Sunday, September 30, 2007

If An Elongated Man Falls in the Forest...

So it's been, what, over six months since our beloved Ralph Dibny died? And has anyone mentioned him anywhere? Even in passing, like "Hey, have you seen Ralph Dibny?" "Nope."

Does anyone know that he is dead besides, like, Faust? If they do know, then where the hell is his funeral? Why is everyone all "Bart Allen...the greatest hero who ever lived. Ever." and not sending Dibny any love? Did he not die heroically? People are still talking about the tragedy that was the rape and eventual murder of Sue Dibny, but why doesn't Ralph's death matter? Elongated Man is a great character with a long proud history of solving mysteries in the grossest way possible. Didn't he have any friends? Didn't any of his fellow heroes, his Justice League teammates, respect him? Don't any of them wonder where he is? Or do they all assume that he killed himself and just don't want to talk about it. Everyone is out searching for Ray Palmer, the murderer-lover, but no one is even Google searching the whereabouts of Ralph.

So are there any plans for Ralph? Will anyone ever try to find out what happened to him? Will we see a series that has Ralph and Sue as ghosts who solve mysteries? Can Ted Kord be their sidekick? Can Ralph Dibny get a case in the Batcave?

I know that for the next long while everyone is going to be freaking out about the death (?) of Green Arrow (I hope Bart enjoyed his 15 minutes of posthumous fame because they are OVER, my friend). So I am guessing that we're not going to hear anything about Ralph for quite some time, if ever. But I have been waiting for over 6 months for word on my favourite stretchy sleuth and all I've gotten is that panel in a recent issue of Countdown that shows us his corpse, rotting where he fell dead. That's just depressing. [EDIT: Actually, it was an issue of Black Adam].

Oh, the fallen sons of DC. Is it possible for me to manipulate an image in Photoshop that is stirring enough to convey the sorrow I feel?

The answer is YES.

Perhaps some sort of rubber bracelet campaign is in order. It would certainly be fitting. Maybe purple ones that say "Whither Dibny?" on them. Or "He Died As He Lived...Stretched To Disgusting Lengths."


Today is Strange Adventures owner Calum Johnston's birthday!

Besides opening and operating the greatest comic shops ever, Cal is just generally the greatest guy you'll ever meet. He does more for the comic book community than anyone I've ever heard of, which includes but is not limited to:

- Giving away tens of thousands of comic books on Free Comic Book Day
- Bringing in an impressive array of comic creators to this tiny town
- Keeping a very small store fully stocked with everything you could every want, including a ton of all-ages books
- Throwing kick-ass Halloween parties
- Paying for everything. Seriously, everything. That man will not let you pay for your own meal.
- Giving everybody rides in his big yellow bug.
- Giving me, like, so many comics. And Montreal Canadiens-related gifts.
- Giving lots of stuff to charities.
- Selling all the back issues at the shop today for ten cents each! Seriously. Go there now.
- Buying and giving away 300 copies of Supergirl #20 to support the change in art.
- Just generally being super supportive of everyone in anything that they try to do.

Happy Birthday Cal! You rule!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

This Week's Haul: Blargh!

Man, there was so much throwing-up in my comics this week. Like, really. A lot. It was weird.

Also, I read a lot of stuff this week, so I'm going to run through everything pretty quickly. I'll just say that Avengers: The Initiative was really good. Sub-Mariner was good too. And Blue Beetle.

And now, the rest.

52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #2

Is it insane that this is kinda my favourite thing that I read this week? I really, really liked it.

As I mentioned with the first issue of this series, there is some really great Superman/Batman banter happening here. I wish the story arcs in Superman/Batman were half this good. It's just really entertaining reading.

Wonder Woman shows up to complete the trinity in this issue. And she totally holds her own in the snappy banter arena:

Speaking of 'snappy,' the guy we all love to hate, Snapper Carr, shows up at the end of this. I have no idea what's going to happen with that.

I totally thought Batman was holding a flask there in that last panel, but it's just his binoculars.

I dunno...good story, good writing, good art. That makes for a pretty solid comic. I mean, there are still four issues left in which the whole thing could go to hell, but I'm impressed so far.

There was no puking in this comic, but it kinda looked like Superman was gonna hurl. Pestilence is a bitch.

Countdown to Adventure #2

If you want to sell a lot of copies of this comic, maybe don't put Forerunner on the cover. Animal Man, Animal Man, Animal Man. Front and centre.

