It was 24 Hour Comics Day, and I thought it would be a good way to kick start my return to the comics sphere…
10 Years Ago Last Month… Like Never Before & Like Never Again by Dominic Bercier and Soundtrack by Nicholas Bercier…
Only 5 years prior, I was assistant penciler on projects for Dark Horse, Top Cow, Image, CHAOS! and more. It was demanding but it was great and I loved it. I would show up at 10 am and work for 8 to 10 hours straight, draw fleshed out buildings in perspective, bullet casings flying everywhere, vehicles of all makes and models, and clouds, for example. I drew everything on the page that wasn’t a central character, and got little or no credit. I was invisible.
I was still a student at OCAD, studying illustration and design. But on days where I did not have class I was in the studio drawing. The lead [lead har har] penciler would scratch a few unintelligible lines on the 11×17 Bristol board, tell me what he wanted, and I went to work. The days were long but I was happy.
I was also hopeful that it would all lead to my own penciling gigs. But it was not meant to be. In 2001 I started Ghost King and abandoned it. In 2002-2003 I drew all of The Bird Caller. My home studio was riddled with drawings all over its walls. Think John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. I was consumed by it. But I never could find a publisher.
In late 2003 I left Toronto and came back to Ottawa. I found a series of designer positions, and comics then took to the backburner. In my free time in 2004-2005, I drew Treadwell. Work kept me busy. Comics, my first love, I very much had the strongest passion for still, but try as I might, the shows in Canada and in the USA, the contacts… nothing gelled.
Finally, in 2006, I found the ultimate comic book challenge… Scott McCloud’s 24 Hour Comic Book Day Challenge! I figured that if I could draw 24 pages in 24 hours that I could do absolutely anything in comics. Anything!!!
So on 7 October 2006, the first Saturday of the month of October each year, I sat down at about 5pm and started drawing my shamanic version of La Chasse Galerie, a French Canadian legend about lonely lumberjacks longing for home, and the flying canoe that got them there. I modified the story significantly, made it my own, and I was off to the races!
In my version there is no deal with the Devil, just the magic of the forest, and I think it worked out alright.
As I drew at a feverish pace and planned the pages ahead, my brother Nico pressed me for plot points. He was in his studio producing a soundtrack for the thing! Long story short, after coffee, cigarettes and beer [thanks Mom!], he and I made our 5pm Sunday deadline, and then I sent it off to 24Hour HQ in California a few days later.
They liked it so much they wrote a blurb about our effort and cited one page in the 2006 HIGHLIGHTS Anthology!
Back in Ottawa, Industry Images Creative Studios printed an edition of 240 copies, we threw a party at Mercury Lounge and the Lafayette, and it was a big hoopla! Then I hit the convention circuit again… I had a few panels of Ghost King, some complete The Bird Caller pages and now Like Never Before & Like Never Again, oh and Treadwell too! It led to my doing the production art for the DEFENDOR film [Sony Pictures 2010] and eventually led to Ghost King getting edited by Chris Staros [thanks Chris!].
But again fate conspired against me as the economic crash of ’08-’09 cancelled any chances of a USA publisher picking it up.
In 2011, I redesigned LNBLNA and finally released it proper through my imprint Mirror Comics [publisher]. And the rest is history.
My intention had been this : …Until 26 January 2017, when I turn 40 [ah!], both the original integral 10th Anniversary Edition [2006-2016] at Mirror Comics Studios and the 5th Anniversary REDUX Edition , plus Nicholas Bercier’s unofficial soundtrack, would be available entirely for FREE on mirrorcomics.com.
However, it might just be possible that a prospective publisher might just be watching, and so I will NOT be posting the books. The silver lining!?!? You can still hear what I heard for that all-nighter with my brother Nico’s LNBLNA unofficial soundtrack. You will find it here.
How do you like them apples!?
Note that this will be my last FREE offering for some time, and the next time you see my work published it will be by another publisher entirely, as I have begun work for various publishers across North America. For the same reason, I am removing TREADWELL as well. A fine comics store will have it sooner or later I’m sure!!
Tell your friends, tell your family, tell perfect strangers!
As the title suggests, it has been Like Never Before & Like Never Again…
Please celebrate with my brother and I, as we remember 7 October 2006, ten years ago last month. It was the first time I drew a comic in 24 hours, and it is likely to have been my last. Onward and upward!
Thanks for reading!!
Dominic Bercier, Ottawa, Canada, November 2016.