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Never Look Back: A look at Elaine M. Will's Look Straight Ahead

Sean Tonelli - Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I don’t remember much from that night. Just flashes from the club and the stories my friends told me. Breaking down after ordering a drink, the uncontrollable crying, being carried out and rushed into a cab. None of it. The only clear memory I have is taking the remote control from my television and breaking it in half. I was lucky that I had such good friends close by to take care of me when I wasn’t taking care of myself. When I awoke the next afternoon, my body trembled from guilt. I just knew that I did something embarrassing. When I went to work, my manager/friend pulled me into his office. This was the first real conversation I had ever had about mental health. My life had gone off the rails. I was partying too much, slacking off at work and neglecting my health. And, I had no idea.

Since then I have taken the time to take care of myself. This hasn’t been easy. I run often, but sometimes I will go months without exercise. I will make excuses, the weather, the time of day etc. But the truth is when I start to feel down, I don’t seem to notice. Things start to turn bland. Writing, my creative outlet, frightens me. I could care less about a new episode of Supernatural. Even chicken wings fail to excite me. Depression sucks. It ruins everything. But it sucks for everyone, and I know I’m not alone.

Elaine M. Will’s graphic novel Look Straight Ahead is important for a number of reasons. Mental illness is hard to describe to those who haven’t dealt with it. “Buck up.” is common expression a person suffering will hear from their family and friends. For those suffering from mental illness, Look Straight Ahead perfectly encapsulates the foreboding feeling depression creates. This makes the book hard for me to read, yet even harder to put down. Jeremy’s journey is terrifyingly familiar. Like depression, you see Jeremy’s fall coming, you know how he can stop it, yet you’re helpless. You have no choice but to watch him fall down that bottomless Sarlacc pit of despair. But, that bottomless pit, guess what? It does have a bottom. We all know it and it’s what keeps you turning that page. Jeremy can pull himself up, he always could, and so could we.

What about those who are fortunate enough to not have problems with mental health? Odds are, you know someone who does. There’s even a good chance you told them to ‘Buck up.’ That’s ok. You don’t need to feel bad. We know you’re coming from a good place. But that’s why this book is for you. Will manages to showcase the mental health struggle in a way no other medium could, in a voice everyone can understand. Jeremy’s world is black and white with glorious splashes of colour, which is how those suffering from depression tend to see things. This book will open your eyes and your minds, giving readers an honest and empathetic view of depression. But mostly, it’ll tell you that we aren’t looking for advice, all we really need is a shoulder.

When Alexander gave me my copy of Look Straight Ahead I didn’t want to read it. I was scared. It felt too real and you know what, it was. But I’m glad. It’s good to be reminded that I’m not alone and I never really am. The reason Look Straight Ahead resonates with honest is that Will based Jeremy’s experiences off of her own. Jeremy’s voice is real, because Will is real.

I take comfort in knowing that when I’m up late at night, and those dark thoughts creep into my head, I can grab my copy and spend some time with Jeremy and Elaine. I can use their shoulder’s that night, so that I can have a brighter morning. Recommended reading for everyone.

Don’t ever be afraid to reach out. If you need resources you can check the links below, or even shoot me an e-mail (sean@renegademail.com). It never hurts to say hello.

Canadian Mental Health Services: https://cmha.ca/resources/

Mental Health Hotline: 1-877-303-2642

Purchase Look Straight Ahead here: http://www.renegadeartsentertainment.com/look_straight_ahead



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To Better Know a Renegade: Donovan Yaciuk

Sean Tonelli - Friday, November 10, 2017

What do you get when you take some of the hardest working creators in the comic industry, stick them in subarctic conditions, steal their hockey team, give them back their hockey team then ask them to come up with the most ballistic, original and humorous comic starring a pig? Well, you’d get Spacepig Hamadeus. If you’re reading this introduction and are still a little confused, then it must be time for…

To Better Know a Renegade! Featuring Donovan Yaciuk. Since 1998, Donovan Yaciuk has done colouring work on books published by Marvel, DC and Dark Horse comics. Donovan honed his craft as a part of the legendary, now-defunct Digital Chameleon colouring studio. Donovan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the University of Manitoba. He lives in Winnipeg, MB Canada, with his wife and daughter. Recent works include Pemmican Wars (A Girl Called Echo), Firestarters and John Shiwak: Patriot for Highwater Press, and appeared in Sequential Survivance by Michigan State University Press.

Sean: How did you get started as an artist?

Donovan: I made the first Spacepig Hamadeus books when I was 10 years old!  I did a 12 issue run, that ended with a Secret Wars II crossover (because is was 1985!) So I've been creating comic books for a long time.  I got a Fine Arts (Honours) degree in 1998, and went straight into learning the art of colour at Winnipeg's Digital Chameleon studio.  I owe that place a huge debt for getting me my start.

Sean: Who or what gives you the most inspirado?

Donovan: As far as colourists go, Matt Wilson, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Nadine Thomas and Elizabeth Breitweiser are inspirations whose work I frequently admire and reference. Matt Wilson's work on Paper Girls almost brings me to tears, it's so deceptively simple and effective. In terms of writing, I love Stephen King and John Carpenter. Edmond Hamilton's Captain Future and Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières Valerian have their DNA in my Spacepig adventures. And Jim Shooter is king.

Sean: What are some secrets to your creative process?

