Yesterday our cat Nettie Netzach gave us a huge scare.
I’m working from home, so Michele went out early in the morning to pick up groceries. She always goes early because too many people are walking around without masks & gloves, so the earlier in the day she goes the less likely she is to run into a lot of people. Michele ended up getting a lot of stuff so she would not have to go back out again for a while, and she called me to meet her halfway to help carry the bags. When we got home we were spraying & wiping everything down with Lysol outside in the hallway, then bringing it into the apartment, so we went in & out several times.
About an hour later, around noon, we realized that Nettie wasn’t around. The last time I saw her was before I went out to help Michele with the groceries. We started shaking the treat bags. Jet Alister, our other cat, came bounding out, but there was no sign of Nettie. We started looking for her. We turned the place upside down trying to find her. Still no Nettie.
Michele and I started to worry that with all of our going in & out of the apartment, somehow Nettie had managed to slip out, and was now lost outside. I went outside looking for Nettie, calling her name, shaking a bag of treats. No luck. Then Michele went out to look. She couldn’t find Nettie. I went out again, walking up & down the nearby streets, peering under cars, asking everyone I met if they had seen a white cat. No one had.
By now we were on the verge of panic. Nettie was microchipped, so Michele called the vet to report her missing. I left a voicemail for our friend Diana, who feeds the stray cats in the neighborhood, asking for her to keep an eye out for Nettie.
And then, around 4:30 in the afternoon, Nettie just casually poked her head out from under our couch.
To say that Michele and I were relieved would be an understatement. I grabbed Nettie and starting hugging her, crying tears of relief. Michele sternly told her “Do you know how much trouble you’ve caused us?!?”
Nettie of course reacted to all this by becoming very annoyed and indignant, giving us a low growl and a scowling look. Oh, wow, what a spoiled, bratty cat!
Michele and I later figured out that Nettie must have clawed a hole in the bottom of the couch and crawled inside. So every time we pulled it away from the wall to check under and behind it we didn’t see her because she was actually inside the sofa.
Michele called the vet back to tell them we found Nettie. The vet informed us that this sort of thing happens with cats often when they are stressed out, and sensing stress from their humans. Between having to adjust to Jet Alister, who has only been with us for five months, and having us at home all the time stressed out about the Coronavirus crisis, Nettie must have decided to find somewhere quiet & isolated for a few hours to be by herself.
I took the above photo of Nettie about half an hour after she reappeared. As you can see, she’s giving me a sort of defiant, moody expression, as if to say “Why are you still bothering me?”
Anyway, thankfully it all worked out in the end. We definitely need to keep a closer eye on Nettie, though. She can be a real sneak when she wants to be.
Ten years ago, in early June 2009, a friend (now ex-friend) of Michele who had too many pets asked us to take in one of his cats. This cat, a black & white domestic shorthair named Kitten, was getting beat up by the other cats. This person told us that if we were not able to take in Kitten, he would have to drop her off at a shelter. We had only just adopted another cat, Nettie Netzach, a few months before, and we weren’t sure how she would react. However, Michele really did not want Kitten, who she remembered from visits to this person’s apartment, being abandoned at a shelter, so we took her in.
Kitten was incredibly shy. She often hid in the closet. Michele had to sit with her and talk with her gently while she ate. When she was finally able to get close enough, Michele discovered that Kitten’s mouth was in really bad shape. We immediately took her to the vet, who found that half of her teeth were rotten & infected.
We had Kitten’s bad teeth pulled. When we took her home from the vet, Nettie watched over her, helping to nurse her back to health. She quickly made a full recovery. Before our eyes, Kitten became a brand new cat, full of energy and love.
By the way, “Kitten” is a terrible name for an adult cat. We had been told that she was between six and eight years old, but for all we know she might have been older. Calling her “Kitten” was lazy and unimaginative. Michele decided she needed a proper name. When this cat meowed it often sounded like a squeak, so we decided to call her Squeaky.
Oh yes… now it can be told. The OTHER inspiration for Michele naming the cat Squeaky was infamous Manson Family member Lynette Alice “Squeaky” Fromme. Yeah, sometimes Michele has a bizarre sense of humor. Honestly, I was appalled, but the cat really appeared to take to the name, so Squeaky it was. All these years I’ve always told people the “squeaky” meows was the inspiration for her name, but, yes, I’ll just go ahead and admit to it now, “Squeaky” Fromme was the second one.
