Insert Meow Joke Here: Jonesy or, Alien vs. Cat Requiem

jonesyJonesy: Nine Lives on the Nostromo; Titan Books; October 2018; $14.95, 80 pgs.

I’ve had various problems with the first Alien movie over the years, but it wasn’t until I read Jonesy: Nine Lives on the Nostromo did I realize the film has some major problems regarding the cat. Like, it’s not enough of a cat. Of all the times I’ve seen Alien, I think I’ve only seen it once since becoming a cat-person.

Creator Rory Lucey does a great job doing the film—sort of—through the cat’s perspective. The cat’s only in Alien so much, so there are only so many scenes from the film adapted. A lot of the book is the cat finding somewhere comfortable to sleep or scratching on something or going after the alien’s tail.

Lucey doesn’t adapt all those scenes. While completely believable, there’s not a scene where the cat lovable messes up the crew’s breakfast. Jonesy seems like a lot more of a dick in the movie and far less affectionate with the crew but he’s sweet and adorable in the book.

One would also hope their cat—even if it’s a communal cat—might bat an eye when a space monster is killing them. Lucey’s Jonesy doesn’t. The deaths take place off panel in one way or another. Brett gets it in silhouette, for example.

Lucey removes the horror from the story and instead does a cute cat story. It works. For a cat-person (owner or not), the book will be fun. Jonesy acts like a real cat in the book (as opposed to the movie); he’s a real pain in the ass. Ripley’s got to lock him out of rooms, he’s trying to get the human food, he messes with Dallas’s hat. All very cat.

Not very Alien though. It’s kind of impossible to imagine how they’d be able to do the whole run a spaceship thing with this troublesome cat around. During one sequence, Jonesy goes around to break all the precariously placed set decorations—the helmet on the bridge, the tippy toy. He also misses a lot of the action (he sleeps until it’s time for Ridley to put him in the carrier, through Parker and Lambert and Ash’s finales). It’s kind of weird given how much Lacey inserts him in the rest.

Jonesy’s pretty cute. It’s got some good giggles if you’re an Alien fan or a cat-person. Lucey’s discipline is impressive with the dialogue-free, single-sitting comic. The pace is always good, the art is always good. It’s conditionally worth a read.

Got to like cats. Got to know Alien pretty well to get the jokes.

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