It all started in 2014, when illustrator Georgia Dunn, amused by the inquisitive nature of her cats, tweeted a scene portraying one of her cats as a news broadcaster. The tweets garnered positive feedback from family, friends and fledgling fans, and, thus, Breaking Cat News was born.
Soon after, Andrews McMeel Universal began publishing the strip on GoComics. Dunn worked with Director of Comics and Acquisitions Shena Wolf to fine-tune the comic from its original large-box format to the more compact, horizontal style seen today. Breaking Cat News quickly amassed a solid fan base, which fueled a successful newspaper launch. It is now syndicated in 110 newspapers, and AMU has published two book collections and a wall calendar of the strip.
AMU Marketing Director Sarah Peiper attributes the comic’s popularity to its “wholesome, sweet and relatable” nature. “[Dunn] brings what we all thought our pets were thinking and puts it onto paper,” Peiper said.
For Dunn, inspiration is never hard to find, as the strip is centered around the perspective of her three adorable cats, Lupin, Elvis and Puck. Clad in suit and tie and equipped with microphones, the cats report daily on pertinent household news (pertinent to cats, that is). The felines keep readers apprised of the fascinating goings-on in the Big Pink House (mirrored off Dunn’s previous residence in Rhode Island), such as a new house plant, an empty food bowl, a suspiciously locked door or the terror that is a crawling toddler.
Over time, the cats have grown to more closely resemble their real-life counterparts, exhibiting stronger personalities and pronounced expressions, Wolf said. Dunn always keeps her fans in the loop, bringing them into her furry friends’ adventures. “The fans watch out for the clues that [Dunn] adds in, as she sets up mysteries and teases things that will happen later,” Wolf said.
Dunn’s latest collection, Lupin Leaps In, is specifically aimed at middle grade readers. It includes additional activities in the “More to Explore” section, featuring a paper doll activity guide, drawing tips and a cartooning guide, which allows fans to turn their own pets into broadcasters.
Peiper marveled at Dunn’s passion for the brand she’s created and her ability to build relationships with fans, noting that “whenever [fans] meet her, they always leave more invested in the comic.” Dunn has fostered a dedicated fan base of cat lovers, with almost 11,000 followers on GoComics.
An illustrator and watercolorist, Dunn paints the comics on paper, unlike many contemporary cartoonists who draw their comics digitally. She has been interested in comics ever since she was a kid and recalls being inspired by classics, such as Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side (all syndicated by AMU). Now, her own beloved comics are entertaining and influencing readers all over the world. Dunn is also the creator of the web comic Swan Eaters.
Watch the Breaking Cat News characters come to life below!