Entries in Comics (2)


Artists on a Mission


Kristopher Waddell and Dominic Bercier at Wonder Geeks Activate 2. Photo credit Mike Arnold (http://www.facebook.com/ChocoPhotogro )Life in a creative field should inspire a certain amount of passion and dedication.  That life should instil the drive to push the artist to his limit.  Dominic Bercier and Kristopher Waddell, the main forces behind local comic book publisher Mirror Comics, bring that drive with them when they set their pens to paper to create a new comic book.

The duo are just putting the finishing touches on the last issue of the Mission Arizona trilogy due out this Saturday April 27th.   The story centers around the fight for the soul of one Samuel Risk.  Set against a western back drop, the devil has come to collect his due.

Despite having grown up with comics, Waddell began his career working on TV and film sets creating award winning scripts along the way. However, the man behind the story of Mission Arizona ran up against a wall when his vision would grow too big for what could realistically be accomplished on film. The comic world by contrast allowed him to realize his stories without compromising on anything.

“The thing that I love about comic books is that I can create a $300 million film in a 23 page script,” Waddell says. “I just can’t justify spending 10 – 2ok on an indie film, working within restrictions, when I can create and play in much bigger worlds for a fraction of the cost.”

Meanwhile, Bercier’s life in the industry began when he managed to meet one of his major influences.  Like Waddell, Bercier grew up with comics. Artists like Jim Lee, Neal Adams and Arthur Adams all left their marks on him.

“I grew up on comics so they all influenced me,” Bercier says.

His first major push into the industry came from an encounter with another one of his major influences.  Back in 1996, Bercier presented some of his work to David McKean, who was impressed with Bercier’s skill.  So much so that he believed Bercier had the skill to become a fantastic artist if he went to art school. Bercier took him up on that advice.

He began working for film studios like Dreamworks and Nelvana after leaving school.  He’d create the ink drawings and paintings for their films.  Later, he would pencil the backgrounds for comics published by Dark Horse and Image.  This left him unfulfilled since he had no identity while working for them.  

“Still, I was full of piss and vinegar, and looked forward to striking out on my own, which I have finally done with Mirror Comics,” Bercier says.

He kept drawing and creating comics in the meantime. It was all he could think about.

mission arizona 1 version 2During that time Waddell created a story he entered for the ‘Who wants to create a super heroine’ contest with Image/Shadowline. Though his idea Challenger garnered a second place standing in the contest, it was eventually turned down. Undeterred, Waddell simply finished the book with artist Veronica Fish.

Things finally began coming together during a comic convention in Ottawa. There Bercier first came in contact with Waddell.  The two kept in touch.  When Bercier co-founded Mirror Comics with Allan Isfan in 2010, Waddell quickly got in contact with him.  Waddell pitched Challenger to them not only to have it published but also to join the company in a larger capacity.  Bercier had no qualms with that.

“It was also easy to ask Kris to join us as editor-in-chief,” Bercier says. “He is so enthusiastic about comics.”

That enthusiasm will be on display once again when the last of the Mission Arizona trilogy hits the stands this Saturday.  The duo threw everything they had into this series.  Bercier even went so far as to experiment with colour with the series. It starts off with a black and white first issue which was meant to convey the hell that the protagonist was living. It progresses neatly into the full colour finale.

The duo don’t plan to stop there.  2013 promises to be a huge year for Mirror Comics with loads of new comics lined up.

“We have our focus, great stories and great artwork, but it’s taking us in many directions in 2013,” Bercier says. “You’ll see!” 

Bercier and Waddell will be on hand for the launch of Mission Arizona #3 at the Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street on April the 27th.  On April 28th, it will also be available at the Comic Book Shoppe on Clyde St.


What Will the Wonder Geeks Unleash?

WGA logo large

The sheer breadth of creativity Ottawa has is amazing.  The city has no shortage of graphic artists, musicians and dancers of every sort.  Though, it’s not often that artists are seen expressing their nerdy side.  That changes February 25th when Wonder Geeks Activate has its first show at Zaphod’s.

The brains behind the show, Adam Tupper, seems to have been made for this show.  Growing up in the 80s, a lot of his work is heavily influenced by the cartoons coming out of that era. He-Man, the Ninja Turtles and others feature prominently in his work, albeit with a dark twist.

So when another art show departed from the Ottawa scene he had to get into action. He had always wanted to hold an art show where artists could geek out.  When he began mentioning the idea to all the local artists he’s met at conventions, the reaction was swift.

“The Tetris blocks just started falling into place,” Tupper said.

Artists have eagerly jumped on board.  Show goers will find everyone from comic creators like Mirror Comics to what Tupper calls a geeky burlesque show.  He’s especially excited to have DJ Lowpass provide music for the show.

“I have never ever gone to a bar and heard the Mario theme done in a techno style and you will hear that at my show,” Tupper said.

Adam Tupper, up up and away!Tupper explains that show goers will hear everything from 8-bit songs to nerdcore. Along with lots and lots of Daft Punk.  Though, unlike other music gigs, DJ Lowpass is actively looking for suggestions through the night.  So if there is a particularly nerdy song you want to hear, feel free to let him know.

That sort of relaxed attitude towards music will extend to other areas of the show.  Tupper explains that he wants the show to feel more like a house party than a typical art show.  So video games and anime will be all over the screens in Zaphod’s.  The idea is that, like in a house party, you may find a group of people off to the side having a game or watching Dragon Ball Z. 

So excited by the idea of a geek art show, Tupper has already set in motion further shows in the future each on a different theme.  There may be a geek burlesque show one month and an art show the next. He believes Ottawa is starved for this kind of show since it’s only really served by Ottawa Comic Con.

“There is a market here in Ottawa for this sort of thing,” said Tupper.

With the enthusiastic reaction he’s received from the art community, it’s easy to see why he thinks so.