It’s still technically Wednesday. Right?
Katie Cook is a shortish blonde lady with an impish grin. She loves cats, wine, and swearing at hotel clerks. She’s basically a foul mouthed muppet without the green fuzz, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Katie is a well regarded illustrator who has been steadily working her way up the comics ladder since I met her at San Diego Comic Con seven or eight years ago. Despite all the work she does, and all the shows (so many) that she attends, she still has time to make weekly updates to her webcomic, Gronk.
Gronk is the story of a wee monster so adorable it couldn’t bear to be scary. Gronk turned away from the world of monstering and decided to live with Dale, a young woman who composes music from her rural home in British Columbia. Gronk appears to spend most of the comic attempting to alternately explore the human world, and frustrate Dale. Gronk is frequently aided by Dale’s two pets, a slobbering rotund Newfoundland dog, and a smaller than average cat.
Gronk is a good comic. It’s well paced with endearing characters. Katie manages to deliver two characters that are very different, but still manage to be avatars for the creator. The comic laid out as a four panel gag strip, but still follows an overall continuity arc. By and large, with the possible exception of some slightly naughty language, Gronk is an all ages comic, something of a rarity in webcomics.
You may have noted that I’ve not spoken specifically of the art yet. Gronk is well illustrated in a style that is easily recognizable as Katies’s work which combines a soft rounded animated style of rendering with exaggerated features. It’s a good style that manages to succinctly deliver the material with subtleties that I think are often overlooked. Artists are kind of a catty bunch, and I’ve heard Katie’s style derided as to “cutsey” or “simplistic” and I can see where someone might get that impression with a quick glance. Take a closer look though. Katie underneath the curvy arms and stumpy fingers is an acute understanding of anatomy and form. Not a lot of people seem to know this, but Katie has a BFA in Illustration from the College For Creative Studies and studied medical and technical illustration. Katie is, by no means, just a cutesy cartoonist infatuated with pop culture.