Welcome to the world, Cat Daniels

Last Sunday, Issue #1 of My So-Called Secret Identity, a new online comic featuring Cat Daniels (created by Will Brooker and illustrated by Suze Shore and Sarah Zaidan) premiered.

It’s a wonderful idea for a comic, which I discussed here when I first learned about it.

While it’s great to read a comic that I can relate to as a girl, Dr. Brooker and his team have also created a near perfect comic experience. It’s obvious from Issue #1 that they are fans of comics themselves, because they know exactly what to give the fans. The panels are well-drawn, and move along quickly. Even though the issue is the standard 22 pages, it seems much shorter, because you end up wanting more. The story and setting build on what fans already know of comics- cityscapes, background on characters, shadowy figures, and plays with that knowledge.

But that’s just the beginning of the list of everything they get right, and how they’re giving fans exactly what they want:

  • Several of the big panels offer clues of things to come, making sure that readers will return again and again to them, as the story progresses. There are few things better than having a writer/creator acknowledge that their audience is smart, and cater to that. Many individual panels were released early on social media, and served as great teasers.
  • Cat Daniels, the main character, has an online presence on both Facebook and Twitter. Not only is Cat a prolific writer in both mediums, but her voice comes across very clear through these feeds. She’ funny, and irreverent, and I can’t help but hear it as I reread Issue #1. Trust me, it’s a fan’s dream to have a superhero(ine) they admire send them “brain smooches”.  I get the feeling too, that as the comic progresses, there will be clues and hints for the uber-fan that Cat will drop through social media. Whoever is “voicing” Cat online (and I have my suspicions 🙂 they are doing a lot to add to the fun of the comic, and investing the audience in Cat’s story.
  • You can donate to support future issues, but the team is just asking for money to support future issues, and their sponsored charity, A Way Out. They reward the fans- there are levels of donation, and each level, from $5 on up to “Bruce Wayne” type donations, gives the fans something- from elite sketches not available to the general public,  to the opportunity to be featured as a character in a future story. And when you are emailed your fan prize, it comes with a special note from Cat herself. I see a significant lessening of my bank account in the future, because what fan wouldn’t want to be featured in a comic they love?

Donate Cat

After multiple re-readings of Issue #1, I have only one criticism, and it’s a minor one. Despite the fact that the comic is online, the panels are still formatted like normal, paper comics. This results in sometimes not being able to “see” the whole image at once.

Cat partial panelcat full panel

If there are several, smaller panels on the page, that’s less of an issue, because of how you read the panels, but for a scene like the one above, it makes it a little hard to read, and get it all at once. I found myself having to scroll up and down a lot on panels like this. As the comic is online only, it’d be nice to see the creators play with the panels so they are formatted for computer screen size and perhaps step away from paper comic book size.

After less than a week, Issue #2 is already fully funded by fans, and Issue #3 is only $40 away from being fully funded, so hopefully we’ll be seeing Cat soon.

Until then, I’m keep busy by rereading Issue #1 and trying to earn more brain smooches.

About Karra Shimabukuro

I am a PhD student at University of New Mexico, my research focuses on medieval literature, folklore, and popular culture. My writing tends to focus on television and movies, but usually with a focus on how things are all connected. I'm a reference snob. I often consider myself a Geek by Proxy- the coolest people I ever met were geeks, and at a young age found myself devouring all the cool things they knew/saw/did. In my days off I can be found on the Interweb spreading joy and enlightenment. And I can always be found in the company of my bebe puppy Nehi. @khkshimabukuro http://scholarlymedievalmadness.blogspot.com/
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