By Autumn Daughetee
For those of you who are not familiar with Pet Noir, it is a novel by Pati Nagle about Leon, a talking, genetically engineered cat who is indentured to a police department on an off-world space station. Leon works off the price of his creation solving crimes with his human partner.
Now, take my advice. As soon as you finish reading this post, visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble or your favorite online book retailer and purchase a copy. Then pull the blinds and pretend you’re not at home while you read this book.
After you are familiar with the antics of Leon, I know you will be unable to resist following his adventures in comic book format. Kymera Press recently released issue #1 of Pet Noir at Comic-Con International: San Diego. This special edition had a special numbered limited-edition cover exclusive to Comic-Con. Although it sold like hotcakes, there are a few copies left. If you are interested, contact us for more information on how to get your copy.
Now, without further ado, here is my interview with the author of Pet Noir—Pati Nagle.
Do you read comic books?
I read comics a lot as a kid. Less so now, because of other demands on my time (like writing), but as an adult I’ve enjoyed more sophisticated comics such as Elfquest and various manga. I also adore Sydney Padua’s 2-D Goggles. Ada Lovelace is a wonderful comic hero!
What made you decide to adapt Pet Noir into comic book form?
Cats in zero-g. Need I say more? Seriously, I think the stories that make up Pet Noir would really come alive even more in a comic. It’s got kind of a comic-book feel already, with the science fiction setting and the noir atmosphere. There’s a lot of rich potential for expression through visual media. I’m excited to see what happens!
Kymera came to me and I was absolutely delighted. I love working with other women, and I love the concept of a press that focuses on women’s creative efforts.
Where did the idea for Leon come from? A crime-solving, genetically engineered, talking cat isn’t something that one passes on the street.
Gosh, not sure I remember. Sometimes ideas and characters just come in fully formed from a side door and present themselves. I think Leon came to me that way. ‘Here I am, a talking cat who works as an undercover detective. Tell my story!’
I’m a cat-lover and I’ve thought about how they might (or might not) adapt to living in space. I love the juxtaposition of futuristic outer-space with the mood of old noir detective stories. All those fun ideas kind of jumbled themselves together in my brain and started coming out as stories.
Are there more Leon stories to come?
I definitely plan to write more Leon stories, and they’ll be prose first. There’s more to say, not only about the crazy adventures of a cat fighting crime in space, but about some of the more serious underlying issues, such as his indenture. He’s stuck fighting scummy space criminals until the expense of his genetic engineering is paid off. He would probably sympathize with a lot of college graduates these days.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about Leon or this project?
Just that I’m so pleased whenever a reader tells me they like Leon and his stories. People really get into it. I had one reader tell me, ‘That’s not how cats talk!’ I just had to laugh, because if they were that engaged in the story, that they had their own opinion of how a cat would talk, then I did my job.