Home Comics INTERVIEW: Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue on the 217 felines of KATIE THE CATSITTER: SECRETS AND SIDEKICKS

INTERVIEW: Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue on the 217 felines of KATIE THE CATSITTER: SECRETS AND SIDEKICKS

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INTERVIEW: Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue on the 217 felines of KATIE THE CATSITTER: SECRETS AND SIDEKICKS

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Katie the Catsitter: Secrets and SidekicksKatie the Catsitter: Secrets and techniques and Sidekicks, the third e book in the Katie the Catsitter collection from RH Graphic, is out there at your native e book retailer and/or public library now! To rejoice the discharge of the newest launch within the ongoing collection, The Beat caught up with author Colleen AF Venable and illustrator Stephanie Yue over Zoom.

We requested all in regards to the growth of the continuing center grade graphic novel collection, came upon extra about designing a brand new superhero costume, and requested about persevering with to incorporate the primary themes of the collection. Please word that this interview could embrace slight spoilers for Secrets and techniques and Sidekicks.

This interview has been edited for size and readability.


AVERY KAPLAN: How did you strategy the third quantity within the Katie the Catsitter collection, each as a sequel and an ongoing continuation?

COLLEEN AF VENABLE: We set it up in Katie the Catsitter: Finest Buddies for By no means that Katie was educated to be a sidekick, nevertheless it was not one of the enjoyable elements of being a sidekick. So in Secrets and techniques and Sidekicks, now it’s the enjoyable elements. Now it’s studying the bodily issues, studying all of the cool issues, studying the place all of the devices come from, studying all these items. Studying the place the coaching occurs – I really like the montage of the coaching space.

However, what occurs should you’re not good at it? That’s lots of it too. In lots of this stuff, the montage occurs in 5 minutes and so they’ve misplaced fifty kilos and so they’re all of a sudden nice at every part. Which, I additionally hate montages the place anybody loses weight, for the document. However, what if Katie struggles with this stuff? What if it’s not fully pure for her to do a push-up, like most individuals on the market?

I began with that, and I additionally wished the thought of different heroes and villains within the metropolis, and actually beginning to grey that line with the Moustress. The truth that she saves the town… I don’t know what number of instances within the e book, and so they react by saying, “Oh my gosh, did you see, the Moustress destroyed the town once more!” 

Additionally, secret identities being came upon, I feel is a very fascinating thought. And Katie is a child, she’s acquired a mother or father. The mother or father doesn’t know she’s doing this, and all of a sudden, her mother or father is round extra. I wished it to be the one-upping of stepping into this world of side-kickery.

AVERY: Are you able to inform us extra about designing the Tacky Justice costume? 

STEPHANIE YUE: I did an entire line-up of slight variations. A few of them had an enormous collar, and a few of them had a bob wig. I had some that have been a play on “Justice.” One of many iterations earlier than we went with the present Tacky Justice outfit, which can also be ridiculous, had a Ruth Bader Ginsburg collar.

I don’t understand how the ultimate costume would truly work. In my thoughts, I’m wondering, “What if somebody truly wished to cosplay this?” I don’t understand how this cape/shoulder factor would exist in three-dimensional area. It’s like an Astroboy deal, the place you simply flip a sure manner and it seems a sure manner.

COLLEEN: Or the way in which Mickey’s ears all the time good circles, irrespective of which manner he turns his head. 

AVERY: What was the method of increasing on Madeline’s story like?

COLLEEN: We hadn’t actually defined any of her backstory. We knew that she ran a collection of eating places, and we knew that she had points from having been caught within the first e book. I feel she had an enormous character arc within the second e book, the place it was the primary time that folks have been counting on her, and he or she was letting them in. 

In Secrets and techniques and Sidekicks, her realizing she’s by no means been truthful along with her household about it, that’s a tough scene for me to re-read, regardless that I wrote it. All the things’s not good simply because she’s this secret hero. There are nonetheless lots of different issues in her life that she’s neglecting. And I feel she uncared for friendship within the earlier e book, and now I feel she’s embraced that a part of it, nevertheless it’s nonetheless actually onerous to be herself round everyone in her life.