That's pretty much all I have to say about this. Except that the Adam Strange stuff is the best part.

Countdown Week 31

Add points to this week's Countdown because it was a McKeever issue. Subtract points due to lack of Piper and Trickster.

Also, Jason Todd almost gets wasted by Owl Man.

Would anyone have cared? Anyone?

X-Men First Class #4

How much do I love this comic? SO MUCH!

For one thing, it really fills the Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane void. And for another, it is just such a great idea and I am really glad that Marvel has continued it into this second series. It's such a sunny comic in the middle of all the gloom. And I also really like that it's all-ages appropriate, but written for an adult readership. So it's running on the assumption that adult comic books fans want to read something cute and fun from time to time.

So in this issue, Iceman and Beast take a road trip!

And it's a totally awesome road trip. Look at the places they go!:

I love that Miami panel.

Ok, and look at how adorable this page is (the set-up: it's the end of the trip, our heroes just saved a bunch of people during a hurricane in the Florida Keys, and now they are waiting out the storm in the car under a dome of ice that Bobby made):

Awwwwwwww. Seriously! So cute!

Jeff Parker rules, and the art, by Julia Bax, was really, really fantastic. I was in love with every panel. Awesome all around.

Iron Fist #9/Iron Fist Annual #1

Double shot of Iron Fist this week!

If ever a sumo warrior traps you with his magic lightning lasso, this is what you should do:


But you can't get cocky, cause otherwise this will happen:

Fortunately for me, I had good money riding on Fat Cobra.

Green Arrow Year One #5

*sigh* What's the point anymore? Now that I know that we all know that he's dead. I think that enough time has gone by that I can drop that week-old spoiler. Dude! Oliver totally got killed on his wedding night by one of his own arrows! Through the neck!

As a Connor Hawke fan, I'm not entirely sad about this development. But I feel bad for Hal and Roy. Those guys are gonna be miserable. And Mia. I love Mia.

But I should really talk about this comic. Because it's really good. And it totally has made me see the sex appeal of Oliver Queen, which was previously a bit of a mystery to me. I know that DC is planning more Year One series (isn't there a Huntress one or something crazy?). I hope they are all as good as this one.

Superman Confidential #6

Hey, remember how the Batman Confidential franchise was totally sucking while Superman Confidential was totally good? Well, DC is putting a fast stop to that! And I guess we have to wait to see how the Darwyn Cooke/Tim Sale storyline ends. In the meantime we get this total garbage.

Oh, please.

Now, first of all, I was excited that Palmiotti and Gray were writing the next Superman Confidential arc. And I was also excited that it would involve Lori Lemaris. But then I saw that Koi Turnbull would be doing the art, and, well...bad art can ruin a comic book.

I tried to ignore the art while reading this and focus on the story, but I just couldn't. It was so distracting.

I think with different art, this would be a completely different comic. The story has a Silver Age imaginary story charm to it. Everyone is a mermaid/man except Superman...Lois, Jimmy, Lex...and Superman is being mind controlled by Lori. Which kinda sucks, because I have a fondness for that mermaid.

Actually, the story is kinda dark and shitty. And it bothers me that Aquaman, a perfectly excellent underwater adventure comic, was just canceled and now this hits the shelves.


And yuck:

Yargh. So unnecessary.

Pretty terrible. What do you think, Superman?

My thoughts exactly.

Teen Titans #51

Yep, I think this McKeever-writing-Teen Titans thing is gonna work out just fine.

It's off to a helluva start. The Teen Titans are visited by future versions of themselves, who are now a super hero team called The Titans. Tim Drake is Batman, Cassie is Wonder Woman, etc. Plus, Bart and Conner are back thanks to Tim's cloning efforts. They are all pretty evil, and the teens aren't impressed.

Future versions of super heroes are always fun because they reveal little pieces of what's to come.

Pity for Tim? But Tim is awesome! He's worth, like, ten Conners!

Also, I think this might be a Marvel dig:

I'm going to pretend it is. It's nice that Supergirl and I agree on something.

Yeah, so, excellent comic. I'm adding it to my pull list. Sean McKeever has a real gift for writing teenagers and I don't want to miss any of it. Plus I'm really liking the line-up, and it gives me some bonus Blue Beetle.

Justice League of America #13

I certainly don't need to be convinced that Dwayne McDuffie is the right man for writing JLA. Plus, the Wedding Special was awesome. So I was really excited about this issue.

Shame about the art. Damn shame.

