When you think of the Corgi, what comes to mind? Is it the breed’s distinctive compact stature and perky ears? Maybe it’s their characteristic quick-wittedness and much touted herding abilities? Or perhaps you drum up images of the Queen of England and her famous pack of regal canines?
For Margaret McCall, an artist based in Seattle, Corgis bring to mind something altogether more fantastical. Namely, she envisions them commandeering classic pop culture movies and moments. It’s a concept that she’s turned an illustrated series called Pop Culture Corgis, which she shares with the world through her White Collar Otter Instagram account and website.
I spoke to Margaret about the big-screen potential of Corgis, having comic book artist Tony Moore (of The Walking Dead fame) cosign her work, and the idea of Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy smelling like wet dog.
Dogster: What was the original inspiration behind the Pop Culture Corgis series?
Margaret McCall: It all started with Jurassic Park. (Now that’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.) I had the idea of replacing the T. rex in the iconic jeep scene with an oversized, docile Corgi sniffing the car. My friends really enjoyed the drawing so I ran with the idea, first with more movies and then with some more diverse references.
What makes Corgis specifically so suitable for turning into pop culture characters?
Corgis always look like they’re having a great day. Their large ears and short legs also add a lot of humor to each illustration. Corgis were the obvious choice for me because I have one. I’m also based in Seattle, where Corgis are very popular. Each Halloween, for example, more than a hundred Corgis in costume walk around a local park with their owners. People will travel from all over western Washington to participate, or even just to observe.
Which illustration in the series have you had the best response to so far?
A lot of people really enjoy the Free Willy one. That’s a favorite of mine as well. The Arrested Development banana stand is also popular. But I’d have to say that Tony Moore, artist of The Walking Dead and Deadpool comics, liking my Deadpool Corgi on Instagram was pretty incredible. It’s the first time I’ve gotten a nod from someone who worked on the original content my illustrations are based on.
What movie character has been the trickiest to turn into a Corgi?
Dirty Dancing was tough because it required one Corgi to lift another one over his head despite having very short arms. Figuring out the mechanics of that was a challenge.
If Corgis on a Plane were an actual movie, what would happen in the plot?
I envision it being very similar to the original movie. Samuel L. Jackson boards an airplane from Hawaii to LAX. Everything seems normal at first, but then a bunch of Corgis get loose in the cargo hold and make their way to the main cabin. Unlike the movie, at first it’s really pleasant having them there. But then they start to get aggressively friendly, following Jackson around the plane and trying to crawl into his lap every time he sits — it’s a really long flight so all he wants to do is just sit down.
It’d be a cinematic masterpiece that tackles complex themes related to bravery amid chaos, the strength of the human spirit, and the dangers of having too much of a good thing. Hollywood, call me.
When it comes to politics, what tactics would a Poodle use to defeat a Corgi in an election?
We know from the Dewey vs. Truman election this drawing is based on that the Corgi would ultimately come out on top, but I think the Poodle would try to use his height to his advantage.
I can imagine the two dogs in a hard-hitting debate, the Poodle proudly looking out over the crowd while the Corgi struggles to peek his head above the podium; the camera pans down clumsily to capture him in the frame.
The Poodle might also insist on feats of strength, but the Corgi, being a skillful herder, would keep his foe right where he wants him.
The Queen of England is known for her Corgis. Which movie would you illustrate them into?
Definitely Pride and Prejudice. The book is a favorite of mine, and it’s funny to think about Mr. Darcy emerging from the lake after a swim and smelling like wet dog.
Finally, can you tell us a bit about your own Corgis?
I have a blue merle Cardigan Corgi named Finnegan. Cardigans are not a common breed, so people typically assume he is a Corgi/Australian Shepherd mix. I draw Pembrokes instead because they’re immediately recognizable. If someone has to think about the illustration for too long, the humor gets lost. I don’t think Finn would hold it against me.
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