In any case, for the past decade Squeaky has lived with us. She was an awesome cat. As I said before, she was incredibly affectionate. She loved being petted and having her tummy rubbed. Most nights she would sleep on the bed between me and Michele, purring contentedly. We would call this a Squeaky Sandwich.
Squeaky also loved to eat. She had been incredibly thin when we took her in, basically starving, so she was always obsessed with food. Michele thought Squeaky suffered from food panic. She would gulp down all of her cat food, would then try to steal Nettie’s food, and would often try to take food from our plates. Squeaky had big, round, greenish eyes, and she would stare at us longingly with them, pleading for food. She eventually because a very round & heavy cat, but she was happy, so usually we just let her eat as much as she wanted.
Squeaky was something of a quirky, misfit cat, but that just meant that she fit right in with us. She was a constant presence in our lives. She would often follow us around the apartment, meowing loudly. Often she would grab Michele’s pens & pencils & paintbrushes in her mouth and hide them all over the apartment, under the bed or chairs or rug.
Like most cats, Squeaky loved cardboard boxes. There was one cardboard box in particular, that a pair of Michele’s shoes had been shipped in, that Squeaky often contentedly occupied.
Squeaky also liked sitting with us when we watched television. Michele referred to Squeaky as my TV buddy. Other times Michele would play music, and Squeaky would sit next to the speakers, listening and purring. Squeaky seemed to especially enjoy music by the group Joy Division.
Squeaky and Nettie usually got along. They became like sisters. Occasionally they would get on each other’s nerves or fight, but most of the time they had a good relationship. Sometimes they would cuddle together, or would groom each other. If they realized we were looking at them they would then get embarrassed and quickly dart away from each other.
A little over two years ago we had to move to a new apartment. Nettie had grown up and spent almost all her life in the old apartment, and she was very upset & scared in the new place. I guess by now Squeaky had gotten more used to change. She adjusted to the new surroundings very quickly, and for the first couple of weeks was often by Nettie’s side, trying to comfort her. Eventually Nettie began to feel at home, and the two of them fell back into their old routine.
Last winter Squeaky had a cold, and over the past few months we noticed that she was beginning to lose weight. Then last month she appeared to age overnight. As I said before, we didn’t know exactly how old she was. At a minimum she was 16 years old, and was very likely closer to 19 or 20.
Over the past few weeks Squeaky was having more difficulty eating. We had to get her cat food that was in pate form; anything else she was unable to chew & swallow. Most of the time Squeaky sat on the windowsill, looking out at the backyard. We realized that she probably only had a short amount of time left.
We always celebrated Squeaky’s birthday on June 12th, the day we took her in. Every year we would throw a “birthday / adoption day” party for her, giving her gourmet cat food and singing happy birthday to her. This June 12th was Squeaky’s 10th “birthday” with us, and we brought her food to her at the window, and sang to her. She ate some of if, and seemed happy.
Four days later, on Sunday afternoon, Squeaky stopped eating. She wobbled into the living room, collapsed, and began to have uncontrollable spasms. Michele and I both realized this was it. We had really hoped that Squeaky was going to pass away peacefully in her sleep at home, but now that was not going to be. Reluctantly we picked her up, placed her in her pet carrier, and took her to the veterinary office, the same place that a decade earlier had operated on Squeaky to remove her bad teeth.
The vet examined Squeaky, and told us her condition was critical. They could try treating her, but at most she would only last a few more weeks, and would probably be in pain the whole time. Reluctantly we made the decision to give her a quick, peaceful death. We were there with Squeaky when she passed away.
A few months ago Michele began working on a comic book about Squeaky. She finally finished it in early June and published it. “The Temptation of Squeaky” by Michele Witchipoo features Squeaky meeting the demon Maximus, who offers her all the turkey she can eat. It’s a very cute, adorable, funny story. I’m happy that our quirky cat has been immortalized in print.
As a proud and loyal citizen of America, I have spent the last several months aghast at the train wreck that is the campaign for the 2016 election for President of the United States. It has been both embarrassing and more than a bit terrifying watching a succession of fools and crooks attempting to out-pander each other in pursuit of the office of the Presidency. The possibility that one of these clowns might very well be elected to the White House is genuinely unsettling.
Therefore, I am proud to present an alternative to these opportunistic fear-mongers, a candidate who possesses strength, wisdom, courage, humility, and bravery in abundance… my cat, Squeaky Squeakums.