It just looked so incredibly 90s. I dunno. Maybe that's what they're aiming for, but it's not what I'd aim for.

Behold Killer Frost:

And John Stewart:

Pages like this make me want to load Pearl Jam's Ten into my Sony Sports Walkman and set the VCR to tape Lois & Clark. Like, what the hell?

Also...I don't think the writing was that good! Like, it was all messed up and confusing and ignored chunks of continuity and stuff.

I basically liked two pages. This one:

And this one:

The second one I liked because for once it's Superman, and not Batman, who figured something out. Although, I guess it's possible that Batman told him.

Colour me disappointed.

The Spirit #10

Man I love that cover.

Ok, I lied earlier. This was actually my favourite thing that I read this week.

In this issue The Spirit is solving a murder mystery that involves the deaths of many cable TV talking heads. They are all based on actual television personalities, including Rosie O'Donnell, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert. It's all very clever and funny. Check out our hero as he's caught in the clutches of "Ann Coulter":

Oh, snap!

I was particularly impressed with the pages parodying the Colbert Report. Satire of a satire is a tricky thing, and it's done really well.

Also, I think it's an interesting coincidence that this issue opens with a gag that commentates on fill-in comics the same week that the final issue of Cooke's Superman Confidential run got bumped. I mean, not bumped like I think it's finished and DC just won't release it, but in the way that at least one of the creators hasn't been able to finish it yet and thus DC has chosen to start the next arc rather than wait for the end of this one. (Tim Sale, j'accuse!).

*sigh* I can't believe this run is almost over.

Batman #669

Yup, this was pretty much perfect.

I loved this page. So much:

This is gonna make an excellent-looking trade.

I don't really have anything else to say. It was awesome.

Wonder Woman Annual #1

Hey, remember this storyline? Barely? It was so long ago that I actually forgot that it never got finished. Well, here's our ending...and it's really good.

I forget most of the details of the original story on the Heinberg/Dodson run, but I do know that I liked it. And this Annual made me remember why. Heinberg just writes a really fantastic Wonder Woman. And it's a shame that this story couldn't have finished on schedule because this issue gives us a really great plot development that probably would have helped with the Picoult storyline a lot.

Basically, it ends with Circe working some magic that makes Diana a human unless she changes into Wonder Woman. So, as Diana Prince, she is vulnerable and without her powers (at least, I assume no powers...certainly she can get hurt). I think that's pretty dope.

So she does have to learn about being human now. Which was kinda what the Picoult storyline was about. Kinda.

Anyway, Gail Simone can take this development and run with it. I'm looking forward to it.

But back to this issue, there was some really fun battle banter:

There were actually pages of Wonder Woman dishing out the good banter. That's nice to see.

Also, look at this cozy Batman/Wonder Woman panel:

Man. I don't usually want those two to kiss, but I kinda wouldn't mind it. Look at how cute!

There was also a nice back-up story, also written by Heinberg, and drawn by Gary Frank. It was also really good:

Those are some really great facial expressions. I'm interested to see him upcoming run on Action Comics.

Holy smokes, am I done?! For real? Awesome, now I'm gonna work on my accounting assignment!

Degrassi Forever

Over at the official Degrassi The Next Generation site they have posted some photos from last weekend's Word on the Street festival in Halifax. Actor Mike Lobel (Jay Hogart), artist Ramon Perez, writer J Torres and Epitome Entertainment guy Chris Jackson represented Degrassi Street and participated in a little panel discussion that I got to moderate.

You can check out the pictures here (including this one of me).

The Habs were playing an exhibition game in Halifax that day, which I went to immediately after. Thus, I was wearing my colours. Normally I would have dressed my formal Aquaman t-shirt or something.

I'm going to post this photo too because I like it, even though I look a disappointing amount like Rosie O'Donnell in it. I think I was talking or something and it caught me at the wrong millisecond.

I like that J Torres's rock pose is "call me!"

This one is fun too.

All pictures were taken by my mom, including that one of all of us on the Degrassi site. Thanks, mom!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

All-Star Batman and Robin #7: Live Running Commentary...Again!

It's that time again! This thing is coming out more or less on schedule now! It's creeping me out!

Now, once again, I will read this for the first time and post my running commentary. When you hear Batman kick you in the teeth, it's time to turn the page.


Before I get started I just want to say that as soon as I picked up this comic I launched into a giant sneezing fit. So maybe I am allergic to All-Star Batman and Robin.

Page 1 - "Striking TERROR. Best part of the job." Isn't striking terror the only part of the job?


