Jeff Burton talks about AURORAMAN
Jeff Burton and Martin Boruta run the Canadian Comic Book Alliance and earlier this year they talked with me about the Canadian Comic Book Alliance. In that inreview, we ran the cover for a comic Jeff writes and Marty edits, Aroraman. After a successful Kickstarter campaign and a digital release of Auroraman #0 Chapterhouse Jeff was ready to come to the First Comics News offices to share with our readers everything you ever wanted to know about Auroraman.
First Comics News: I notice there are a lot of elements of DC’s Starman in Auroraman. How did you come up with Auroraman?
Jeff Burton: Starman is by far and away one of my favourite comics, even after all these years, and a big part of the reason for that was just the fact that Jack was a regular guy. Before creating Auroraman I was dabbling with cosplay and Jack was one of the costumes I loved to wear. A friend of mine, Ted Green from Macon (and friend of Starman co-creator Tony Harris), originally presented me with an early version of Auroraman, which was based on my cosplay of Starman. We talked back and forth on it and then involved another friend, Canadian indie creator Andrew Lorenz (September17 Productions – Legacy, Canadian Corps, New Guard, The Sentries). With Andrews help the version of Auroraman that would see print came to be. The main idea is that the character is an all around good person, even without being a superhero, so it works pretty well.
Jeff: Basically yes. This point is one that I wasn’t sure about during the creation process. It was flattering, of course, but when it came about that I was going to write Auroraman myself I was worried that people might view it as me having a giant ego, which if you know me will know that I don’t have.
1st: How is Auroraman different from yourself?
Jeff: Well he seems to be able to get more sub days off to fight the bad guys! Other than the superhero aspect there are minor differences like his home and little things like that. Otherwise, we are pretty similar as I try to keep the character as ‘real life’ as possible.
1st: What grade do you teach?
Jeff: I am the homeroom teacher for the grade 9-10 classroom and teach mostly high school classes but as our school is a small k-12 school I do teach classes in the elementary grades as well.
Jeff: The little kids love the fact that their teacher is a superhero! In general, the students dig the idea, I have some fans in the older students, and it provides some excellent teachable concepts in a variety of classes.
1st: How do you include Saskatchewan and Canadian lore in the comic?
Jeff: Just like anywhere else there is a wealth of history and lore in Saskatchewan and Canada as a whole. It is pretty easy to dig into that to find inspiration and ideas to spin into the stories and I find people really enjoy being able to connect with those things.
Jeff: The ‘Made in the Water Tower’ mini-comics is a subgroup of the comics, usually shorter stories produced on a smaller physical scale. I adapted the idea from another Canadian comic creator, Jason Loo, and his ‘Made in Chinatown’ mini-comics for his series The Pitiful Human Lizard. I thought it was a pretty cool idea and since Auroraman’s home is the water tower I just went with that.
1st: What is the size of these comics?
Jeff: The mini-comics come in at 8 ½ inches tall by 5 ½ inches wide although I am juggling around some changes for 2018 which might see these comics printed at a standard comic size.
Jeff: Typically they are made to coincide with an event or appearance. Take for example this year’s Christmas Jam mini-comic is being released in partnership with the Town of Watson, Saskatchewan’s annual Santa Claus Days and the story takes place at the event itself.
1st: What do they cost?
Jeff: The cost varies depending on the number of pages, usually between $3 and $8 each.
1st: Is it possible to get them if you aren’t at a comic convention?
1st: How did you work out the deal to have Chapterhouse publish The Adventure of Auroraman #0?
Jeff: When I was running the Kickstarter for The Adventures of Auroraman #0 I had the idea for the Canadian Creators Omnibus as a digital reward. During the process of gathering work for this book, I asked Chapterhouse CEO Fadi Hakim to take a look at it and see if he wanted to write the introduction for it. It turns out he loved a lot of the content in the book and jumped at the chance to write the intro. Through that process, he came to me with an offer to have Auroraman carried by Chapterhouse’s digital platform.
Jeff: Included in there are some fantastic examples of what kind of great comics are being created in Canada. Some examples being Andrew Lorenz’s Canadian Corps #1, Auric of the Great White North by Davis Dewsbury and Andrew Thomas, James Zintel’s Shump, and Jack Grimm: Harbinger of Death by Gary Boyarski. These are just a few of the amazing works that can be found in that collection! I was very fortunate to have these amazing creators allow me to include their works in this collection.
1st: Why the Kickstarter for The Adventure of Auroraman #1, instead of publishing with Capterhouse again?
Jeff: Since the deal with Chapterhouse is just for digital distribution the costs of the production and physical printing of issue #1 still fall to my shoulders. Kickstarter is also an amazing tool to help spread the word of work and build a following.
1st: Dose Auroraman #1 contain the Water Tower Mini-Comics stories or all-new stories?
Jeff: There are stories in issue #1 that could be considered mini-comic stories in length they are only a couple stories that were seen before this printing. The single page story that was originally hosted by www.cbcbooks.ca in 2016. The Summer Chill story was available as a mini-preview comic at the Humboldt Summer Sizzler Comic-Con, sponsored by the City of Humboldt as a giveaway to help promote the convention.
Jeff: My philosophy of writing is to just let the stories flow how they do and not try to force it to be a certain length. I have some scripts that will be multi-part stories but I don’t set out to have a story be a 4-6 part story made up of 22-page sections. I find that too often modern comics force and stretch a plot to fit that model and the story is weakened by that instead of telling a strong yet shorter story. I have found that I enjoy a more anthology style book, collections of stories kind of like the old Archie digests.
1st: How long until we can look forward to The Adventure of Auroraman #2?
Jeff: 2018 is going to have some changes to how I am working with Auroraman comics so while I plan for #2 to be made I am not yet sure if it’ll be another giant issue like #1 or a more standard page count size issue.
THE ADVENTURES OF AURORAMAN MADE IN THE WATER TOWER MINI-COMIC GALLERY