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Detective Alex Turnbull is a broken man suffering from tragedy, says Greg Webster.
Turnbull recently returned to face his demons at work, while tasked with tracking down a new masked-vigilante in Charlotte City.
With a pencil in his hand, Webster – the creator of the full-length comic book called “The Ghost of the Cradle” – sketches the outline of his main character, Turnbull, under the dimmed light of his Stanley Bridge home office.
“Charlotte City is the backdrop to the noir crime-detective story and is basically a fictional version of Charlottetown. It looks like the city on street level, but buildings soar to the sky,” Webster said.
In September 2018, Webster, Sandy Carruthers and Robert Doan joined forces to create Sandstone Comics – the Island’s first small press book publisher.
“The Ghost of the Cradle” makes up one part of a 72-page anthology, which also includes work from Carruthers and Doan, that will hit store shelves Saturday, March 30.
Webster was a student of Carruthers’ in the graphic design program at Holland College in Charlottetown.
“We often talked about comic books and tossed ideas around,” Webster said. “Then, when Sandy retired, he mentioned the idea of creating a graphic novel.”
Carruthers met Doan after seeing his artwork hanging in a local comic store, and the trio connected.
“Working with Greg and Robert is both a pleasure and an honour,” said Carruthers, who worked on the “Men in Black” series of comics. “They are both remarkably talented Island artists, and creating comics is no small feat. Their support and enthusiasm was the strength that bound Sandstone Comics.”
The trio work from a small office at The Guild in Charlottetown, where their imaginations run wild.
“Having rented out an office space together was the selling point, because I don’t think we could have done it (or would have) if we weren’t all in the same room tossing ideas around, drawing pages, and writing,” said Doan. “The book is now at the printer, and I cannot wait to finally hold something we all created together.”
“We all have stories that are to be continued and we hope to have the second edition out in the fall,” said Webster.
The trio’s vision is to eventually bring on new talent and creators, while expanding their universe.
Doan said the creation of the graphic novel is his lifetime goal.
"It’s not only my first illustrated comic, but also written and coloured,” he said. “It’s definitely gotten my feet wet and wanting to do more. Working with Greg and Sandy has been the highlight of it, coming up with the premise together, how stories could eventually tie into each other and just starting up the business.”
“The hope for us is that people will pick the comic book off the shelf and get really excited about what they see in the pages,” said Webster. “The same excitement we felt as kids when seeing the stories for the first time – and they too will feel inspired to draw and write stories.”