Jeff Burton obviously did not have enough on his plate already when he was approached by a fellow Canadian comic book author to form the Canadian Comic Book Alliance.
The Humboldt based father of five, and Englefeld teacher, had plenty of connections to the Canadian comic book creator world through his creation of the Humboldt based superhero, Auroraman, so forming a collective to help market and promote each other became a plan that could help everyone within that world.
“I didn’t have enough on my plate already so I jumped in and said, ‘yeah, I know some people and let’s pitch this idea out there and see where it goes.’”
And just like birds, planes, and Superman, the idea took off reaching Alberta through to Quebec with some growing connections to the maritimes and British Columbia although they are not yet solidified. Around 25 independent comic book creators make up the current alliance which is a good number, says Burton, with varying participation.
“You have these members who are very active and then you have the members who are at the back of it but when we get together on something, everybody makes sure to give their input.”
Through the alliance, Canadian comic book creators are able to network, promotion, and few collaborate with fellow creators.
“That bodes well for everyone all around to be able to have other likeminded people, and even not necessarily so likeminded people to challenge you a little bit and help you grow.”
The friends Burton has made through the alliance is the first thing he cites when asked what he has gained from the experience.
Planning the Summer Sizzler comic con in June could have been a daunting task for a teacher at the end of a school year, but Burton says he had a lot of people step up from the alliance to lend a hand.
Even creators who are not yet part of the alliance who were guests to Sizzler comic con told Burton, “it’s just like friends hanging out in a real big garage doing what we love to do and that’s interacting with our fans, making new fans, as well as hanging out as a group.”
There are only so many tradeshows available to each creator within a certain distance, says Burton, with very places to travel before he has to take Auroraman out of province.
Having that network available ensures that artists can get their creative offerings out to shows well out of their range.
Auroraman has a growing fan base in Ontario because of the power of the alliance, says Burton.
There is a lot of heart behind the independent comics and authors have a lot vested into their creations, something that people do not usually get with mainstream comics.
“You can usually tell that when you’re reading it. I’m finding more mainstream stuff to be flat feeling and not as much vested into it.”
The alliance has recently joined together to collaborate behind the Auroraman led annual number one, the largest gathering of Canadian comic book characters within the Canadian comic book world. The issue was released in May.
Next up for the alliance will be the Sask Expo in Saskatoon on Sept. 15-16.