In a year when nearly every candidate on two legs appears to embody the very worst aspects of humanity, let us look to another species entirely, namely Felis catus, the domestic cat. Squeaky Squeakums is a wonderful representative of this proud and sage breed. Yes, she sleeps for an average of 15 hours a day, but during her time awake she is a coiled spring, ready to leap upon intruding mice. So, too, will she pounce at the first sign of trouble to this great nation, to threats both foreign and domestic. If elected, she vows to serve all species, be they human, cat, or other animals. Yes, including dogs.
Squeaky is no pampered house cat. Born in Salem, MA, young Squeaky was sadly abandoned by her first human on a trip to New York City. She spent several years living in an overcrowded apartment in the Bronx, competing with seven other cats, two dogs, and a variety of lizards and birds for space & food. Seven years ago my girlfriend Michele and I rescued Squeaky and brought her into our home, where we have showered her with love & affection. But she has not forgotten her humble beginnings. She possesses a great deal of empathy & understanding for all Americans who struggle to make ends meet.
Squeaky also required extensive veterinary care when we first took her in. That experience has convinced her of the crucial roles that health insurance and affordable medical services must play in our society.
But do not let Squeaky’s compassionate side fool you. She also possesses nerves of steel and a fierce determination. She will stare down any opponents who seek to take advantage of her good nature.
There have been some questions raised as to Squeaky’s eligibility to run for President. Let me assure you that these are unfounded. Certain people have asked if she is at least 35 years old, as specified by the Constitution. Squeaky is 13 cat years old, which as per the experts at Purina is 68 in human years, definitely making her qualified. She is also most certainly a natural born citizen, and if requested we will release her long form birth certificate for review.
Perhaps you are asking yourself “How could a cat possible gain the support necessary to be elected President?” I can understand your skepticism. However, Squeaky has already gained a large and enthusiastic group of supporters, Americans male and female who span all ages, races, religions and cultural backgrounds. All of her campaign appearances have been attended by large crowds of voters who are eager to hear her message. In fact, here is a photo of Squeaky being greeted by her numerous supporters at her last campaign rally…
If you are dissatisfied with the direction this country has taken, and if you believe that this nation deserves better leadership than it has had in many decades, then pledge your support for Squeaky Squeakums. You can find out more about Squeaky and her message for America on her official Facebook page, Squeaky Squeakums for U.S. President.
Vote for pussy – We’ll all be happy.
This blog post has been brought to you by the Squeaky Squeakums 2016 Super PAC (Pet and Animal Committee).
Our cat Squeaky is definitely one of a kind. I’ve blogged about Squeaky before. Michele and I took her in when her previous human abruptly decided that he had too many cats. Since Squeaky wasn’t getting along with the others he wanted to drop her off at a shelter. That probably would have literally been the death of her. Squeaky is extremely shy and sensitive, plus she had health problems at the time, so she would probably have been put to sleep.
Michele told me that in her former home all the other cats beat Squeaky up whenever she tried to come out to eat, and so she was often hiding behind a radiator. She was even too scared to use the litter box, and so she scratched out a hole in the back of a sofa and used that instead. In the five and a half years since we adopted Squeaky she has definitely come out of her shell, though. She was incredibly frightened when we took her in, but now she is more at ease. She was incredibly skinny and unhealthy, but now she is round and healthy. Squeaky seems happy.
That said, she is a quirky cat. Even after being with us for all this time she is still very jittery. Loud noises cause her to run & hide, her tail completely fluffed up. Squeaky still doesn’t like tall men standing near her. I am 6 feet 2 inches, and when she sees me walking towards her she runs away. She has no problem with me when I am sitting down or lying in bed. Actually she is very affectionate at these times, and she loves for me to pet her or brush her fur. But the instant I stand up she bolts. Michele believes that Squeaky is still traumatized from whatever craziness went on where she used to live. I think that there must have been a lot of noise & chaos there.
Squeaky sometimes reminds me of the cat Mooch from the comic strip Mutts by Patrick McDonnell. Like Mooch, Squeaky is a rather idiosyncratic cat who loves to eat. Reading the strip in the newspaper often brings to mind our own black & white kitty cat. That’s especially the case when McDonnell does a strip about Mooch’s love of food.
