With the upcoming release of Grumpy Cat #1, Byron Brewer sat down with writers Ben Fisher & Ben McCool and editor Rich Young to talk about the new series. Cover art by Steve Uy, Ken Haeser and Tavis Maiden.
BEN FISHER: I think Grumpy Cat found herself directly in the sweet spot of a Venn diagram where cuteness meets cynicism. The more she insults you, the more you just want to scratch her behind the ears. The fact that Grumpy Cat continues to enjoy such widespread popularity is a testament to how much her adorable bitterness resonates with all of us.
BEN McCOOL: The Internet adores kitty cats, although they're typically presented as furry bundles of unconditional love. Grumpy, like a real-life Garfield, makes mockery of this depiction—she's delightful in her own unique way, but not in the slightest bit happy about it! I think this charming irony further fuels Grumpy Cat's ever-growing popularity.
BB: Dynamite will be doing a variety of publication developments featuring Grumpy Cat. Tell us about this first book, coming out in October.
Ben F: The October issue will be the first in a three-issue comic book series, each containing multiple stories from a fantastic stable of creators.
RICH YOUNG (editor): Each issue in the first series is going to feature three short stories, each written and drawn by different creative teams. Issue #1 will feature stories by the two Bens here, as well as another story by Royal McGraw. Artists will include Steve Uy, Michelle Nguyen and Ken Haeser, all giving their own artistic spin on Grumpy and Pokey. It's making for some cool variation style-wise and some really fun shorts! The trouble those two can make and get into is something else…
Ben F: The challenge to writing Grumpy Cat is also the best part: we're tasked with creating the world around her as well as giving life to a whole cast of supporting characters, both new and old. It has truly been a joy to have played a role constructing the Grumpy Cat universe.
Ben M: Here, here! These stories are *so* much fun to write, and to see the characters grow and evolve as each story progresses is both exciting and rewarding.
BB: Almost everyone knows Grumpy Cat's disposition (what a face!), but what about her brother Pokey? Can you tell us about his character?
Ben F: Pokey is the yin to Grumpy's yang. He's good-natured and generally just wants everyone to get along and enjoy life to the fullest. He isn't easily insulted (a useful trait considering his sibling), but he's not unintelligent either. Of course, he's no match for his sister's wit …
Ben M: Pokey is shaping up to be a brilliant addition to this world—his pluckiness and sense of adventure sends Grumpy's life spinning in all manner of new, bizarre and fun-filled directions!
BB: We know that Grumpy Cat is the official "spokescat" for Friskies. Will we see any behind-the-scenes looks at some of her "acting endeavors"? I would imagine on set she has the ego of Miss Piggy. (smiles)
Ben M: Funnily enough, I attended Grumpy Cat's birthday party last year! It was…fascinating. Also, fantastic! I received an email invitation from Friskies (likely due to my ongoing social media onslaught of kitty-related shenanigans) and I got to meet the miserable moggy herself. She was strangely charming—dare I say, an absolute delight! Although deep down, I'm sure Grumpy was scowling at each and every attendee at the party… "You call this a birthday party?! Meh. Next year I'll arrange it myself and show you how to really throw a celebration–!"
BB: Finally, tell us about the talent that will be bringing us this initial and highly unusual book in October.
Ben F: Ben McCool and I are writing, along with Royal McGraw and Elliott R. Serrano. We've teamed up with a fantastic collection of artists like Steve Uy, Michelle Nguyen and Ken Haeser. We genuinely can't wait to bring you an all-new (and hilarious) way to experience our favorite grump.
RY (editor): The talent on the book is really outstanding, both on the writing and art side. I think fans of Grumpy will really find it fun and entertaining. As far as publishing plans go, Dynamite will be publishing the three issues and then collecting them all into a neat little hardcover collection which should be in stores in time for the holidays. Future editorial plans beyond that will be decided in the coming months.
I should also mention we'll be launching a Grumpy Cat comic strip website in September that will be updated with new comic strips each week. When enough material is complete, we'll also collect the online strips in print. Look for more details on that soon.
For more information on Grumpy Cat #1, click here.