Tagged: Johnnie Christmas

Molly Jackson: Pulp, Puns, and Groans

Out yesterday was Angel Catbird: To Castle Catula Vol. 2. Now, you might recall that I mentioned this series once. OK, twice. Well, maybe three times. OK, I may have gone overboard. In case you forgot, the Angel Catbird series is by the genius writer Margaret Atwood, who is behind the ever-relevant The Handmaid’s Tale and fantabulous artist Johnnie Christmas.

At this point in the story, Strig (a.k.a. Angel Catbird) and his friends are moving to regroup at Catula’s castle (hence the title). As they walk, they tell stories about their past, and meet up with some new friends. We also get to see the dastardly plans of the evil Dr. Muroid and his rat army.

The pulpy nature of this story just makes you feel good when you read it. Plus, it gave me a great opportunity to use the word “dastardly” to boot. It’s got its own dark moments, to be sure, but overall it is a lovely break from the dystopian stories that have become more popular. Like for example, the nightly news. It reminds me of reading old school comics as a kid. This is something that feels more like old school Batman or Spider-Man. Plus the puns!! You laugh and groan at the same time for all the puns!

Through all the pulp, puns, and groans, Atwood builds a new universe that we only glimpsed in Volume 1. This time, we get a nice sized history on some of Angel’s companions, while meeting new friends like the half-owl community. The owls and cats, two communities on opposite sides, untrusting but willing to come together to protect each other. It sounds so important to today’s time, two different groups getting along.

A valuable but overlooked part is the fundraising and awareness aspect of this series. It continues to share cat and bird facts to enlighten the readers to the struggles of the animal population. All proceeds are still going to Nature Canada, a preservation organization in Canada. Today’s society is filled with causes, all deserving of attention and funding. It is important for comics to be a part of that. Using this platform to educate and help others, whether human, feathered, or feline is important.

I believe that comics are a great educational tool that appeals to all ages. Everyone should take a moment to learn, and learning can be educational too. But when learning also contains a 1000-year old vampire half cat, half human, it’s f*cking fantastic.
Until next time, same bird time, same cat channel!




Molly Jackson: Flying High


angel-catbird-1I’ve been traveling a lot for my day job. It’s been hectic and crazy but it did give me a chance to catch up on some comics I’ve been trying to read. Not sure if you remember, but about a year ago Dark Horse Comics announced acclaimed writer Margaret Atwood would be coming to comics with her original title Angel Catbird. The moment I heard about it, I was beyond excited. Really, I even wrote about how I was excited. Well, volume 1 was released on September 6th and I’ve finally gotten a chance to read it.

Ok, so before I talk about the comic, I want to talk about how amazing the introduction was. When you are talking about Margaret Atwood, a glimpse into herself is a great thing. She wrote the introduction herself, and you can’t really even call it an introduction. It is more like a journey through her childhood hopes and dreams. Who knew that she wanted to be an artist? Or was a huge comics reader as a kid… and still is as an adult? Atwood, one of the most important and influential authors of the 20th century, and she has the unrealized goals of being an artist. She spends time throughout the introduction also talking about her development process for this comic, as well as her partnership with Nature Canada. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about her, just read this.

Angel Catbird is a pulp-style comic following a young scientist who gets accidentally dosed with a genetic formula he is creating to become Angel Catbird, a half cat/half bird human hybrid. When that happens, he finds out that human-animal hybrids already exist and in the middle of a very big fight with a not so nice half-rat man. In the introduction, she mentions reading comics in the ‘50s and you can definitely see that influence in Angel Catbird. It’s got a fun, simplistic story that is enjoyable for young kids and adults. And if you don’t believe me, think cat band and high-tech rats.

The art of Angel Catbird mimics the older style of comics and reminds me of the Archie comics I read as a kid. It fits the story perfectly. Johnnie Christmas really captures her writing perfectly in the art and he pairs well with the coloring by Tamra Bonvillain. They also outline their character design process at the end of the graphic novel, as well as some guest art pieces.

Well, this comic is really activism wrapped up in pretty pictures. Proceeds are going to Nature Canada, and within the introduction, Atwood mentions a pledge to have cats stay indoors to help save birds. The story also includes facts about cats throughout the story. I can only guess that bird facts will be included within volume 2, but I’ll have to wait for 2017 and volume 2 to find out.

I was looking for a lighthearted, enjoyable read, and that is exactly what I got. Angel Catbird is not an in-depth, dark tale but its purpose is to highlight the real dangers towards cats and birds in the wild and it accomplishes that in a fun way. Also, the introduction, if you didn’t guess, was a big and amazing wonderful addition for me. It was a perfect airplane read and one I would totally recommend.