- Posted by Johanna on July 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Reed Waller and Kate Worley with James Vance
- PUBLISHER: NBM; $15.99 US
How exciting! The final volume of the Omaha the Cat Dancer collections is now available!
The series was originally published from 1984-1995, and the NBM collected editions began appearing in 2005. I wrote about Volume 6 in 2007, and Volume 7 came out five years ago. This final book contains new material, concluding the series.
The history of the story is checkered. Artist Reed Waller and writer Kate Worley worked on the series together while together. Then they split up. When they finally were able to agree to work on the series again, cancer struck Kate. Her widower, James Vance, has worked with Reed to complete the story, based on Kate’s notes. Along the way, Omaha the Cat Dancer also spurred the creation of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, as the owner of Friendly Frank’s comic store was arrested for carrying the title (along with others), and his defense led to the establishment of the fund.
Under it all, Omaha persevered (much like the namesake character). Many people don’t like the idea of an explicit furry sex comic, but there are a number of reasons to read the series:
* It’s an engrossing soap opera with a wide-ranging cast of characters.
* The art is very well-done. The figures are lovely and expressive.
* Sex is a part of most people’s lives, so creating stories that involve it makes sense for adult readers. And the sex isn’t aimed just at the male reader; it’s entertaining for everyone. (The plots include same-sex relationships and alternatives to monogamy as well.) This is erotica more than porn.
* There’s a certain tawdry appeal to reading the adventures of a rich kid and his stripper girlfriend fighting crooked politicians, along the lines of “it’s dramatic and entertaining, but I’m sure glad it’s not me”.
* The writing is emotionally poignant, funny and frustrating and realistic.
* The creators aren’t ashamed of their content, as can be seen by the nudity used on the covers (which I block for posting here).
Vance’s introduction gives a history of the title and makes the reader feel how missed Worley is. It’s impressive, what the men struggled with to conclude this series, more than 30 years after it started. Dave Sim might win the title for longest and most determined self-published comic, but Omaha the Cat Dancer is much more fun and human as an artist’s significant, consuming accomplishment.
The “story so far” page checks in with all the major plotlines, but I saw its release as an excuse to reread the previous books and re-familiarize myself with the cast. Omaha and Chuck are waiting for her divorce to come through to relieve the tension she’s feeling. Huddle and Shelley have broken up over his jealousy of her girlfriend (she’s bi). Meanwhile, everyone is trying to prevent a redevelopment effort from destroying the clubs and bars and strip joints they love in their old neighborhood. By the end, there’s a happy ending for almost everyone, which is a lovely way to wrap up a life’s work. (The publisher provided a review copy.)