It must have been because she was starving for all of those years before we adopted her, but Squeaky is obsessed with food. We normally feed her at 7:00 in the morning. Well, starting around 5:00 AM she starts meowing incessantly. She’ll jump on the bed and scratch up the furniture. She wants food immediately, and she doesn’t want to wait. When we finally open a can of wet food and feed her, she dives right in. Nettie also eats at this time, but she likes to pace herself. She’s a small cat, and has a tiny tummy. So she’ll have several bites and walk away for a while. Unfortunately Squeaky will then try to eat out of Nettie’s bowl, and we have to put it on top of the refrigerator until Nettie is ready to eat again.
Around 10:00 AM Squeaky starts meowing for dry food. We’ll usually give her and Nettie some an hour later. She’ll devour that right away. Dinner time for the cats, when they get the rest of the canned food, is at 3:00 PM. Well, come 1:00 in the afternoon Squeaky will start meowing sadly, pretty much non-stop, circling about in a worried manner. She really seems to be convinced she isn’t going to get fed.
Of course, every time Michele and I have something to eat, Squeaky must inspect it to see if it’s something she would like. If it is, she’ll either give us a wide-eyed pleading expression, or she’ll simply try to snatch some of our food with her paw or mouth. She is incredibly persistent.
This all inspired Michele to draw a cute, funny illustration entitled “Squeaky Loves To Eat.”
Poor Squeaky. She can get very stressed out sometimes. This just goes to show that animals can be very much like people. If an animal experiences trauma when it is young, that can affect them for the rest of their life. I definitely think that happened to Squeaky. She still appears to be coping with some of the stuff she went though before we adopted her. She seems like a very sensitive soul.
Sometimes I will explain Squeaky’s story to people as a cautionary tale, to demonstrate that it is very important for us humans to treat our four-legged friends with kindness.
Having said all this, I do believe Squeaky is now much happier. She has food and two humans who love her. She eventually got used to Nettie trying to play with her, and the two cats are now close. Squeaky also gets to play, something she never could in the past. Occasionally she will play-fight with her toy mousies. But much more often she will grab one of Michele’s pencils, pens or markers in her teeth, carry it off while yowling, and then wrestle with it, chasing it about the apartment as it rolls all over the place. A good chunk of Michele’s art supplies go missing in this manner. We often find pens under the bed, or buried in the blankets, or hidden under the rug, or in the laundry pile.
I am glad that Michele and I were able to give Squeaky a much better home than she once had. She is a very affectionate cat. Despite her sometimes-unconventional behavior, Squeaky really does brighten up our lives, and we love her.
This past February on Kickstarter there was a fundraising campaign that I happily supported. Ever since then I have been eagerly anticipating the project that was in the works. Yesterday the completed book finally arrived in the mail: The Collected Counter Attack! by Alisa Harris.
Alisa Harris is a Queens-based artist & cartoonist. Michele and I first met her in May 2011 at the Mini Zine Fest held at Pete’s Candy Store, a bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Among the mini-comics that Harris had for sale was Counter Attack, a cute series about her two mischievous cats, Moe and Fidget, that she has been creating since 2005. Michele and I have two cats of our own, Nettie and Squeaky, and in the last few years I have become a huge cat lover. I purchased Counter Attack from Harris, and I found it adorable. (The series is so titled because, as Harris explains “Any cat will tell you: the best position of attack is from the kitchen counter.”)
Harris does a fantastic job investing the illustrated versions of Moe and Fidget with the personalities they posses in real life. Anyone who has ever had a cat can tell you that felines have very distinctive temperaments. They can be funny and adorable and mischievous and bossy, often all within the space of a few minutes! Harris’ ability to capture those qualities, as well as her charming art style, made Counter Attack a big success. The comics kept selling out and she kept having to re-print them. That’s when she came up with the idea for a Kickstarter campaign to fund a collected edition of Counter Attack, with brand new material included.
Personally speaking, I believe that mini-comics are a real fount of creativity. There are many very cool self-published comics out there from numerous talented creators. That said, I never know how to store or organize them! So, yeah, since I kept re-reading my copies of Counter Attack, and I also kept misplacing them in my jumbled, disorganized piles of books and comics, a hardcover collection was something that appealed to me.
As a cat owner (or perhaps that should be a human who is owned by cats?) I have a lot of identification with the anecdotes and misadventures of Moe and Fidget that Harris illustrates. I am certain that many humans with feline friends will also find these episodes vary familiar. After all, what human with a cat has not been woken up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) by a cat who wants their breakfast? Evidently in Harris’ household, her cat Moe likes to tap her on the head. In my own case, Nettie will lean over my sleeping face and start poking me in the nose with one of her paws. If that doesn’t work, and I still refuse to get up, on occasion she will extend one claw and begin prodding the tip of my nose with that, which inevitably works. Yeah, sometimes Nettie can certainly be bratty!
