By Salgood Sam
Sean Stephane Martin, creator of the “Doc and Raider” died Aug 3rd two weeks after ending his long running comic strip at the 5600th installment. He’d been suffering from pancreatic cancer for several months, entering hospice care shortly before he passed away in his sleep.
Editorial Note update 8-6-2020 10:44 pm EST: We found conflicting birthrates, most places including his FB page had 1960 but some giving his it 1950. His friend Randy Riddle commented on the post here that it’s indeed 1950 so we’ve updated the post accordingly!
Sean is widely remembered as a kind and generous friend and peer by those who knew or met him, and a very active participant in the LGBT community. He worked in several fields but had been a part of the comics community in Canada since the late 80s and became a Canadian citizen in 1989.
Martin created his long running strip ‘Doc and Raider’ in 1987, which ran in several LGBT publications, including the Xtra! chain of newspapers. Reputedly all of Martin’s fees for the strip were given to causes including AIDS hospices and arts festivals. He also used his characters to promote safer-sex practices and AIDS education.
“Doc and Raider’ became the first works by a gay cartoonist to be added to the National Archives of Canada collection including originals. There is also an archive of it kept at the Pride Archives at the University of Western Ontario.
He published two books collecting the original strips, titled ‘Doc and Raider: Caught on Tape’ (1994) and ‘Doc and Raider: Incredibly Lifelike’ (1996). He then retired the first run of the regular strip in 1997, but drew two five-page stories for the Little Sister’s Defence Fund anthologies ‘What’s Right and What’s Wrong’ in 2002. Martin then revived the strip online using 3D models, and has published a number of anthologies from that run, including ‘Canadian: Hope That’s Okay’, ‘Tastefully Canadian’, and ‘Frankly Canadian’. Doc and Raider currently stands as one of the longest running LGBTQ comic strips in history as well as the second longest Canadian strip after For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston.
Additionally, based on his years as a scenic and costume designer Martin wrote a manual for theatre designers titled ‘Big Show Tiny Budget’. A novella ‘Triptych’, adaptations of classic theatre scripts ‘The Prince of Pilsen’, ‘The Pink Lady’, and ‘The Black Crook’. And issued a volume of standalone illustrations of life in Montréal under the title of ‘Les citains’, along with illustrated publications of ‘Candide’, ‘Gilgamesh’, ‘The Little Prince’, and ‘Aesop’s Fables’. Martin’s illustration work for the Candide book is part of the permanent Voltaire collection at the University of Wittenberg.
On top of all that, while living in Calgary, Martin worked with the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo, providing graphic design for the organization’s posters and brochures. His work was honoured in 2001 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Gay Rodeo Association.
He was also a very active participant in our contemporary social media conversation regarding human rights and social justice, and apparently a fantastic cook of fine french style cuisine. His humor, wit and generosity will be missed.
Rest in Power Sean.