Required Reading is DoomRocket’s love chest, where each week one of our contributors goes crazy over a book they just can’t seem to get enough of. Intrigued to find something new? Seeking validation for your secret passions? Required Reading gets you.
By Stefania Rudd. It’s been reported that at least half of today’s college graduates move back in with their parents after they finish school. It’s not that they want to, it’s just more economical as they navigate the “what next?” part of the real world, while trying to find a way to make a living from their passions. In Emet Comics’ Finding Molly: An Adventure in Catsitting, we meet recent art school graduate, Molly, in this exact situation.
Molly finds herself unemployed and tucked away in a suburb with her parents outside of Los Angeles, while her school friends seem to be living the big city life full of parties, creative collaboration, and yes, paychecks. It’s hard for Molly to not compare her situation to others and be a tad jealous. She’s also stuck in a creative rut, enough that she struggles to answer her supportive bestie’s question, “What are you creating right now, for you?” She has to find a way out of her parents’ home and into the cool, downtown loft space where her friends all seem to be thriving. She just needs a job to make it all possible.
In order to keep her creative juices flowing, Molly spends her days drawing her mother’s cat, Pishi, and posts them to her blog. When a wealthy woman, after finding her work online, commissions her to do a piece of her kitty, Aberdeen, Molly sees this as easy money. The woman also hires Molly to cat sit for a weekend, so naturally she turns that experience into a web comic, one that gets a lot of traction. Not only for her art but for other clients to hire her to cat sit. Molly has found the perfect balance between artistic fulfillment and commerce… right? Right.
Here’s the rub — Molly ends up with a lucrative enough cat sitting business, but she’s not pursuing the art she thought she would always create. Combine that with being an early 20-something who is also trying to balance romantic interests, friends, and new employment and it becomes apparent that Finding Molly isn’t just a big-hearted, sharp-witted comic book (though it is that), it is practically a treatise concerning the emotional survival for anyone who is or has gone through this stage of life.
The artistic team of Jenn St-Onge and Carey Pietsch do a beautiful job of helping to set the tone and mood of Prado’s story. The cute and very expressive work effortlessly allows the story and its characters to shine. Where the artwork really stands out is with the robust character details St-Onge provides, not just for the humans in this melodrama, but for the cats as well. Personalities are conveyed through the smallest, most innocuous things, such as a particular nail color, or a piercing, or the way a look is given when certain characters interact. Pietsch provides an exceptionally nice touch during the book’s flashbacks and dream sequences, where the colors become subdued in sepia-tinged shades. It provides a nice contrast for the vibrancy throughout the rest of the book.
Finding Molly: An Adventure in Catsitting is a really enjoyable, fun, and relatable book. It’s also a great read for anyone who is actively finding one’s way through a particularly difficult life change — like, say, graduating college. Hopefully, Emet Comics will see fit to set Molly (and her family and friends) on another adventure. As it stands, we could all benefit from spending a bit more time with this talented young artist, struggling to find a place in the creative wonderland that is Los Angeles.
Written and created by Justine Prado.
Art by Jenn St-Onge.
Colors by Carey Pietsch.
Letters by Joyana McDiarmid.