Cats also like to sharpen their claws. I understand that this is a natural habit they engage in. That’s why most people purchase a scratching post for their cats, so that their personal property will not get shredded. Michele and I got one for Nettie and Squeaky. I can count on one hand the times each of them have used it. Instead they scratch everything else: the bed, the chairs, the sofa, the bookshelves, even my comic books! And all the while they ignore a perfectly good, practically brand new scratching post! I see from the pages of Counter Attack that Harris also experiences this phenomenon.
The Collected Counter Attack! is a cute, funny book. Copies can be ordered through Alissa Harris’ online shop. Also available is a “fun pack” containing the issues of her series Urban Nomad, which she describes as “Quirky true stories about living in the many boroughs of New York City.” I recommend purchasing a copy of The Collected Counter Attack!, especially if you love cats. You will be looking through the pages of the book and constantly saying to yourself “Yep, that’s my cat, too!”
Captain Action was a doll-sized action figure who debuted in 1966. The gimmick was that kids could purchase the costumes of various comic book & pulp heroes (Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon, etc) and dress up the Captain Action figure in them, transforming him into different characters. There was also Action Boy, the teenage sidekick to Captain Action, and Dr. Evil, a blue-skinned alien with an exposed brain. DC Comics published a short-lived Captain Action series in 1968, with artwork by Wally Wood and Gil Kane. Four decades later, in 2008, Moonstone Books began publishing a revival of Captain Action. And in 2010 TwoMorrows Publishing released Captain Action: the Original Super Hero Action Figure, an oversized hardcover volume by Michael Eury.
Action Cat is the creation of Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, the duo who have previously brought us such fun comic books as Tiny Titans and Itty Bitty Hellboy. The super-powered feline Action Cat and his partner Action Bug hail from beautiful downtown Skoakie, Illinois. They star in the adorable, humorous self-published series Aw Yeah Comics.
You may well ask, what does one have to do with the other? Well, put Captain Action and Action Cat together, with Art, Franco and co-writer Chris “Zod” Smits at the helm, and you get Captain Action Cat: The Timestream Catastrophe. Published by Dynamite Entertainment in collaboration with Aw Yeah Comics and Dark Horse, the four issue Captain Action Cat miniseries is one of the most offbeat, irreverent, undeniably cute team-up comic books of all time.
Action Cat’s arch nemesis, the fiendish Evil Cat, utilizes his “Evil Timestream Device” to search through the myriad parallel universes for a like-minded ally. He discovers Dr. Evil Cat, a villain from the Silver Age who is the enemy of Captain Action Cat, an alternate reality kitty counterpart to the human Captain Action. Along the way Captain Action Cat encounters the Golden Age Action Cat, who is across between Batman and Captain America (he wears a utility belt and he’s discovered frozen in an iceberg).
Evil Cat tries to snag Dr. Evil Cat with the Device, but the beam goes wild, bringing together the inhabitants of numerous other universes. Soon Captain Action Cat, Golden Age Action Cat and Dr. Evil Cat encounter the human Captain Action and Lady Action, the vigilantes Ghost, X, Skyman and Captain Midnight from the Modern Age (courtesy of Dark Horse) and the supernatural guardian known as the Phantom Lemur. And back in beautiful downtown Skoakie, Modern Day Action Cat and Action Bug are attempting to stop Evil Cat and his Device before all of reality gets turned into Swiss cheese. Next thing you know, everyone comes together for a final time-crossed titanic tussle.
And, um, that’s more or less it for plot. Really, this isn’t exactly War and Peace, y’know? Captain Action Cat is a fun, charming miniseries that younger readers will no doubt enjoy, and adults will find more than a bit amusing. The story by Balthazar, Franco and Smits is a chance to humorously throw a whole bunch of disparate concepts together for the sake of having some fun and generating a bunch of laughs. Balthazar’s artwork is, as always, just too darn cute. There are also a few fun pin-ups and back-up shorts by Franco, Scoot McMahon and Kurt Wood in the third and fourth issues.
