DC comics artist creates a comic based in Singapore about cats and the Merlion

In Starlight Cats, a Singaporean schoolgirl teams up with cats and the Merlion to take down an evil alien race of rats.

Jeremy Na

Just like that Khalid song, Young, dumb and broke. Ok maybe not dumb but definitely the other two.

Published: 5 November 2020, 10:55 AM

Alien rats, space cats and the Merlion might seem like a bizarre combination of story elements but that’s exactly what you get in Starlight Cats: Merlion Rising.

For die-hard comic fans, the name Shane Davis might ring a bell. Shane is an artist who has worked on various critically acclaimed pieces such as DC Comics’ Superman: Earth One and Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns, among many others. 

His upcoming piece, Starlight Cats: Merlion Rising, was done in collaboration with his Singaporean wife, Lin Yanzi. The 48-page comic is based around the adventures of a schoolgirl, her cat and the Merlion as they battle against rat-like aliens. 

The protagonist, Rebecca Chow, finds out that all cats on earth are aliens that can fly and that there is a rat-like alien species bent on world domination. 

In order to stop them, she has to find a way to harness the power of a god-like entity to cats – the Merlion.

While the story is set to take place in Singapore, with iconic landmarks such as the Merlion and Marina Bay Sands making an appearance, they made sure to include the heartlands as well by showcasing hawker centres and HDB flats.

The comic book will feature sides of Singapore that are not normally shown in international productions. PHOTO CREDIT: SHANE DAVIS, LIN YANZI


Lin and Davis felt that Singapore would be a good setting for the story because of its modern and multicultural nature. They understood that although many Americans knew about Singapore, there were very few representations of Singapore in American pop culture. 

“With Yanzi being a Singaporean, we felt we could tell a story about a Singaporean girl and the culture of the street cats with the proper attention to detail that such a story deserves,” said Davis.

Their inspiration for the story came from their own cats. 

Fans of DC Comics might be familiar with Dex-Starr, a cat who happens to be a Red Lantern.  Dex-Starr was inspired by Shane’s own cat, Dexter. Naturally, Shane also wanted to write Yanzi’s pet cat Barnaby into a story and thus, Starlight Cats was born.


Using cats from all around the world was meant to be reflective on Singapore’s multiculturalism. PHOTO CREDIT: SHANE DAVIS, LIN YANZI


The project initially started as an IndieGoGo venture with a goal of $6,784 but that goal was easily reached as within a week, its funding reached over $40,000. It currently stands at more than $90,000 (as of Nov 4) and the comic is set to ship by August 2021. 

For a country that receives so little representation in international media, having a comic about us illustrated and published by a world-famous artist is definitely a step in the right direction. 

Just don’t go testing your cat’s ability to fly. 

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