I first met the very delightful Mary Lynn Lewis at the Halifax, Nova Scotia, (Canada) ‘The Forum’ flea market, in July 2019, where I have been going, fairly frequently, on Sundays, for decades on end. Mary Lynn Lewis is an artist, but not with pencil and with ink, and not with paint, either. What she does, instead, is, she does wood-burned etchings into the covers of hinged wooden boxes, burning the images (of comics and comic book characters), into the lids of these amazing wooden, hinged boxes. She also takes requests; special orders-!!!

The delightful Mary Lynn Lewis at ‘The Forum’ building, where she appears every Sunday, from 9 AM through 2 PM, at the Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) flea market, to sell her burn-illustrated art boxes, and also numerous antiques, which she sells, also! It’s hard to make out here, but she is wearing a tee-shirt in these photos, chock-full of DC Comics’ superheroes!

For example: Zorro ‘The Fox’, a character created by Johnston McCulley originally, one hundred years ago, in 1919 — I commissioned her, several weeks ago, to burn me a Zorro image in to the lid of a box for me, and I then purchased it from her, several weeks ago. I was completely delighted, with the result!
She has since done a second Zorro box for me, which I will be purchasing from

her, soon!

Above: a large wooden, hinged box, with a burned art wooden cover, by Mary Lynn Lewis, after Thomas Yeates’ Zorro art, now in my personal collection!

Having met the delightful Mary Lynn Lewis at the Halifax, Nova Scotia ‘The Forum’ weekly Sunday Flea Market several weeks ago this summer, on just this past Sunday, I saw her there again, more recently!

Clint Eastwood, anybody? From any one of his numerous ‘Spaghetti westerns’!

Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee, there just ain’t no one quite like … Muhammad Ali!

Movie Thor and movie Black Widow, from the Avengers movies.

Jack Nicholson: “I’m baaaaack!”

Venom and Spider-Man, by Mary Lynn Lewis!

I at that time told her about the website FirstComicsNews.com and proposed that I interview her, about her unique comics art method of creating it. She kindly and enthusiastically agreed. Once I arrived home, I then emailed her this, at about three o’clock the next morning, having woken in the middle of the night:

‘Hello, Mary Lynn,
Sorry, I’m sending this a little later than I promised. I hurt my back at work, lifting heavy bags of cement dust; I then came home, and laid down for several hours.’

First Comics News: Mary Lynn, can we start by me asking you – where and when were you born, and where did you grow up? How old were you, when you decided you wanted to be an artist?

Mary Lynn Lewis:: Hello Phil, sorry to hear about your back. Thank you very much for sending me a link to your First Comics News interviews and the articles. I looked at your interviews online, looks great!

Above: Casa Loma, a REAL CASTLE, right in the heart of Toronto, Ontario, Canada! Here are a couple of links to the real Casa Loma: Home – Casa Loma

Due to its unique architectural character in Toronto, Casa Loma has been a popular filming location for movies a…

Still more Mary Lynn Lewis burned images (art) on to wooden boxes, including
Johnny Cash, and, to his right, The Duke himself, John Wayne!

Above: Rocket Raccoon, from The Guardians of The Galaxy movies and comic books, and Batman comics villains The Joker, and his main squeeze, Harley (The Harlequin) Quinn!

Marvel Comics’ Ghost Rider!

A better image of John Wayne, part of images of Iron Man/-Tony Stark, and Casa Loma, seen more fully, above!

Mary Lynn Lewis’ assorted sports heroes, Avengers, Justice League of America, and animals.

Mary: Back in the day before I moved here, I had over 9,000 comics, nothing like what you have. Feel free to send more questions, when these are done. I’ll do my best to answer. I will answer them in the order in which you asked them.

I was born on October the 17th, 1957, in North York, Ontario, but at the age of eleven months, I was adopted, and I was raised in St. Catharines, Ontario.
I always enjoyed drawing and sketching homes, in my neighborhood.

But around ten years old, was when I really got into it.

1st: Mary Lynn, you had over 9,000 comics? It sounds as if you don’t have them, anymore? Whatever happened to them?

Mary: My son got interested in comics, in the eighties. I found it was a good way to get him to read. We moved a few times, and I found it was so much to move, so we sold a lot. The really good ones I gave to him to keep, for my grandson.

Above: Marilyn Munroe, Audrey Hepburn, by Mary Lynn Lewis.

Yoda: “Do as I say, not as I do!”

1st: What first got you interested in drawing, in the doing of artwork?

And what other mediums have you worked in, in terms of art, if any?

The one that I have grown to know, about you, of course, is that you have the incredible talent of burning images — comics images — in to lightweight wooden boxes, with tops, and with hinges, for putting things in; collectors type things or anything else one might want to store in a hand-crafted box!