I suppose if you like cats then Captain Action Cat is also a recommended read. After all, ever since Michele and I adopted Nettie and Squeaky several years ago, I’ve become crazy about all things feline. (Right now, as I’m typing this blog post, I’m sitting on the edge of my chair, because Nettie is taking up the rest of it, and she won’t move. Yeah, that’s a cat for you.)
By the way, a heads up to parents with young kids: Dynamite’s marketing department must have been asleep at the wheel in a major way when Captain Action Cat #1 was put together, because the back cover features an advertisement for the dark fantasy series The Blood Queen, with the title character displaying her cavernous cleavage in all its glory. As they say, there’s a time & place for everything, but I don’t think this was it. At least the next three issues of Captain Action Cat contain somewhat more appropriate ads. Did you know that Dynamite is publishing Doodle Jump and Bob’s Burgers? Hopefully when those two series come out Dynamite won’t be running ads in them promoting Vampirella or Purgatori!
For those who missed Captain Action Cat when it first came out, all four issues can be purchased on the Aw Yeah Comics website, along with many other fine products by Art, Franco and the rest of the gang. So go check ‘em out!
It’s a bird! No, it’s a plane! No, it’s… Supercat?!?
Sometimes the Silver Age of superhero comic books, specifically the various series published by DC Comics, is considered by contemporary readers to be too silly. Of course, in the last quarter century the pendulum has swung much too far in the opposite direction, with both DC and Marvel taking everything way too seriously. They’re often afraid to have any sense of fun about their stories. I really think you need to have a balance between those two extremes. Anyone who follows my blog has no doubt noticed that I have very diverse interests, and my tastes run, as the saying goes, from the ridiculous to the sublime.
And so, even though there was a great deal of nonsense to DC’s books in the 1950s and 60s, I think there is quite a bit that’s fun & charming about those comics. That includes Streaky the Supercat.
Making his debut in Action Comics #261 (Feb 1960), Streaky was designed by artist Jim Mooney, who in later years would say the character was one of his favorites. Streaky was one of the only non-Kryptonian members of the “Superman Family” (there was also Comet the Super-Horse, but he’s much too weird to get into right now). An ordinary Earth cat, Streaky was the pet of Supergirl in her civilian guise as Linda Lee. In a failed attempt to find a cure for Kyrptonite, Supergirl accidentally created “X-Kryptonite.” She carelessly tossed it away, but when Streaky later came across it, the substance imbued him with Superman-like powers.
Here’s a page from “The Battle of the Super-Pets,” which originally appeared in Action Comics #277 (June 1961). Streaky, jealous of the attention that Supergirl is giving to Krypto the Superdog, begins a rivalry with the Kryptonian canine. To avoid the inevitable property damage, Supergirl takes them off-world to resume their contest on a small planetoid. You can see from the artwork that Mooney really invested Streaky with a great deal of personality. As someone who loved cats, he must have known all about feline “cattitude.”
(I scanned this from a reprint of the story that ran in the somewhat more affordable and easy to locate Action Comics #373, a giant-sized special which collected together several earlier Supergirl tales).
Although Streaky was never a major fixture of the “mainstream” DC titles, he eventually went on to make appearances in stories that were, appropriately enough, geared towards a younger audience. Streaky was one of the main characters in the Krypto the Superdog animated series which ran from March 2005 to December 2006. Streaky has also popped up in the Tiny Titans and Superman Family Adventures comics by Art Baltazar & Franco Aureliani.
It was probably inevitable after Michele and I adopted our two cats Nettie and Squeaky that I would become a fan of fictional felines. And that includes Streaky the Supercat. Although not a major theme for me like Beautiful Dreamer, I have obtained a few sketches of the heroic housecat.
Scott Cohn is a versatile artist who has worked on such comic books as Army of Darkness, Ben 10, Justice League Unlimited and Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He has also done licensing artwork for various properties, including the Krypto the Superdog series. So I asked him to do a sketch of the animated version of Streaky. Hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to get some other sketches by Cohn. He does nice work.
Independent creator Alisa Harris has self-published several comic books. One of these, Counter Attack, is a whimsical look at the antics of her cats Fidget and Moe. Harris recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the hardcover publication of The Collected Counter Attack! I’m looking forward to receiving a copy in the mail later this year. Harris has drawn a couple of cat sketches for me, including this cute Streaky.
When I met Franco Aureliani at the 2013 New York Comic Con, of course I had to ask for a drawing of Streaky. I requested that he draw “Streaky vs. Darkseid,” because the lord of Apokolips is a frequent fixture of Tiny Titans as the evil lunch lady. Franco knows his cats very well, because faced by Darkseid’s menace Streaky simply can’t be bothered and decides to take a nap.
