It goes without saying that none of us live in a vacuum. The same applies for any neighborhood, real life or fictional. From the beginning of their first comic in February 2015, I never intended for Skip and Pip to be the only inhabitants of Rainbow Glade. Their world, where everyone is accepted for who they are, needed more friends.
Over the last couple of years I have created eight additional bunnies that represent some of the others which make up the LGBT+ rainbow. They were created as people asked for them.
"Can I see a bunny that represents who I am?"
Those bunnies often make guest appearances in my art (all of them are in the Friendsgiving Celebration) and can be found on products in my Redbubble store. But the plan was to have more than just bunnies. Where I live here in Seattle, neighborhoods are filled with people from all over the world. It was time for further diversity in Skip and Pip's neighborhood.
Enter Eva and Dora.
These two squirrels have been in the back of my mind for months. The plan was to introduce them in a full length comic, as inhabitants of a cozy treehouse near the Bunn-galow. They would get a nice "Welcome to the Neighborhood" introduction and a gift basket designed by Pip.
Eva and Dora decided they really needed to make their appearance much sooner. I won't deny I was inspired by the Women's March.
Eva and Dora are partners and the first lesbian couple to appear in Rainbow Glade. Not only are they partners, they are also parents to Kip and Ella. Kip the penguin has appeared a few times. Ella the bat made her debut in last year's Halloween comic. There was something about the idea of a little princess bat that captured my heart.
This could sound ridiculous to you...two squirrels parenting a penguin and a bat.
Through my journey of being a parent and my work as Catherine Dair, I have been blessed with meeting some of the most wonderful families. Beautiful families that have adopted children from around the world into their homes and loved them as their own. Children from countries thousands of miles away that look nothing like their adoptive parents. I've met gay and lesbian parents who are no less stellar at raising children than their heterosexual counterparts.
Eva and Dora are my tribute to those families. They deserve their stories to be seen as well.
One day while doing a lunchroom clean-up at my son's co-op school, I chatted with one of those Moms who has adopted children from outside the United States. She was frustrated at reactions she receives on a continual basis that the dark skinned child in her arms must not be hers as she is Caucasian. For this Mom (as other adoptive parents) he is just "my son". She wished for more blended family stories, so that their own would seem no more different than any other family.
Her story stuck with me. I had already conceived of Eva and Dora but hearing her frustration, I knew what direction I would go with them.
A squirrel (or two) adopting a penguin in this scenario doesn't seem so far fetched. Kip is out of his natural element, but it doesn't mean he can't thrive when loved by a family who wants him.
Eva and Dora - welcome to the neighborhood.