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North: Meet the Sudbury artist behind this very Canadian comic book series

What would it be like if superheroes were battling in Toronto?

From Captain America to Batman to Spiderman, the United States dominates when it comes to the comic book superhero scene.

But Sudbury native Scott Sawyer is carving out some space for a set of Canuck superheroes with his own comic book series, "North."

The series centres around the idea that back in the 1980s, there was an age of superheroes in Canada, although much smaller than the one to the south in the United States.

Some of the players were Major Snow and his nemesis Lord Reign. These two went out in a spectacular blaze of glory that claimed both their lives and served as a cautionary tale. After that, in Canada, no heroes or villains dawned costumes again — it became a strictly “American thing.”

In present day Toronto, Casey Van Allen, the daughter of Major Snow, has learned that Lord Reign is alive and well, living the good life in retirement after staging his death years ago.

Obsessed with her father's legacy and determined to bring his killer to justice, the young woman suits up and using her father's resources, cons a team of unsuspecting outcasts into helping her in her mission.

Casey and her team get their butts kicked all over Toronto and accidentally set off the second age of heroes and villains in Canada.

“It takes all the stuff I loved about comics growing up and infuses it with enough Canadiana to make it feel more like ours,” said the Toronto-based Sawyer, a graduate of Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, Cambrian College and Laurentian University.

While the multi-billion dollar comic book empires such DC and Marvel are dominant, Sawyer said there are plenty of independent comic book artists like himself out there.

He encourages people to give these artists a try, and if they don't like something, let them know so they can improve their work.

Sawyer, also a filmmaker who released a feature film called “One Good Reason” in 2012, released the first and second issues in the "North" comic book series in 2016 thanks to a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.

“The first Kickstarter back in 2016, it went very, very well,” he said. “We almost doubled our goal. We were able to fund the first two issues of the 14-issue story arc, and from the sales of those two books, the third issue was made.”

Another Kickstarter campaign that has already exceeded its target (it had a $8,500 goal, but has brought in more than $9,000) is currently raising funds to put out a fourth issue of "North."

Sawyer hopes to put out the 42-page fourth issue in February. He said that right now, the best way to purchase back issues of "North," as well as to receive the fourth issue as soon as it's released, is to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, which runs until Jan. 2.

“If anyone wants to get in now, it's a great time,” Sawyer said. “The way that the Kickstarter campaign is set up is you literally get it delivered to your door.”

Purchasers can also email him at [email protected].


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Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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