The Day – The Day starts running the comic strip ‘Breaking Cat News’ Monday
Fortunately for cat lovers and comic book readers everywhere, Georgia Dunn quit her job in banking about seven years ago to focus on her art. While working on watercolor illustrations for educational magazines and independent publications at home, she watched the antics of her three cats and tweeted their gadgets to her friends.
She turned her cats’ tweets, knocking down shelves, eating house plants, and sitting on warm pizza boxes, into a website that then became a comic book called Breaking Cat News. Lupine serves as the anchor and Elvis and Puck are reporters in the field as they broadcast what the man and woman are up to in the house.
The strip was picked up by GoComics for online distribution and is now being syndicated to newspapers by Andrews McMeel Syndication. It will appear in around 100 publications on Monday, including The Day. The Day replaces two stripes about dogs, “Pooch Cafe” Monday through Saturday and “Red and Rover” on Sunday.
Dunn lives in Seattle, Washington, but grew up in Carolina, Rhode Island, and graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2004 when she and her mother ordered hot dogs and sodas. She loved reading Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes and wrote her first comic in first grade. She borrowed a tabby cat from Cindy Wilson’s “Marmalade the Cat” series that lived on a farm. But Dunn put her own twist on Marmalade, who became “your typical cowboy doctor millionaire space war spy defending the barn and all life as we know it from alien dogs.”
We recently emailed her and asked her a few questions about the strip and her inspirations.
Question: You come across several universal truths about cats that many will recognize: cats throw up, cats like to sit on computer keyboards, and cats get up early and want everyone else in the house to get up with them. Are you afraid of running out of ideas?
Dunn: Cats are always up to something and luckily the cats in my life are always inspiring. However, I’m a worrying and a planner, and that’s why I have a headline ideas notebook and I keep trying to expand it. Constant creative vigilance! Ha! Also, at the beginning of the comic, a friend gave me some great advice: “If you make the comic about the characters and their interactions, you will never run out of material.” It was a good compass. I try to divide the comic between universal cat stories – which all cats do – and stories that are personal to those particular cats and their world. It worked so far!
Question: Do you consider yourself a cat lady?
Dunn: Absolutely. I grew up with cats and have always loved them. It was a huge, unexpected plus to meet so many other cat people through the comic as this all started!
Question: Are there any cat antics that you just can’t include in your comic? If so, spill it.
Dunn: Haha! Sometimes in my life a cat does something that seems incredible, and while it’s real, it can be a tough sell. Our cat Elvis went through a phase in which, for example, he guarded our stacks of pancakes while we were making breakfast. We don’t know if it was the smell, the warmth or whatever, but he would always come up and keep watch. I think people would think I would get upset if I include that, haha! … But maybe one day. And our cat Lupine is amazing when it comes to breaking lamps / breaking lightbulbs. People would accuse me of exaggerating. If a lightbulb smashed the Olympics, Lupine would take home the gold every four years.
Question: The drawings and watercolors really add to the cats’ characters. Do you see yourself first as an artist and then as a comic book writer or vice versa?
Dunn: Thank you! I graduated from art school with a major in printmaking and illustration, and I think I bring that with me when I write. For the past few years, online readers have told me that the comic sometimes feels like a storybook, and I take that as a big compliment.
Question: What does BCN, as some of your fans call Breaking Cat News, offer to someone who doesn’t like cats?
Dunn: I’ve been told that I owe much of my syndication and newspaper development business to the fact that the president of my syndicate isn’t a cat person – and found BCN very funny. The argument was that even if someone who wasn’t crazy about cats could enjoy cat news, there might be something bigger for everyone. (I gladly hope this is a solid argument!) Lots of readers tell me they were all against cats before the strip, and I’m proud to say that some people have told us they adopted cats after they did Have become fans! So … side effects could be cats? However, some readers are still not cat people. I think there is enough cat annoyance out there for them too!
Question: What do you think of dogs?
Dunn: I know the man (my husband Ryan) wishes I had more dogs than me. I like dogs! More like certain dogs I meet than wanting to have one myself. Ryan hopes to one day save a basset hound. He had one when he was a kid, and it left a hole in the shape of a basset hound in his heart. We will see. Dogs are later represented in the strip! There’s a dog correspondent based on Amy’s dog Trevor, the beloved mascot of Hopkinson’s “Forbes Flowers”. I like Trevor a lot. If I could have 10 Trevors I would probably open my doors tomorrow. He’s a great dog, and later on on the strip, he’s a really fun addition to the cast. He has met with suspicion in some cat characters and acceptance in others. Right now on the Web-Strips, that wasn’t finished – and will the cats ever get to trust Trevor? We’ll all find out together later!
Question: Do you have any other pets?
Dunn: We don’t currently do this, but we have had pet rodents and we hope to have pet rodents again in the future when we settle into our own house and our children are older. Our son would also like to have an aquarium, so there’s a chance a fish correspondent might come in the future, Ha!
Editor’s note: This article was edited to correct the Georgia Dunn graduation.