Colin Upton


Word Vancouver is this week!

It’s Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading, and on Sunday there will be numerous comic-related events in the Alma VanDusen Room of the Vancouver Public Library, including:

  • Vancouver Comics History (2:40 PM): Cloudscape contributors Bevan Thomas, Colin Upton, and Jonathon Dalton will discuss the history of comics art in Vancouver, starting from local publishers in the 1940s to the indie comics scene and Vancouver comics as they are today.
  • Neil the Horse (3:50): Canadian cartoonist Katherine Collins discusses her award-winning comic Neil the Horse, the world’s only musical comic book. Neil the Horse appeared in Canadian newspapers from 1975-1982, and subsequently starred in fifteen comic books, from 1983–88. Katherine was inducted into the Giants of the North, Canadian Cartooning Hall of Fame at the 2017 Doug Wright Awards.
  •  Miriam Libicki (4:30): The first cartoonist to become the Vancouver Public Library’s writer-in-residence. Miriam discusses her work, including Toward a Hot Jew, which was named a top ten graphic novel of 2016 by Forbes magazine. Miriam’s comics are based on nonfiction and documentary techniques, such as interviews and photo reference, and also deal with themes of identity and culture clash.

For more information, check out Word Vancouver.

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Word Vancouver: September 19 – 24

September 19-24 is Word Vancouver, Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading. Held at various venues throughout the city, this festival promotes books and authors with free exhibits, performances, and hands-on activities for a wide range of ages and interests. Along with numerous other creators and organizations, we at Cloudscape will be exhibiting for Word Vancouver. In addition, there will be various comic related-events on Sunday the 24th in the Alma VanDusen Room of the Vancouver Public Library, including:

  • Vancouver Comics History (2:40 PM): Cloudscape contributors Bevan Thomas, Colin Upton, and Jonathon Dalton will discuss the history of comics art in Vancouver, starting from local publishers in the 1940s to the indie comics scene and Vancouver comics as they are today.
  • Neil the Horse (3:50): Canadian cartoonist Katherine Collins discusses her award-winning comic Neil the Horse, the world’s only musical comic book. Neil the Horse appeared in Canadian newspapers from 1975-1982, and subsequently starred in fifteen comic books, from 1983–88. Katherine was inducted into the Giants of the North, Canadian Cartooning Hall of Fame at the 2017 Doug Wright Awards.
  •  Miriam Libicki (4:30): The first cartoonist to become the Vancouver Public Library’s writer-in-residence. Miriam discusses her work, including Toward a Hot Jew, which was named a top ten graphic novel of 2016 by Forbes magazine. Miriam’s comics are based on nonfiction and documentary techniques, such as interviews and photo reference, and also deal with themes of identity and culture clash.

For more information, check out Word Vancouver.

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Kicking at the Darkness

Review by Matthew Nielsen

This time we’ll take a quick look at the 24-page comic book Kicking at the Darkness by frequent Cloudscape contributor Colin Upton. It is a piece of nonfiction set on the European western front of World War II during 1944-1945, at the very end of the war. It primarily focuses on one of the earliest of the Canadian Army’s encounters with victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Upton does an excellent job providing accurate details of weapons, scenery, and other historical elements, while also portraying very relatable characters and maintaining a uniformed and flexible art style throughout. He is able to capture a wide range of human emotions and body languages, which is a nice change from the stiff, mechanical techniques used in such war comics such as Commando or The War Picture Library.

Sadly this book is a special, limited-edition release. In order to get a copy, you’ll either need to visit the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (the organization that published this book) or order a copy from Colin Upton’s own website.  This book may only be 24 pages, but the story within is well worth the read.

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BC Tourism Talks BC Comics

Cloudscape president Oliver McTavish-Wisden recently wrote an article showcasing comics in BC that was featured on the BC Tourism website:

“Most visitors to BC come for the gorgeous natural scenery, renowned dining scene and local culture. But in addition to these iconic BC attractions, there are plenty of opportunities for those seeking a more niche experience. For example, BC is becoming increasingly know for a growing community of cartoonists making a name for themselves locally and beyond. If you’re a comic buff, or a creator yourself, BC has a lot to offer in terms of sights, stories and activities. Read on to gain a bit of a head start in exploring BC’s rich comic scene.

