His ironic, cheeky comics about the people, places, and goings-on of Edmonton pop life, have been capturing the hearts of Edmontonians for nearly three years. After being published on local independent news site Gigcity.ca, Chad’s comics are finally finding a home in print form with his new comic book published by local Monto Books.
“These comics are sort of a record of what was happening in Edmonton in 2013-15,” keying on sticky points in public discourse – elections, politics, sports, arts, entertainment.
Creating an Edmonton-centric comic series is Huculak’s own way of adoring Alberta’s capital city. Whether skewering city council decisions, poking fun at the Oilers, or grousing about local attitudes, he’s passionate about using humour to depict life in his beloved city in a way that’s “so easy and digestible for people to read.”
So, what brought him to the land of cartoons, caricatures, and comics?
Chad was the excited kid who would wait for the Saturday edition of the Edmonton Journal just to open the coloured comics. “That’s what I lived for,” he says, “I was inspired to try my hand in it,” and began the journey by drawing cartoons of friends in junior high.
He introduced his works to family and friends on Facebook and later on, opportunities from local publishers, the Edmonton Examiner and Gigcity, came along. He found himself, “churning out comics twice a week,” and adds, “I like to do it all myself – I’m not the greatest artist, and I’m not the greatest writer, but when I combine the two, they balance themselves out.”
Chad revels in the pot of comedy gold he finds in his city, and fully embraces the stereotypes that insiders and outsiders hold. His caricatures, depicting workers of every collar colour, political activists, pro hockey players, and even the Rogers Place arena, were created with a knowing smirk and a keen eye for controversy. It helps that his full-time day job with a local newspaper keeps him plugged into current news cycles; he sees what people are reacting to and that sparks new comic ideas.
After existing digitally for years on Gigcity.ca, Huculak is thrilled to be able to publish End of the Earth in the real world. “It’s exhilarating, it’s a rush, a place on a reputable bookstore’s shelf among the people you admired growing up,” he says. The idea had been in the works for a couple of years after people started suggesting he should do it, but he wasn’t confident at first.
Then, he heard of a guy who published, they talked, and now his book will be the first title launched by Monto, a new independent publishing company that is looking to capture the spirit of Edmonton and share it with the world.
Chad laboured on the book for about six months. He tackled trademark issues, worked on the layout and cover, and arduously culled about 90 comics from hundreds produced.
“There were many nights when I was up until 3 in the morning,” he said, adding that there was “lots of hit and miss” until he got it right. What are his words to aspiring cartoonists? “Hold yourself up, and believe in your vision. Keep pushing forward.”
With the book launch approaching, he took a moment to appreciate the encouragement and support received from local artists. He loves the friendly rivalry among them and says it’s not competitive. “It’s not a huge art community, but it’s very, very supportive,” he said warmly. “It’s part of that Alberta spirit – supporting local arts.”
Join Chad at his End of the Earth Book Launch:
Saturday, November 5, 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Happy Harbor Comics
10729 104 Ave NW
Edmonton AB T5J 3K1
You can follow Chad on Twitter: @northsidechad