Daniel de Sosa is an American cartoonist who lives in London, England. He is a well-regarded member of the UK’s rapidly growing indie comics scene, with books such as Orc Quest Quarterly, and Oi! Tales of Bardic Fury under his belt. His latest project, Purrvana, features a mystical cat who isn’t very good at being mystical, and is being funded via crowdfunding. We caught up with him to find out more.
STARBURST: Tell us about Purrvana and its lead character Kitty Jenkins?
Daniel de Sosa: Kitty Jenkins is a three-eyed shape shifting cosmic spirit cat. He pops in to people’s lives uninvited and sends them on spirit journeys that they don’t want to go on. In the end, they learn nothing. Kitty Jenkins was co-created by fellow cartoonist Sajan Rai and myself. Last year we, along with Siobhan Alcaide and Shane Melisse, put out an anthology comic that was funded via Kickstarter. Now I am trying to raise money on Kickstarter to pay for the printing of a new KJ book featuring only my own work. The book is called Purrvana. The book follows Jenkins on his various adventures through time and meowter space. Sajan, Shane and Shib also are planning to put out their own solo KJ books later in the year.
Why is Kitty Jenkins so terrible at enlightening people?
The thing is, a lot of KJ’s words and lessons he attempts to teach are based on the words of some of the greatest philosophers in the world - from Buddha, to Socrates, to Zhuangzi - he just relays their message in an obnoxious, irrelevant and sometimes idiotic way. Kitty Jenkins is so used to dimension-hopping and travelling through space that he’s forgotten regular people can’t handle that sort of thing. Or maybe he does realize it, and just likes messing with people? He’s a mysterious cosmic force. No one knows for sure. Kitty Jenkins behaves how a cat actually would if it had cosmic powers. Some of the things he does are nonsensical. Many of his antics are disgusting, full of psychedelic hairballs and stupid cat puns. I try to write Kitty Jenkins as the most obnoxious character possible, but for some reason the reader’s response to him has been really positive! I think it’s just because he’s a cute cat.
Where did the idea for mystic cats come from? Why cats?
Why cats? That’s what I ask myself! Anyone who has been in a large office environment knows how insanely popular pictures of cats are in this day and age. It’s like they have some sort of mystical power over people. Just look at Grumpy Cat. He has hundreds of thousands of followers simply because he’s a cat that looks angry! He doesn’t have to do anything but be himself and he inspires this crazy fervent devotion! And then look at ancient Egypt - even thousands of years ago people worshipped cats and built giant sculptures and temples to celebrate them. A cat is the perfect form for a cosmic prophet guru to take.
How many cat puns can you squeeze into one comic book?
Too many cat puns. I love stupid puns. One of the stories I’m really excited to draw for this book is called A Song of Mice and Fire. The stupider a cat pun is, the more I will squeeze it in to the comic.
What are the influences on this project?
David Lynch’s film version of Dune was a big inspiration for this book. I did not think it was a great film, or an accurate rendition of the book, but I loved a lot of the visuals and odd off-beat editing choices. Purrvana was also inspired by artists in the old Metal Hurlant comics, dudes like Moebius and Enki Bilal. Along with ancient philosophy, the hypnotic power of lolcats humour and cat memes were also a massive influence on this book.
How different is this from previous works?
The first Kitty Jenkins book was a series of short stories and gag strips with no real plot. This book is still going to have some typical Jenkins gag strips, but they will be intercut between a longer over-arching story. I’m going to experiment with both story telling as well as structure. I’m going to introduce the Catriarchy, an intergalactic organization that follows the religion of Jenkism, which began after people witnessed Kitty Jenkins pooing out a crystal pyramid, and then disappearing. The main story will follow Jenkins and a disenfranchised former believer of Jenkism as they journey through stars and dimensions. I also have a basset hound foil to KJ that I want to introduce, named Major Slops, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to squeeze him in to this book or not. The first KJ book was printed in black and white. This will be printed full-colour with water-coloured page art.
How can we help?
I’m raising money to pay for the print costs of the book via Kickstarter. I want to create a beautiful book that cat lovers will be happy to have on their coffee tables and share with their friends. I love making comics for people, and am grateful that Kickstarter has provided a platform that gives me the opportunity to make books that are true to my vision, and connect with new fans. If you want to help this project come to life, please check out my Kickstarter page and consider pledging, and share the link on your social media platforms. With your help, we can create the Cattitude Era a reality.
You can find out more about Purrvana, a new comic starring Kitty Jenkins, here.
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