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Daniel de Sosa's Cosmic Cat

Daniel de Sosa is an American-born comics artist living in the United Kingdom inspired by science fiction, heavy metal, screwball comedy, and Buddhist tales and traditions. Like many artists too irreverent or weird to secure corporate patronage, he is attempting to launch his next project, Purrvana, through Kickstarter. (Full disclosure: I, Emerson Dameron, have pledged to his project.)

Purrvana centers on a three-eyed cat named Kitty Jenkins, a character de Sosa has developed for some time. Kitty drops into various other character's lives and drags them into strange spiritual quests they don't want to go on. Much like koans, de Sosa's stories contain some lowbrow humor and are wide open to interpretation.

On the eve of his project deadline, de Sosa elucidated his background in Buddhism, his storytelling approach, and more.

 

Can you give me a bit of background on how Buddhist ideas influence your work?

I first became interested in Buddhism after I had to read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse in 6th grade. I started reading Buddhist philosophy in university, and became influenced by Buddhist art in my own work. Even though I don't always understand the symbolism in the complicated pictures, I found them very inspiring artistically. Practicing Buddhist meditation ideas really helped me to gain focus on my life and my art, and I became more accepting of everything. The Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi was a huge influence on Kitty Jenkins.

 

What motivates Kitty Jenkins as a character?

I write Kitty Jenkins so that his motivations are unknown. Is he a cosmic guru trying to help the universe? Is he a senile old bastard cat who has no idea what he's up to? Does he just like trolling people for fun? He's pretty much a cosmic force of feline mystery. The reason he does the things he does is up for the reader to decide.

 

Why are the people whose lives Kitty drops in on so frustrated by him?

How would you feel if you're eating breakfast at the table and a magic three eyed cat just popped in to your life and sent you on a mystical spirit journey? Kitty Jenkins doesn't necessarily arrive when people are ready to deal with him.

 

How are the various characters dependent on one another?

Kitty Jenkins ties the book together. In the first Kitty Jenkins book, F*** You Kitty Jenkins, none of the side characters were interconnected. With this book I aim to bring a few characters from the first book back, as well as introduce a few new major characters whose stories will also weave their way with Jenkins through out the book.

 

Your work seems to mix some Buddhist concepts with a lot of other elements: sci-fi, '70s prog-rock aesthetics, and more. How would you respond to a more traditional Buddhist who objected to this?

I am highly influenced by Buddhist imagery aesthetically, even though like I said before I don't always understand the symbolic elements of this. Purrvana has stories with

elements of many religions mixed together in it, and I don't mean to mock any of them. My work is also inspired by comic artists, in particular Moebius, Enki Bilal, and Frank Miller.

If anyone is offended by Purrvana, I understand, but the point of Kitty Jenkins is he is obnoxious and messes with people, so if the idea of the book itself offends people, that's in the whole spirit of it. This book contains my own personal interpretation of many different philosophies and ideas I have read about, and I don't claim to be a scholar in any of them. I have several Purrvana preview pages on my Kickstarter; if any one is offended by any thing there, please message me and let me know.

 

How would you describe the humor in your work?

I would describe my humor based on completely absurd situations and irreverence. In Kitty Jenkins there is also a lot of immature toilet humor and as many dumb cat puns squeezed in as possible.

 

What lessons have you learned from launching a highly ambitious creative project through Kickstarter?

Once you launch a Kickstarter, promoting it is like a full-time job! This project might not reach its goal but I still learned a lot a long the way.

 

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