For more than 50 years, author Margaret Atwood has released some of the most highly regarded books in modern fiction, from 1985’s dystopian The Handmaid’s Tale to 2000’s Blind Assassin.
Last year, the Canadian novelist announced her first debut into the world of comics with Angel Catbird. Now, more details about the title have been revealed, along with an official release date.
Atwood created and wrote the first of a three-volume series with artist Johnnie Christmas, who brought the author’s creation to visual life in collaboration with colorist Tamra Bonvillain.
The story follows the adventures of Angel Catbird, an anthropomorphic feline superhero with bird wings and talons. The first entry will detail the character’s origin story, which, according to Atwood, is a “collision between our hero, a cat, an owl, a car and a vial full of gene splicer.”
Loaded with the instincts of all three creatures, the hero later joins an underground half-man/half-cat group locked in a centuries-long conflict with rat monsters.
In addition to sci-fi pulp, the story also contains hints of Atwood’s humanitarian side, as Dark Horse is releasing the comic in tandem with the Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives initiatives.
“I grew up in the 1940s drawing comics, and I’ve continued: I even drew a strip in the 1970s,” said Atwood in a press release. “So what better way to explore cat/bird interactions and the welfare of both than through a flying catbird superhero?”
“This project has been a fun mix of advocacy, humor, and adventure,” said Christmas. “Margaret Atwood is a fountain of ideas, it’s been an absolute blast working with her. And our tale of ‘half-cats’ gets a fine boost from the wonderful Tamra Bonvillain. Her vibrant colors help bring the world of Angel Catbird to life.”
All three volumes of Angel Catbird will be released as 6×9 full-color hardcovers, each priced at $14.99. The first volume will hit store shelves on Sept. 9.
Watch a making-of video about the comic featuring Atwood and Christmas below, and revisit Paste’s feature on 23 literary-inspired band names to find out which group shares a title with one of Atwood’s best works.