1st: Have you ever worked in any other art medium that wood burning, as well?
And, if so, which ones? Do you have examples of those that you could show our readers? Are other members of your family artistic, also?

Mary: I don’t have any old stuff, but I still hand-make polymer clay beads for jewelry, that I design myself. Well, as mentioned, I used to do paintings, in oils.
My first wood burnt boxes were of Centurian homes in Ontario, which I would give for gifts, to my friends. I also still do wildlife of all kinds, in wood, but I have no time for painting, anymore.

Boston Red Sox baseball player.

Baseballs’ Oakland A’s-!

1st: These images that Mary Lynn Lewis burns into the tops of these inexpensive (NON-expensive) boxes, which are for sale, (email her, at bonzo17@outlook.com ), are of comics characters. Like (for example), The X-Men, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, The Justice League of America, (to name just some.)
As well as actors, including Clint Eastwood, John ‘The Duke’ Wayne, (for example), sports stars, cartoon characters, including Blondie, numerous Hanna Barbera cartoon characters, and many others! Her portraits of real people are spot-on!

*** Perhaps our very own RIK OFFENBERGER would like a wooden box for his collection, with the MLJ The Shield or the entire Mighty Crusaders roster, burned into a lid of one of these handsome boxes? Hmm-? To contact her for a commissioned burned art box, contact her at bonzo17@outlook.com and tell her Phil Latter sent ya! : – )

1st: Also, Mary Lynn, can you kindly tell our readers how much you charge, for your various different-sized boxes, with wood burned images, from smallest to largest? What I like about them, is that no two is alike!

Mary: Yes, all my boxes range in price, depending on the box size, and how much detail there is on it. (ie: how much work was involved, in delineating it.)
But they average, for small boxes, 5 -10 dollars, and bigger ones 10 – 40 dollars, again, depending on size, and level of detail. I will have your (second) Zorro box for you, on Sunday, if you want it. Don’t worry, I will hang on to it for you.

1st: Thank you. I definitely do want it. My just having paid a large round of $ bills $, it might be almost two weeks, until I can come and buy it from you.

If you can wait that long, then you have a definite deal! I collect everything Zorro.

Mary: I have just moved here last July (2018), from Haliburton, (Ontario), where I attended the farmers market there, for seven years, and since August 18, 2018, I have been here at The Forum (flea market, Sundays, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.), And, I’ve just started going to Alderney Landing, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, on each Saturday.

1st: How long have you been selling these at the Halifax ‘The Forum’ Sunday flea market? How many would you say you say that you sell (on average), each Sunday?

Mary: Since August of 2018, after we moved to Nova Scotia in June of 2018.

A football burned art box!

1st: Mary Lynn, you told me today that you have been doing this for twenty years; that’s a long time!
I loved the Zorro art commission that I commissioned you to do; I am very pleased with it; and I thank you, again!

How long does it take you to do each wood art burn, on average?

Mary: My next-door neighbor Stephanie Bain was in art school at that time, and that got me interested in art, initially.

And way back when, I did some oil painting.


1st: Did you at any point go to any art schools to learn your craft, or are you entirely self-taught? And, if so, what school or schools were they, and when was that? What can you tell our readers about this?

Mary: No, I have no schooling in art. I am self -taught.

1st: Well, you have an incredible eye and aptitude for photographic-like portrait likenesses of real, famous people!
Can you explain the process of how you do these art pieces, from beginning to end? To me, it sounds fascinating! And, your portraits of real people, including actors, look exactly like those people! You sure have a good eye for it!
Have you done many portraits?

Mary: I find an interesting subject, mostly drawings or black and white pictures, sand down the box, then transfer subject onto the box, and then start to burn. I guess I have a fairly steady hand. I’ve burnt nearly 1000 (one thousand) boxes, and I’ve only wrecked four of them.

Sometimes, the wood is not the best, and it grabs my tool.

Anime-like cartoon animals, by Mary Lynn Lewis!
***** To contact her for a commissioned box commission, contact her at bonzo17@outlook.com

And hey! How many would like to have your favourite vintage comic book cover, art-burned into the cover of a wooden, light-weight, wooden box?! Wouldn’t that be cool?

1st: How do you transfer the image (by what method), from its’ original source, on to each box? Can you kindly explain that, in detail?

Mary: Yes, I take a piece of transfer paper onto the box, put the picture on top, then, by hand, draw the basic outline of the subject that I’m doing. Everything I do is by hand; that’s why there are no two alike.
I’m bringing some of my handmade polymer clay beads to markets, to sell.

Some take me hours to make.

1st: Which subject matters, on your wood burned art boxes, would you say, that you sell the most of? Which characters seem to be the most popular, in that regard?

Mary: I’d say that superheroes are still my best-seller, with Spider-Man being the top seller.

