Graphic Novel Review: Cats of the Louvre by Taiyo Matsumoto

Cats of the Louvre (Louvre Éditions) by Taiyo Matsumoto. Translation and English adaptation by Michael Arias. Viz, 2019. 9781974707089. 432pp. Publisher’s Rating: T/Teen.

This is my favorite of these graphic novels that take place in / around the Louvre Museum in Paris, which have been released in English by various publishers. It has Matsumoto’s signature organic softness, both in terms of the ways he draws characters (cats and humans) and the way the plot moves forward. Basically there are cats in the Louvre, and they’re taken care of by one of those who patrols the museum at night, Monsieur Marcel. Marcel has been looking for his sister for a while — she disappeared in the museum when they were kids. We learn later in the book that he thinks she went into a painting. It’s not much of a surprise at that point because one of the little cats, the most mischievous among them, Snowbébé, who likes to roam the galleries at night and during the day, it’s clear he can go into the some of the paintings. There’s a spider who talks to the cats, a black cat who can’t stand Snowbébé, and a guide who seems to be losing her passion for what she does (but will rediscover it in the course of the book). The cats are depicted realistically when they’re around people, but as talking, anthropomorphized half-cats when they’re alone. It’s all kind of weird and fun, with a few sinister moments and a scary dog or two. The book also provides a chance to get to know a few of the artworks in the museum.


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