Just for the wow factor, Nicole J. Georges and I try to list all of her current projects. A well-known artist, educator, and organizer in zines and indie comics, Georges currently produces a weekly podcast, Sagittarian Matters, in which she conducts interviews and dispenses her highly regarded advice. She continues to do pet portraits—Georges may be as famous for those as she is for her long-running comics zine Invincible Summer. She teaches in an MFA program at California College of the Arts. She’s also working with Judith Butler “interviewing kids across the US for an illustrated book about gender—for kids by kids.” And finally she completed a second graphic novel—the immense 300-plus-page Fetch: How A Bad Dog Brought Me Home.

Georges took a moment out of her project-filled world to talk to the Mercury about Fetch and her tender relationship with a bad-behaving shar-pei/corgi mix named Beija.

MERCURY: Fetch is such a long, engrossing story.

NICOLE J. GEORGES: It’s too long.

No! It has a great flow. Everyone wishes they could write this book for their dog. How long have you been working on it?

It took me three years. When I was a fellow at the Center for Cartoon Studies I was driving Chris Ware from the airport. I was rambling about Beija and I said, “Y’know it’s like I had a baby in high school.” He said something like, “That would make a good line in a novel. This dog was like the baby we had in high school.”

It was like a little lightbulb. It was like being touched by an angel.

Did you pioneer the “I Am Not A Stuffed Animal” Pets’ Rights manifesto in Fetch?

Yes, at the time I had never seen anything like that. Having people just assume that they could do whatever they wanted to Beija—because she was cute—felt like I was letting people violate her boundaries. If she didn’t like them they’d be so mad. They’d yell at her and call her crazy or possibly try to kick her and yell at me.

In public, if you ask a man not to touch you they’re generally offended, embarrassed and then angry. But it was the same thing with my dog. It was the same entitlement and then rage. The “I Am Not A Stuffed Animal” manifesto was like a practice space for using my voice but since I was defending someone else it felt easier.

Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home
by Nicole J. Georges
(Mariner Books)