By: Hess Sahlollbey

If there’s one person you’re bound to run into every year at Toronto Comic Con, it’s “Fearless” Fred Kennedy. Whether he’s moderating panels or hosting a Q&A, this writer and long-time host on “102.1 the Edge” and “Teletoon At Night” is expanding his conquests across all media platforms.

Kennedy will soon be amping up his creative workload with another book this summer with a new imprint, Black Mask Studios. Warpath will be a collaboration with First Nations artist Kyle Charles. The comic deals with human trafficking and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The area that I grew up in in Edmonton… the north-east end had a lot of prostitution and crime and the issues around human trafficking are pretty crazy,” said Kennedy.

“Human trafficking is disgusting and tragic that it doesn’t get more attention and First Nations communities are so much more susceptible to it and being in a position where I can tell a story that deals about this and soldiers with PTSD are two issues that both Kyle Charles and I are passionate about.”

Sitting amongst his peers from Chapterhouse Comics and from the Royal Academy of Illustration & Design, Kennedy spent the weekend meeting fans who have either heard him on the radio, seen him on TV or read the stories that he now crafts.

Kennedy grew up reading Lucky Luck and Tintin. After having read the Infinity Gauntlet, the Marvel Comics story that will be adapted to film later this year, Kennedy became obsessed with the medium.

“[I] didn’t even live in Canada until I was 12, but I’ve always loved science fiction and when we moved to Canada I read even more comics,” explained Kennedy.

After his brief time at King’s College in Nova Scotia, Kennedy moved to Toronto to work in radio, where in 2009 he launched his own independent comic book imprint: Big Sexy Comics.

Teuton, written by Kennedy and Illustrated by fellow Torontonian Adam Gorham, is the flagship book of Kennedy’s imprint with three volumes published so far. Gorham has worked as the artist for Marvel’s Rocket Raccoon and on the New Mutants amongst other projects. In Teuton, the illustrator brings a medieval fantasy set in the Baltic crusades to life.

Soon after the release of Teuton in the fall of 2010, Teletoon launched a week-night block labeled Fred at Night, a role that he had up until 2016.


While he still hosts a daily show on CFNY 102.1, Kennedy is currently working on The Fourth Planet which diverges from medieval fantasy and ventures into space odyssey à la Star Trek and Battle Star Galactica.

The Fourth Planet was first published as a web comic with illustrator Miko Maciaszek. It was then picked up by Canadian publisher, Chapterhouse comics. Inspired by a childhood spent on watching Franco-Belgian cartoon Ulysses 31, the team of Kennedy and Maciaszek now tell the story of the survivors who crash-land on a foreign planet.

Comics serve as the perfect outlet for Maciaszek as he renders the kind of cosmic monsters and aliens that can only be done in a medium where the only limits are the creators’ imaginations. This is further amplified by the vibrant colors that serve to elevate the final product to even greater levels that yearn to be adapted to cinema or videogames.

With no end in sight or drop in quality in a market that is becoming increasingly dominated by the big two: DC and Marvel, Kennedy’s books are as polished as can be.

Kennedy and contemporaries at Chapterhouse comics continue to produce tales that can go toe-to-toe with the mainstream publications of Marvel and DC.

[thesil_related_posts_sc]Related Posts[/thesil_related_posts_sc]

Meredith Park believes in the impact of small-scale work. Best known for her four-panel visual journaling on Instagram, the Hamilton-based comic artist uses her work to make sense of sweeping issues.

Park’s early comics revolved around slapstick comedy featuring a recurring cast of characters, inspired by the Three Stooges and “Happy Tree Friends”.

“I only really started doing autobio [works] when I was about 20,” she said. “I stopped drawing comics during high school – I didn’t really do a lot of art then – and then when I started drawing again more in my early 20s I came back to comics almost immediately, and mostly as a tool for self-reflection.”

What sets Park’s work apart is, of course, her style.

A post shared by Meredith W. Park (@meredithplayground) on

“I think I saw my style get better and more defined the more I absorbed other people’s work,” she explained, later adding that she loves to discover autobiographical comic series made by other artists she meets.

Park uses her work to distill complicated emotions and organize the world around her.

“A lot of what I do with my art in general is I try to talk to myself and try to figure things out with myself,” she explained. “The combination of words and pictures… [lets] you have control over what you’re showing, so you can either be super direct and bold or you can be giving and taking between the words and the imagery and there can be more of a rhythm and a poetry to it… It’s the best way to tell a story, I think.”

In micro-comics usually no bigger than a few square inches, Park details the events of everyday life from the melancholy of long-distance relationships to the joy surrounding the arrival of Canadian summer.

