Culture & Lifestyle
Published July 1, 2020

Peek Inside the Pages of ‘Beware the Flerken!’ With Writer Calliope Glass and Illustrator Rob McClurkan

Pick up a copy of the book, on sale July 7!

flerken

When is a cat not a cat? When it’s a flerken, of course! Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel introduced us to the cutest alien species in the form of Goose the Cat. Sure, Goose might look like a friendly orange tabby, but she’s way more than meets the eye. 

Goose clearly stole the show in Captain Marvel, and now you can find her in the pages of a brand new book, Beware the Flerken! Follow along through Goose’s eyes as she travels to space, helps save the day, and eats the Tesseract. Ahead of the book’s release on July 7, Marvel.com talked to writer Calliope Glass and illustrator Rob McClurkan about bringing this new story to life.

goose

What does the story of Captain Marvel mean to you?

Calliope Glass: I saw Captain Marvel all by myself, at a 10 am showing on a Saturday, on a crisp, sunny day in NYC. It had been out for a while. I had just had a baby, so it was hard for me to get out on my own, but I really, really wanted to see Captain Marvel. I finally got my chance, and at 10 am on that Saturday the only people in the theater were me and three or four other women. All of us were over 35. We all cheered and clapped at the end. I remember walking up 8th avenue and blinking in the bright sun and thinking how unexpectedly powerful that experience had turned out to be — a defiant, triumphant story starring a superhero who was not only a woman but a grown woman, not an ingenue, not a girl. A grown-up! It meant a lot to me, as a grown-up woman, and I also love having Captain Marvel standing as a role model for little girls as well. 

Rob McClurkan: My daughter and I have made it a tradition to see movies together. When Captain Marvel was released, she was away at college. I hopped on a plane to visit and was able to take her, her roommate and some other friends out for an afternoon of good food and a great movie. Its always been important to me to connect with my kids and their friends, so this was a special moment. 

Why is Goose the best character to retell this story?

Rob McClurkan: I knew there was something special about Goose the first time she appeared on the screen. I recall thinking, "that's no cat." For me, she was a breakout star of the movie and the perfect choice for retelling the story to children.

Calliope Glass: Because Goose is the greatest character in the MCU, obviously?! Not to mention the cutest.

What was the process like taking something as big as Captain Marvel and making it digestible for younger audiences, while also keeping adults entertained?

Calliope Glass: This was actually a really hard book to write! I went through several versions with my very patient editors. A big part of the challenge was exactly what you articulated — finding a way of telling the story that would be accessible for young readers and fun for the adults reading with them. The thing that finally clicked for me was putting the story in Goose's voice — making it entirely from her point of view. Goose is obviously a flerken, not a cat, but I liked giving her a voice that really felt like it was a cat's voice, like how a cat would perceive the events of the movie. It made it funnier for me — and even more fun to write! 

What was the most important quality from each character (Goose, Carol, Fury) that you wanted to come across in the book, both in the text and illustrations?

Rob McClurkan: All three characters are heroes. They have a dangerous job to do, but they are also kind. I wanted the characters to appear friendly and approachable. I love the page where Carol and Maria are reunited while Monica makes friends with Goose.  I enjoy the pages where Fury interacts with Goose. Fury is always serious, but he lightens up when Goose is near. Goose seems preoccupied with something to Slorp!, but comes to the rescue when it counts

Calliope Glass: I really enjoyed retelling the events of the movie from Goose's point of view, and imagining that Goose is mostly motivated by yummy treats and barely interested in the life-and-death stakes of the galactic struggle she's caught up in. Is there something to SLORP? She's so there. Does she care about the infinity stones and the fate of the universe? Not really.

goose

Fury looks very nice and approachable in this book, and this is the most we’ve ever seen him smile. Was the idea to always soften him up?

Rob McClurkanob: Nick Fury is one of my favorite characters. I liked the idea and giving him moments in the book where he has a big grin on his face. I liked that about the movie too. Goose brings out the old softy in him. Those were some fun moments in the movie. I wanted to make sure that came through in the illustrations for the book

Do you have a favorite page/illustration and can you talk through how it came to life?

Rob McClurkan: The page where Captain Marvel and Maria are flying the ship to the secret space lab was so much fun to create. I enjoyed the imagery of Fury and Goose floating around weightless. As I was sketching out ideas, I was thinking about how anyone who found themselves in a weightless environment would make the most of that opportunity. It makes for a fun page.

I also loved how the illustration turned out of Goose horking up the Tesseract. It makes me laugh every time I see that illustration.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I think cats or Flerken are difficult to draw. I couldn’t be happier with how Goose and the entire book turned out!

Was there anything — whether an illustration, a quote, or a reference — that you wanted to include but didn’t make it in for whatever reason?

Rob McClurkan: There was an illustration that didn't make it in the book. Captain Marvel was blasting some bad guys, scaring them as they ran away. I thought that was a fun image, but I understand why we left it out. 

Calliope Glass: One of the early drafts of this story had Agent Coulson as a primary figure, and many very terrible things happened to him in that draft. Terrible, terrible things. Many of them. 

Were there any other words other than 'slorp' considered for Goose?

Calliope Glass: WELL, SINCE YOU ASK... That "slorp" was originally "schlorp" and JUST BETWEEN US I still think "schlorp", though harder to read (which is why we changed it) is INHERENTLY FUNNIER. There, I said it. 

Pick up a copy of Beware the Flerken! on July 7 wherever books are sold!

Want to stay on top of everything in the Marvel Universe? Follow Marvel on social media—Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—and keep watching Marvel.com for more news!

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