You may have heard about this at the end of last year, but following her success with Angel Catbird, the legendary Margaret Atwood delved into a second comics project, this time with artist Ken Steacy. Margaret had written a short piece for the Globe and Mail about the rise and fall of a fictional comics publisher in Toronto during WWII and Ken had done an accompanying illustration. Afterwards, Ken saw the potential for a longer story to be told with this world. After some development, they pitched it to Darkhorse and it became a mini series called War Bears. Released at the end of 2018 the hardcover collecting the full story is now available at comic shops and book stores.
Here’s Ken’s description of the project:
“In her story, titled “Oursonette”, Atwood created a world of strong characters and unique historical details that held my fascination long after I had completed the illos, and I decided to contact her and ask if she would be interested in expanding this work. She was intrigued, and asked what I had in mind, so I pitched the WAR BEARS concept. We starting sharing ideas on the backstory, with a focus on the creative team that brought our were-bear heroine Oursonette to life; Alain Zurakowski, the eager-beaver young comic creator, his lackadaisical studio-mate Mike MacKenzie, and their hard-bitten boss, Canoodle Comics publisher and Editor-in-Chief Gloria Topper.
Margaret and I are both sticklers for period accuracy, and I did a lot of research, which included diving into the archives of the National War Museum in Ottawa, and at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Heroes of the Home Front” historian Ivan Kocmarek’s excellent book on Canuck comic creators during the war, was a very valuable resource for setting the tone as well.
We’re of course hoping that Oursonette will make good on her promise to return, and WAR BEARS will have a life beyond the graphic novel in other media, so please stay tooned, eh?”
Certainly looks like an interesting book for Canadian comic and Margaret Atwood fans.