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Today is: September 25, 2001
Local time:22:13:30 PM

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Local artist takes
comic creation to the 'Net

By Calvin Daniels
Staff Writer

Ryan CrouseWhen a fan of comics has a habit of doodling in the margin of school books - a natural progression is creating a comic book of his own.

Ryan Crouse, owner, creator of Star Verse Comics has done that, and more, creating three different titles, with a fourth on the drawing table. And Crouse, 20, isn't satisfied selling his book locally, having, with the help of brother Darren, created a website to offer his books to the world.

"I've always been a fan of them (comics). I was a big Marvel fan until they started loosing their quality - started getting pointless," he said relaxing at the kitchen table of his parents' home south of Wroxton.

While Marvel may be one of the giant publishers of the comic industry, Crouse thought he has stories of his own worth telling.

"So I thought I should make my own," he said.

Crouse admits "I've always been a doodler," and over the year's he has purchased various books on the art of comics by such noted artists as Joe Kubert. The books showed him techniques for drawing and inking comics, and from there Crouse simply jumped in - with both feet.

Crouse admits his first attempt at a comic - a title called ‘Clock Wars' - was not the best, with characters looking a little too much like those of other companies, but it allowed him to go through the process of doing a comic. He slides a copy of ‘Donar: God of War' across the table and smiles because he feels it is his best work to date.

"I did the story," on page he said with a smile, detailing how the book is his take on Thor from Norse mythology.

"I'm a big fan of mythology," he said, and while other companies have done comics around the character, Crouse said he believes they have missed the essence of the God of War.

"I've never liked Thor (a Marvel title) because he's good," he said.

Instead Donar, German for Thor, has a darker, nastier edge, which Crouse believes is more in tune with mythology.

Crouse admitted the book took a lot of time to go from idea to finished comic.

"That one actually took quite a few months," he said. "I was doing all the pencilling and inking myself."

While Crouse's creation, he has not worked on his books in isolation, instead using the Internet to come together with other fledgling comic artists and creators all over the world. In the case of Donar, he went as far as to have a New York artist - Paul D. Candelaria - do the cover artwork.

"He had an amazing portfolio and I asked him if he would do it," said Crouse, who paid $25 for the artwork.

Asked why he did not just do the cover too, Crouse turned to a simple business answer.

"I thought if I got a really nice cover it would attract more attention," he said.

For Crouse, networking with other people interested in comics has been a huge advantage the 'Net has allowed him. Working with people from a distance can be slow when relying on the mail, but in a growing digital world the transfer of information, including artwork, is becoming easier, he said.

There have been opportunities to ink for other comics for Crouse as well, who admits he believes the skill of shading the already drawn comic is his strength.

"If I got my big break inking books, I'd set this aside and work just with the inking," he said of his fledgling publishing company.

"I've probably sold more off the Internet than I have in stores," he said.

Sales have included buyers from Ontario, New Jersey, and Texas.

Although the book is available locally in Bredenbury, and comic shops in Saskatoon and Regina, Crouse said locally it's been tough generating interest.

"A lot of local people don't want a lot to do with it," he said, adding it has been difficult to find a store in Yorkton to sell the comics.

Fortunately, Crouse said his family has been generally supportive, but even then there are times he wonders if he will find success.

"Sometimes I think about whether this is actually going anywhere," he said.

Then the love of the work takes over, and he keeps going.

Crouse is currently at work on his fourth title - seven pages of the first issue of ‘Tech Storm: Rage of War' sits finished on the drawing table.

"It will be a two-part story," he said. "It takes place in the year 3050."

The idea for the book simply comes to the fertile mind of the creative artist.

"I do a lot of thinking at night. I have a pen and paper by the bed. I wake up at one in the morning, write something down and go back to bed," he said.

When it comes to the actual drawing, Crouse does rough sketches of the entire book, then goes back and does the finished work after the story has been plotted.

Crouse said he hopes to have issue one of ‘Tech Storm' completed as soon as time allows.

Long term Crouse would like to grow his company to publish comics more regularly, and to incorporate characters and work of other people in addition to his own work.

"I want to actually make it into my own successful company," he said.

People can follow the growth of the Star Verse universe at

http://www.starverse.ca

humptys

thorsness

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