Saturday, May 27, 2006

Jim Mooney's Cat

Supergirl's Super-Pet!

I love this story - always have, always will. Mind you I wasn't even born yet when Jim Mooney and writer Otto Binder decided to give the fledgling Supergirl a pet cat. Streaky first appeared in Action Comics #261 (February 1960) and was an instant hit. Why?

Too bloody simple really. You see Superboy had a pet dog, Krypto. Now every young boy wants a dog, or they actually own a dog. A dog isn't man's best friend, it's an essential toy, an invaluable chum and the only real pal a growing lad will ever own. Chums come and go, a dog remains your best pal, no matter how much you ignore it, no matter how much you kick it (and you shouldn't kick a dog), no matter what you do the dog will always come back, lick your face and play with you whenever you want. Humans don't do that. They don't show the same loyalty as a dog does.

Now girls are complex. They want dolls and horses and, in a lot of cases, cats. Into the world of Supergirl Binder and Mooney, working together, decided that Kara (Supergirl) needed a pet. Just what pet? Now if you mix Jim Mooney with animals the first suggestion he'll always make is a cat. He loves cats. I think at his last count he told me that he now has about 8 cats, which is down on his usual amount. One of my all time favourite emails ever came from Jim after one of the savage hurricanes a couple of years back. He told me that his family had come through fine, they'd all huddled in the bathroom. Many humans and a zoo of assorted pets - dogs, cats and birds. I could just imagine Jim rushing to save his cats over his own artwork - which, indeed, he did do just that. Once Binder and Mooney had decided on what pet to give Kara it was just a case of getting it done. Otto wrote the script, Jim penciled and inked it and here's the final result - and I hope DC don't decide to sue my arse into poverty - take it as a free ad. Bear in mind many people have drawn Streaky, but only Jim Mooney can truly draw Streaky as he's meant to be - panel 4, page 6 is the best example of Streaky you'll ever see. Some artists are born for a creation, a character that no matter how gifted an artist might be that follows, can't quite be captured. I've not see anyone draw a better Streaky than Jim Mooney and I doubt anyone will ever be able to do a better cat.

Supergirl eventually got a superhorse named Comet, Superboy got a supermonkey named Beppo. Even Batman got a friggin' dog named Ace The Bat-Hound (who actually used to wear a mask so he'd not be recognized as Bruce Wayne's dog!) and eventually the Legion of Super Pets was formed. But Streaky was always a cut above them all. Long live the cat!

Enjoy!








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