Monday, 05 December 2016 08:00

Fifth book on the way for Frank Slide comic book series

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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Fifth book on the way for Frank Slide comic book series Image contributed

Officials with the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre hope to complete a new comic book and have it ready to sell for the summer of 2017.

The Great Train Robbery and Shoot-out is not yet in production, but Monica Field, facility manager for the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre says the release date for this new comic book depends on Claude St. Aubin’s availability.
St. Aubin draws for DC Comics and other big league comics, so sometimes they have to wait for a while until he can fit in the comic projects for the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre.
“The story for the new comic will be written from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy who witnessed … the shoot-out and who as an old man was a friend of mine. We want the comics to appeal to children, so we have child narrators, or a horse, in the case of the Big Charlie comic,” says Field.
Officials plan to offer the comic series to local vendors to sell and they will be approaching them soon.
“Up to this point, the comics — and this will be the fifth — have only been sold at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. I’ll be working on the project with Joey Abrosi. I don’t need to do much research on this one, except for photos,” adds Field.
When creating one of their comic books, Field says they give the artist pictures of the places where the action takes place so he can draw them accurately.
“I have several historical accounts of the story from different angles, including my friend’s. He told the story so often; I think he deserves … to be the focus of this comic,” explains Field. “What he witnessed, left a big impression on him.”
Usually, with the comic books about Frank Slide, Field will write a historical background and then a script and Abrosi puts the script into a stick figure format with dialogue and contact, panel by panel. They will then send this to St. Aubin with images of the scenes and the script, plus descriptions of the characters in terms of age, history, appearance, etc.
St. Aubin will draw a pencil version and he then changes it based on their feedback.
The next step is to ink each page. Field says they go one page at a time until all 16 are done.
Abrosi will then take the digitized forms and colourize them, which is a laborious, painstaking process. The final digital version is then printed.
After seeing an article on St. Aubin and his work he had done for the Fort Whoop-Up, Field decided to contact him about working with them on a Crowsnest Pass historical comic book series.
“The Crowsnest Edition comic series originated from a Legacy Magazine article on Claude St. Aubin and his work for Fort Whoop-Up on the March West of the NWMP. I was inspired by the … concept and I went to see Claude in Raymond where he lives. He got very excited about a Crowsnest Pass historical comic series,” adds Field.
So far, there have been comic books done on the Frank Slide from the point of view of a 15-year-old girl and another one from the perspective of a horse that survives the slide.
Another comic book was based on the Hillcrest Mine Disaster narrated by an eight-year-old girl who lost her father and one on the shooting of a police officer by a notorious rumrunner.
“I envisioned these comics to be like the old classic comic series. I thought they’d give kids a way to … understand and enjoy history in a format that would appeal to them. I loved Classic Comics and learned quite a bit about historical events and Shakespeare’s plays,” adds Field.
The comic books about the Crowsnest Pass history have been used to showcase history to children from different perspectives.
“Our Crowsnest Edition series makes the Pass history relevant to young readers and draws them in through storytelling. Adults really like the comics, too, as they give readers a quick look into some of the dramatic stories that made the Crowsnest Pass famous or infamous,” adds Field.

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