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Katherine Collins


Bio: To begin with, Katherine Collins is now going to abandon the convention of writing these profiles in the third person. Everybody knows that we all write our own. So — hi, I'm Katherine!

I am also the cartoonist "formerly known as" Arn Saba, in my pre-transsexual life. I have officially been living as a woman since 1993, and a good thing too.

My claim to near-fame is Neil the Horse, the first (and last) all-singing, all-dancing musical comic book, with sheet music included. Our Motto: Making The World Safe For Musical Comedy.

I first published Neil in Canadian newspapers, in 1975. Starting in 1983, Deni Loubert at Aardvark-Vanaheim (and later Renegade Press) published the characters in comic book form. There was also a 2-1/2 hour Neil musical comedy, broadcast on CBC Radio in Canada, with book, music and lyrics all written by moi.

The characters persisted in comic books until 1991. Collaborating on the series were David Roman and the late Barb Rausch. They both contributed so much of themselves that they really were co-creators.

I have been completely uninvolved with comics for quite a while. When every single comics publisher in North America refused my Neil graphic novel, in 1993, I took that as a hint, and buzzed off.

The time since has been spent actually having a life, as Katherine, which Arn could never really do. Love, death, scandal, ennui, and the quiet joys of home and hearth. So it has all worked out rather nicely.

Now I am thinking about cartooning again! That doesn't mean I'm doing anything about it, but it's a start. The wonderful proliferation of new formats, publishing modes, and production techniques, brought about by digital technology, makes my imagination run wild. So watch out.

I have absolutely no plans to be published commercially, or in traditional formats, at least initially. Free of sensible precaution, I can be as disastrously impractical as I want.

Example — I have always been dangerously besotted by the huge, bold Sunday Pages of 100 years ago. I want to create some of my own. I was born seventy-five years too late, but that's just a detail. I also would like to see just how big comics can be. Would a six foot tall comics page be good for anything? Eight feet?

Most of this would include Neil the Horse, of course of course. I also hope to issue the long-lost graphic novel, and maybe to finally commit to panels a number of Neil adventures which we wrote back in the day, but which got sidelined. I also have visions of another set of characters, The Happy Gang — I am keeping the details secret, for no reason.

But this may all be just talk.

In 2005, after fifteen years in San Francisco, I had the honour of being ordered out of Bush's Amerika. Under the Patriot Act, I was to be deported for "crimes of moral turpitude." And I'm not even joking. (But it's another story.) As I high-tailed it toward the Canadian border with my lesbian U-Haul, I was muttering "I've been kicked out of better countries than this one." (England is one example.)

Thus, after twenty-eight years gone, I moved back to my home town, Vancouver. Almost as soon as I got here, I fell ill, and was eventually diagnosed with leukaemia. I was also diagnosed as being Canadian, and so I have had access to the wonderful medical system we have here. I am well on my way to a full recovery, at least until my first relapse. My energy will take a full year to return, I am told. Of course I'm trying to be busy anyway, and failing.

By the way, there is a wonderfully perceptive review of Neil the Horse written by Mr. Dave Kiersh.

If that doesn't work, Indy Magazine, Winter 2005 issue. Mr. Kiersh is apparently a man who knows from tap-dancing horses!

I am always glad to hear from anyone who wants to contact me. Operators are standing by.

This page last updated on 4/10/08.
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