Vancouver artist to illustrate Margaret Atwood’s first graphic novel

vt Author Margaret Atwood04

Dark Horse Comics has announced that it will publish the first graphic novel by Margaret Atwood. Helping the author of The Handmaid’s Tale and the Oryx and Crake trilogy, among many other celebrated works, realize her vision is Vancouver artist/illustrator Johnnie Christmas.

The book, Angel Catbird, is scheduled for release in the fall of 2016, and concerns what Atwood is calling an “unusual superhero.”

“I have concocted a superhero who is part cat, part bird,” Atwood is quoted in a press release from the publisher.

“Due to some spilled genetic Super-Splicer, our hero got tangled up with both a cat and an owl; hence his fur and feathers, and his identity problems.”

Johnnie Christmas has also worked on Sheltered, a locally produced series written by Vancouver writer Ed Brisson.

“It’s tremendously exciting to work with one of the great contemporary novelists,” Christmas said in the release. “I can’t wait for readers to experience the world of Angel Catbird that we’re building. It’s got warmth, heart, humor, and lots of action.”


Atwood also previously contributed to Hope Nicholson’s The Secret Lives of Geek Girls comics this year. In a conversation with, she talked about her connection to comics.

“It was the comic book generation,” she said of her childhood, “and there wasn’t any television then! But there were comic books, and they came roaring back right after the War, coloured ones, because we couldn’t get coloured ones in Canada in the war years. One of the tragedies of life is that my mother found my brother’s comic book collection after he had gone off to graduate school and she threw them out!”

The all-ages Angel Catbird will be a three-volume series of 6 x 9–inch full-color trade paperbacks priced at $10.99 (more in Canada, of course) each. It’s being published with the conservation charity Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives.

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