Le Chat ("The Cat") is a Belgian comedy comic strip-style (though still considered a traditional comedy comic book in Europe) series by Philippe Geluck, that started in 1983. It is notable for having a very simple, almost minimalistic art style but having very well-written humor.
It stars an anthropomorphic cat wearing a suit, tie and glasses. Most of the comics are him making a speech on many subjects and coming to a conclusion. There are many variations, and some installments don't include The Cat at all, often showing old-timey engraving realistic art with very dissonant humor dialogue/captions.
Le Chat contains examples of:
- Art-Style Dissonance: Some old encyclopedic realistic art is sometimes used with humorous dialogue, caption or a graphical modification.
- Bait-and-Switch: A common kind of humor in the three panels strips is to have the third panel subvert the joke the first two set up.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal: The Cat wears a suit and tie, but no shoes.
- Boring Vacation Slideshow: In one strip, The Cat says heaven is full of old people telling each other about their time on Earth. In hell, it's the same, except everyone has slideshows.
- Brutal Honesty: One page is about The Cat and his wife eating with a family of fans who won a "dinner with The Cat" contest. During the entire visit, The Cat and his wife bluntly tell the family how they hate being here, how ugly the house is, how disgusting the food is and how they wish to never see them again (it's the second time the family won the contest), though the family don't seem to mind the insults.
- The Comically Serious: The Cat, of course.
- Creator Cameo: Philippe Geluck often appears in the comics.
- Cue Card Pause:
- In one strip, the Cat is reading a newspaper, headlined "THE PRESIDENT BEATS HIS WIFE". He then unfolds the paper, letting us read the rest of the sentence: "AT SCRABBLE".
- Another has a back-and-forth switch with Roger, the unseen barkeep:The Cat: The government is struggling...
Roger: Got that right.
The Cat: to give emergency financial aid...
Roger: I take that back.
The Cat: to bankrupt real estate developers.
Roger: I'll repeat what I just recanted.
- Deadpan Snarker: Very deadpan.
- A Dog Named "Dog": The main character is a cat named The Cat.
- The Faceless:
- We never see the face of Roger, the recurring barkeep. The only exceptions are in some strips that use encyclopedia images, but his looks are inconsistent because the images are different every time.
- When The Cat interacts with beautiful human women, they are usually drawn just from the back. The Cat explains that this is because the artist is bad at drawing women's faces.
- Feels No Pain: In the comic where The Cat is a butcher who mutilates his own body to sell meat, he doesn't react at cutting his limbs and continues having a friendly conversation with an offscreen customer.
- Furry Reminder: While The Cat acts like an human, he sometime eats mice, even though they have human-like sentience too.
- Insult to Rocks: According to The Cat, the expression "Man is a wolf to Man" is mean to wolves and should be changed to "Man is a Man to Man", but then he says that it would be too harsh for Man.
- Interspecies Romance: The Cat sometimes dates human women.
- Let's Meet the Meat: One full-page comic has The Cat as a butcher, who serves his own body to a customer, cutting his tail, then his legs, then his arm, then inserting his whole body in a meat grinder.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: The Cat likes to make big profound speeches about stuff, but often just says nonsensical bullshit.
- Kuleshov Effect: One comic has a drawing depicting The Cat's head nine time, each with the same deadpan face. But each head has a different emotion written under it which indicates what The Cat is really feeling on each which are: boredom, quietude, frankness, desire, contained anger, honesty, intense thinking, doubt and gluttony.
- Look-Alike Lovers: When The Cat's wife appears in early comics, she tends to be drawn as a female clone of him. She has a more distinct appearance in later comics.
- Losing Your Head: One strip is about The Cat's nephews casually removing The Cat's head from his body while he's sleeping and playing basketball with it. In the end, they put the head back on The Cat's body and he doesn't seem to notice anything weird after he wakes up.
- Medium Awareness: The Cat, and occasionally other characters, are clearly aware that they are comic book characters.
- Mercy Kill Arrangement: Played for Laughs after the Cat fills almost an entire page with abominable cat puns and wakes up.The Cat's Wife: What is it, dear?
The Cat: I had a horrible nightmare where I took the path of cheap laughs!
The Cat's Wife: Oh don't be silly, you know I'd have you put to sleep before that could ever happen.
The Cat: You promise?
- New Technology is Evil: The Cat wonders in one strip if mobile phones are dangerous for health? They are, if you are gravely injured alone in the forest, and that the phone's battery is dead.
- Out-of-Character Moment: The usually deadpan Cat is on the floor laughing when he learns that a man tried to send counterfeit money by fax machine.
- Piano Drop: Discussed with a sentence saying that cats always fall back on their feet. The Cat is depicted below the sentence, covered in bandages, saying that a piano may sometime follow.
- Protagonist Title: The Cat's name appears in the titles of every comic.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: The Cat wears a nice suit.
- Shout-Out: Characters and references from other comic books tend to often appear, especially ones from francophone comics. Notably, The cover title of La Marque du Chat ( Meaning The Cat's mark, taken from "The Yellow Mark", the French title of The Yellow M) is a parody of The Yellow M's cover from Blake and Mortimer.
- Smart Animal, Inconvenient Instincts: By default, The Cat acts in a very human manner, but there's a strip where he interrupts himself to chase after a mouse, and apologizes for his instinct to the viewers after catching it.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: The Cat fancies himself an intellectual.
- Spell My Name with a "The": The Cat's first name is literally "The".
- The Stoic: The Cat rarely ever shows any emotion.
- Stock Animal Diet: The Cat sometimes tries to eat mice, fitting the stereotype.
- Stoic Spectacles: Certainly.
- Strong Family Resemblance: His wife and children look very similar to him, especially in earlier comics.