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Up and coming comic artist Vic Malhotra was a guest at Free Comic Book Day, offering sketches for a donation to the Food Bank.I spent a few minutes talking to him.
“Free Comic Book Day is awesome. I’ve been drawing all day and it’s fun to have so many people come by. They’re so excited to get free comics and sketches”, said Malhotra as he was just finishing another drawing. “It’s kinda like a mini-con in a way for so many people. (It brings in people) that normally don’t buy comics and the kids are super excited. It’s a lot of fun and I’m glad I came out and sketched here.”
And he’s right. You can compare this to attending a con. When I arrived at Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton, there was at least 500 people waiting in line outside the store for the 10 o’clock opening. Various ages and backgrounds. People were of all ages, some longtime fans, some in costume, some never stepped inside a comic store before came out to enjoy the event. The artists stayed busy throughout the day.
“I love getting requests (to draw) because you get these random characters that I never think to draw that I have the opportunity to draw”. One guy came by requesting Superman drinking booze and smoking cigars.”
Malhotra is one of the artists on Tiger Lawyer, created by Calgary-based writer Ryan Ferrier. The comic is enjoying a strong Alberta fan base and great word-of-mouth reviews by fans and those who are passionate about supporting local arts.
“It’s kind of local, although Matt McCray, who does the cartoony stories… I feel like he’s (located) somewhere in the States, but we consider it really local and it does pretty well in Edmonton and Calgary and at the cons. And everybody that walks by here sees my sign and are like ‘Hey! Tiger Lawyer!’ and they don’t even know it but it just kind of jumps out of their mouths. It’s a cool concept and easy to grasp”.
I asked Malhotra about his upcoming book, which is a bit of a contrast from Tiger Lawyer.
“The project I am working on now is a project with IDW Publishing, it’s called Thumbprint with Joe Hill, who I am excited to work with. I just wrapped up the first issue where I’m doing all the artwork for it, so the pencils, the inks and the colours, and just started the second issue. And June 19th is when it comes out. It’s not like Tiger Lawyer. I don’t think kids should read it, it’s more dramatic, serious story.”