If you were taking some time this week to sit down and try to figure out what award-winning author Margaret Atwood's next project would be, your first guess probably wouldn't have been a series of all-ages graphic novels about a superhero who is part-bird, part-cat, and suffers an identity crisis because of his conflicting predator/prey nature. But really, it probably should've --- she has, after all, pretty thoroughly conquered the world of novels, short stories and poetry, so when you get right down to it, comics is the next logical step.

Today, Dark Horse announced that very project: Angel Catbird, a series of three graphic novels by Atwood and artist Johnnie Christmas, set for release in Fall of 2016.

Here's what the press release has to say about the project:

“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.

“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.”

Superhero stories that explore the duality of their characters aren't anything new, but I'm not going to lie: a character whose dual nature leads him to constantly want to eat himself is a pretty fresh take. It's fitting that the books are being published in association with the venerable conservation organization Nature Canada and their Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives initiatives.

Angel Catbird volume 1 will be released next Fall.


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