Welcome to the realm of Crittertude, featuring the real-life adventures of a rag-tag, not-so-fugitive assortment of pets ranging from your ordinary household dog to a squiggly ferret in dire need of something shiny. Captured over the course of many years, this full-color photographic and comedic journey interprets the innocent and mischievous mindset of our furry creatures as they battle on against threats both real and, more often than not, imagined.
Crittertude is photojournalist David Martin's wry portrait of the secret world of ferrets, dogs, cats and birds all forced to live together under one roof. Part comic-strip, part photographic documentary, Happiness is a Warm Tush presents us with the often conflicting views and fantasy realm of these extraordinary household pets in full-color, comic book format. From the innocence of Mady the squiggly ferret to the diabolical plans of the nefarious black sneaky cat, Crittertude is a place where life is magically transformed from the daily doldrum of existence to the realm of fantasy, imagination and the occasional unplanned mayhem.
Fans of the online comic have felt a strong connection to each of the characters over the years as they have made us laugh, cry and ultimately realize how the simple unconditional love of a pet can transform our lives in ways never before imagined.
Who are the main characters?
Perhaps the rising star in all of this is Mady, the squiggly ferret, who adds a certain unpredictability and air of innocence to the house. Booper the white fluffy Maltese dog is the guardian of the house and general underdog for the innocent (no pun intended). Lazy Orange Fat Cat is, essentially, a cranky behemoth with an appetite that is rivaled only by her girth. Melvin is our resident green cheek conure who constantly vies for attention and, according to a pet psychic reading we once took on a dare, secretly wishes that all the other animals in the house would just pack up, go away and die.
Sitting in the cage below, our Zebra and Java Rice finches share a common nest and are the best of friends. While Black Sneaky Cat is an easy-going, simple silent observer, he tends to be undone by his own obsessive-compulsive desire for playtime and overall power. Finally, there's One of Six, the only surviving bird out of a litter of six baby European Starlings that took nest in our roof. We're fairly certain that he exists with the mere purpose of uttering phrases in English and other various Star Trek sounds. And then there's the occasional household guest or two.
Are all of the critters yours?
For better or worse, they're all part of the household. Occasionally a critter is featured that is a temporary household guest; the others are the primary residents.
Is any of this Photoshopped?
Believe it or not, the majority of all the pictures are real, with the notable exception of the occasional flying saucer, lightsaber, small mouse (this is a mouse-free household) or objective-oriented mechanical finch. Situations also tend to be real and are rarely "staged", as is the interaction between all the animals. While Photoshop is used occasionally, it is minor and typically for image post-processing, inserting special effects or just general tomfoolery.
Do they all really get along that well?
The cats both stalk and tolerate the ferret (pointy teeth and claws prevent certain death). Melvin (the Green Cheek Conure) fears nothing except for the ferret. The white fluffy dog likes everyone except for the sharp biting conure. Of all the critters, Black sneaky cat is the most suspicious of all others. The starling (One-of-Six) just sits around reciting English phrases and Star Trek noises all day.
Where did you come up with the name Crittertude?
We'd love to say it was the result of much involved soul-searching. Frankly, it literally just came to us.
Happiness is a Warm Tush is Crittertude's first publication in a 10″ x 8″ format and features the entire cast on the front cover. In many ways, this book truly represents the best that we feel that Crittertude has to offer by showing the true innocent nature of our various and assorted pets. Observant viewers may note that the background image is actually the image from our third volume, stretched across both the back and front cover. We've worked hard to make this book both a work of art and of passion, and we hope that you enjoy it as much as we loved making it!
Aliens Have Taken Our Cat! is a perfect continuation for fans of the comic strip and a nostalgic experience for those who remember it fondly. We had fun designing this particular book with the transition to an 8.5″ x 8.5″ format which we felt gave a better flow to the size of the comics. We promise: No black sneaky cats or java rice finches were harmed in the making of the cover of this book! In this second volume, we were able to include many of the newly developed plots, twists and turns that were introduced into the comic strip. By this point, we had a good feel for how the personalities of the pets should play out and, surprisingly enough, found that they reflected their true selves even more so.
Our third volume kept in line with the 8.5″ x 8.5″ book format and featured Mady the squiggly ferret on the front cover. Interestingly enough, he's sleeping on an old baby blanket from years past which gives it a double nostalgic meaning for us. Occasionally, we wonder, what does a ferret dream about?
What to say about our fourth volume? It's the forth volume. 'Nuff said.
The final volume culminates in an epic saga surrounding the adventures and misfortunes of a collection of pets all under one roof: Dogs, cats, birds and even a squiggly ferret named Mady. Will the birds ever find their place in the house? Does the dog accomplish her goal of a decent nap? And will the sneaky black cat finally manage to capture and eliminate the squiggly ferret once and for all? Stay glued to the edge of your seats to tune in, and find out!