A couple of years in the past, the novelist Margaret Atwood determined to put in writing about cats. Her revered bibliography consists of The Handmaid’s Story — a dystopian guide that turned a success TV collection — however for her new venture, she embraced the medium of graphic novels.
Collaborating with the illustrator Johnnie Christmas, she crafted 2016’s Angel Catbird, which stars a part-cat and part-bird superhero who inhabits a futuristic world. It’s a story partly impressed by her childhood days when she’d draw “flying cats with wings,” as she advised me throughout an interview on the time of the guide’s launch.
For the reason that publication of Angel Catbird, a cluster of feline-focused graphic novels have emerged. Additionally from 2016, the author Sam Sattin and artist Chris Koehler explored animals surviving in a post-apocalyptic kingdom for Legend: Defend The Grounds. The collection opens with a pack of canines prowling a blighted surroundings, earlier than introducing a clowder of competing cats commandeered by their chief Bagheera.
“The canine tribe is extra democratic in its leanings, forming considerably of an oligarchy, whereas the cats are extra dictatorial, with a monarch at their head,” explains Sam in regards to the dynamic between the clans. The felines additionally get pleasure from insulting their canine counterparts with barbs like “superstitious poo eaters.” Chris provides that he used totally different levels of saturation in his illustrations to mirror the tribes’ various personalities: “The canines see the world extra optimistically and with extra surprise, and the cats are extra cynical and grounded.”
Different graphic novels have embraced the same idea of whisking cats away to futuristic realms. Captain Ginger debuted in 2019 and depicts kitties navigating a hostile universe on board an interstellar vessel. The venture was conceived by the author Stuart Moore (who has contributed to the Batman and Deadpool franchises) and the artist June Brigman (recognized for her work with Marvel Comics). “I like cats and I like outer house,” explains Stuart when requested in regards to the inspiration for the guide.
Captain Ginger was additionally influenced by the creators’ personal felines. Stuart based mostly the ship’s captain on his feline Rocko. “Like most gingers, he’s fairly loud and demonstrative,” he says. June revealed that Buddy — “the cat who’s accountable for litter field obligation” — relies on a rescue who had a “wild eye” and was lacking a part of an ear however was “as candy as may very well be.”
Cats in comics imply tales with coronary heart
Graphic novels regularly channel the fantasy aspect of dwelling with a cat. Who hasn’t seen their feline sitting in a cardboard field and imagined them voyaging the wild seas in a pirate ship? However kitty-focused comics additionally permit writers to convey emotional themes by way of a feline lens.
Revealed in 2018, Nancy Peña’s Madame Cat is a whimsical tackle adopting a cat who decides they’re the proprietor of their human. The concept happened after Nancy introduced her 3-month-old kitten Madame dwelling and noticed “a number of foolish issues that made me chortle [so] I wished to attract them to recollect them.” Nancy describes Madame as “very cuddly however not very sensible” — a characterization she portrays in an affectionate fashion.
In additional heartrending vogue, Ursula Murray Husted’s 2020 A Cat Story was prompted by a visit to Malta to assist her father’s restoration from lymphoma. Noticing the variety of stray cats by the docks, Ursula questioned “what [the cats] have been in search of” in life.
So, she wrote a narrative about Cilla and Betto: The previous feline “feels that life will solely be full when she finds a typical quiet backyard from a kitten story,” and the latter “is completely satisfied being a cat on the docks.” Cilla and Betto journey to find a spot the place they’ll each be completely satisfied — and Ursula means that people and cats have the identical primary targets.
“We need to love and be beloved, we need to be heat, full of excellent meals, and have our family and friends be secure,” she explains. “Writing a cat character could be very very like writing a human one — simply fuzzier.”
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