CityMash.com - A lot of creative talent has come out of Vancouver and in particular it’s seen some outstanding visual artists and writers.
But it’s where these two disciplines meet that has given birth to an emerging and world renowned community of comic book artists. We take a look at our some of favorite names and local heroes and heroines in the industry.
One of the better known names, the Ottawa-born visual artist and painter is known for her distinctive anime-esque artwork, often times relying on waif-like female characters, and is notable for introducing elements of steampunk.
The most interesting example of this is her Helmet Girl series which features a number of iconic girls each with their own unique stylistic bio-mechanical helmets and a personality to go along with them.
One of her more famous solo projects, however, would have to be Tanpopo. The gorgeous illustrated graphic novel is d’Errico’s own take on the Faustian tale of compromise as a mysterious antagonist named Kuro tries to guide the quaint girl Tanpopo through a metaphysical journey about what it means to feel. You can also check out her manga-inspired prints, follow her blog, and even look up classes vi her website.
Although he earned his degree at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Johnnie Christmas now calls Vancouver home and has also been a prolific and important name both nationally and internationally.
One of his more recent and renowned successes – in collaboration with Canadian writer and poet Margaret Atwood – is Angel Catbird.
The often times humorous, sometimes dark take on super hero tropes actually made it to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List, and Christmas has his fingers in a lot of other projects including Island and Sheltered. Be sure to follow him on his Tumblr account.
A personal favorite, Brandon grew up in the States and actually worked illustrating pornographic comics (we all have to pay the bills) before he finally found unparalleled success with his futuristic punk-style King City graphic novel which came out with Tokyopop in 2007 and was nominated for an Eisner Award.
Like Camilla d’Errico his style borrows from manga, and the dialogue in King City is clipped and has a vernacular all its own.
He’s also done a lot of amazing collaborative works on Island as well, but his flair for scenery and punchy characters comes full circle with the Prophet series about a super hero with enhanced DNA.
Check out his blog to get a taste of new and old artwork as well as upcoming appearances.
If you want to talk about accolades, then Pia Guerra has definitely carved out a reputation for herself.
The Vancouverite is perhaps best known for her DC comic series Y: The Last Man about a post-apocalyptic world where all the men in the world have mysteriously died off – except for the main protagonist and his monkey companion.
She’s been nominated several times for the Eisner Award and won The Most Outstanding Comic Book Artist for 2006 at the Joe Shuster Awards.
And although Y was definitely her breakout piece, she has a long list of projects under her belt, ranging from The Simpsons comics with Bongo Comics to a Dr. Who and Torchwood series. She regularly features at VanCAF, Vancouver’s annual comic book festival.
Cloudscape Comic Collective
There’s simply not enough room to mention the massive pool of comic book, graphic novel, and visual artists that make up the writing community in Vancouver, but we have to include Cloudscape Comic Coalition here.
The collective of independent and local Metro artists offer a creative and interactive studio environment to let artists work on their individual projects, but they’re also responsible for annual compilations that feature work by their members and all revolve around a given theme, from the idea of a ‘Flood’ to ‘Journey’.
They meet every Wednesday at their HQ at 5955 Ross Street, and are always looking for new artists and writers that share their passion, and notable members include Jeff Ellis, Steve Rolston, Nina Matsumoto, and Arianna Mao, to name just a few.