Page 2 - "You don't know from screwed, you losers!" This gets my vote for worst Batman quote ever.


Page 3 - "Let me take you to school, suckers!" Ok, we have a new winner.
Also, Batman really gets off on people shooting each other. I guess.


Page 4-5 - "WADS"???!!!! Batman used the word 'wads'!!!!


Page 6 - Oh man. I am really glad that I didn't actually buy this. So Batman just called one guy "sweetheart," another guy "boy of mine" and all of this is making "Black Canary" (who is Irish, for whatever reason) very hot.


Page 7 - Oh, come on. Selina's not a smoker.
Yes, of all the crap on this page, that's what bothers me.


Page 8 - WHA?! NO!! YARG! I...can't believe this. At all.


Page 9 - I am so confused about what this is supposed to be. Clearly, it's a joke. I mean, it has to be, right? So my question then is, why is someone with so much obvious contempt for comic books allowed to write this comic? Let me write it! It would be so delightful!


Page 10 - So, what is Dick Grayson doing during all this? Starving in the Batcave? Sharpening his axe? Eating rats?


Page 11 - ??????!!!!!!


Page 12 - Hey, it's Robin! "I have no idea how long I've been here, in the Bat-Cave." Yeah, neither do I. I am pretty lost on the time frame of this comic. How many nights since Dick's parents were killed? Was it this same night? And didn't he leave the cave to play with that axe at one point? Or was that in the cave? Meh. Next Page.


Page 13 - 14 - Seriously, if I see one more person throw up in one of my comics this week...


Page 15-16 - Well, this is messed up.


Page 17-18 - At this point I would believe anything. It would not surprise me if I turn the page to find that Robin has chopped that guy's head off. And then the next page is a giant orgy.


Page 19 - 20 - Normally I would kind of love Batman leaning on his car like that. But this isn't any kind of Batman I want to know.


Page 21 - Oh, well, terrific. (The Joker has pierced ears?!)

Aaaand we're done. Ouch. This exceeded my expectations of shittiness. Way to go, DC.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dear Marvel

The Canadian dollar is now par with the U.S. dollar.

Kindly check yo' selves.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Q&A with Scott Chantler

The first three chapters of Scott Chantler's really excellent Canadian historical adventure series, Northwest Passage [Oni Press] was recently collected into a beautiful hardcover book. Now he's made the trip from Waterloo, Ontario to Halifax for the Word on the Street festival. I did a Q&A with Scott earlier this week, and now I'm sharing it with you guys.

Q: Are there more installments of Northwest Passage on the way? If so, how many more volumes can we expect?

A: I intend Northwest Passage to be something I return to throughout my career. The story that's collected in the new hardcover was definitely always intended as "season one"...there at least three of four further stories I have in mind for these characters. That said, I'm in no rush to get them out. This first story took two years to complete, and I was eager to step away from it for a while. There a few other projects I want to get to, but there WILL be more Northwest Passage in the future...I just can't tell you precisely when to expect it.

Q: Northwest Passage is an ambitious undertaking! Canadian history is not a popular subject for comic books, or even adventure books in general. What inspired you to write this story, and how much history research was involved?

A: Thanks to Chester Brown's LOUIS RIEL, and my work, Canadian history seems to be becoming a more popular subject every day. But when I first pitched Northwest Passage a few years back, RIEL wasn't out yet, so there was really nothing even remotely like what I was trying to do. Oni Press deserves a lot of credit for having the nerve to take it on. I was first inspired to write something set against Canadian frontier history when I first read Peter C. Newman's COMPANY OF ADVENTURERS and CAESARS OF THE WILDERNESS (the first two parts of his history of the Hudson's Bay Company,) maybe six or seven years ago. I just thought it would make an outstanding setting for an adventure story, and couldn't believe it hadn't been more utilized in that regard. The research was pretty extensive. I had the groundwork with Newman's books, but also devoured as many other sources as I could, books on everything from everyday life at the fur trading posts, to the methods of Cree medicine men, to the history of privateering in Canada. Not to mention websites, old paintings and drawings, museum displays, you name it. Fortunately, I enjoy that part of it. One of the reasons my career has gravitated to historical stories is because I like the process of discovering and learning about new people, places, and times.

Q: How did you get involved with Tek Jansen? What has that been like, in comparison with your previous work? (I read in your blog that Stephen Colbert didn't like your original sketch of him).

