Halifax Haunts Shenanigans Graphic Novel

Halifax Haunts Shenanigans Graphic Novel
To the untrained eye (read: those outside of Halifax), the new graphic novel Shenanigans is a sweet romantic comedy. To Haligonians though, the background of this graphic novel is eerily familiar, as many Hali-famous faces come out of the woodwork. In drawing his first graphic novel, Shenanigans illustrator Mike Holmes killed two birds with one stone by thanking supportive people from his hometown with cameos in the novel. "This is my first book and all my friends are going in, I decided,” says Holmes. "If I know you, you're probably in this book." Holmes' featuring of Halifax scenesters wasn't simply gratuitous. His stories and style are influenced by Craig Thompson's Blankets — autobiographical with plenty of ski-jump noses and pinhole eyes. "There is definitely going to be an autobiographical bent to [my upcoming book]," he says. His style follows film techniques closely; odd angles are coupled with extreme foregrounds or heavy shading. "When you're a comic artist, you are holding the camera and trying to find the right angle and light," he says. "The strong foregrounds are probably influenced by [director] Sergio Leone, who loved doing these cinematic tricks.” Calum Johnston, owner of the Strange Adventures comic shop — the comics community’s epicentre — describes the burgeoning Hali scene: "There are a couple of animation studios in the city that employ dozens of talented artists, many of whom work on comics and web strips," he says. "A number of unschooled but dedicated folks persevere with new mini-comics that run the gamut from space opera to illustrated poems.” Fittingly, Johnston is cast as the boss of the restaurant where some of the characters in Shenanigans work. Holmes and Shenanigans author, Ian Shaughnessy, created a book that shares the Texan writer's vision with Holmes' Halifax one. "[Shaughnessy] never said anything about me throwing my own jokes into the background," says Holmes. "Either I got away with something or he liked it.”