|Done inking! Page 85, with words removed as I really didn't want to spoil the end for you. (Spoiler alert: this is from the dream sequence Otto and Crackers have immediately after they are crushed by a run away train.)
I still have five pages to colour and then it's done done, but finishing the inking seems more like the official end. Colouring is something I have to do with this comic, and I've even grown to enjoy this work on the computer (somewhat) but the pencilling and inking are what I most closely identify with.
The other big thing was dropping in on Little Island Comics. I've known about this comic store since it opened, but, almost negligently, I've failed to visit during our frequent forays to Toronto. But yesterday we made room for this, and what a treat!
Little Island Comics claims to be the only comic store exclusively dedicated to kids' comics in all of North America - possibly the world! (This is fairly ironic given the frequent claim by comic bashers that comics are kids' stuff, but that's another story.) This store is a little gem, packed from floor to ceiling with thousands of titles (in retrospect, I'm not sure if there were any super hero comics at all!) with something for every taste. Walking in there reminded me of a recurring dream that I had when I was a kid (well 14 at least), where I walk into a comic store that is packed with Asterix comics that I had never seen. I would always wake up from this dream (as dreams usually go) the moment I tried to open one of these books.
This dream started after coming back from a trip to England, where I had been brought along as a fairly ineffective built-in babysitter by my sister and her husband for their two young kids. In England we would often visit bookstores (the trip was a book buying trip for their antiquarian bookstore back in Canada) and I'd find shelves and shelves of Asterix and Tin Tin. I had already been a huge fan of Asterix for years, as a result of another elder sibling bringing me back Asterix and Cleopatra from England years before and I was still hooked. But at that time in Canada Asterix was very hard to find - hence this dream of unrequited Asterix reading.
Little Island had just about all of the Asterix comics, and even more exciting for me, one title that I had recently seen at a nephew's apartment in Ottawa that I didn't even know existed - I had thought for years that I had read them all. I now own it, along with a delightful book, Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol. The second of these I bought for my niece Lisa, still an avid comic fan at 40 (I have quite a few now-adult nieces and nephews who oddly enough share my passion for comics) who insisted I pick up something for her when she heard I was going to Little Island. Anya's Ghost was recommended to me by one of the staff, Tory Woollcott (a comic book author in her own right, although she had to be pressed to show me her beautiful book, Mirror Mind), and I've read Anya already before passing it on. What a terrific graphic novel - I highly recommend it.
All the staff there, Tory, Rebecca and Andrew, were all so nice, helpful and extremely knowledgeable about their comics. They clearly love what they do. My partner Esperança and I had such a good time we went back with our ten year old niece Mia, and although the store was closed there was a light on and Andrew, working late, let us in when he saw our noses pressed against the window. We bought another Anya's Ghost for Mia, who was already hooked on it after five minutes' of reading my copy in the car.
So there's my plug. If you are in Toronto and want to see the best in kids' comics, (and possibly fulfill an unrequited childhood dream) drop in on Little Island just south of Bloor on Bathurst (think Honest Ed's) and get stimulated. You won't be disappointed.
( I also understand that it is a great place to hide out if you re a kid on the lam from a summer camp you hate.)