But she also investigates personal, difficult subjects. She illustrates her own struggle with mental health issues, fears about growing up and living up to people’s expectations.

These entries too appear on Instagram, next to comics about her baby housemate’s first birthday, or a retelling of a perfect evening bike ride.

Though she admits it can be a difficult mentality to maintain at all times, Park tries to pretend there is no one viewing her work. Currently, she has close to 29,000 followers on Instagram alone.

A post shared by Meredith W. Park (@meredithplayground) on

“There are thousands of people out there and they’re just going to do what they’re going to do and all the power to them... if I try to make something with anyone else in mind, I can’t come up with something good… I can’t do this for anyone else.”

Not only have comics allowed Park to explore her own life in a creative manner, they have also helped her find a supportive, multi-national community.

Although she acknowledges the historical importance of large-scale publishers DC and Marvel, Park works in the smal press and largely self-published indie comic world, which she has found to be a more welcoming environment for women. Although both scenes revolve around using comics to tell stories, the small-scale scene has proven to be a more accessible community.

“It can be a really safe and creative space for non-binary folks, queer folks, people of colour,” Park said, but she admits that the indie comic scene could do more. “It’s always improving, but since it’s a DIY scene, anyone can try it and find other people in their corner.”

postcard for friend

A post shared by Meredith W. Park (@meredithplayground) on

Park attends a variety of Canadian and American indie comic conventions and festivals throughout the year, and commented on the excitement of meeting online friends and finding new reading material.

Unlike some of her peers, Park does not aspire to fully dedicating her time to comics.

“I’ll always be making comics…[but] I actually have always enjoyed having a couple of plates spinning… I want to do other stuff,” she said, adding that she loves having a mix of a day job combined with making comics at home.

“I’ve always had this image in my head that… someday, 70 years in the future, my grandkid or my great-grandkid is going up to the attic… and they stumble across a cardboard box full of sketchbooks and they’re the person who finds my comics and they can do whatever they want with them,” she explained.

Published in a traditional sense? Perhaps not. Small scale? Yes. But there is no denying Meredith Park’s work is enduring.

[thesil_related_posts_sc]Related Posts[/thesil_related_posts_sc]

By: Hess Sahlollbey

The cities that heroes defend have always been deeply connected to their mythology. Whether it was the characters of 300 hailing from Sparta or Joan d'Arc leading the French army to victory, their homes were weaved into the tapestry of the characters.

Nowhere was this more prevalent than at this past Toronto ComiCon. With Toronto's burgeoning indie comics scene, there was strong pride and celebration of homegrown heroes.The hero put at the forefront of this was the Human Lizard.

While Spiderman and the Avengers are known for defending New York City, Jason Loo, the creator of The Pitiful Human Lizard followed suit by situating the misadventures of Lucas Barrett, aka the Human Lizard, in Toronto.

In the first volume, Loo introduces us to his protagonist as a nine to five pencil pusher. He is broke, with never enough time or resources to live up to his full potential. His life outside of super heroics is anything but super. Strained by a tight budget and piling bills, Lucas becomes a paid test subject for a pharmaceutical company's experimental drug.

Despite drugs giving the Human Lizard the incredible ability to recover from any injury, the challenges of his day life continue to plague him. Written, drawn and lettered by Jason Loo, the book got its start a few years ago by blowing well past its initial Kickstarter campaign. It was then picked up and published by the Toronto-based Chapterhouse Comics.

At Toronto ComiCon, Loo noted that his biggest artistic influence was Alex Toth (Hanna-Barbera, Super Friends, Space Ghost) and it more than shows in the art.

Rendered in beautiful brushwork, the art has a flowing rhythm and slick flow to it.

This is further amplified by the vibrant colors that serve to elevate the final product even more. In a market that is becoming increasingly dominated by DC and Marvel, this is a well polished product with an essence on par with major mainstream publications.

Wha the reader is treated to instead is a tale of the nuances that plague anyone living the hustle of an urban lifestyle.

That essence however is not limited to only the production values of the graphic novel. Loo’s depiction of downtown Toronto is a unique, personal attempt from Loo to his city as he sees it.

His representation is more than just rendering some familiar locales and orange-cyan Beck taxis. What truly resonated during The Pitiful Human Lizard were the aspects that were the parts of contemporary life in the city that Loo chose to highlight. While this may be a superhero story, the bulk of each issue is instead committed to exploring love, relationships and adult responsibilities.

One stand out segment is an extended scene where Lucas attempts to date online. The reader gets to follow our protagonist as he browses profiles and starts communicating with a young lady, with expectedly mixed results. There is a charming realism to the tension created from his online match who on occasion takes hours to respond.

