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An exclusive preview of Top Shelf's new children's graphic novel Skull Cat and the Curious Castle

Skull Cat and the Curious Castle is writer/artist Norman Shurtliff's first book with Top Shelf Productions

cropped cover of Skull Cat, featuring a cat in red overalls looking nervous as it walks up to a castle
Image credit: Top Shelf

We here at Popverse like cats, and we particularly like cats who go on adventures. That's why we were so excited to hear about upcoming children's graphic novel from Norman Shurtliff and Top Shelf, Skull Cat Book 1: Skull Cat and the Curious Castle.

Top Shelf's synopsis for Skull Cat reads:

"It’s Scully Catterson’s first day as the new garden-keeper at a spooky castle… but when everyone goes missing, is he brave enough to become a hero?

"Even though the castle is an eerie place, full of dark secrets, Scully is excited to start his new job and prove himself to be a great gardener. But wait a minute… What happened to all his co-workers? Were they devoured by bloodthirsty vampires? Spooked by a love-struck ghost? Pranked by a comic-reading goblin? Enchanted by a sleepy sorcerer? Will Scully have to become the hero and uncover the truth behind Le Dark Chateau? He never signed up for this!!"

About the project, cartoonist Norman Shurtliff told Popverse, "Skull Cat is special because Scully (or Skull Cat) isn't "the chosen one" nor does he have some divine destiny. He's an innocent, impressionable kid who draws strength from being inspired by the heroes he reads about in comic books. He saves the day because he's motivated to do the right thing and I think that's a journey any of us can go on."

As for how Shurtliff designed Skull Cat's world, he shared, "I created the world of Skull Cat before I wrote this story. My main character, Scully, has been taught what to believe about his world, who his enemies are, and what to fear, but Scully doesn't become a hero until he learns the truth about the people around him. I chose the fantasy setting so I could play with some familiar monsters and I'm excited to bop some genre stereotypes on the head."

We certainly like the sound of that!

Check out an exclusive preview of Skull Cat and the Curious Castle in the gallery below:

Skull Cat Book 1: Skull Cat and the Curious Castle will be available on February 21, 2023.

Looking to read about other great children's graphic novels? Check out this interview, as Mary Pope Osborne chats Magic Tree House, graphic novels, and literacy .

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About the Author
Tiffany Babb avatar

Tiffany Babb

Deputy Editor

Tiffany Babb is Popverse's deputy editor and resident Sondheim enthusiast. Tiffany likes stories that understand genre conventions (whether they play into them or against them), and she cries very easily at the movies— but rarely at the moments that are meant to be tearjerkers.