay, can be absolutely good or bad depending on the person in command of the story, and because everyone who contributed to Eric Lappegard’s tribute anthology was quite familiar with him and his five basic interests (cats, vegans, ninjas, beer and comics), the book delivers an unusual amount of artists who actually “get” what they’re talking about.

The telltale weakness of an anthology doesn’t apply to Alley Cat. Independently published anthologies are usually desperate for more contributors, thus preferring quantity to quality. Those are the books that tend to deliver more misses than hits.

With Alley Cat, the field was open temporarily to a relatively small group of people connected to a certain person by the same ties that bring together these stories. (Was that a little word-heavy?) Sum up: every contributor knew Eric, this incredible guy, and loved him for the same reasons: cats, bikes, veganism, beer, ninjas, comics. Everybody could relate to the subject matter because they could all understand what drove their good friend Eric, and it shows. By beer two and Andy Sturdevant’s comic “A quick word about bikes…” I was bawling.

There are touching comics and funny ones, comics that translate easily and others that are meant just for Eric’s friends. Everything combined makes Alley Cat worth reading for the variety, not to mention the artwork, which is diverse and ranges from multiple-page comic stories to sketches of cats to illustrations of girls on bikes.

Original artwork from the book was sold off to the highest bidder at a benefit last weekend held at Altered Esthetics in Minneapolis. $6000 was raised at the event. Contributors to the anthology include: Anders Nilsen, Zak Sally, Will Dinski, Kevin Cannon, Maxeem Konrardy, Steven Stwalley, Bob Lipski, Tim Sievert, Danno Klonowski, Ken Avidor, Andy Singer, ETC.

Also, not to guilt you or anything, but precedes from the book go to help Eric’s family pay off the hospital bills racked up before hope for his recovery was lost. I encourage you to contact Michael Drivas at Big Brain Comics if you’d like to grab a copy.

Sarah Morean

4 Comments to “Alley Cat: Cats on Bikes (with Ninjas) by Danno Klonowski, Steve Stwalley, Kevin Cannon, Zak Sally, Anders Nilsen, etc.”

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