With the release of Roberta Gregory’s True Cat Toons, the world can now know the story of Azathoth and Yog-Sothoth.
Roberta collects stories of remarkable cats (of course, we who have been owned by cats know that all of them are remarkable) and has brought her many years of cartooning experience to the project of illustrating them. Her drawings capture the essence of these cats and their people beautifully. She has been posting many of these to her website, bringing them to life. Her first collection, Real Cat Toons, consisted mainly of stories of her own cat, Pushkin. Her new book is full of the wonderful stories others have shared with her. Some poignant, some funny, all capture the real-life behavior of cats and their people.
Says Roberta, “Everyone living with a cat (or several) is an amateur cat behavioral scientist who, I have found, is usually eager to share their insights with the world.”
Born in Los Angeles in 1953, Roberta has been writing stories and drawing pictures pretty much all her life. Her father, Robert Gregory (who died in December 2003) used to write Donald Duck and other Disney comics while she was a small child at home. “From an early age I would draw dogs and cats and horses and write dialogue balloons above their heads, and then staple little comic books together and sell them to my family members, bless them!”
In college, Roberta threw herself into the feminist movement. She experimented with various styles, publishing in the college paper, and created “Feminist Funnies” in 1974. That year she sold her first story to the underground comic book, Wimmen’s Comix, Issue #4 (published by Last Gasp of San Francisco). She expanded the comic strip into a comic book of her own, Dynamite Damsels. “I think this officially made me the first woman to solo publish a regulation-sized comic book, but I don’t think I knew it at the time.”
She continued to write and publish comics, taking on an assortment of diverse and ambitious projects. (Check ’em out; some still available.) 1991 saw the first issue of Naughty Bits, her long-running comic book series, which introduced the character of Bitchy Bitch.
“Bitchy Bitch … has become my most well-known creation, and the character of mine that the most readers seem able to identify with! She has taken many incarnations, from appearing in the comic book, to stage productions, to a weekly strip, and even a cloth doll (which is, unfortunately, no longer available) and from 2001-2003, Bitchy starred in the “Life’s a Bitch” animated cartoon on Comedy Network in Canada and Oxygen Network in the US.”
True Cat Toons is her latest project, one that I have had the honor of contributing to. From the book:
It began when the daughter of the farmers we buy our milk from came up to me holding a small, black kitten.
“Isn’t he adorable? Our cat had four of them, and they need a home.” I admired the kitten, but I already had 5 cats. The last thing I needed was two more little mouths to feed. Plus the vet bills, the stress of integrating them into the household — no, no, I could not bear the thought, the unspeakable horror of it!
But Grace was a good salesperson. She thrust the small thing at me. “Here, hold him!”
That’s when I saw it; those feet, those marvelous feet. Double paws, front and back. Then he looked up me and opened his mouth.
The demon sultan had spoken.
Thus begins the tale of how I came to be possessed by two demons. Roberta took my story and a few photos I supplied, and absolutely nailed it. I was thrilled. I think you’ll get a kick out of it, too, and with the other stories of Purrrzac, Tredgekatten, Inkwell, and the rest. A treasure for any catlover, because these funny and heartwarming tales are true.