People ask me all the time how I got the Tek Jansen gig, and I wish there was a more fascinating answer, but it's really so simple and boring: they called and asked me to do it. I think the guys at Oni Press really wanted to use such a high-profile project to reward some of the people who'd been kicking around there for a while, and I had done five books for them and just come of Northwest Passage. Plus, I think they thought my art style and my "animated" sense of timing would make a good fit for the project. While it was definitely different from the comics work I'd done previously (which was all my personal, creator-owned stuff,) it wasn't really an adjustment to having please a licensor. I do a tonne of commercial illustration work--which is what allows me to take such chances with my choices of comics projects--so I'm used to tailoring a job to a client's wishes. That's how you have to think of these work-for-hire, licensed a job. Might be a really FUN job, but in the end it's somebody else's book, not yours.

Q: Are there issues planned beyond #3 in the Tek Jansen series? If so, will you be involved?

It's planned as a five-issue miniseries. My work actually won't appear beyond the first issue...while it was a great gig to be involved with, I've just had too many offers lately, on my own projects, to have been able to stick with it.

Q: Were you doing cons promoting Tek Jansen at all? What was fan reaction like? Are the fans of that comic different from other comic fans? Lately there have been a few releases that I like to call 'gateway comics' (ie - Marvel's Dark Tower and Anita Blake comics, Dark Horse's Buffy Season 8, and the Tek Jansen series) that seem to attract fans that normally don't read comics. Do you feel that Oni viewed this project as one that might attract new comic readers?

Oni views EVERY project as one that might attract new comic readers. I don't know that there's any publisher in the business who does more to grow the audience. I've done a few shows and signings since Tek hit the stands. It's a little weird to have people coming up who clearly don't know me or my work from a bushel of potatoes...but it helps bring their attention to my creator-owned books. A fan who comes to get their Tek Jansen comic signed might be convinced to pick up a copy of Northwest Passage, too, which is nice.

Q: Were you a fan of Stephen Colbert when you were asked to work on the comic? Were you familiar with his space hero alter-ego?

Yes, I'd been a fan of Colbert's since The Daily Show first started airing in Canada. And while we began work on the comic before the animated Tek Jansen segments began airing on the show, I was always kept aware of what was going on, in terms of being able to see the model sheets and other concept work.

Q: Do you have any other projects you are working on? I know you are working on the relaunch of Hawaiian Dick...

Hawaiian Dick is being relaunched in November as a montly series, with rotating artists. I'm the artist on the first four issues. Other than that, I'm going to be doing two new original graphic novels (both of which I'll be writing) for major publishers. One is something intensely personal, the other something crazy and fun. But that's all I can tell you for now.

Q: You are one of the rare triple threats in the comic industry who pencils, inks and writes. Do you prefer to work this way, or do you enjoy working with other authors and/or artists?

If it's something personal, like Northwest Passage was, I like to do it all myself. I want my hands--and my hands only--on the wheel, and that's the only way to be sure to get it. But I've also really enjoyed the collaborations I've had with others. All of the writers I've worked with have been easygoing, talented, and open to letting me collaborate on the storytelling, which I think is essential. Plus it's just nice to sometimes have someone else to bounce ideas off of, or joke around with...being an auter, while giving you the ability to completely indulge yourself creatively, can be lonely work.

Q: I guess I should ask why you have decided to come to Halifax to participate in the Word on the Street festival. Do you enjoy participating in comic and writers festivals like this one?

I come because they keep inviting me! Plus, I really think the presence of comics and graphic novels at mainstream literary festivals in the last few years has been a blessing--especially for people like myself, whose work isn't in the capes-and-tights vein. Anything that exposes mainstream readers to the diversity and quality of what's being done in comics can only be a good thing...again, it grows the audience. This is the just the kind of festival I like doing the most.

Q: I believe you've been here before. Any thoughts about Halifax? (People here love hearing nice things about Halifax).

My first time in Halifax was Word on the Street last year, in 2006, and I had a blast. Great city, good times, friendly people. I was so glad when the asked me back again.

Q: I'm curious to know if you have any thoughts on the separation of comic book writers from other authors. For example, at this festival J. Torres, Darywn Cooke and yourself are all listed in a subcategory called 'cartoonists,' apart from 'authors,' even though you are all authors. I'm trying to form a question out of this, but all I can come up with is: any thoughts about the status of the comic book writer in the world of authors?

