Cool Cat Studio was a webcomic created and drawn by "Giz" (Gisèle Lagacé), who also wrote it to begin with, before recruiting T Campbell to handle much of that duty. It started as a Slice of Life Work Com, evolving towards Romantic Comedy, before the creators shifted things radically into the realms of weird SF and the supernatural — while the more mundane interactions between members of the cast increasingly tended to Soap Opera. The shift was, perhaps predictably, unpopular with some fans.
The comic initially ran from 2001 to 2002 before being cancelled, leaving some plot strands dangling. Eventually, the creators got back together to wrap things up in a new run from 2007 to 2008.
The complete run of comic can be found starting here. Note that some later strips are NSFW.
Cool Cat Studio contains examples of:
- Alien Abduction: Happens to Michael, marking the comic's jump from Slice of Life to high weirdness.
- Amazonian Beauty: Bones, a body-builder and bouncer, is built accordingly — and has no difficulty turning Michael on, while Jeremy and Liz also are attracted to her. She does however claim at one point that her strength has sometimes made it hard for her to get dates.
- Angst: Being reminded of her inability to have children can throw the normally well-balanced Belinda into a state of angsty moping for several strips at a time.
- Art Evolution: Giz's style develops visibly through the run of the comic. Art developments by the second, concluding run are quite radical — unsurprisingly, given the five-year gap.
- Canon Welding: Word of God is that the comic definitely shares a universe with some other T Campbell creations, including Penny and Aggie. However, the weird elements from this comic remain concealed in the others.
- Cerebus Syndrome: A non-standard case, in that it was basically a side-effect of the Genre Shift towards weirdness. Still, the comic definitely started out as a fairly lightweight office/romantic comedy, and some of the later stories, especially "Friends in High Places" (which was basically T Campbell's personal response to the September 11 attacks) were not at all comic.
- Chubby Chaser: The good-looking (and slim) Tony tells the "big-boned" Sophia that he likes plus-sized ladies — and throws in a wink. He clearly means it, as they promptly become lovers (and start sharing post-coital chocolates). It should be noted, though, that Sophia is drawn as slightly chunky rather than seriously obese, and isn't excluded from the comic's Generic Cuteness.
- Cool Pet: Invoked, but strictly ironically. The comic is named for the business where the lead characters work, which in turn is named in honour of the owners' pet cat, Camus. However, Camus is a pretty typical cat, being an irascible and selfish bird-killer.
- Drugs Are Bad: In one story, Bones, a fairly serious bodybuilder, is very tempted to employ illegal drugs for training purposes. She backs down at the very last moment, partly because a friend mentions the damage he's seen caused by recreational drug use, but mostly because she knows about possible psychological side-effects, which especially terrify her because she's just started a serious relationship.
- Eating the Eye Candy: Cast members of both genders are prone to looking appreciatively at people they find attractive, usually to comic effect, although sometimes the other half of a couple notices and gets significantly irritated.
- Erotic Dream: Michael has a few of these, regarding Liz. They are invariably used for humor, with him talking in his sleep.
- Generic Cuteness: All the lead human cast are quite presentable, including the supposedly overweight Sophia.
- Genre Shift: The comic undergoes a radical shift with the Alien Abduction storyline.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot/A Threesome Is Hot: Jeremy is prone to commonplace male fantasies on these lines.
- Goth Girls Know Magic: Liz, a borderline-case Goth, can naturally work a bit of ritual magic, and knows a lot about supernatural creatures.
- Hopeless Suitor: For a while, Michael has a thing for Liz, while Liz spends most of the comic's run yearning for Belinda to a greater or lesser extent. Both hit the Incompatible Orientation problem.
- If It's You, It's Okay: At one point in the course of the concluding story, the heterosexual Belinda at least thinks that she's interested in a relationship with Liz — and argues that this isn't that implausible, given that Liz always seems like she'd be happy to go for Trent Reznor.
- Incompatible Orientation: See the notes for Hopeless Suitor.
- Lipstick Lesbian: Liz is both a lesbian and quite conventionally attractively feminine (in a Goth sort of way).
- Masquerade: The setting includes a fair amount of weird stuff, but the general public seems largely or entirely unaware of any of it. At least one character vaguely assumes that the government or somebody are covering it up.
- Mind over Matter: Apparently, human beings have significant latent telekinetic potential — and Michael has truly phenomenal unrealized powers.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: The comic's aliens actually look more human than the one terrestrial supernatural creature which appears.
- Shirtless Scene: Tony is sometimes known to take his shirt off when doing maintenance work around the office, with distracting effects on the female staff. Jeremy also takes his shirt off at work once, to more comic effect (though he's by no means hideous).
- Talking in Your Sleep: Michael is sometimes prone to dozing off in company and then verbalizing his Erotic Dreams. This makes it impossible for him to keep his early infatuation with Liz a secret.