Local artist takesBy
comic creation to the 'Net
When 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
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
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
"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,"
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
"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
Fortunately, Crouse said his family has been generally
supportive, but even then there are times he wonders if he will find
"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
"It will be a two-part story," he said. "It takes place in the
The idea for the book simply comes to the fertile mind of the
"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
People can follow the growth of the Star Verse universe at