After I read Chapterhouse Comics’ Freelance, (written by Andrew Wheeler, Jim Zub, with art by Vineda Vireak), and saw that there is another Canadian hero with white hair, I had to have Lance and Thunder meet up!
At Calgary Expo this year, Jeremy Thew drew a wonderful picture of my half-Norse God, half-Canadian hero, THUNDER, meeting his hero, Captain Canuck. I showed the sketch to Richard Comely, the creator of the good Captain; today I have coloured it and present it to share with you my joy of being Canadian, and to share a couple Canadian heroes with you.
Hey folks! This Feature Friday we’re focussing on THUNDER, with some great art prints of everyone’s favourite Norse Canadian Superhero!
Thunder’s image is on many fantastic products including posters, mugs, phone cases and more! Surf on over to Redbubble.com and order your favourite items today!
Or if you’re near Calgary this Sunday, March 12th, stop on by the Two Gargoyles table at the Calgary Red & White Comic & Toy Expo and pick up a poster!
One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is this:
“How come there are no girls in your comics?”
I need to explain, because this is important— and I never have time to really get into it when a reader stops by my table at a convention and asks this question.
The very shortest answer is: “There are girls in my comics. They just haven’t shown up yet.”
Now I need to explain that.
The reality is that I’m an average (ish) white dude and so all my experience and observations begin there. They don’t end there, they just begin there. So when I begin noodling a story in my head, yes, it does tend to start with Average White Dude personalities.
But then I start really thinking about story. About worlds. About situations and all the people around them until everything starts to gel, starts to feel real. And from that process comes diversity, because that’s what the real world is: diverse. Mulitcultural, multi-generational, multiple peoples and experiences.
And for me, the cardinal sin- the worst mistake- would be to write something, or someone, I can’t be genuine about. So when I plan a story, my first thought is not “how can I make this diverse?” My first thought is “what is this story about?” and once I’ve got that, the diversity flows naturally.
My half-Norse God, half-Canadian superhero Thunder, for example, is the story of a young man who has come back home to a world he no longer knows, trying to discover himself and trying to fit in. The first person he makes friends with is another dude. The first two people he has conflict with are also dudes.
This, to me, is organic; it is more likely that this hero will have conflict with men, and is more likely to befriend a man, first. Because that’s been my experience on how dudes operate.
However, we are up to issue 5 now, and we’ve seen two, maybe three days of the hero’s life— and we’re ready to expand our scope and see more of his environment and the people in it. Now, we will begin to see (minor spoiler!) that there are women in this dude’s life, in his circle, and we are going to explore that. But I had to get there naturally, it had to feel real, not “shoehorned” in.
Of course there are women in his world, in his circle, in his universe. But they are not tokens. They are not eye candy. They are people. They have their own stories, their own agency, their own being completely separate from, independent of, the hero.
I am a firm believer in, and yearn to one day pass, the Bechdel Test in my stories. But I have to get there naturally, in a genuine way; I won’t write something just to tick a box or fill a quota— I want to write a good story that includes the realest people I can imagine.
Likewise, my comic Spectrum begins with Average White Dude— who is gay. This means his world is already a bit more open to diversity simply due to the character’s desire to discover more about himself and the world around him. The girls in this comic (minor spoiler, again) will show up much sooner because in this case the main character is already associated with female friends and is through his own efforts and external circumstances being exposed to more than our aforementioned junior thunder god.
Also, Spectrum has a broader scope in terms of race and culture in its characters— not because I felt like “I should” or “I had to” but rather because it just made sense. It fit. It worked. And you’d better believe I will try my best to make sure those characters are as authentic, as genuine as I can possibly make them, because they are not “tokens of inclusivity” — they are real people.
So if you’re one of the people wondering when the girls are going to show up, rest assured that they’re coming. They’re already there, actually, you just haven’t met them— but I’m very eager to introduce you.
And if you’re one of the people who ask “How come there are no girls?” when what you really mean is “How come there are no boobs on your book covers?” Then you’re part of the problem, and you suck.
To say that Calgary Expo was a success would be an understatement. Two Gargoyles Comics broke its previous year’s sales record, and the comics and art were well-received.
Standing out amongst the books was Twilight Detective Agency #1, still going strong as our top seller. Haven’t read it yet? You can order it here, for print or download!
Jeremy Thew’s art prints were a hit; he had such luminous images as Rogue, Wonder Woman, and the White Queen on offer. I’m encouraging him to set up his own site so they can be made available outside of conventions– stay tuned for more on that! He was also sketching like a madman at the table, coming up with ideas for future cons so stay tuned!
The Thunder Graphic Novel tied neck-and-neck with Diaperman for sales; I’m thinking now that there needs to be a convention special crossover comic! The Titan vs. the Toddler! Because YOU demanded it! Okay, you didn’t, but you were sooooooo thinking about it. Admit it. Just admit it.
In terms of merch, much was made of the Krampuspresso Mugs, as modeled here by Jennie, a very satisfied customer (and coffee connoisseur)!
Shout-outs to Ningen Headwear, Crafty Geeks, and the talented Lucas and Carol-Anne of Hermit Sherpa for being great convention people, table neighbours (the former) and awesome drop-by friends (the latter).
Thanks also to the amazing con staff at the Calgary Expo! They continue to bring their “A” game every year. This expo is a “must attend” every year if you are at all interested in anything pop culture oriented!
Now comes the rest, planning, and brainstorming for next year– but within 30 days I’ll have a table at the Panel One Creator’s Festival, here in Calgary, and as it’s the first year for such an awesome creator-driven, creator-focussed one-day festival I’m really looking forward to being blown away. The event has a Facebook page here if you want more awesome details!
Oh, and didn’t I mention that it’s THUNDER THURSDAY?? Issue 3 of Thunder is now completely posted online, you can now read the entire first three issues for free here on the site!
Hope you all had a fantastic weekend if you weren’t at the Expo, because if you were, then I already know you DID!