September 26, 2010

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The Quite Tame Times of Sir Fluffington McKitty: Bad Date

Written by Sean Kelley
Illustrated by Sean Kelley
Self-published

Sometimes I have to flip through a mini-comic to tell it's something I'm going to like. In other cases, the cover is all I need.

Please look at that cover to this text's left. Now tell me how anyone could pass that up if they saw it at a con. I mean, "Sir Fluffington McKitty?" A tuxedo cat with a bowler? Either might warrant an impulse purchase, but both together? How fast can I hand you my dollar bills?

Needless to say, I picked this one up quickly, and now that I've had time to read it, I'm very glad that I did. Sir McKitty's absolutely droll and mundane adventure is a study in British sketch humor, and it works extremely well on the printed page.

Our hat-wearing protagonist is ready for a night on the town with a new date. He's going to take her to the finest establishments, all to show his affection. But is she up to his standards, or is she just an alley cat looking for a mark? As the story progresses, it's clear that things just aren't going to work out quite right, and the punchline at the end is absolutely perfect.

Sir McKitty's upright stance and proper looks (his patterning even suggests a monocle) contrast so well with his date, and their reactions to the various events of the evening could not be more different. Kelley gives us just the right balance of dialog without overshadowing the pictures. That's a good thing, because his illustrations, such as the one at left, really make this mini-comic worthwhile.

It's hard to go wrong with a premise like Sir McKitty, but Kelley doesn't just leave it at that. This story, while short, has perfect pacing and action, just like a comedy sketch should. You could easily see this as an animated feature on a hip variety show, and I mean that as a compliment.

In addition, the production value is excellent. Despite heavy use of black ink, the pages all look crisp and clear, with no bleeding. I don't normally look at that, because I'm easy to please when it comes to comic production. But the job Kelley did here is so good, it would be a crime not to mention it.

The only thing I can find wrong is that Kelley is not selling these minis on his website. However, you can read an e-version here, along with other McKitty stories. If you are ever at a show where Kelley is producing minis, look up this tale of a night gone wrong. You'll be glad you did!