Last but certainly not least is my girlfriend, the beautiful and talented Michele Witchipoo. I was friends with Michele for several years before we started dating. During that time, she began self-publishing two comic book series: Psycho Bunny features the misadventures of an antisocial alcoholic rabbit living in Astoria, Queens, and Babalon Babes is a collection of sexy pin-up girl illustrations. Over the past decade Michele has really developed as an artist. She is constantly creating better and better work.
Michele has loved cats since she was a little girl, and grew up with them. When I first told her about Streaky the Supercat in 2009, she did this charming drawing of the Silver Age version of the character for herself.
A couple of days ago, I mentioned to Michele that I was going to do a blog post about Streaky. She insisted that she wanted to do a brand new illustration of him in my convention sketchbook. Michele decided to draw the animated version of Streaky this time. And here he is, attempting very much to look like the Cat of Steel. Michele definitely captured Streaky’s personality in this piece. The “super tuna” was certainly a cute touch.
Perhaps I’ll get other Supercat sketches in the future. I have to see which artists I run into at conventions. I just hope that Nettie and Squeaky don’t mind. They tend to get jealous, but that’s cats for you!
One of the women I work with usually gives me her newspaper in the afternoon, once she’s done reading it at lunch. Friday afternoon, she handed me the day’s edition of the New York Post. Now, the Post is really not my thing, since I find it to be a sensationalistic right-wing rag. I much prefer the Daily News which, as a sensationalistic left-wing rag, is at least somewhat more palatable. But, anyway, I took the Post so I’d have something to read while waiting for the subway going home. And, browsing through the pages of the paper, I came across this item:
Okaaaay!!! Yes, according to University of Pennsylvania researcher Mitch Fraas, it seems that the early 16th Century artillery master Franz Helm actually proposed the creation of feline-deployed WMDs. He even had full-color illustrations prepared to demonstrate these meowing marauders in action.
Doing a little bit of a Google search, I found a similar article in the UK newspaper The Guardian, which stated…
“Circulated widely and illustrated by multiple artists, Helm’s manual is filled with strange and terrible imagery, from bombs packed with shrapnel to missile-like explosive devices studded with spikes.”
Ah, the brilliantly twisted ingenuity of the human mind!
That said, I am not quite sure how exactly Helm arrived at the notion of placing an explosive pack onto the back of a cat and then sending it off to blow up an enemy installation. There seem to be certain practical issues that he did not consider, such as equipping the gunpowder pack with a long enough fuse to make certain the tabby time bomb did not detonate while still in your vicinity, or a method of ensuring that your kitty commando actually headed off to the intended target. And, of course, as any cat owner will tell you, most felines do not like to be picked up. It is difficult enough to wrangle a domestic cat so that you can brush its fur or give it a bath (I speak from experience here). So the possibility of successfully snatching up a stray cat and strapping a ticking bomb to it without getting your eyes clawed out seems terribly unlikely.
Obviously Helm’s contemporaries felt the same way regarding the drawbacks inherent in successfully creating a weaponized felis catus and tabled the discussion. After all, there is a glaring dearth of recorded instances of rocket cat attacks in the annals of European history. Good thing, too; I doubt the SPCA would have approved.
That said, there are two things that we can learn from this. One, the phrase “military intelligence” has always been an oxymoron. Two, even as far back as five centuries ago, long before the creation of Facebook, people still liked sharing silly cat pictures.
Cats are everywhere on the Internet. Cute cats, funny cats, strange cats, crazy cats. You even have your celebrity cats, such as Grumpy Cat and Colonel Meow. And then there is Lil Bub.
For those unfamiliar with Lil Bub, she is a dwarf cat with big eyes, extra toes, no teeth, and a tongue that hangs out of her mouth. Lil Bub and her human, Mike Bridavsky, are from Bloomington, Indiana. They travel around the country making appearances to raise money for animal-related charities. There is actually a documentary about Lil Bub that is going to premier at this year’s Tribecca Film Festival, with a book coming out in the Fall. Here is one of Lil Bub’s official photos:
On Tuesday morning, Michele and I took the subway to the East Village. We had found out that Lil Bub would be visiting Social Tees Animal Rescue from 11 AM to 1 PM that day, and we really wanted to meet her. After wandering around for a while, we finally located Social Tees at their new location, 325 East 5th Street. I later remarked that, since we had been trying to find Social Tees in its old spot, we had been “Looking for Bub in all the wrong places.” Michele booed me very loudly.
