Ad Astra Comix is publishing ‘Free Inside: The Life and Work of Peter Collins’. A mixture of comics, art and writing by Pete Collins and those who knew him. Partly funded by a small successful crowdfunding campaign, ‘Free Inside’ is a record of Pete’s courage and tenacity.
Collins was imprisoned in 1983 following a troubled childhood, convicted of killing Ottawa Police constable Robert Utman. Left alone with his thoughts in prison, he felt a terrible remorse for what he had done that stayed with him his whole life. He spent the following decades working to heal himself and help those around him ultimately dying in prison of bladder cancer in 2015 after being denied compassionate release.
He was an advocate for the rights of animals, prisoners and people with HIV / AIDS. In 2008, he was awarded the Award for Action from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch and prepared fellow prisoners for parole hearings and fought tirelessly for justice.
Prison authorities repeatedly obstructed his artistic work but he persisted and his acerbic cartoons skewer the hypocrisy of powerful people and speak of the frustrations of incarceration. While sketches of birds and other wildlife show sensitivity and patience.
‘Free Inside’ is a kind of memorial to Pete – filled with his work, thoughts and the thoughts of those who loved him. All royalties for “Free Inside” will go towards Calls From Home, a program of Prison Radio on CFRC 101.9 FM in Kingston, Ontario.
Free Inside: The Life and Work of Peter Collins is currently available for pre-order and in June 2018 will be available through Ad Astra Comix’s online store, on Amazon, and through AK Press in the U.S.