I have no problem at all with the term "cartoonist." It implies someone who writes with pictures, which is a pretty apt description of what I do. I don't think it's meant least I don't take it that way. In fact, I think the presence of cartoonists at Word on the Street is a good sign that the literary community has come to (correctly) regard comic and graphic novels as a form of visual literacy.

Q: What does the success of smaller comic publishers such as Oni Press mean for comic creators in terms of what they can offer that larger publishers can't?

Mostly what they offer is freedom. If you want to do your thing, Marvel Comics and DC Comics are not going to let you do that. They want you to draw Spider-man, or Superman, and conform to the editorial direction for those characters, as dictated by the corporations who own them. With a company like Oni, you've got an operation that's run by three guys, which has a lot more opportunity and desire to take risks. Like, say, publishing a story set in Canadian frontier history.

What's been interesting in the last few years is that smaller companies like Oni have been just as successful selling their books in Hollywood as the bigger publishers with more recognizable characters have been. So while the immediate pay-off isn't as great at the smaller companies, there's still the promise of big-time financial rewards.

Q: How do you regard the importance of all-ages comics, and do you feel there are enough being made? (Northwest Passage, for example, could be distributed in schools, but it certainly could have been written with a lot of gore and sex and profanity and still have earned rave reviews, but would have cut out the younger audience). Did you take the younger demographic into consideration when you were writing Northwest Passage, or are you just not a sex and violence kind of guy?

All-ages comics are incredibly important. One of the reasons the '90s was such a dark time in this industry was because comics were so eager to prove themselves as edgy adult reading material that very few people seemed concerned about where the next generation of readers was going to come from. Obviously, that was pretty short-sighted. What's great about the industry as it is today is that there really is something for every age and taste. That's why I think the current buzz around comics and graphic novels is more than just a fad...there are enough good books, and talented creators, to be able to more than hold the public interest.

There's a considerable amount of violence in Northwest Passage, but I tried as much as possible to keep it off-panel, or implied. It wasn't out of consideration for any kind of demographic...I just prefer that sort of Hitchcock-ian style of storytelling, where you make the audience work a bit. You could never show them anything as terrifying as what they can conjure in their own mind.

Q: It seems that more Canadians are making a name for themselves in the comic book industry than ever before. Certainly Toronto has a very strong comic scene, and Halifax has a nice little one for our size. Do you feel that it's a good time to be a Canadian comic creator?

It's a great time. I think Canadians have a distinct voice, and that the industry is becoming more accommodating of distinct voices. You can barely walk down the street in Toronto without bumping into a phenomenally talented comics creator. It's such a great thing to be a part of.

Q: How important is it, to you, for Canadian creators to tell Canadian stories? Obviously Northwest Passage is a Great Canadian history lesson, and has done well in the States. Do you intend to continue to work on books with Canadian themes?

Northwest Passage sells best in Canada, but it does better in the States than anyone had a right to expect. Stong reviews have helped, including prominent reviews in Entertainment Weekly and Publishers Weekly. And it's a big word-of-mouth book. It gets a big boost from blogs, message boards, people giving copies to friends, etc.

I think Canadians are hungry for Canadian stories. It's natural, with the amount of U.S. media we digest, to assume that all stories are set in New York. But when something comes along that's a little more recognizable to us, I think there's a real connection. Something I tried to do with Northwest Passage was to tap into a mythic Canadian landscape. What I've depicted isn't really what northern Manitoba looks like, really...but I didn't want that, anyway. What I wanted was what Canadians see when they close their eyes and think of Canada.

Q: What comics are you reading and excited about right now?

I've been reading my way through Paul Grist's Kane, which I just discovered a couple of years ago but absolutely love. I think Grist may be the most interesting storyteller in comics, currently. There's a European series called Belladone, historical adventure stuff with cartooning which makes wildly jealous. But I don't get as much time to read as I'd like...I'm too busy these days creating my own stuff.

Thanks to Scott Chantler for taking the time to answer my questions!

If anyone local is reading this, come on down to Word on the Street tomorrow! It's free and there are a lot of great writers and artists who will be there. I'll be conducting the Degrassi panel at 1:15 with J. Torres, Ramon Perez and actor Mike Lobel (Jay Hogart from Degrassi The Next Generation). There will also be an 11:15 Q&A with J. Torres on writing for comics, a 3:15 Q&A with Scott Chantler on historical comics, and a 4:15 panel with Darwyn Cooke and Steve McNiven on storytelling and comics. All of these creators, and more, will be available for signings and sketches at various times throughout the day. There's no reason to miss this, and every reason to go!