When we got there, the first thing I noticed was that there were several cops standing around. For a second I thought that maybe Lil Bub had actually gotten a police escort. Nope, it turns out that Social Tees is next to the neighborhood precinct. According to the owner, the cops pop in to visit the animals all the time. It was around 10:30, so we the line was luckily pretty short at that point. As we were waiting over the next half hour, though, it really grew behind us.
A little after 11:00, Social Tees started letting people in, two at a time. They were accepting donations of cash or animal food. If we had known, we’d have brought along this bag of food that our two cats, Nettie and Squeaky, are too picky to eat. I guess we can drop it off some other time.
Michele and I soon got in. And, wow, Lil Bub was such a cutie! Plus she was so small. I mean, I knew she was a dwarf cat, but she really was tiny. I think Bub was sort of shy & nervous about meeting all of these new people, but she was still very well behaved. Here is the photo that Michele took of me petting Lil Bub:
Michele said that I had such a happy look on my face when I met Lil Bub. Having Nettie and Squeaky has really turned me into a cat-lover. As I said afterwards, it was Bub-tastic.
I think we both wished we could have spent more time with Lil Bub. But it was a long line, and obviously everyone else needed to get their chance to meet her. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to go see the Lil Bub & Friendz film in the near future.
I’ve never seen the Super Bowl as a big deal, mostly because I’m not all that into football to begin with. I think most of the blame for that lies in the fact that, no matter how many times people have explained it, I’ve never been able to figure out how the game is played. Something about each team having a certain number of attempts to advance the ball across the field a certain number of yards, and at the end they need to score a touchdown, or at least a field goal. Is that right? I dunno.
I was going to just sit Super Bowl XLVII out this year. But a cool local bar here in Queens, Gottscheer Hall, was having their regular Super Bowl party, complete with free buffet. So Michele and I decided to go to that.
But first on Sunday afternoon, we sat down to watch the two hour Puppy Bowl IX on Animal Planet. That’s the cute parody of the game which sees a bunch of puppies bouncing around a miniature football stadium, playing with each other and squeaky toys. They even have a halftime show with cute, cuddly kittens. It is, as you can imagine, absolutely adorable. It’s also in a good cause, because all of the dogs and cats who appear on the show each year are rescued from animal shelters. After the filming is done, they are all adopted out to people who want pets. Apparently the show also helps raise awareness in animal adoptions, because there is a spike in rescues afterwards each year as viewers take in cats & dogs from their local shelters.
By the time we arrived at Gottscheer Hall, the second quarter of the Super Bowl was already well underway. Which meant, oh joy, we were in plenty of time to catch the halftime show with Beyonce. I’ve never been a fan of her, to say the least, so this gave me ample opportunity to rag out on her, much to Michele’s amusement. Look, if you can’t be bothered to sing live for the freaking President of the United States, who will you perform for? Just as she was lip synching at Barack Obama’s inauguration, so too I expect she was doing much the same for her Super Bowl “performance.”
By the time the third quarter started up, the Ravens were well ahead, and it looked like the 49ers were going to get creamed, especially after Jacoby Jones scored a 108-yard touchdown. Heck, I don’t even follow football, and even I was impressed by that. Anyway, I wasn’t rooting for either team, but it’s just a much more interesting game to watch when the score is closer. Baltimore was ahead 28 to 6 just a few minutes into the second half when, whoops, there was a power outage at the stadium. It lasted over half an hour, and by the time all the lights were back up, it appeared that the Ravens had totally lost their momentum. Next thing you know, the score was 34 to 29, with Baltimore barely clinging on to a slim lead in the fourth quarter. It actually made for a riveting final few moments, because it looked like at any minute San Francisco was going to take the lead. But the Ravens pulled through. All in all, it was a pretty entertaining game, even for a football-illiterate viewer such as myself.
Oh, yes, then there were the commercials. What can I say about them? I know: they sucked! Yipes, what an awful collection of garbage. Companies actually paid millions of dollars to air this crap. And did I actually see a commercial being broadcast for the Church of Scientology? What’s next, the Vatican buying air time during the MLB playoffs? What a world.
Oh, well, come hell or high water, hopefully next year we’ll have Puppy Bowl once again.