Dex-Star - one angry, angry kittyAs fans of Green Lantern are immersed in stories about the various corps fighting in the War of Light, one Red Lantern sticks out as being more of a fan-favorite than the rest.
Dex-Star, the angry, hate-filled kitty cat.
In fact, the ferocious feline has become the – pardon the pun – rage on message boards, where he's featured in avatars, signatures and LOL-Cat knock-offs galore.
As Newsarama continues to track down the story behind the Road to Blackest Night, we contacted the artist who designed the Red Lanterns, Shane Davis, to find out where Dex-Star got his origins.
"Everybody asks me about that," Davis said with a laugh. "It's a funny story. It was actually a joke that became part of the script."
Davis said he was drawing Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns, last fall's oversized issue by writer Geoff Johns that introduced the Red Lanterns to readers. Johns had given Davis a few pages of script to get him started on the issue, and one part of the story called for a two-page spread with all the Red Lanterns in it.
"I had gone through some of the character designs with Johns and we had figured out Vice, the guy with the lethal clamps on his head, and Bleeze," Davis explained. "Johns was like, I want some Red Lanterns who look like something has been taken from them and they're scorned. I was like, OK, here's this one chick who only has one wing. And he came up with a back-story for her where some Sinestro Corps members had mutilated her out of amusement in a training camp. She was a toy to them. It was pretty cool.
"So I used those characters and a few others, and the natural rule of thumb when you draw those characters is kind of like how you take school photos in elementary school – you always put the tallest people in the back and the shortest people in the front," he said. "So you can tell the cat was a joke because if you look at that spread, I drew the cat in the back, in a place where he can be easily erased."
Ragecat SpewDavis said he sometimes does things in a serious way, meaning it to be a joke, but then just watches people's reactions. "That's sort of my sense of humor," he said.
But this time, to Davis' surprise, everybody from Johns to the editors loved the cat.
"Nobody cared about Vice or this big goat-headed guy I drew who was throwing up. They just cared about this cat that was the smallest thing on the page throwing up," he said. "And I was joking to Johns, saying, 'No, that was a joke. Really. I can take that out.' And he said, 'No! It's brilliant! We have to use that! It's awesome!'"
Davis said it took some convincing for him to even leave the cat in the two-page spread, but Johns insisted the cat had to stay.
"I was like, 'Please, God, don't do that! If you do that and people hate it, it's going to be my fault.' But he was like, 'No, no, trust me! It's going to be awesome,'" Davis said. "He was excited, and I was thinking, OK, well at least this is a character that won't pop back up."
Wrong. When Johns finished the script and sent it to Davis, there was Dex-Star featured in his own scene-stealing moment.
"I told him, yeah, it's cool, but now you have to name the character Dex-Star, because my cat's name is Dexter," he said with a laugh. "And he liked the name too! It's just so weird now."
It turns out that Dexter, Davis' cat, has been using a power ring against his enemies for some time now.
"I had this ring from a convention, and I would joke around with my girlfriend and my cat Dexter – because they hate each other – and I slipped a ring on this cat and said, 'Don't mess with him now. He's got a power ring. He'll mess you up.'"
Now that Dex-Star is not only a part of the Green Lantern mythos, but one of the favorite and best-known members of the Red Lantern Corps, Davis said he hopes the cat makes it through Blackest Night.
"There's part of me that kind of wants it to go away because I swear I meant it as a practical joke," Davis laughed. "And now everyone loves it. So yeah, now I hope Dex-Star makes me proud in Blackest Night."