PEI

Island-based Sandstone Comics to publish first book

All comic book superhero teams have an origin story — and the same can be said for the new Island business venture, Sandstone Comics.

Comic anthology, made up of three distinct stories, to be released in March

Author and illustrator Robert Doan is one of three collaborators behind Sandstone Comics, a new business in Charlottetown. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

All comic book superhero teams have an origin story — and the same can be said for the new Island business venture, Sandstone Comics. 

Greg Webster, Robert Doan and Sandy Carruthers, the artists and authors behind Sandstone Comics, all say they've had a passion for comics their entire lives and have always wanted to publish one of their own.

Now, those dreams are being realized. The group gathers in a small rental space at the Guild Theatre in Charlottetown, where they create new characters set in the world of Charlotte City — a stylized version of Charlottetown. 

An illustration from sandy Carruthers' new comic, Leap Frog. (Submitted by Greg Webster)

Carruthers, an artist and retired graphic design instructor at Holland College, said he and his colleagues are each working on their own story. Those will be compiled into a 72-page anthology they plan to release next month. 

"What I like about the anthology is that we hope that eventually they'll break off into their own singular issues and then the anthology series will be to introduce new talent, new Island talent," said Carruthers..

A comic Islanders can be proud of

The comics, called Leap Frog, Ghost of the Cradle and Indestructible, will be written, illustrated and published by the three Island artists.

Robert Doan, author and illustrator of Indestructible said drawing has always been a part of his life and comics were where that passion began.

'I’m excited to see ... Islanders having a book that they can call their own and say this was created here,' says Sandstone co-creator Carruthers. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

'I've wanted to do this since I was a kid," he said. "Sandy's asked me before what my earliest drawing memories were and it's probably sitting on my living room floor copying scenes from a George Reeves Superman reel."

Greg Webster, the creator behind Ghost of the Cradle, said he was also inspired by the comic books lining magazine stands in supermarkets when he was young.

An illustration from Leap Frog, which will be one of three comics published next month in Sandstone Comics' first anthology. (Submitted by Greg Webster)

"What I would really like Sandstone to do is to captivate someone else the same way those books in the 70s and 80s captivated me," said Webster. "Just for somebody to pick it up and have their imagination run wild and fall in love with some new characters and maybe in some familiar spaces."

Carruthers said they're trying to create something on the Island for Islanders.

"I'm excited to see … Islanders having a book that they can call their own and say, 'This was created here.'"  

'Wearing all the hats'

Webster said the three collaborators spent a lot of their time at Holland College talking about comic books, and creating one of their own seemed like a natural next step.

But balancing creativity with the launch of a new business hasn't been without its challenges. 

Greg Webster says he and his co-creators spent a lot of their time at Holland College talking about comic books, and creating one of their own felt like the natural next step. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

"The three of us as creators, we're wearing all the hats," Webster said. "Aside from writing, drawing, inking, colouring and lettering the books ourselves, we also have to deal with the marketing, promotional and business end of things."

Carruthers said the goal is to build Sandstone into a place for other comic book artists and storytellers to showcase and develop their talent.

The group has a Kickstarter campaign and Facebook page to promote the new book.

The book will launch at the Island Entertainment Expo at the end of March. 

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With files from Matt Rainnie

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