Katie Cook is rapidly becoming the busiest cartoonist on the convention circuit, mainly due to her super cheap (only five dollars!), super cute (mostly cats and puppies!) drawings. But she’s also been breaking through into more mainstream work, like a short Hulk story for Marvel, and an upcoming cover for Image. And just the past week, she created a huge stir when she posted a sketch idea for Bats, a crazy little Batman character who watches his parents die, and then thinks he’s a bat. Seriously. It’s really funny.
We caught up with Cook at FanExpo to chat about all of this, why she needs to stay in fighting shape at conventions, and he OTHER take on Batman:
MTV Geek: I know it’s only one day old at this point, but what’s this Con been like for you so far?
Katie Cook: This is my first FanExpo, they’ve been trying to get me out for years. But the first day has been great! The Canadian fans are all polite. Of course. It’s a big show, it’s a nice size show, lots of artists, lots of exhibitors.
Geek: You also have a big line at these cons… Have they increased? Was there a tipping point so to speak?
KC: The past year has been insane. I’ve basically become a convention staple… Me and my tiny paintings. I get all these blog reviews saying that the first thing you have to go do is get a $5 painting from Katie Cook, and then you can enjoy the rest of your show. So that’s like, I’ve become a stop. In San Diego, I actually had to make an End of Line sign, so I could get through and actually leave when the convention was done!
Geek: Not to characterize you, but you draw, cuteish stuff…
KC: My degree is actually in technical medical administration, but I don’t do anything with that. I’m thrown it to the wayside to draw cats! [Laughs]
Geek: Just walking around here, it seems like there’s a rapidly growing subsection of Cons devoted to this particular… Genre? That might not be the right word.
KC: There is! People love cute stuff. It’s the simplicity of line, I like, being able to draw something with four or five lines, and make it really recognizable. Not that everyone is going to believe me out there, but it’s hard!
Geek: Do you and the other “cute” artists get into turf wars?
KC: Oh yeah, I punch people all the time. That’s the part of me that went to college in Detroit.
Geek: Now, you’re doing a cover for Image Comics’ PIGS, right?
KC: I did! It is a variant cover that is coming out with whatever issue they’re doing at New York Comic-Con and it’s like… Cute. I did all the characters of Image’s PIGS… As pigs… And they’re adorable, and just big round blobby squishy things.
Geek: I’ve read the first issue. That is a dirty, dirty violent book. Did you mix that in there, or are they just cute?
KC: Well, they are all decked out with weapons, and jumping out of helicopters. It was all Nate [Cosby, co-writer of PIGS]’s idea. He said, “I would like you to draw the characters as pigs.” And I said, “All right…” “And make ‘em covered in weapons.” It was fun.
Geek: You’re also working with Nate on a story for Archaia’s Storyteller anthology.
KC: Yup, and doing the Storyteller stuff was amazing. I did some Fraggle Rock stuff for Archaia, and done some Fraggle Rock stuff not for Archaia, some style guide art. But then they were like, “Do you want to draw a Storyteller story,” and I was like, “Oh, let me look at my calendar. DELETE EVERYTHING IN THIS TIME FRAME. Yes, what would you like me to do?”
Geek: Did you have a favorite Storyteller episode?
KC: I do! The Stone Soup episode is one I love, almost everyone always says the soldier, where he cheats death and has him in the bag.
Geek: Do you see yourself transitioning into doing more mainstream work like this?
KC: I would love to do more mainstream work. You know, I love working with my character, I love doing Gronk, and printing my little ashcans. But I really love how comics are embracing indie creators. There are a lot of people I’d love to see do their takes on characters. They don’t need to be canon, but I’d love to see Kate Beaton do a weird eight page story in a Marvel anthology, just let her go crazy.
Geek: You did a story in Marvel’s I Am an Avenger… Do you think you’d do more work there?
KC: I would love it! I know a lot of great people at Marvel… They’re so nice, and so supportive that I’m positive I’ll do more in the future… But nothing to report.
Geek: Do you have a dream story you want to tell at Marvel or DC?
KC: I do! There was a big thing on Twitter about it the other day. I have two Batman ideas. One is Bats, about the delusion kid who is suffering from post traumatic stress. But I have another one, I thought… They’re taking away the Kents in the new Superman relaunch, so Superman doesn’t grow up with the Kents. So I think Batman needs his parents back, so he grows up as a spoiled rich kid. So he says, “You know what, Daddy, I need a new utility belt. This doesn’t look good with my skinny jeans.” His scientists are at his beck and call… He has a Z3 Roadster that’s actually the Batmobile. It has a giant, terrible Bat-spoiler on it. And Alfred just coddles him. He’s like, “Yes Master Bruce?” “I got this really bad acid at a rave called The Joker,” things like that.
But then I have a Deadpool story where Deadpool inherits a pet store that I’d really, really, really, really like to do.
Geek: Just straight up inherits a pet store?
KC: He gets a pet store. And he has to run it, and only saving specific animals. And the jokes are a lot funnier on paper [laughs] than me describing it. Like him picking out a crate of puppies, and only saving the cute ones. And they get to live.
Geek: You know, a lot of people are just going and doing these things by themselves…
KC: I actually did a strip called The Smashy Adventures of the Hulk a long time ago. And he and the Thing would go and do things… I got a cease and desist letter, which made me realize I should go and do my own characters, I was relying on the popularity of that character to get me fans, and I didn’t want to do that. But, you know, I still do stuff that is mainstream, but I have my own characters, too.
Geek: Lastly, anything you want to plug?
KC: I would really love to plug two things I do on my own. One is Gronk, which is my weekly web comic, Gronkcomic.com. And then FU Box, which is about a cat’s inner dialogue, and it’s full of swearing cats.