STEPHANIE: It’s good to see Madeline extra humanized.

COLLEEN: Just like the reveal of the place she will get the cats. And if anybody asks, there are nonetheless solely 217. A few of them graduate, so that they go off to stay with different folks. I simply wished there to be room to elucidate the place she will get the cats as a result of this needs to be a sensible e book.

STEPHANIE: In my thoughts, there’s a possible spin-off collection within the cats that graduate, and no matter cluster of abilities they’ve.

AVERY: I appreciated the continuation of the sexism theme (+ return of Chilly Palms) from Finest Buddies for By no means. How essential was it to proceed together with this theme?

COLLEEN: Actually essential. There are such a lot of horrible gender assumptions, in a thousand other ways, from lots of people. And the extra we will get superior illustration of all totally different folks doing superior issues. 

And the truth that it’s nonetheless a world that could be very a lot run by white cis males. Madeline has a line the place she says, “I got here out and I believed I used to be a hero, and everyone took one take a look at me and noticed I used to be a Black girl and assumed I used to be a villain.” And I really feel like that line was far more true than I wished it to be. I really feel prefer it’s a theme that’s by no means going to go away as a result of the world is rarely going to get good. 

However any likelihood we get to have an superior hero in any type… Whether or not it’s slightly child that I would assume is ace, or simply ensuring that Madeline and Stainless Metal and all these highly effective ladies of all totally different physique varieties are represented.

STEPHANIE: That’s additionally a enjoyable factor to attract. I need to draw totally different physique varieties; I need to draw totally different folks. I would like everybody to have slightly little bit of illustration.

AVERY: Is there the rest you’d like me to make sure and embrace?

COLLEEN: That is my favourite Katie. Possibly it’s simply because it’s the most recent, is that the way it works? I’m kidding; because the youngest, I shouldn’t be saying that out loud. However actually, I really feel like we acquired into such an excellent groove on this e book. I really feel just like the jokes actually land, and the heartwarming elements actually land. 

Katie’s mother is nice. I really like that you simply discover out slightly bit extra – issues I all the time assumed children would discover are stated flat-out on this one. Like I all the time thought folks would discover that Katie’s mother doesn’t have a bed room. However I suppose should you by no means knew anyone who had a mother or father who needed to sleep in the lounge as a result of they didn’t have the additional room, you wouldn’t go there mentally. 

So I wished to flat-out say, “Her mother is working these ridiculous hours; she’s falling asleep on a regular basis. She sleeps on the sofa as a result of they don’t have the funds for.” After which to have her mother sort of determine her life out similtaneously Katie figuring it out… I simply love that sort of secondary character development. That’s one thing I actually like doing, is making the facet characters have development.

STEPHANIE: I feel a part of that’s as a result of it’s the third e book, so you possibly can sort of lean in and discover the characters slightly bit extra. Even when it’s just a bit quip within the background that provides the character extra dimension… I really feel such as you’re actually good at doing that for all the solid.

COLLEEN: I’ll say, I all the time have books with too many solid members, although. I really like recurring characters, I really like recurring gags, and I really like folks coming again that had a small, one-panel cameo in one other e book. Understanding that hardly any readers will understand that’s the identical character, however the ones that do shall be so excited.

STEPHANIE: I feel readers will discover after they come again. Simply primarily based on the cat continuity errors which have been identified to us. Readers will discover, so will probably be appreciated! “Is {that a} totally different cat?”

COLLEEN: We undoubtedly have some children that decision us out. And now we now have one other move that we do for each e book that’s all cat continuity.

STEPHANIE: The cat continuity move.

COLLEEN: It’s so much.

STEPHANIE: It’s 217!


Secrets and techniques and Sidekicks is out there now.

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