Thursday, June 13, 2013


[DEPT. OF FULL DISCLOSURE:  I know Kevin Bandt, and I consider him a friend.  That said, I do not give out favorable reviews due to bias.  Luckily, I’ve never had to trash a friend yet.  I think that’s because I’m really good at meeting and befriending talented people.]

The cover is deceptive at first.  Artists Alley is usually filled with cutsey covers involving girls, kitties, and kitschy ‘Fifties elements.  The cover of CAT-LE DRIVERS #1 has all of these things . . . with a twist.  If you look at it more than three seconds, you’ll realize that the woman with the weird hairstyle is holding a platter with a roasted cat on it, as if she’s about to serve it up to the reader.

Yep, it’s that kind of book.

In the future, a terrible thing called the Hoof and Mouth Plague of 2019 has wiped out all sources of beef.  That’s right, goodbye steaks and cheeseburgers.  (That’s a scary thought on its own.)  Where does America turn to for its carnivorous needs?

Cats.  Cats the size of longhorns.

By now, the title of this book is probably making more sense to you.  Think of it as a modern-day RAWHIDE, but instead of cattle, you have cats, and instead of horse-riding cowboys, you have the Cat-LE Drivers who ride ATV’s.  Rachel, Lincoln, Sally, and Jan have all been hired by Mr. Morris to run herd on a group of 12 cats, driving them to a Missouri restaurant.  There’s just one problem:  they don’t exactly face the same dangers as Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates did.  No, it would seem that America has a bit of a vampire problem . . . .

How fucking impressive is that?!  It’s one of the most unusual books to be found in Artists Alley.  Writer and artist Kevin D. Bandt has pulled out all the stops on this one.  Considering how strange the future is, it takes a masterful touch to explain that kind of world.  Bandt eases us into it by starting off with a commercial for Cat Meat, Inc., which describes the world completely.  Best of all, he has the main characters ridicule it after it plays.  Even the art leaps dynamically off the page.  Check out how awesome the vampire on the last page looks.  Nasty, vile, and shockingly enough for a book with so much humor to it, a little unnerving.

The only weakness is Bandt’s insistence on using %@$* symbols instead of actual curse words.  Chances are pretty good that kids aren’t reading this book, so you might as well cut loose, right?

If you walked through Artists Alley this year at C2E2, and you didn’t pick this book up, you’re a fool.  After all, Bandt was giving it away for free, as per his understanding of POST-postmodernism as described in the back matter of the issue.  Hunt it down here, and to quote a great man, “Head ‘em up!  Move ‘em out!”  And don’t forget to check out the recipe for cat on the last page!

Written and illustrated by Kevin D. Bandt
Published by Kevin D. Bandt and Megan E. Bandt
20 pages

FREE!  (At least, the black and white version is.)

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