Welcome to another edition of the True North Country Comics Podcast.
This time I was able to chat with Scott Chantler. Scott is a cartoonist, commercial artist and graphic novel creator. He’s the winner of a Joe Shuster Award in the Comics for Kids category for the first book in the Three Thieves series, Tower of Treasure. Among other honours, he was nominated for two Eisner Awards for Two Generals, a graphic memoir of World War II based on his grandfather’s experiences. In 2015 he was appointed Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor. I’ve known Scott from his work in the ‘True Patriot’ anthology. In this conversation, Scott provides an update on his current projects and a few new upcoming projects.
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So without further delay, here’s a TNCC Podcast with Scott Chantler. Enjoy.
Scott Chantler (SC): I’ve had a weird year where ‘The Three Thieves books were finished, and that was a nine year project, so I spent last year writing a lot of pitches and just working on little stuff like Red Ensign shorts for the new ‘True Patriot’ series for Chapterhouse and that sort of thing. I contributed a story to Hope Nicholson’s Gothic Tales of Haunted Love anthology which is coming out from Kickstarter. But all that was kind of filling time before I could get my next big graphic novel green-lit, which has happened! I’m rolling up my sleeves and getting into another big historical graphic novel sort of in the vein of Two Generals but not about war. This book is actually a book that I’ve wanted to do for many, many years about jazz in the ’20s. The publisher hasn’t made the announcement yet but I can tell you it’s a major publisher and hopefully I’m going to aim to be done that end of next year and hopefully we’ll see it on shelves come 2019. It was nice to kind of do the fantasy stuff for a while with the Three Thieves books but I keep seeming to come back to historical subjects. So that’s my next big book.
True North Country Comics (TNCC): I’ve also noticed that you’re also doing covers for ‘Bettie Page’.
SC: How did I forget to mention that? That’s been kind of fun. Like I said, I’ve kind of been finding smaller stuff to fill in while I was waiting for this book to get green-lit and that was one of those smaller things. It’s been a lot of fund. It’s been about a decade since done much work in the direct market. Some of the people who just go to the comic book store every Wednesday aren’t aware of the larger book market so maybe they thought I disappeared or something. It’s bringing my art to a somewhat different audience which is kind of nice. I get a lot of nice comments on the covers so it’s nice.
TNCC: I was going to ask, Dave Stevens was the originator of that character, I was wondering if you were influenced by him at all.
SC: Yeah, I tried to stay away from the Dave Stevens version of Bettie Page and some of those ’80s like Jim Silk and some of those artists who drew Bettie in the ’80s and ’90s. Just because it’s been done. I think, not to put too fine a point on it, but in those days a lot of those guys were buying those comics were buying them because the old photographs of Bettie Page weren’t available. So it had a very realistic representational look. But now with the Internet you can find every picture of Bettie Page from every post from every angle that you’d want. I felt like Bettie now in the comics doesn’t need to be necessarily a photographic quality. I think one of the reasons they [Dynamite Comics] came to me was for that slightly bouncier, cartoon kind of style. It took a cover or two to nail it, but I was looking for my Bettie — a more cartoon universe Bettie — and people seem to be responding to that. It seems to be different from the other covers that people are turning in.
TNCC: So what’s next? Are you off to any other shows? I know you were just in Windsor doing a tutorial, a workshop of some sort?
SC: This was two years ago now, but I was the writer in residence at the University of Windsor for the fall of 2015. It was kind of a big deal for a cartoonist because that had never happened before. That was really cool and a really great experience. But I’m not doing any teaching right now which is odd. I’ve always done some part time teaching of comics and part time workshops and that kind of stuff. But there’s nothing really like that going on now. I’d love to do more of that.
Thanks to Scott for talking with me at the show. It was a great opportunity to discover his current and upcoming projects.
And thanks to you for listening to the True North Country Comics podcast. I invite you to subscribe, like and comment on the podcast. If you have any comments, you can reach me at TrueNorthCountryComics@gmail.com