Enter a Queer Modern Fairytale With “Prince of Cats”
Once upon a time a boy saved a kitten from a tree. As thanks, he was rewarded with one wish: the power to speak to cats until that wish was granted. Time passed, and once upon another time the boy fell in love with his best friend.
So sets the stage for Prince of Cats, a webcomic that seamlessly blends elements of fantasy, romance, and LGBTQ fiction into one beautifully illustrated result. The story focuses on the lives of Lee Holtzer, our eponymous Prince of Cats, and his best friend Frank Murakami. Lee is popular, dramatic, and impulsive while Frank is shy, creative, and responsible. Both of them are far cries from traditional teenagers; Lee’s magical connection to the cats of his mountain town raises all kinds of problems and doubts, and Frank’s life revolves strictly around the maintenance of his family’s farm and the health of his aging father.
Thrown into the mix are the boys’ complicated feelings towards each other, their tumultuous home lives, and the constant scrutiny and judgement that pervades their small town high school. Family expectations, miscommunications, sexual identity crises, and the looming anxiety of graduation weigh down on our leads, but in the end nothing proves more harrowing than the perils of loving someone.
Written and illustrated in vivid watercolor by Kori Michelle Handwerker, Prince of Cats is a romantic and emotional glimpse at the moments of young adulthood that can be at once completely mundane and utterly earth-shattering. With a visual style that is both thoroughly communicative and yet completely subtle, Handwerker has taken a fairytale premise and instead spun a bittersweet story of love and personal growth, while also adding to the ever-increasing roster of excellent LGBTQ comics available on the web.
Prince of Cats is currently four chapters long and updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.