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Estes, Max – Coffee and Donuts



Coffee and Donuts


Hey, who’s up for a heist involving cats with pants? Well, shirts too, and one of them even has a pair of glasses on. You also may be thinking that the title and that image of a cop car on the cover have an obvious correlation, but you’d be wrong! And a little too quick to go with a stereotype, frankly. Anyway, this is another review of an older (2006) graphic novel in my continuing series of “oh, that person that I really like put out a graphic novel 5+ years ago and I somehow never heard of it? Huh.” reviews. This one starts off with two cats (Dwight and Jules) who are living in a dumpster, trying to find enough food to live on. They also have a mysterious benefactor who leaves (you guessed it) coffee and donuts on their dumpster lid every morning. Life goes on for these two until they notice that the same armored truck makes the same stop near their alley on a regular basis, and there’s only one guard to the truck, so they figure that it should be easy to rob. Not that they’re bad people (um, cats), but a bag of money would do wonders for their situation. Little do they know that two professional criminals have also come to the conclusion that this armored car would be easy to rob and they’re making their own plans. Well, Dwight and Jules get there first, and their heist attempt goes disastrously wrong, as you’d probably imagine regarding a heist planned by two homeless cats. This failed attempt is seen by the criminals and another mysterious observer who isn’t revealed until later, and the rest of the books deals with those two cats trying to get out of this increasingly dangerous predicament. This is all making the book sound like a serious, tense heist thriller, when this could actually be pretty easily be categorized as a children’s book. The danger never gets too serious and the characters do cartoon character moves, like jumping safely from a roof onto an overhang several stories below. But it is still an absolute blast, and it manages to be adorable without crossing that line over into obnoxious. And those flailing cat arms! Ridiculous and mesmerizing. It’s a complete shift in tone from Max’s first book (“Hello, Again”) and it’s well worth a look, unless you have moral problems with cats wearing pants. $10



Estes, Max – Hello, Again


Hello, Again

Three cheers to Top Shelf for doing these yearly-ish sales of a bunch of their stock. Hello, Again is something that I’ve seen at various stores for years, but the $10 price tag for something so tiny always scared me off. All that being said, this is a perfectly wonderful little tale about repeating the mistakes of the past, the power of secrets and the uncertain nature of trying to put things right. This starts off with Willy, our “hero”, having sex with a woman we soon discover is the fiancee of his unsuspecting best friend. He seems slightly tormented by this but is unwilling to stop until a man from his past comes along to talk some sense into the guy. Turns out this is just his conscience speaking in the form of a man he may or may not have killed in a childhood prank years ago, although the reality of the guy is left up in the air by a floating coffee cup. No, I’m not going to explain that any more clearly; read it for yourself if you’re curious. Brian Ralph wrote a nice blurb on the back, appropriate because this artwork reminds me more than a little of Brian. Max makes his own style though, with a lead character who seems physically incapable of any lasting happiness and eyes that are somehow densely expressive while appearing simplistic. It eventually eases towards a happy ending, but nothing is as simple as all that. I was thoroughly impressed by this, hefty price tag or not. You could always get it cheaper at Amazon or just wait for another one of these sales if you’re as cheap as I am… $10