examines our relentless desire for more while questioning the very nature of that desire when occupying a position of relative privilege - an examination made more poignant through the collective cloistered experience of the current global pandemic...It is at [the] intersection between the mundane and the marvelous where Steven’s work truly shines. Although the text is filled with beautiful renditions of Penny’s flights of fantasy in Stevens’ signature intricately cross-hatched and boldly water colored style, it is his transformation of ordinary objects through Penny’s perspective that really capture the imagination. Patterns of light and shadow transfix both Penny and the reader through Stevens’ hand, inert objects are animated and packed with personality, and cardboard boxes become portals to other dimensions."
— The Comics Journal
Named a "Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2021"
- Comics Grinder
"Sure to delight cat lovers."
"Stevens employs his detailed and stylistic realism to nice comic effect [his] clever send-up should delight the feline faithful."
- Publishers Weekly
"So, yes, to Penny and yes, to Karl Stevens. Few cartoonists are in the same league as he is."
- Comics Grinder
"What sets Penny apart from the cat crowd is Stevens's skill at depicting her. A bit snub-nosed, like an English shorthair, Penny is shown in both her most graceful and most endearingly awkward poses, always identifiably feline and yet with an obvious intelligence and focus that makes her most lofty thoughts credible. It's this clear-eyed love and attention that makes "Penny" stand out, revealing, as great authors do, that even the smallest life may be full of interest - and profound."
- The Arts FuseMother's Day Gift Pick
"If you've ever wondered what goes through a cat's mind, Penny is the perfect book."
- Geek Mom
“In Penny: A Graphic Memoir
, the Boston-based artist spins a few dozen variations on ‘I wonder what that loveable furball is thinking?’ and makes you like it…His photorealistic line and deft watercolors…make Penny irresistible, even for feline skeptics.”
— The New York Times Book Review
"Besides capturing the mind of this cat...Stevens’s beautiful drawings capture her feline physicality, her snoozings, leapings, crouchings, cleanings."
-The Boston Globe
"What Stevens has performed here is, in fact, a sort of miracle. Not because the page after page of full-color illustrations in this new trade paperback from Chronicle Books are extraordinary, the man's meticulous pen-and-watercolor work so precise as to approach, at times, photorealism ... not because presenting the inner life of a domestic varmint in its own words is a novel conceit (cf. William Braden's Henri, le Chat Noir
or, FFS, Garfield
) ... not because Penny
could double as an accurate glimpse of Contemporary (Pet-Involved) Life in America ... but because, moreso than even B. Kliban or T.S. Eliot or Edward Gorey or Rita Mae Brown accomplished, Stevens' paneled narrative of depictions here provokes the sensation of actually having a pet cat
- The Austin Chronicle