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P.E.I.-based comic publisher goes dark and dives into the world of horror

Robert Doan, left, and Sandy Carruthers, right, with Sandstone Comics, have jumped into the horror genre with Dark Sanctuary, written by Charlottetown writer Dave Stewart.
Robert Doan, left, and Sandy Carruthers, right, with Sandstone Comics, have jumped into the horror genre with Dark Sanctuary, written by Charlottetown writer Dave Stewart. - Dave Stewart
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

P.E.I.’s Sandstone Comics has teamed up with a Charlottetown writer to dive into the terrifying world of the horror genre.

Dave Stewart, an arts and entertainment writer who spent 27 years with The Buzz magazine (not to be confused with The Guardian reporter), took one of his unpublished short horror stories to the artists and authors at Sandstone, who just happened to be looking for a scary tale to tell.

“I published a collection of short horror stories and I had a couple of ideas that didn’t make it in," Stewart said. “So, I just kind of put it on the backburner."

Sandy Carruthers, who runs Sandstone Comics with Robert Doan, read Stewart’s unpublished story and decided to sketch some illustrations.

It has now been developed as Sandstone’s next comic book.

Front cover art for the comic book, Dark Sanctuary. - Contributed
Front cover art for the comic book, Dark Sanctuary. - Contributed

Entitled Dark Sanctuary, it’s about 14-year-old Cassie who "comes out of the closet", said Stewart, and runs away from home and her single dad. Online, Cassie finds a secret society that is offering sanctuary for teenage runaways.

“Only, when she gets there, she finds out there is something much more nefarious behind the whole situation," Stewart said in a sinister voice.

Some of the featured artwork from Dark Sanctuary. - Contributed
Some of the featured artwork from Dark Sanctuary. - Contributed

Depending on the success of Dark Sanctuary, Stewart and Carruthers hope to do another three issues.

“We both grew up with a love of eerie, creepy comics; the old black and white magazines,’’ Carruthers said. “I’ve always wanted to do something in this vein for a long time. There’s something about it that just resonates.’’

A kickstarter campaign, where people can pre-order the comic, is underway until Oct. 31. Dark Sanctuary will be able in comic stores across the Maritimes and on Sandstone’s website in November.

Stewart said his aim with Dark Sanctuary was to come out with something that harkens back to the glory days of legendary horror magazines such as Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella and tell a contemporary story that focused on character, storyline, artwork and throw in some gruesome thrills.

“They were anthology adult-ish comic books, magazine-illustrated stories that really stuck with you," Stewart said. “You’d read one or two and one of them would give you severe nightmares (but) if you were a monster(-loving) kid you wanted more and more and more."

Since launching Sandstone Comics in February 2019, they have published Sandstone Comics, an anthology of three comic books in one: Indestructable, Century Man and Glory Bound, with Dark Sanctuary up next.

Doan said he is also working on a new issue for Indestructable.


At a glance

The Guardian asked the artists and authors at Sandstone Comics and writer Dave Stewart about their favourite scary TV shows and movies:

  • Robert Doan: Netflix’s Dracula, Dawn of the Dead.
  • Dave Stewart: The Exorcist, Dawn of the Dead, I Walked With a Zombie.
  • Sandy Carruthers: The Exorcist, Dawn of the Dead, Paranormal Activity.

Charlottetown writer Dave Stewart, left, has penned a new horror comic, Dark Sanctuary, for Sandstone Comics, the first entry into the genre for Robert Doan and Sandy Carruthers. - Dave Stewart
Charlottetown writer Dave Stewart, left, has penned a new horror comic, Dark Sanctuary, for Sandstone Comics, the first entry into the genre for Robert Doan and Sandy Carruthers. - Dave Stewart


Did you know?

  • Dark Sanctuary will be available in Charlottetown at The Comic Hunter and Lightning Bolt, in Halifax at Strange Adventures and in Moncton and Fredericton, N.B., at The Comic Hunter.
  • It can also be purchased at sandstonecomics.com.

Dave Stewart is The Guardian's culture reporter.

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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