So the other day I posted on my Facebook that S17 has had a crazy amount of support from other Canadian creators and that I wanted to take some time to recognize them and their efforts to promote our books.
As I sat down and started making a list it became very apparent that there were too many people to cover in one post and that breaking it down to my local scene (Winnipeg and surrounding area), Western and Eastern Canada was the only way to keep it short enough but still give everyone a fair shake at hearing about how great they are and why they are.
Of course I cannot just stick to Canada, as there have been a number of American creators that have been just as great and that will be the fourth such post.
It's only fitting that we start with the guy who showed me that a local guy could actually make his own superhero stuff and get it published and out there for folks to read, Mr. AP Fuchs. His Axiom-man series was one of the (as I've mentioned before in several posts) influences on me going the whole self-publishing route and still remains one of the books I look forward to with each new volume. AP has been extremely encouraging as S17 has grown and not only have I been lucky enough to have his support, but also to count him among my friends. On my first Free Comic Book Day as a "pro" I was seated next to AP and he was cool enough to sketch out Paragon (from LEGACY) and write a little blurb to "keep the stories coming", something I fully intend to do. That sketch is now framed and hanging on my office wall. Find out more about AP Fuchs here: http://canisterx.com/
Rod Salm was a guy who's book I came across when he ran a Kickstarter for it and was drawn in by the title, Death At Your Door. The quick pitch on it is Death decides to... Well, here, check out the very first strip for yourself:
Anyhow, I was intrigued and I finally got to meet the man behind it at one of the single day comic cons we have in Winnipeg. Right away I could tell Rod was a great guy- friendly, out-going, quick to show an interest in what I was doing... Just a really cool dude. I was able to get to know Rod a bit more and, when I knew I was going to need a letterer for Canadian Corps, he was my first and only choice; I wanted to find some way to work with him and luckily he agreed. Because Rod is such an awesome fellow, not only did he join as letterer, he took it upon himself to put together a new, fancier website for S17, and it's going to be SO COOL when we go live. Who puts together a wicked website for someone else without even being asked? Rod does because Rod rocks.
Donovan Yaciuk was introduced to me by Canadian Corps penciller/inker Justin Shauf as someone that he had worked with and said was a "good guy" who might be the solution for our search for a colourist for the book. I was hesitant at first because I'd had a few people in mind for the job already but once I met Donovan... One of the best things ever to happen to S17. His enthusiasm for creating comic books in incredibly infectious and I've always believed passion sells people on projects- with him I expect C.Corps to hit the New York Times Best-Sellers List. Whether it's him chatting up people on the digital colouring process or saying far too kind things about me, Donovan is really one of the good ones. Much like Rod, Donovan has gone above and beyond the call of duty several times as a member of the S17 creative team and when he's not rocking the pages of C.Corps or The Sentries, he's busy being a great dad (a common them among the C.Corps crew) and doing his own fantastic book, Spacepig Hamadeus.
Speaking of people that I met at conventions, GMB Chomichuk was a gentleman that I met at the same show as Donovan, when he came around to my table and introduced himself. He was very friendly and asked about my books and, while not in the same vein as what he created, he seemed quite happy to listen as I stumbled over my "elevator pitch" about the books. While we were talking, a local podcast interviewer came up and asked him if he'd be able to be on their show- without missing a beat, this man who had just met me, who had plenty of his own works to promote, turned to them and said "It's new local creators like Andrew here who you should be interviewing". I was floored. This guy had literally JUST met me and was pushing my books? But that's what GMB is about. He lives for the community of it all. When the Canadian Corps Kickstarter happened he quickly volunteered some of his art to be used in any way I saw fit. Like I said, he is a true gentleman and I appreciate the things he has done when he has not had to. His website has a ton of cool stuff on it- you can find it here: http://comicalchemy.blogspot.ca/
As James D. Miles said, "You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who cannot do anything for him". Mr. Chomichuk is a pretty classy guy, indeed.
Lytwyn Studios is a local comic studio that, once again, I met at that very same comic con (hint, those are a GREAT place to meet cool people) and since that time I've gotten to hang out with a few of them and talk comics and such. Matt Lytwyn, the head honcho there, has been a very vocal supporter of S17 and he and I have developed a sort of one-upmanship that I quite enjoy as I think it's pushed us both to do more and be better. Jake, one of their artists, was the guy who first came up to the S17 table at the con, and besides having a beard of epic nature, is a super friendly guy with whom I love talking comics. I'm excited to see their books when they are ready to launch them- once again, very different from what I do, but they still sound pretty cool. And, as per Matt's repeated demands (it's not even requests anymore, he's sending goons to my door) I will be working on a few projects with them in the next year. It's very exciting and flattering when people dig your stuff enough that they ask to work with you. Their website is still under construction but they are on the Twitters, as the kids say. http://lytwynstudios.ca/
Now for a couple folks that I "met" while doing the Canadian Corps Kickstarter and have since met 2/3 of in person- Chadwick Ginther (author of the FANTASTIC Thunder Road trilogy- if you dig urban fantasy or Norse mythology you HAVE to check it out), Sean Trinder (also an author, his book The Guy Who Pumps Your Gas Hates You is a must read for anyone who has ever worked in that, or any, customer service industry- it's easily one of the best standalone books I've read) and Greg Waller (creator of the comic book Magnitude, a cool book that came out from Ape Entertainment in the mid 2000s).
