Ever heard of the web series Hell’s Kitty? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. It’s a great little series that covers both the comedy and horror genres and focuses on a guy and his cat… but it’s not your general everyday cat. I actually remember first seeing the first few episodes some time last year before my hard drive crashed and when I got a new laptop I didn’t have my old bookmarks. So imagine my surprise when this web series crossed my path again about a year later! And then imagine an even greater surprise when I found that the series had been adapted into a graphic novel format, and that the graphic novel is based upon the series… quite literally!
OK, first off, what is Hell’s Kitty? In the words of the web series:
[quote]”Hell’s Kitty” is a comedy horror web-series about a Hollywood writer whose cat gets possessed by a mysterious spirit.[/quote]
OK, but what about the graphic novel? Well, it’s similar in nature to the web series – literally. The graphic novel actually uses scenes from the web series as its visual representation, which is not something that I have seen ever in a comic! The author’s description of the book:
[quote]Hell’s Kitty Volume I. may be the first comic entirely created from images used in a web-series. The book is part of a three book series, based on the popular comedy horror web-series, which parodies many classic horror films, and guest stars Lee Meriwether (Batman), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Ashley C. Williams (The Human Centipede), and Barbara Nedeljakova (Hostel). At first, Nick is in denial when his best friend tells him that his cat Angel is possessed. But after Angel attacks a girlfriend who Nick invites into his apartment, a series of strange and supernatural events begin to turn Nick’s life into a CATastrophic hell. Soon Nick realizes that he must do something about his possessed and possessive pussycat, before things go from disastrous to deadly. The book, like the popular comedy horror web-series, is loosely based on the writer’s real life experiences living with his cat.[/quote]
Being such a unique and independent book, you may think that it is one of those print-on-demand books or available only in certain markets. Actually, the book is available for order online! The creator of the book, Nicholas Tana, talked briefly to us about the book and indicated that they were able to get the graphic novel published and into an en-mass market by leveraging Amazon as a distribution medium. What really makes this series stand out, though, is that the visuals are actually taken directly from the web series. Why is that important? First, it’s the first graphic novel done explicitly from digital video images. Why is that a cool thing? Because this can lead the pack to other web series following the same method which means that we can get more comic goodness from some of the fun series we see online! But is that it?
Of course not. When published this way, the productions studios can leverage existing assets and save a ton of money, which means they can focus on the bigger picture. In many cases, smaller companies spend a ton of money to recreate their vision in other mediums… Instead, Tana has found a way to leverage which he already put his energy and his focus into to transfer it to another medium – print. Why re-invent the wheel? Why spend months in re-creating the web series into comic format with an artist? By taking the visual images and placing them back into the comic, Tana was able to save a ton of money, ensure that the visual vision that was delivered stayed his own, and able to expend his time in moving the web series forward as well! It’s a win-win for the creator and his demonic cat and can move his vision forward without stopping one medium to move another forward with the momentum he’s building up.
We’ll be posting a full review of the graphic novel shortly, but if you’d like to read it first you can order it directly from Amazon.com. It is available within the United States and, to my knowledge, in the United Kingdom. For other parts of the world, including here in Canada, you can order it directly from the publisher (which is, in itself, a division of Amazon). If you’ve never seen the web series also check it out – it may help your decision to get the book. And should we see more books of this medium come to pass, we know that Hell’s Kitty was the pioneer in this method to go directly from digital series to print, using the same assets!