A number of artists and writers call BC home. Nina Matsumoto, Ian Boothby and James Lloyd all work for Bongo Comics, Vancouverite Sam Logan writes and draws the highly popular Sam and Fuzzy webcomic, and Johnnie Christmas and Ed Brisson authored Sheltered (possibly the greatest pre-apocalyptic story), published through Image Comics. Colin Upton, a fixture in the alternative arts scene since the 1980s, can often be seen walking around Vancouver and leaving behind mini-comics and ink stains in the various cafés he frequents. Also notable are Brandon Graham and Simon Roy, BC artists who’ve worked on the ground-breaking Prophet series, a comic that is proving to be critical in reviving the sci-fi genre on a large scale. And that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg: hundreds of talented indie comic artists spin their stories on our shores.”

For more, read “BC’s Comic Scene: Vancouver and Beyond.”

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Epic Canadiana #2 Kickstarter Has Begun!

The Kickstarter fundraiser for Epic Canadiana #2, Cloudscape’s second anthology of Canadian superheroes, has begun!

Epic Canadiana #2 features 17 stories (over 200 pages!) dedicated to exploring numerous flavours of superheroism within Canada. EPIC CANADIANA #2 is a black & white anthology featuring awesome comics written and drawn by creators from all over Canada, with 17 stories (over 200 pages!). It features a truly diverse collection of heroes – some of them pastiches of classic 40s characters and others totally new. There are arctic demigods and social activists, restless spirits and bison-riding vigilantes. Canada is a tapestry of great diversity, and we have striven to represent them in our anthology with heroes of various genders, ethnicities, and perspectives, including aboriginal and immigrant champions, a character coping with autism, a gay rights activist, a conflicted colonial soldier, and many more. And carefully studying all of them is Department None, a hidden branch of the Canadian government dedicated to keeping track of all superhumans… and dealing with them if necessary.

The anthology features comics by Edison Yan (Scribblenauts), Craig Wilson (Graphic Classics), Colin Upton (Self-Indulgent Minicomics), Julian Lawrence (Drippytown), Eric Johnson (The Graphic Canon Vol. 1), and D. M. Higgins (Superdames, Jill Trent: Science Sleuth); as well as previous Clousdscape contributors Bevan Thomas, Kris Sayer, Jordan Stasuk, Jason Wilkins, Ksenia Kozhevnikova, Jayleen Weaver, Jeri Weaver, Matthew Klippenstein, Ian Thomas, Shevon Singh, Micah Iwaasa, Kate Ebensteiner, and Jeff Ellis; and newcomers Nevin Arnold, Dino Caruso, George Athanasiou, Nelson de Rocha, Alex Greychuck, Manoj Kumar, Kyle Roberts, Liam Rodgers, and John Ward.

Visit the Epic Canadiana Kickstarter page to buy a copy of the anthology as well as other Cloudscape classics!

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Bio/Graphic: Art Exhibition on Autobiographical Comics

From October 9 to November 16, the Seymour Art Gallery in North Vancouver will have an exhibition on BC autobiographical comics, featuring such Cloudscape contributors as Colin Upton, Sean Karemaker, and Miriam Libicki. On October 20, the exhibition will feature a panel discussion from 2-3 PM and a reception from 3-4:30.

Autobiography in Comics

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Daily Annotated Upton Mini-Comics! 1

Colin Upton's mini-comicsColin Upton, a prominent Cloudscape contributor, has been creating indie mini-comics for over 25 years (since 1985)! His comics explore numerous themes, including history, autobiography, satire, politics, religion, life in the city, and sometimes just plain silliness. Currently, he’s posting his close to 200 mini-comics, one a day, on his Tumblr. Each posting comes with a short commentary about the comic and the materials involved. Drop by and check them out!

In addition to his involvement in comics, Colin has been a noise artist, punk rock drummer, illustrator, painter, writer, 3-D artist, miniaturist, wargamer, radio broadcaster, political/editorial cartoonist, raconteur, and flaneur… or so it says on his business card.

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