All three of the aforementioned gentleman were names that were familiar to me before I launched the Kickstarter but their support and kind words for a fellow local creator was very very cool. They had no reason to invest in the book (beyond all being comic book fans themselves) but they did and I appreciate that. Mr. Ginther even took it another step and interviewed the C.Corps team about the book during the Kickstarter. Greg and I spoke on Facebook about his time and some of his experiences creating Magnitude and I'm looking forward to meeting him in person at the C4 Comic Con later this month. Sean and I got to speak at (because it IS a small world after all) Chadwick's recent book launch and I am pleased to report that he is a super nice guy. How nice? He went straight home and read Canadian Corps after the signing and tweeted about his love of the book. That's pretty nice, I'd say. You can find out more about Mr.Trinder on his Facebook page and Mr. Ginther on his website here: http://chadwickginther.com/ I strongly encourage you to buy their books- both guys tell great stories and I am a fan of whatever they do next. Greg has sworn me to secrecy but I would say you will hear more from him in the future.
I'm going to lump two more people together because, well I'm the one writing this damn it, and that's what I'm going to do. Besides those reasons, I'm doing it because they are both Young Adult authors who are, to my knowledge, some of the sharpest ladies you'll meet. Seriously they are both a hoot (ya, I said it) to talk to and while I've only met one face to face, the other and I have engaged in many a conversation online and found her to be quite fun.
Melinda Friesen and I first met when she (along with AP Fuchs and S17 editor Christine Steendam and myself) embarked on a writer's retreat this past June. Here's a fact you need to know about her: she is a writing machine. Not only did she beat the rest of us word count-wise, she DESTROYED us, cranking out a ridiculous amount of words. Another fact: she is FUNNY. You know that friend you have, that quiet one that just seems to pick their moments to give a friendly shot or wry observation? Ya, that's her. She's always quick to support a fellow creator though- and has always been good enough to share all my posts and tweets and stuff, as well as that of many other local talents. Her novel, Enslavement, is sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me to have some free time to read it (I've read the first 40 pages but haven't had a chance to continue yet) and you can find out more about her on her website: http://melindafriesen.com/
The other lady is Jessica Gollub, author of the Hummingbird series, of which I have read the first of the trilogy, The Mark of the Hummingbird. If you like post-apocalyptic style stories this will be up your alley- but it's not like anything you've read before in that sub-genre, or at least nothing I had read. Check it out and you'll see what I mean. What you WON'T see, at least not just yet, is Jessica at a launch or book-signing. Despite being a hilarious and fun person to talk to online, she informs me that is where she prefers to interact (or maybe she's just worried I'll show up and start literally singing her praises in public) but we're working on that. Signing or not, Jessica has become part of this little writer's collective that I am fortunate enough to be part of as well and every one of them is talented and supportive of each other. Even if that support sometimes reaches harassment levels in the vein of DO A SIGNING ALREADY, JESSICA!
Last, but certainly never least, is Christine Steendam. Christine and I have only known each other a few short years but have quickly become close friends and I admire her talent and knowledge to the degree that I hired her as editor for S17. Don't hold it against her for agreeing to such a terrible task; she's very generous that way. As I mentioned, Christine and I are good friends, and because of that friendship (one based on brutal honesty and lots of jokes at each other's expense) she has always been one of my biggest supporters and I hers- with each book she turns out I can see her writing getting better and better (I hope the same can be said of mine!) and I am excited to see where she will be five or ten years from now. Here's a hint: get to know her name- I fully expect it to be gracing the Best-Sellers lists for some time. I always have said that the S17 books are good because of the artists I work with and that rings true of Christine as well as editor and, for the first time ever for me, co-writer, as she joined me on New Guard #2. There's no one else I'd rather work with to make the stories better in S17's books.
Christine's website is http://christinesteendam.com/. What's with these writers having such unoriginal sounding websites? Get CREATIVE, people!
Seriously though this is but a fraction of the talented and supportive people that I have met since starting out on this comic book writing journey. Tune in next time to find out about all the cool Canadian creators West of Winnipeg!