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Twisp and Catsby are recurring characters in the webcomic Penny Arcade. They were originally introduced in a strip titled “The Adventures of Twisp and Catsby” on March 24, 2004.

Catsby is a devil of some sort (red skin, pointed tail, glowing eyes, horns), and Twisp is a large housecat with human proportions and a finely-tailored suit who never speaks more than one word in a panel. They were introduced after Kevin Smith stated that his movie Jersey Girl isn’t for critics. In response, Twisp and Catsby — who also aren’t for critics — were born.

Because they aren’t for critics, they can get away with doing anything; the pair speak in nonsense and live in a world of bizarre absurdities. They don’t need to make sense, because nobody is allowed to get upset if they don’t. Their first strip is as good a place as any for your introduction to the pair.

A sepia-toned panel. Catsby seems to have just approached Twisp, who is hoisting a barbell with two large glazed hams for weights.
Catsby: Good morning! How much does that weigh?
Twisp: Ham!

And that’s probably the most understandable Twisp and Catsby strip that’s been made so far. Later appearances, instead of obtuse puns, have simply been lunatic and absurd.

Each strip is drawn slightly differently. Although they all have an old-timey look, it’s accomplished in a different way each time. Some are sepia toned, some are just colored in reds and blacks. Twisp and Catsby themselves have changed since their first appearance: Catsby has become taller and more angular, and Twisp has become fatter. To date, only six strips with the pair have been made, although I'm sure that there will be more.

A good Twisp and Catsby strip is a welcome delight, for me at least. Even though Penny Arcade is dependably funny, well-made absurdist comics are few and far between. Twisp and Catsby add a fun dimension to the comic which I, for one, am glad is there.

A listing of every Twisp and Catsby strip: http://www.penny-arcade.com/archive/?comic-keywords=twisp+catsby

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