Donovan: I wish I knew, but they stay secret to me too.  It's worked so far, so I'll let them lie in quiet until they decide to go on strike.

Sean: Any upcoming projects that you would like to tell readers about?

Donovan: Pemmican Wars: A Girl Called Echo is being released this month by Highwater Press, written by Katherena Vermette and illustrated by Scott Henderson.  I coloured this graphic novel, and it's made me flex my colour muscles into areas they've never gone before.  I'm really excited to see it hit print.  I'm also working on Gladiators by Julian Darius and Steven Legge for Martian Comics, and a gorgeous new series called Titanium Star by Victor Gischler, Patrick Macchi and Wes Locher.  At this summer's FanQuest in Winnipeg, I hope to release two new Spacepig Hamadeus stories as well.

Sean: What are some of your favourite tools for being so creatively awesome?

Donovan: I do all of my colouring in Photoshop, although I've recently started using an iPad Pro to help me lay down flats.

Sean: Advice for up and comers/bitter rivals?

Donovan: Naivety and ignorance can be valuable friends.  Once you start climbing a project's ladder, you can't stop to think about all the things working against it.  Be ignorant of the cost. The time. The effort. Just do it.  Because there's a million reasons why you shouldn't, and any reasons why you SHOULD aren't FULLY apparent until the story is released into the world. So just put your head down and go.   

Also, for the love of Santa, don't colour and letter your books yourself. Pay your colourists and letterers well. They are more essential to your storytelling than you can possibly imagine, and unless you've really done your homework and put nt a year or eight of experience, you shouldn't be doing it.

Donovan’s Spacepig Hamadeus is coming soon to our VOICES imprint starting November 22nd 2017. In the meantime you can check out some of Donovan’s work HERE



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Renegade Arts Entertainment is pleased to announce a new partnership with Bedside Press

Sean Tonelli - Thursday, November 09, 2017

Renegade Arts Entertainment is pleased to announce a new partnership with Bedside Press.

Under this new agreement, Renegade Arts Entertainment will represent Bedside Press for book trade distribution through their existing partners: Publishers Group Canada (Canada - PGC is part of Raincoast Books), Turnaround UK (Europe) and Diamond Comic Distribution (Direct Market) beginning January 1, 2018 and additional distributors as they are added. Effectively, Bedside Press will become a Renegade imprint while remaining editorially independent and under the ownership of Hope Nicholson.

Renegade Arts Entertainment is a Canadian publisher based in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Focusing on comics, graphic novels, illustrated children's books and audiobooks, Renegade’s stories are in diverse genres from diverse voices.

Bedside Press is a Canadian publisher, based in Winnipeg, and known as a publisher of graphic novel and prose projects including the best-selling The Secret Loves of Geek Girls.

Hope Nicholson, owner of Bedside Press: “I’m very excited that Renegade is taking this chance on us. As a small publisher, distribution to bookstores and libraries is essential, and I’m glad that we are able to reach the audience for our books worldwide! Prairie publishers supporting each other is very important to me, and I’m looking forward to what the next few years brings. Renegade has a reputation for excellence and I couldn’t be more pleased with this opportunity.”

Alexander Finbow, EIC at Renegade: “Bedside Press has published impressive and important books, often taking a chance on titles that other publishers are too risk adverse to champion. Hope is committed to finding more great stories, and I am really happy to welcome her to the Renegade publishing family to help make Bedside’s books available to more readers.”

Bedside Press Backlist Catalogue:

  • -Nelvana of the Northern Lights by Adrian Dingle

  • -Brok Windsor by Jon Stables

  • -The Secret Loves of Geek Girls: Redux by Margaret Atwood, Tini Howard, Trina Robbins & more

  • -Fashion In Action by John K Snyder III

  • -A Bunch of Jews (and other stuff) by Trina Robbins

  • -Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time by Cherie Dimaline, Gwen Benaway, David Robertson & more

  • -Enough Space for Everyone Else by Megan Kearney, Kristen Gudsnuk, Rosalarian & more

Upcoming 2018 titles:

  • -Gothic Tales of Haunted Love by Cecil Castellucci, Colleen Coover, Scott Chantler & more

  • -Window Horses by Ann Marie Fleming

  • -Maiden, Mother, Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes by Gwen Benaway & more

Ordering Info:


Contact your wholesaler or order directly through Raincoast Books

Phone: 1-800-663-5714 Email: customerservice@raincoast.com

Europe/Africa: Contact Turnaround UK

Phone: +44 (0) 20 8829 3002

Email: customercare@turnaround-uk.com

Direct Market Stores contact your Diamond Comic Distribution rep or use the online retailer system to order.


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Voices is back with Donovan Yaciuks Spacepig Hamadeus

Sean Tonelli - Monday, November 06, 2017

Voices is back with another Canadian creator owned series. Renegade Arts & Entertainment is proud to offer Donovan Yaciuk's Spacepig Hamadeus #1

Can Spacepig Hamadeus trust his uneasy alliance with the miscreant bounty hunter Tharis of Thandalis long enough to escape the icy undersea oceans of Saturn’s moon Enceladus?

Spacepig Hamadeus #1 will be available digitally on our website NOVEMBER 22nd 2017. Under our "pay what you want model", 100% of the proceeds will be going to the creator.

You can find more about Donovan & Spacepig below:



For more information about VOICES, including how to submit, click HERE


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Arctic Comics Ends

Alexander Finbow - Monday, October 23, 2017
Arctic Comics 

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