Cats probably shouldn’t play the fiddle. This feels like it’s common knowledge. After all, these creatures fair best when hunting mice, lazing about, and generally being superior to every creature on earth. Yet OVER THE GARDEN WALL #17 attempts to change this fiddle-less image for cats with this cute single issue story. Written by Kiernan Sjursen-Lien with art by Jorge Monlongo, the issue invokes fairy tale-esque charm with the rustic imagery OVER THE GARDEN WALL is known for.

Once Upon a Time, A Cat Played the Fiddle

OVER THE GARDEN WALL #17 starts with Fred the Horse telling us wanderers a story. This story centers around a young black cat. He doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of his family. After all, he stands on two legs and has little interest in hunting mice. In fact, when given the opportunity to feast on delicious rodent flesh, he instead chooses to gaze upon an old fiddle. In that moment, the Cat realizes that music is his true passion in life.

Courtesy of Boom Studios

Unfortunately, he can’t play to save his life. Ever the supportive family, his parents, and siblings encourage him to play to his heart’s content. Just nowhere near their home.  So the Cat sets off into town. He tries playing in a band and gets kicked out. The Cat plays for tips, only for people to suggest he stop playing. No matter what the Cat does, it seems as though his love of music could never love him back.

READ: Need to catch up on the previous issues? Check out OVER THE GARDEN WALL VOLUME 2 to see what your favorite character’s antics! 

The world of OVER THE GARDEN WALL #17 would never give this cat a break. At first, it felt sad seeing this small, adorable kitty try so hard at something he was just not good at. However, over time, it almost grew comedic how many instances it seemed like he’d finally learn how to play, only to fail once more. Yet the Cat never gives up. No matter how badly he plays or how cruel his audience’s criticisms are, he knows this is his passion and keeps trying his hardest. This endeared me to him quickly. After all, I think everyone knows what it’s like to feel passionate about a hobby yet not really have any skill with it.

Only a Oneshot for OVER THE GARDEN WALL #17

For those of you hoping to see the continuation of the hero frog story, I’m sorry to say this isn’t the issue for you. Which, honestly, can appear as a huge issue for some fans. They fell in love with Wirt and Greg. It makes absolutely no sense that the stories that carry the series’ name don’t often follow its central characters.

Yet for me, I didn’t see it that way. I didn’t feel like OVER THE GARDEN WALL ever really had a central “protagonist” to it. It seemed more important, to me anyway, that the stories told vignette style in the show carried the same tone. This story matches the semi-creepy folkloric vibe that the series made a name for itself on. Yes, I love watching Greg sing about potatoes and molasses and Wirt compose overly dramatic poems about the meaninglessness of life. Yet at the same time, I feel like those characters alone don’t make the show. Seeing the world live beyond them feels satisfying to me.

READ: Want another diversion from the main OVER THE GARDEN WALL series? Check out these stories about the Woodsman’s daughter! 

However, this leniency will only last for so long. If the series wants to go on, they’re going to have to eventually get back to these fan favorite characters or risk plummeting into irrelevance. After all, people want what they’re promised on the advertising; they want more Greg and Wirt. For them, these two keep them coming back to the series. This book won’t appeal to long-time fans as much as it will appeal to people curious about what OVER THE GARDEN WALL is about. In the end, this one-shot works as a stand alone story, yet it’s showing how far the series is willing to venture from the original characters that people know and love.

Rustic Town and a Cat in Overalls

The art of OVER THE GARDEN WALL #17 varies drastically from the previous ones. Not that that’s a bad thing. I actually quite liked the flatter designs that seemed almost abstracted. The colors used lack the spookiness of some of the previous installments, yet those designs weren’t needed. In fact, the overall look of the comic reminded me of this huge book of fairy tales I used to have when I was a kid. Thus, these images helped set the tone that Fred the Horse merely wished to tell us travelers a story for entertainment, not to scare the living daylights out of us.

Courtesy of Boom Studios

OVER THE GARDEN WALL #17 does not continue the story of the previous issues. Rather, it instead broadens the world as a whole, showing that while we tend to follow Wirt and Greg, many more stories occur all around us. It’s the perfect issue to give readers a sense of what a story taking place in the OVER THE GARDEN WALL universe feels like without spoiling anything from either the show or the main comic series. The story lacks a whole lot of depth, nor does it read as particularly ground breaking. Still, it’s a cute story that should warm even the coldest of hearts of readers everywhere.

OVER THE GARDEN WALL #17 by Kiernan Sjursen-Lien and Jorge Monlongo
A delightful little story in the OVER THE GARDEN WALL UNIVERSE. Despite not involving the main characters, it's satisfying nonetheless.
87 %
As enjoyable as a YouTube cat video

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