Pickering News Advertiser
PICKERING -- D.A. Bishop was hooked when he first picked up a comic book as a kid.
“There was a lot of action, adventure happening and I fell in love with it right away,” says the Pickering resident.
He started drawing comics, mimicking what he’d seen and read and showing his work to friends, and by the time he reached the end of high school, a career in comics was what he wanted.
As often happens, those plans were derailed. Bishop ended up taking an art fundamentals class at Sheridan College and got hooked on painting. He got married, started a family and needed a regular income. But, realizing “the technology was there,” he returned to making comics.
And if you think they are just for kids, you’re not up to speed on comics in the 21st century. Bishop says there’s a lot of variety, with comics geared toward little kids, teens and more mature stuff for adults. And if you don’t know where to start, he says you can just do an online search or even walk into a comic store and say what you’re looking for.
Bishop as a youngster received some polite “thanks but no thanks” letters from major publishers when he sent in his work. But in our technological world, comic book makers don’t need to send their work off to a company to get it out there.
“It’s so easy to set yourself up a cheap website and start posting things online,” Bishop says.
So that’s what he did. Bishop has created seven books on his own, including the zombie book Stranger, which has five issues so far, his fantasy story Of Stone, as well as the mini-comic Squirrels. A graphic artist by day, Bishop does all the drawing and text himself, confessing he doesn’t know where the ideas for his stories come from.
With regard to Stranger, Bishop says he didn’t want to do the standard, group of people holed up in a house fighting off zombies story, with at least one person standing out for his or her courage.
“I was thinking, ‘it would be really neat to see what things look like when you’re not a hero, you’re just a regular guy’,” he says.
So Bishop created an everyman type character who ties the stories together, even though each can stand alone as well.
He says Of Stone is “my baby.” The book started off with Bishop just doodling, drawing characters. Then he imagined what they would be like. He came up with creatures made of rock, including Gan, leader of his tribe, the People of Stone.
Bishop, 44, who was born in Montreal, has two youngsters at home and finds the time to work when the kids have been put to bed or on weekends. He tries to make a page a week.
But he’s largely set aside his own work for a year to work on Deep Sea, a graphic novel with Brampton’s Ricky Lima. It’s an 80 pager and Bishop is doing the art for Lima’s script. He’s 60 pages in and they plan to release it via the crowd-funding site, Kickstarter.
“He’s been waiting patiently as I do a page a week,” Bishop says.
He says “Durham has a vibrant community of comic shops that support local indie artists,” including Worlds Collide in Oshawa and Pickering’s Heroic Dreams. You can buy his work at the latter.
Online, you can see Stranger in its entirety for free at stranger.renerd.com.
You’ll have to pay to see Of Stone, through the digital comics platform Comixology, which Bishop says is “the definitive digital comics platform.”