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BWW Blog: An Interview with Mike Federali, Writer of DreamWorks' FELIX THE CAT 2022 Comic Series

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Can Felix and friends (classic and new) save the world from this Magical, Melodramatic, Machiavellian Malcontent?

BWW Blog: An Interview with Mike Federali, Writer of DreamWorks' FELIX THE CAT 2022 Comic Series
Felix the Cat (Issue #1).
(Courtesy of Don't Hide PR.)

During New York Comic Con 2021, I had the wonderful, wonderful pleasure of speaking with Mike Federali, writer of the new comic series Felix the Cat from DreamWorks Animation.

In this new series, Felix the Cat and friends face the mysterious Xilef the Extraordinary, an all new foe more powerful than all of Felix's past enemies combined. Can Felix and friends (classic and new) save the world from this Magical, Melodramatic, Machiavellian Malcontent?

In issue #1, Felix the Cat comes face to face with Xilef the Extraordinary, an otherworldly new enemy that will stop at nothing to get Felix's Magic Bag!

BM: My extremely important first question is: do you know the Felix the Cat theme song?

MF: [Sings] "Felix the Cat, the wonderful, wonderful cat!" Yeah, I do! I haven't had to perform in quite awhile, though.

BM: Amazing! The original theme song promises "you'll laugh so much your sides will ache and your heart will go pitter pat". In your new comic, will we see humor influenced by the original, or will Felix have a darker feel?

MF: It's definitely not a darker feel! I did my absolute best to absorb all the original material as much as humanly possible. Whether it was getting the old books - I even got some of the original comic book art. I went so far as to watch every single one of the 50s-60s era episodes. A couple of them multiple times because they actually really hold up; they're really funny. I wanted that to be the ground floor with the foundation of doing everything and then, from there, going to modernize a little bit, but not a lot. I didn't want it to be a complete reboot. I wanted it to be a very, very natural continuation for anybody who read the comics or watched the cartoons. It's "the continuing adventures of, but ALSO there's... some of this, some of this, and some of this!"

BM: I'm wondering, even as a continuation, has any of it been modernized?

MF: It's perfect! It's classic for a reason. We didn't say, "and now we're going to give him armor" or anything crazy like that. Everything about it is really really silly and fun, and we kept it with that level of whimsy. As far as it feeling more modern, I would say that there's things that I can't completely reveal, but there's a couple new characters; that, absolutely, you'll know that you're no longer in the 50s-60s era because of some of the things we've introduced.

BM: I'm wondering about your first introduction to Felix; how did he come into your life? Tell me that story.

MF: My big thing was that I would watch the reruns with my dad. When I grew up, I lived in Puerto Rico, and we watched a lot of American cartoons. It was He-Man, She-Ra, Felix the Cat, that kind of stuff, and they would be in Spanish. I remember hearing that song [Felix the Cat theme song] and going, "Oh, it's time!" and we would watch it. I have the great memory of it being a family thing; just sitting and watching cartoons with your old man.

BM: Which original side character were you most excited to bring back?

MF: I love Vavoom! I think the gag for him is so perfect - the guy just says his own name and then explodes! You know exactly what to expect every time; he's going to come in, say his name, and the world's going to explode.

BM: What outside work influenced this project, besides the original Felix the Cat?

MF: I don't know that anything did. I think it's just trying to make something that really could exist in the Felix the Cat universe and just be exactly what fans have been wanting for a while. It goes in and out of publication for little windows of time, and it's just nice to have it back. I wanted to make exactly Felix, because I love Felix for Felix!

BM: What's your process like in collaboration?

MF: It starts with the words! [Laughs]. You have to have a really good idea, then run it by the artist. I have a friend of mine who helped on issue #1 to punch up a couple of jokes. We're so used to how funny Felix is, so it's like, "Am I being funny enough with this story? Should I add another joke here?" In the old comic books, there's about one gag per page. There's no formula, but you just make sure that you're not making it too slow, or too heavy. We just kept saying, as long as you're serving the story and keeping things very, very whimsical, you'll get there. We had a great team.

BM: Do you have a favorite gag that you wrote (that you're allowed to talk about)?

MF: In issue #1, he uses the magic bag to get away from... something, and then it turns into a scooter! It's a nice, cute little thing to show us clearly he's in modern times. This is the easiest way to tell it without telling it. It's a very goofy-looking scooter; it has the pattern of the magic bag. I'm happy with that gag!

BM: My last question is, what does it mean to you to be a part of this project?

MF: It's ridiculous! It's absolutely insane. I was thinking about it the other day; the character goes back to 1919, so to be able to sit here and say that I'm helping in some way to rejuvenate it or bring it to new audiences is absolutely amazing. It's a wonderful, wonderful book, he's a wonderful, wonderful cat, and it's been a wonderful, wonderful time.

Find Mike on Twitter (@mikefederali), Instagram (@mikefederali), Facebook (here), and his website, mikefederali.com.

Felix the Cat #1 is scheduled for release in January 2022.


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