In this weeks’ Thursdays With Patrick, we take a look at the Candide of Class Comics, the cool, the cocky, the curious Camili-Cat! It’s Cats…in…Spaaaaace!
Appears In: Camili-Cat, Felinoids, Rapture, Striptease, Meaty
(All of Cam’s wild exploits can be found on the CLASS COMICS WEBSITE!
Warning: Absolutely NOT safe for work!
In Voltaire’s Candide, the eponymous hero is a handsome young man whose naive optimism is the only thing that carries him through his various, often violent, misadventures. After all, people recover from such things. In the comic and film of Barbarella, the eponymous heroine is a space traveler on a mission who encounters the phrase “…with sexy results” around every moon and meteor. The two properties have little in common other than the fact that they’re both French, but imagine for a moment if you put them together and made the hero a sensual male feline humanoid (or “felinoid” if you will) with pecs for days? (Come now, don’t think you haven’t thought of it before.) You might just get something akin to Camili-Cat, the most active member of the Class Comics canon.
(That sound you hear is my high school English teacher praising me for my use of alliteration.)
And the prettiest.
Camili-Cat, or Cam as he’s usually called, is one of the last of the felinoids, a peaceful but courageous people who were all but wiped out by a marauding race of aliens called the Sklarkians. Cam was captured with his mother and sister and was forced to watch his mother’s execution. The Sklarkians spent the next few years turning Cam into their personal plaything. When he finally escapes, Cam dedicates himself to finding the rest of his race, aided by his friend Felicia and lover Locus.
If Naked Justice is Class Comics’ most iconic character, Cam is creator Patrick Fillion‘s signature character. Patrick’s been drawing him for over 20 years, and you can tell with every panel how familiar and intimate he is with Cam as a character. Most writers will tell you that the characters they write often become alive, almost dictating the story to them instead of the other way around. Cam is, if nothing else, completely in control of his own title, even if it may not seem apparent.
Mess with the cat, you get the claws.
Like all Class Comics titles, Camili-Cat’s adventures are permeated with sex, but it’s handled much differently than it is in Naked Justice and other titles. NJ’s naughty-but-nice escapades seem quite tame compared to the wild encounters Cam and his friends have from page to page. Still, they don’t seem prurient or gratuitous, although it’s important to place them in the proper context. In most science-fiction, sex is considered something uncivilized. Think of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Federation is a utopian society with no poverty, no hunger, no prejudice, no war and, apparently, no sex. These are generally all problems fobbed off onto less advanced cultures who haven’t reached the apex of Federation enlightenment so that the writers can make a heavy-handed statement about real-world problems. Time and again, science fiction presents civilization as the complete containment of the id and the exaltation of the super-ego. Silly humans. Felinoids have no need for your Freudian conundrum. Or your tight, itchy uniforms. Cam’s books are a response to the stifling sci-fi that forgets that oh, by the way, sweetie…people have it off.
Would Picard share surfside drinks with you at sunset? I thought not.
Humans are a very rare occurrence in Cam’s books. Even the ones who do show up are far removed from Earth. The vast majority of the cast are non-humans in a galaxy far, far away. Why should any of them be beholden to human constraints regarding sex and violence? This is not to say they’re barbaric, but very few of them feel squeamish about whipping it out and having some fun. Sex is just another tool: it can be used to express love, used as a distraction, or used as a weapon to intimidate and subdue (and even kill if you’re one of those parasitic elomites).
Felinoid society are actually trained to harness the power of sexuality. It’s what helps Cam survive his captivity and what helps him win out over his opponents who think they have him under control when they have him under the sheets. On the contrary, Cam is almost always in control of his situation, able to take pleasure in sex even when it’s being used against him, simply because he knows how to harness his own sexuality for the same purpose. He doesn’t give in or give up when he’s giving it out. But no means no in this universe, too, and the villains are almost always the ones who force non-consensual sex on others.
Just another day at the office.
Cats have always been portrayed as sensual creatures…but also as natural and consummate hunters. Cam is no different. He may end up in peril, but he always manages to get out of it, and he always stays optimistic. This is what happens when the “Perils of Pauline” fight back. It becomes clear to him over the course of his adventures that he can’t go it alone, and he has no hesitation in fighting for or beside his friends. He has a bottomless reserve of hopeful energy and forgiveness inside that tight space suit.
Traits like these make Cam one of the most relatable, sympathetic and approachable characters in the Class Comics line-up. While Naked Justice is heroic and attractive, he’s the hero that people look up to…or down to. Cam is the one you look at in the eyes. He’s a warm, inviting presence, and it’s almost impossible to resist his charms. Who hasn’t felt like a loner in a huge, empty universe? What would you do, what would you give to find more people like you? And would it bring you happiness?
Never mess with a pussycat’s posse.
The answers to all these questions lie in the Class Comics library, but that may be the one fault in Cam’s presence. Cam is quite literally all over the place, and it takes reading a large number of titles to get the full story. Thankfully, you can stick to the Felinoids series and fill in the gaps with little difficulty. This isn’t a wallet-draining Marvel or DC cross-over. However, Cam is such a wonderful character that it’s hard not to want to snatch up every page he’s on, and even the one-page vignettes in various comics showing “a day in the life” are boldly and beautifully drawn with sensual curves everywhere and eye-popping aliens that put the Mos Eisley Cantina to shame.
What Cam’s adventures come down to in the end is a futuristic ideal of what sex and sexuality could be. It’s quite literally a free-love universe, albeit one with danger in every parsec. After all, once the id is let loose, it’s hard to contain it again, and lust comes in all forms. But wouldn’t it be nice to spend time on a spaceship, lounging with a sensuous, strong lover with no shame, no anxiety and no concerns other than who’s going to be on top? That’s what Cam is here to show you. It’s a journey you won’t regret.
Would you like to play with Cam? Of course you would…
Abilities: Strength 6B, Agility 9B, Intellect 5D, Willpower 8D, Edge 2, Hand Size 4, Health 25
Powers: Claws +1, Resistance to Mental Control +4, Resistance to Pain +7 (Unique power: Cam can use this ability plus Strength or Willpower to resist any physical or mental attack that incapacitates the body through the sensation of pain; this only applies to the sensation of pain…it does not serve as body armor or a psi-screen)
Equipment: Laser Pistol +4 (energy or stunning attack)
Skills: Boxing, Felinoid Weapons, Natural Weapons, Acrobatics, Marksmanship, Martial Arts, Lore (Felinoid Society), Manipulation
JOHNNY Mmeow meow is a frequent FBOTU contributor meow meow.<a href="http://www.fanboysoftheuniverse.com/index.php/forums/member/21/" title="