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Margaret Atwood: poet, novelist and now graphic artist

Detail from one of the superheroes drawn by Margaret Atwood

She's an award-winning poet and novelist, and a Canadian icon. Now, Margaret Atwood is receiving accolades for her online cartooning skills as well.

An avid Twitter user, Atwood surprised two fellow tweeters by offering to design superhero comic costumes for them, befitting their Twitter identities.

Joel Topf, aka @kidney_boy and a nephrologist in Detroit, explains on his blog Precious Bodily Fluids that Atwood contacted him unexpectedly after he recommended her book Oryx and Crake to another Twitter user, @DrSnit.

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While her unsolicited offer was unusual enough, Topf says, the exchange "turned deeper … and weirder" when the acclaimed writer offered to design superhero costumes for the two tweeters. After a month, during which Atwood consulted them about what their "magic words" and special powers would be, she sent them hand-drawn cartoons of a masked @DrSnit in red boots, cape and body suit, and @kidney_boy in similar gear, wielding an "instant scalpel."

"I agree that Kidney Boy does sound like a lame, superhero side-kick," Topf writes. "But," he adds, "I never imagined that a superstar writer would be creating my costume."

Atwood responded with a Twitter message on Monday: "So glad you all liked @DrSnit and @kidney_boy superhero outfits," she wrote, noting that she showed them off to others at a lecture the previous day, "& they liked them too!"

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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