17 min read

12 Cats Who Live In Comic Book Stores (And May Secretly Be Superheroes)

From countertops and bookcases, they guard us. At the door and from the window, they greet us. Together, they combine the unstoppable powers of mischief, invisibility, cuteness ... and the uncanny ability to nap all day.

Wielding weapons of mass affection, they can slay your heart with a single, enthusiastic purr. They are everywhere. They are adorable. They are ... the Comic Book Store Cats!

1. Winston Zeddemore (Carol and John's Comic Shop, Cleveland, Ohio)

(John Dudas)

The Origin Story: Winston was a scrappy alley kitten who hung around a Cleveland firehouse, sneaking food tidbits whenever he could get them and sleeping in a warm locker when no one was looking. When the threat of a visit from Animal Control loomed, professional firefighter and comic book store owner John Dudas swept in to the rescue and brought Winston to his new home at the shop.

The Day Job: Winston's daily shop duties include stubbornly trying to nap in places where he's not allowed and befriending the store's customers with his rugged catly charm. "Kids love him," says Dudas. Winston's developed a cult following among regular customers (with some even designing their own t-shirts about him!) CNJ Comics regularly hosts fundraising drives for local animal shelters, with Winston a noble ambassador for rescued cats everywhere.

The Superpower: Winston is an indoor-only cat, but with his stunning power of super speed, he'll make a mad dash for the door whenever the mood strikes him - as if just to test his limits. (So far, he hasn't been quite quick enough...)

The Reading List: For the cat-loving comic fan, Dudas recommends two entertaining all-ages reads: "Hero Cats", and "Scratch 9." (Find 'em at your local comic shop!)

2-4. Levi, Claire and Shoene (Fat Jack's ComiCrypt, Philadelphia)

(Fat Jack's ComiCrypt)

The Origin Stories: The mighty feline trio that stroll the aisles of Fat Jack's in Philly's Center City each came to the shop on their own padded paths. There's handsome Levi, a tough rescue from the city's mean streets who never lost his alleycat's appetite; shy sweetheart Claire, who found a new home in the shop after her elderly human companion passed away; and super-smart Shoene, who just walked into the shop through an open door one day like she owned the place. (She pretty much does.)

The Day Jobs: Levi, large of body, is large of heart as well. Store manager Eric Partridge describes him as "the most chill cat in the world," always ready for some love (or food!) from customers. Claire, a raven beauty, values her privacy, but will happily engage with people on her own level (and unlike the other cats, she has a soft spot for dogs - no joke!) Shoene naps where she pleases and regularly charms customers with her love of a good petting. Once, she napped inside a customer's backpack - he made it a block and a half outside before he realized he had a stowaway!

The Superpowers: Like the Blob, the mighty Levi is immovable, and often chooses to demonstrate this power by napping in the middle of the store's busiest aisles. Claire's fine-tuned sense for danger lets her make herself invisible in a moment's notice. And Shoene's powerful premonitions allow her to just happen to be sleeping in the exact box where a customer was hoping to shop.

The Reading List: Partridge recommends the graphic novel "Blacksad" for the feline-inclined - a noir detective story starring a black cat private eye. (Hunt it down at your local shop!)

5. Dizzy (Fat Cat Comics, Johnson City, N.Y.)

(Facebook/Fat Cat Comics)

The Origin Story: Dizzy found a warm, welcoming home at Fat Cat Comics after a distraught customer left for college and found out that cats couldn't come along to the dorms.

The Day Job: A creature of comfort, Dizzy has never once tried to leave the store, perfectly content to hang out in the sunny storefront window. Shop owner Tawna Lewis says Dizzy is the official "store greeter," welcoming customers with a friendly headbutt and what may very well be the loudest purr north of the Susquehanna.

The Superpower: Dizzy displays remarkable empathic powers and can put a smile on the face of even the grumpiest customer.

The Reading List: Lewis recommends "Tales of Honor," a sci-fi comic series set in a future world where super-intelligent six-legged cats hang out in trees. (Why not, right?)

6. Mr. Eko (Dark Star Books and Comics, Yellow Springs, Ohio)

(Facebook/Dark Star Books and Comics)

The Origin Story: Mr. Eko is the current distinguished holder of Dark Star's Resident Black Cat mantle (they've had a black store cat for the past 30 years!). A customer brought him into the shop as a kitten, where he promptly made his home and claimed the store's many reading chairs as his own personal nap spots.