1st: What would you say are some of the more unusual (or strange) requests you have been asked to render, as art subjects?
Also, which ones would you say that you enjoy doing, the most?

Mary: I get asked to have people’s pet likeness, on a box, for cremation.

1st: Mary Lynn, you mentioned early in the interview, above, that at the age of eleven months, you were adopted. Can I ask what happened, if it isn’t too personal?

Mary: My understanding, from what I was told, was that they were a couple of young kids who couldn’t keep me. I never looked for my biological parents, because I loved my mom and dad, who raised me. They were an older couple, I loved them, and I miss them dearly. By the way, Phil, have you ever heard of a gentleman by the name of Brian Costello? My aunt’s exact words that she said to me before she died, was “If you need to find him, he’s a big wig on Bay Street, in Toronto. He was a financial advisor, back in the 70s,80s,90s. He wrote many books, and he did many shows.

1st: Alderney Landing, in Dartmouth on the waterfront, each Saturday, from 8AM-1PM, is mostly farmers, with the produce (fruits and vegetables that they are selling), lots of home-made goodies for sale, lots to eat, and hand made crafts. Tens of thousands of patrons (buyers) go through those doors every Saturday, there, which would be a lot more buyers, than where you are selling your wares, now.

Mary: I’m not sure if I have been to that one. Is that the market at the pier, where all the cruise ship dock?

1st: Yes, it is. That’s the one! In the south end of Halifax, down on Terminal Road.

In 2018, what made you decide to move to Nova Scotia, after having lived in Ontario, all of your life?

Mary: Well, I wanted to try someplace different, at this point in my life. I have no family or friends here, and I had never been here before, until last June, of 2018. I came out here for a week then, liked it here, went back home, and sold the house — so that me, my husband and cat, we moved to Nova Scotia. We love it here; ocean seafood; and not bad winters!

My son, wife, and grandson still live in Aurora, Ontario.
My grandson loves to finger paint, so you just never know.

1st: Your grandson just may grow up to become an eventual artist, himself. Like you said, you just never know!

Do you keep photos of the boxes, before you sell them? In this way, you could put a photographic portfolio together. (?) Or, do you do that, already?

Mary: No, I’ve never taken any individual photos.

That’s a good idea.
See you when you get there at the market, Phil.

Feel free to send any more questions, if you need more info.
Oh, I just got some good news; my friend is having her baby boy, on Wednesday, and that is my son’s birthday, too. Happy Day!!!
We’ll talk soon – Mary Lynn Lewis.

Justice League of America, above!

1st: What would you say are some of the more unusual (or strange) requests you have been asked to render, as art subjects?
Also, which ones would you say that you enjoy doing, the most?

Mary: I get asked to have people’s pet likeness, on a box, for cremation.

1st: Do you keep photos of the boxes, before you sell them? In this way, you could put a photographic portfolio together. (?) Or, do you do that, already?

Mary: No, I’ve never taken any individual photos. That’s a good idea.

I like doing them all because I always enjoy a new challenge. Sorry, I forgot the question about the price.

Yes, all my boxes range in price, depending on the box size, and how much detail there is on it. (ie: how much work was involved, in delineating it.)

But they average small 5-10 dollars, and bigger ones 10- 40 dollars, depending on size, and level of detail. I will have your (second) Zorro box for you, on Sunday, if you want it. Don’t worry, I will hang on to it for you.

1st: Thank you. I definitely do want it. Just having paid a large round of $ bills $, it might be almost two weeks, until I can come and buy it from you. If you can wait that long, then you have a definite deal! I collect everything Zorro-related!

Directly above: several Hanna Barbera cartoon characters of the 1960’s that I grew up with, including Yogi Bear, Pluto the Dog, Top Cat, Snagglepuss the Tiger, Quick Draw McGraw (who at times, donned a black Zorro outfit, and, instead of a sword, instead of a guitar, calling himself ‘El Kabong’, naming himself after the unique sound effect caused by his slamming his guitar over the heads of dastardly villains! To his right, is Atom Ant, and one other character that I don’t quite recognize!

From my collection, photo of my statues, above: Quick Draw McGraw as Zorro wannabe El Kabong, with his Mexican animal pal Bubba Looie, versus a dastardy bank robber!

Mary: Feel better, Phil. Send me anything, anytime. I will now be one of your readers and tell me more about the website. Talk soon

1st: Thank you. Mary Lynn

It’s been a great pleasure talking to you today, Mary Lynn, and we’ll be certainly seeing you again, at future ‘The Forum’ Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) Sunday flea markets!

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I first met the very delightful Mary Lynn Lewis at the Halifax, Nova Scotia, (Canada) 'The Forum' flea market, in July 2019, where I have been going, fairly frequently, on Sundays, for decades on end. Mary Lynn Lewis is an artist, but not with pencil and with ink, and...