St. John’s-based illustrator and comics artist Mike Feehan will appear as a Special Guest at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto this September.
He’ll be representing his work on Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, a reboot of a classic comic launched by DC Comics in January of 2018 to rave reviews.
Feehan has been passionate about drawing and illustration for longer than he can remember. He got his first commissions in junior high, when he was asked to design posters for school dances and later the National Heritage Fair. After high school he completed degrees in graphic design and 3D animation, but found that working in those fields wasn’t nearly as rewarding for him as illustration.
He has been regularly attending Fan Expo Canada and other pop culture conventions for about a decade. At the expos he would sell prints and bring a portfolio of work to share with comic book publishers in the hope of landing a gig. At last year’s Fan Expo Canada, his work struck a chord with a DC Comics rep, and a few days later he received an email asking if he could draw, “…talking animals (serious ones, not goofy ones).”
From there, Feehan was asked to revamp the Hanna-Barbera character Snagglepuss. The original Snagglepuss is lovable pink cat with a panache for showbizz, probably best known for his catchphrase, “Heavens to Murgatroyd.”
In the 2018 re-imagining of the Snagglepuss story, he is a gay playwright from the southern states living through the McCarthy-era and facing persecution for participating in “un-American activities.” DC Comics hired Feehan to pencil an issue of the limited edition mini series, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles each month for six months.
“As someone who really wanted to work in comics for years, going from zero to having to do an issue per month for six months for this whole mini series was kind of surreal,” Feehan said. “The writer on it is critically acclaimed, so when the series got announced there were news articles about it. The pressure was on immediately, so it was this very intense seven month period of just drawing comics and getting interviewed and stuff.”
Feehan has been told that he is the only person from Newfoundland to work for either DC Comics or Marvel Comics. While he’s thrilled to have had the opportunity to work for DC, he says there are tons of talented Newfoundland comics artists and he would love to see them get similar recognition. Feehan would also like to see local pop culture conventions devote more programming to comics events.
“There’s not a lot of attention paid to comics in Newfoundland, and I think there’s a community here that’s waiting for that. There are talented people making comics like Wallace Ryan and Paul Tucker and Kelly Bastow,” Feehan said.
“I think people would come here if we had a comics festival, or even if the pop culture cons gave some time to comic books. There’s totally a market, there’s three comic book stores in St. John’s and the surrounding areas. People should pay attention to [the comics community here] and hopefully it will grow.”