Wednesday, 8 March 2017

It's the Grooviest Thing, It's the Perfect Dream...

A Tribute to Catgirls!

Waiting for you under the fold is a sneak preview of the cover girl for the forthcoming Space Princess title, Day of the Bacchae. Her name is Nuku Vitani, a catgirl in a fine tradition of sci-fi camp, tease and outright smut that you don't even have to be a Furry to appreciate. Say hello to Nuku below and join me for a tribute to catgirls of all sorts.

(EDIT: It's not "forthcoming" any more -- Day Of The Bacchae is live on Amazon!)_

Brought to life here by the artistry of Lady Amaranthine, Lieutenant Nuku Vitani is one of the core cast members of Space Princess. Strong, smart, sexy and competent -- but vain and aloof -- she's kind of equal parts Barbarella and The Cat from Red Dwarf. Nuku plays especially important roles in both Summerland Blues and the newest forthcoming adventure of the S.S. Ecstasy, so now is a good time to take a look at the catgirl tradition and characters that inspired her.

All-Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku-Nuku   

The source of Nuku Vitani's first name, she's a combat cyborg catgirl and the title character of a sweetly bonkers set of manga and anime properties. She features as a kind of a bizarre "big sister" character to the series' ten-year-old boy protagonist Ryunosuke; her stories are known for being willing to tackle dark and serious themes and for lacking the ecchi overtones of some imitators (which may or may not be a feature depending on your mileage).

Most importantly, Nuku-Nuku provides a master-class in the blending of kawaii and the deployment of massive firepower in battles between scantily-clad girls. Just a taste of her special charm:

[Eimi crouches down to open her bag of Christmas gifts]
Eimi: Turn around and close your eyes, I will give you a big surprise.
Nuku-Nuku: Okay!
[Eimi snickers]
Nuku-Nuku: Now?
Eimi: No, not yet.
Nuku-Nuku: I am really excited.
Nuku-Nuku: Now?
Eimi: [whips out a huge minigun] Yes, now!
Nuku-Nuku: What's this?
Eimi: Merry Christmas, outdated android.
[opens fire]
Nuku-Nuku: [dodges gunfire] Th-that's dangerous, Eimi.
Eimi: Shut up! I can't have a Happy New Year unless I kill you!

Omaha the Cat Dancer

Omaha scarcely needs introduction: one of the most famous erotic comics of all time, period, and a pioneering property in anthropomorphic "furry" erotic storytelling, Omaha used its funny-animal premise not only to deal in sexploitation -- though it certainly did -- but also to stage a long-running "comic-soaper" narrative driven by stories of wrong-side-of-the-tracks characters like sex workers and broke Bohemian artists on the underside of a callous society.

Opinions on the quality of the stories vary: pacing and narrative logic aren't necessarily Omaha's strongest suits. But then the stories aren't meant to be cohesive epics: the various vignettes, like the various characters, are metaphorical treatments of human experience not meant to be taken too literally or examined too closely. The series' appealing artwork and characters have deservedly made it a classic touchstone of erotic comic book smut.


I first encountered Tigra as the sauciest member of the Marvel Comics team The Avengers (a plucky little band of masked heroes who I'm told have their very own series of indie films now, good for them). Tigra's flirtatious encounters with a variety of heroes--along with my personal conviction even then that she could do a lot better than Hank Pym--introduced me to the fantastical erotic possibilities of human female sensuality combined with feline cuddliness. As a result, she's probably the single most basic reason that Nuku Vitani exists. 

I can't really say too much about Tigra as a character after my initial encounters with her back in the Eighties. Of course she was already the product of many retcons and reinventions by the time I met her, and no doubt she's been through many more since.

I leave all that where it is: I'm all about the Eighties Tigra and I'm okay with that. In general, it never surprises me to see her make lists of the sexiest comic characters of all time

Max Guevara

Jessica Alba's protagonist from the old sci-fi series Dark Angel -- now little known, but it made her a name -- might not seem like an obvious addition to this list.  

She appears here because, as a genetically-enhanced super-soldier on the show, she is eventually revealed to have feline DNA as part of her makeup. It manifests in the episode "Heat," where she goes into... well, heat. The episode is actually played in pretty tasteful fashion and mostly explores the humiliation inflicted on the character by having this kind of desire, the impairment of her very ability to choose, foisted upon her by the caprice of the tinkerers who made her.

Naturally, being on prime time television, Dark Angel's brief wasn't to explore the naughty and erotic aspects of this kind of story. But my brief certainly is, and that particular episode of that now-obscure show is the direct seed of the story we will see in Day of the Bacchae

Allow Me to Play You Out

I hope you've enjoyed this sampling of a tiny slice of the thousands of "catgirl" characters in popular culture, in this case the ones who are most directly Nuku Vitani's forerunners.

Let's wrap up with some fine feline anthems. First, The Cure's "The Love Cats," which provided this post's title:

And Blonde Redhead's sultry "Cat on Tin Roof," arguably Nuku Vitani's anthem:

See you next time, cool cats!

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