by Kaitlyn Talbot
Kaitlyn Tells You Why Prince of Cats is Awesome!
"You are about to witness the strength of street knowledge." -NWA
That is the one thing you should know going into Prince of Cats. As a fan of hip-hop, Shakespeare, samurai's, and all things related to comics, I knew this was the story for me. By page 34 I was in love.
Ronald Wimberly has taken the five elements of hip-hop and created this Romeo and Juliet B-side masterpiece. He took the youth of Verona and made black samurai clans in 80's Brooklyn in the middle of a turf war.
Tybalt is the hero of this story. Constantly trying to climb the ladder of his crew, please his uncle, and protect his cousin Juliet. He was put into private school in hopes that it would keep him out of the violence surrounding him. Unfortunately it drove him deeper into having to prove himself to the others. He proved that in the most reckless fashion, doing whatever it takes to take out Montague's men. Tybalt is truly the Prince of cats.
The way Wimberly writes Mercutio shows how the five elements fit into this story. You can't be a DJ, emcee, B-boy, or graffiti artist without knowledge. Without that you're just a fraud.
Mercutio, tired of a life of violence, adopts the way of the samurai. He brings support to his clan by giving them his knowledge. Mainly of Tybalt, "he fights as you sing prick-song. Keeps time, distance, and proportion." Warning them that he is a ruthless force to be reckoned with.
Wimberly shows his knowledge again when writing Tybalt's best friend, Petruchio. After losing his arm in a duel he turns to graffiti as his form of release. After finishing his last masterpiece he was cut down. He was completely defenseless.
This story is Hamilton turned all the way up and written by Wu-Tang Clan. I don't think I've read a comic with more love poured into it. Ronald Wimberly has given us yet another story that shows why representation matters. These young kids are trying to live their lives and make a names for themselves, but are getting caught up in the violence that comes with it. Having to prove that you're not what everyone thinks you are and being unconditionally loyal to your gang, team, clan, and family. Tybalt is, without a doubt, the good King of cats.