This is less a book about a character possessing superhuman abilities. The super heroics often take place in the background. What the reader is treated to instead is a tale of the nuances that plague anyone living the hustle of an urban lifestyle.

There is an old adage that states that writers should write what they know. Beset by money problems, dating issues and overbearing parents, it becomes evident that Loo mined his own life so that he could inject a unique realism it into his cast of characters to make them feel like flesh and bone.

Much like the heroes of Marvel comics and their allegories for real world affairs, The Pitiful Human Lizard is a funny and heart-warming comic that never once stops feeling Canadian.

By: Hess Sahlolbey

As we celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial this year, the comic book community in Canada continues to bloom in unison. With that growth has come many waves of Canadian comic book creators contributing to our nation’s growing artistic tapestry.

Nowhere was that more evident than the downtown core of Toronto for its annual ComiCon. Every March, Toronto ComiCon takes over the city center for a three-day affair full of homegrown comics and their creators.

One of the fixtures at Toronto ComiCon and FanExpo is Chapterhouse Comics. Filling almost a third of the artist alley with multiple panels throughout the show, the creatives at Chapterhouse Comics and their output is becoming impossible to miss.

The genius shepherding this expanding universe of comics and titles is Kalman Andrasofszky.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 3.02.16 PMA native Torontonian, Andrasofszky continues to reside in the city, where he is a member of the Royal Academy of Illustration and Design, also known as the RAID cooperative art studio. Located in Little Italy, the studio is composed of sequential artists, illustrators and designers.

Andrasofszky’s studio-mates are working on established properties like Superman and Spiderman, and while Andrasofszky occasionally contributes cover artwork for Marvel, he has mostly left the mainstream American publishers to fill the role of Editor-in-Chief at Chapterhouse Comics, and their flagship series Captain Canuck.

“Captain Canuck started off as a design gig. One of my studio-mates was acquainted with people that were re-writing Captain Canuck... I started off by redesigning the character and the costume,” said Andrasofszky.

The classic Canadian superhero was created in 1975 by Richard Comely and Ron Leishman.

The reboot Andrasofszky contributed to consist of a new, modern version of Captain Canuck whose new story and design were used for an animated series. The series was crowd funded and aired from 2013 to 2014.

The success of the animated series allowed for a one-shot comic book which was released on Canada Day in 2014. That issue preceded a still ongoing monthly Captain Canuck series. Andrasofszky continues to write the series and collaborates with Leonard Kirk who provides the interior art in the series.

“Canada has never had really had a consistent comic book industry. There have been glimmers like the Canadian Whites in the 1940s, though there was a period during World War II where all American imports were banned. For five years all these Canadian superheroes were being published and once American comics came back our heroes faded away,” explained Andrasofszky.

“What we are trying to do now with the Chapterhouse is [to] license these old creations that have heart... and weave them into something bigger. We’re hoping that other people will understand why we love these characters and love them as much as we do.”

The next release in this expanding universe will debut on May 5 for Free Comic Book Day, co-written by Canadian actor, director and screen-writer Jay Baruchel.

“[Baruchel] is a grade-A, diehard comic book nerd and there is nobody more enthusiastic about Canada than him” said Andrasofszky.

"For five years all these Canadian superheroes were being published and once American comics came back our heroes faded away."
Kalman Andrasofszky
Chapterhouse Comics 

“We’re calling it Captain Canuck—Year One which is kind of a flashback for the character to his time serving in the Afghanistan war, “ said Andrasofszky. The series will be three parts which will then be collected into a graphic novel.

Adding to the row of talent working on Year One is Andrasofszky’s studio mate, interior artist Marcus To, who is currently the artist on Nightwing, while the cover art will be handled by David Finch, who is currently working on Batman.

On the long term spectrum, Andrasofszky and the team at Chapterhouse Comics are looking into a full length animated feature film, followed by possible live action Captain Canuck film.

“No dates have been set yet, but things are happening in a way that hasn’t happened for the last few months. Things are ramping up and its super exciting. Having [Baruchel] walk into the room with you really changes how seriously people take you and how willing they are to open check books.”

The success of Marvel Studios and their cinematic universe may be many years away for Chapterhouse, but the work of Andrasofszky and fellow creators have successfully laid the groundwork for a mainstream breakthrough for Canadian comic books.

Perhaps it won’t be long before a new red and white super patriot crashes enters the big screen.

Subscribe to our Mailing List

© 2023 The Silhouette. All Rights Reserved. McMaster University's Student Newspaper.