Two weeks ago our beautiful sweet Siamese Boris died. We miss him greatly, not just as a pet but as a friend who always seemed so tuned in to our moods and feelings. He was almost eighteen and had a great life and a good death – yet this does not make the sadness any less, only “cleaner” perhaps, since there are no regrets.
We’re about halfway working on our next book and of course Boris has made his appearance. So what do I do, do I keep drawing him? Or do I just drop him from my pictures? Do I need to address his absence in any way, and how can I do that without distracting from the theme of the book? (which is World Power, something most cats have little interest in)
After pondering it for a while, I came up with this solution, in the first panel of a chapter in which I discuss the progress of the book with my brother:
That’s Yiri holding Boris’ picture next to what I call my “deity drawer”, a small cupboard for incense, some god statuettes and assorted spiritual books. It’s also the place where I put pictures of the dearly departed. (The deity drawer is featured in my book about Religion)
It is addressed. Boris gets his place among the legendary mortal supporting comics characters.
And we will have to face the problems of the world without him from now on – quite literally in our lives but also in our books.
Sleep well, dear Boris, you will live on in our hearts.
I like to write and draw about my own personal life – in fact, all of my comics have autobiographical elements in one way or another. I especially like to draw our cats, beautiful Siamese Boris and his dark sidekick Toto. They both appear in ‘Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics’. In fact, Boris’ dreaming sparks the chapter about what human consciousness is, compared to that of other animals.
After ten pages exploring different features that may define consciousness, such as Logical Thinking, Self-reflection, Use of Symbols and Language, I draw the following conclusion:
Our cats also make an appearance in the two books that follow the Philosophy book – about Religion and Science (both published in The Netherlands and not in translation – yet). I really like drawing them and us in our natural modus, which is: lying in our kingsize bed.
In the book about Science, I use the cats in a similar argument as in the Philosophy book: what makes a scientific mind? Why have animals no science?
Isn’t the natural curiosity in cats the same as in humans? And isn’t that curiosity the base of science…? Yet, humans like to experiment and categorize, and that is not something a lot of animals do. Still, that may be mostly due to their lack of opposable thumbs – not lack of intelligence.
So – wouldn’t our cats monitor the barking-frequency of our neighbor’s dog if they had a chance…?
More comic cats to follow in the coming weeks… so keep an eye on this spot!