Jean: There’s a lot of Sleeping Beauties out there, some more terrifying than others. When we did this story, we blended the lighter elements of a lot of them, with just perhaps kind of a good dose of Disney, because we know our roots.
But the main influence for this was actually Charles Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty. Specifically the part where it wasn’t a kiss (or anything more unseemly) that awoke Sleeping Beauty, but the act of going on the quest itself. Me and Mae are both cat owners and even we were pretty repulsed at the idea of Puss licking her lips to wake her up. Because of experience.
But on the topic of Perrault’s tale, It’s a really lovely version of the story, so check it out if you can. It doesn’t end with Sleeping Beauty waking up. In fact, it continues well into her marriage and what happens next.
This is the first story we really establish location in, the city of Neverwood. Neverwood is filled with dark alleys that may contain goblins, old abandoned castles lost to their owners through time or the Depression, speakeasies where you might find a fairy or two, and plenty to keep Puss busy. Admiral Clintstock is in a nebulous leadership position in Neverwood, where politics is as close as it gets to royalty these days. Sure, there’s a few on the run from European uproar here and there, some studying from other continents, but right of birth is now far out of the running for giving people their destinies. That isn’t to say that royalty from ‘back then’ isn’t still on the premises.
Neverwood has a lot of history. It was one of the first cities founded in North America and it brought a lot of magic to mingle with the magic already there. And when there’s magic, there’s consequences for every misdeed or good deed you might do.
So, you know, be nice to that old lady selling pencils in the street. Give her a sandwich.
Mae: We’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the way Puss tries to wake the Princess up. As a cat owner, I have actually experienced most of them, so that was easy to write. And yes, cats really do keep trying if they don’t succeed the first time. Particularly if they want food.
The ending went through a couple of changes before we were satified. And the fairies, of course, owe a great deal to Disney.