Newfoundland and Labrador has an active comic book scene that dates back to the 1970s, largely kicked off by Wallace Ryan and the late Gerry Porter collaborating on Zeitgeist, a fantasy anthology. It marked the first comic book made in the province. Not long after, Geoff Stirling released his superhero, an ancient alien astronaut called Captain Newfoundland in the pages of the Newfoundland Herald, that was meant to distill his new age beliefs to an audience. In the 1980s there were also Tim Peckam and Fox Lidstone, though their output was minimal. Since then, more artists and titles have appeared, like Kelly Bastow, Mike Feehan and Paul Tucker. There is now a thriving comic book scene here and my book will explore the history and the creators who have been keeping this art form active locally.
Even forty years later, Captain Newfoundland (also known as Captain Atlantis) is still influential. While the series was short, Stirling’s creation exists to this day through NTV commercials. It has also been a figure of fascination and inspiration for many local comic book writers who came later, like Mike Feehan.
This book will be a collection of essays that introduce the major figures in the local comic book scene and how they became interested in comics, the challenges of working in this province, the themes they write about, and what inspires them. I plan to focus on one artist per chapter, while bringing in certain themes like how some of these people know one another. For example, Wallace Ryan collaborated with Gerry Porter on comics and Ryan also teaches comic book art and he has gone on to collaborate with former students. I will also go into details about how comic books have changed in the past few decades, both from the technology available to artists, like the iPad, and publishing mediums, including the internet.
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