G7 Comics was established 15 years ago in Miami, Florida by Kenneth Gaynor, Wilson Guillaume and Milton Howell. They grew up reading comics, studying animated films and taking notes from established artists. They, in turn, followed their dreams while trying to form their own unique identity in the modern landscape. Their main drive is the desire to create a purpose behind their storytelling.
Dark Child is a project showcasing their talents, weaving a world where Haitian folklore meets the modern world. Thanks to one of their founding members, Wilson Guillaume, the company has expanded their brand to Canada where they will host their first official launch event of the comic Dark Child on Thursday October 26 at 6:30pm. The event will be hosted at Cegep Heritage College, 325 Boulevard de la Cité-des-Jeunes, in Gatineau, Quebec.
In anticipation of the official release, Apt613 was able to sit down with Wilson to discuss his ideas and inspirations behind the comic book.
Apt613: I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us Wilson. Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
Wilson: I am originally from Miami, Florida. Born and raised. I migrated to Canada around 2006. I met my wife here and got married, had kids and pretty much settled down here.
What made you want to move from the beaches of Miami to the beaches of Ottawa?
I originally came to work with a production studio and it was a short contract. Then I got work again as a graphic designer and that’s when I met my wife. After that, my world pretty much changed and I made the choice to live with her (in Canada).
Are you a graphic designer by trade?
Yes. I have been doing it for about 20 years now, starting way back when I was 18 (years old). I went to college for 3D animation and have been doing a little bit of that here and there, but the majority of my work has to do with graphic design.
How did the idea of G7 comics come about?
The original idea started probably in 2004, 2005, back in Miami. A couple of friends and I got together with the intention of doing something fun. Then eventually we moved on to pursue other things, and time seemed to fly by fast. Then one day, we got to talking again and started (the comic book idea) up again, but this time we really invested in the story. It was definitely a huge process, but eventually the whole thing came together.
What was the inspiration behind the comic Dark Child?
The story is built around Haitian folklore and I am Haitian by descent. My parents were both from Haiti. Originally I grew up not seeing too many Haitian stories or Haitian characters portrayed in a good light. My only real recollection of anything related (to Haiti) was the movie (The) Serpent and the Rainbow. And it didn’t even talk a lot about Haiti, it only focused on one aspect and didn’t depict who Haitians really are. And I felt that there needs to be a comic, there needs to be something out there that draws you to the folklore of Haiti and has a character who is diverse and represents that.
The main character often appears as a little girl. Is she based on an existing Haitian character in folklore?
Yes, the child is called a Lougarou. In French, that’s someone who transforms into a werewolf, but in Haitian folklore, they’re pretty much people who transform into animals and other different creatures. It centres around the voodoo religion.
Is voodoo similar to santeria?
It is different in some ways and similar in others. Voodoo takes a lot from other faiths as well, like the Catholic religion. It’s essentially a mixture of African culture and their deities and then that’s intermixed with the saints from Catholicism.
I like how the storytelling is multifaceted. For example, using the Greater Than and Less Than symbols to indicate the dialogue in the first comic is being translated from Haitian Creole into English, in order for the reader to understand. Who on the team comes up with these types of ideas?
They’re pretty much our ideas collectively. I am the only Haitian person on the team, so in this particularly case I took that idea and ran with it. For example, I am currently doing a segment on Facebook where I’m introducing the Haitian Creole language, specifically words you would find in the comic, and providing an explanation for them for the audience.
What age group is Dark Child geared towards?
We try to find a balance between being true to the story, while maintaining appeal to the general audience. Given some of the mature subject matter covered, I’d say it’s geared towards people who are 14 years and older, though every person has a different take on what’s appropriate for them or not.
What can people expect at your first comic book launch for Dark Child?
I want to show the audience the quick and simple process of what really goes into creating a comic book. There will be giveaways of shirts, mugs, you know, just to help establish what we’re doing. There will be cocktails and of course Haitian food as well. I will also announce all the places where you can purchase our comic book.
Any final thoughts on your comic book?
I want to be able to show that no matter how dark things get, even the smallest light will provide someone with a legendary rebirth that is worth chronicling in everyone. This (main) character (in the Dark Child) comic is going to go through darkness and her hope is finding the light through it.
For more details on their Dark Child comic book launch, go to http://g7comics.com/darkchild-launch-2017/. Admission to the launch and parking are free. For more information on G7 comics, please visit their website.