The Day Job: Mr. Eko is 17 pounds of pure friendly and fearless cat, not afraid to walk straight up to people for a pet. He's a world traveler of sorts, too - the store sells pictures of him as a postcard, and customers have sent the postcard to more than 20 different countries in the last year.

The Superpower: A mighty mind reader, Mr. Eko always seems to know when a customer really wants to pet him and when they'd rather he kept his distance - and like a true shop ambassador, he knows the customer's always right.

7-8. Rooster and Inky (Locust Moon Comics, Philadelphia)

(Facebook/Locust Moon Comics)

The Origin Stories: Locust Moon Comics happily adopted sweet Rooster from a customer who had to move and couldn't take her along. Meanwhile, Inky adopted Locust Moon Comics. They heard a plaintive mew coming from the store's backyard one day, and couldn't resist the little black straggly kitten who stood outside their door.

The Day Jobs: Rooster is relaxed and affectionate, winning over many a customer's heart (and reaping the occasional food tidbit from customers in return). Inky, a proud rascal full to the brim with personality, is the kind of voracious and wily cat who'll steal your dinner with one deft paw swipe, if you don't closely guard it.

The Superpowers: With the power of hiding in plain sight, Rooster once found a soft, warm nap spot in the back of a customer's stroller, and almost strolled right out the door before anyone noticed her! Inky's super speediness makes him the bane of any sly squirrel who might try to pass through the store's backyard.

The Reading List: Love graphic storytelling? Love cats? Shop co-owner Chris Stevens recommends the stunningly expressive "Eyes of the Cat."

9. Boots (Golden Memories Comics, Selden, N.Y.)

(Golden Memories Comics)

The Origin Story: One dark and cold winter night four years ago, a tiny 5-week old kitten, abandoned and forced to tough it out on her own in the wilds of Long Island, huddled outside the doorway of shop owner Vinnie Viverito's home, seeking any warmth she could find through the door. Viverito spotted her and took her in, and started bringing her to the shop with him every day.

The Day Job: Boots, also affectionately called Bootsy, is the warm, purring heart of Golden Memories. Viverito raves about her "marvelous temperament," as she's patient and outgoing, even with children. (Kids often stop by the store just to say hello to her.) When she's not hanging out on the counter waiting for customer to pet her, she can be found sleeping "everywhere" - from the back issue bin boxes to the high top-most shelves in the stockroom.

The Superpower: Boots conquers the world with super-powered affection and love. When a scare caused her to go missing from the store for a heart-wrenching 24 hours, the entire customer community rallied together, sending out messages far and wide, until she was located and safely returned!

The Reading List: For feline-appreciating comic book fans, Viverito recommends the ultimate cat heroine: the ever-agile, super clever "Catwoman" herself, of course. (Prowl around for an issue at your neighborhood comic shop!)

10-12. Mio, Milo and Whitey (Fat Jack's ComiCrypt, Oaklyn, N.J.)

(Brian Rappa)

The Origin Stories: From troubled pasts to triumphant rescues, this feline trio have found their heroes at Fat Jack's New Jersey store. Whitey roamed the streets and alleys of the city, looking for food and a friend, before shop owner Mike Ferrero gave him a warm roof - and a countertop to lie on. Meanwhile, brothers Mio and Milo once had a home of their own in a building a few doors down ... But then their humans were evicted, and the cats were left abandoned on the street, forced to fend for themselves (but not knowing how). Luckily, Ferrero found them lurking in the alley behind the shop and took them in.

The Day Jobs: After a short adjustment period, the furry threesome quickly settled into life at the store, and now they settle into customers' laps whenever they get the chance. Sometimes they even startle customers with their friendliness, as they saunter right up and present themselves for a pet. Fat Jack's hosts a monthly collection drive for a local animal rescue shelter, and the three happily rescued cats inspire customers to support the cause.

The Superpowers: Mio is the trio's mischief mastermind, known to pull down the occasional bookshelf now and then. (Once he got up in the ceiling tiles and knocked some of those down, too - nine tiles, to be specific!) Milo and Whitey are Mio's faithful, but ineffective, henchmen, since they're usually spotted sleeping on the job. The shop's manager Brian Rappa says the cats spend about 76 percent of their time sleeping ... sometimes right in the middle of a pile of paperwork he's trying to complete.

The Reading List: Rappa claims both Mio and Milo are Marvel fans. (Whitey prefers DC.)

Want to be a superhero, too? Rescue a homeless cat or dog today! For more information, visit the ASPCA or a local shelter near you.