Canadian literary treasure Margaret Atwood has been toying with comics for a while, showing up at conventions and expressing her interest in the form. And now she’s taken the plunge! With a band new graphic novel, Angel Catbird, which will be illustrated bu Johnnie Christmas (Sheltered). The book is the first in a trio of all-ages (!) graphic novel that tell the story of “an unusual superhero. The first book comes out in fall of 2016, published in conjunction with Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives, a charity led by conservation group Nature Canada.
Atwood is probably best known for The Handmaid’s Tales, but a recent trilogy of novels starting with Oryx and Crake has also gotten her acclaim and she’s won two Man Booker Prizes, the highest literary honor in the UK.
“I have concocted a superhero who is part cat, part bird. Due to some spilled genetic Super-Splicer, our hero got tangled up with both a cat and an owl; hence his fur and feathers, and his identity problems,” said Atwood in a statement.
“Margaret Atwood has created a bold and unforgettable new character, paying homage to both classic pulp heroes and traditional comic book origin stories,” said Mike Richardson, Dark Horse’s publisher and president. “We’re proud to bring Margaret’s Angel Catbird here to Dark Horse, since it is exactly the kind of creator-owned graphic novel we are committed to publishing.”
“What should you expect from Angel Catbird? Imagine, if you will, a strange mix of Will Eisner’s The Spirit, Grant Morrison and Chas Truog’s Animal Man, and Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s Squirrel Girl,” said acquiring editor Daniel Chabon. “Angel Catbird is a humorous, action-driven, pulp-inspired story. And the only other thing I can tell you at this early date is to expect a lot of cat puns.”
“I wanted to find an artist whose style Margaret liked, and who I felt comfortable working with and who shared the vision for the project,” said consulting editor Hope Nicholson (The Secret Loves of Geek Girls), who brought Angel Catbird to Dark Horse. “Johnnie Christmas is, by all accounts, a perfect fit.”
“It’s tremendously exciting to work with one of the great contemporary novelists,” said Johnnie Christmas. “I can’t wait for readers to experience the world of Angel Catbird that we’re building. It’s got warmth, heart, humor, and lots of action.”
Angel Catbird will be a three-volume series of 6 x 9–inch full-color trade paperbacks priced at $10.99 each. More information about the Angel Catbird graphic novels and Nature Canada’s campaign will be released in 2016.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.