Comic Book Artists: Next Generation – A Visit to The RAID Studio

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Artist Francis Manapul at work in The RAID Studio. Photo:  AT&T U-verse Buzz.
Artist Francis Manapul at work in The RAID Studio. Photo: AT&T U-verse Buzz.

Comic Book Artists: Next Generation is a short but neat documentary about The RAID (Royal Academy of Illustration & Design) Studio currently running on AT&T U-verse Buzz. I heard about it from a friend who introduced me to F.J. DeSanto, the documentary’s executive producer. Artists you’ll find at work at RAID in Toronto include Cary Nord, Francis Manapul, Ian Herring, Irma Kniivla, Jason Laudadio, Kalman Andrasofszky, Marcus To, Ramón K Pérez, Scott Hepburn, and Tonci Zonjic.

So, why the focus on this particular bunch?

“What was unusual about RAID is simply seeing all this incredible talent in one studio,” DeSanto said. “It’s a genuine treasure trove of artistic talent, and the quality that comes out of that studio is immense. I had never been there before we filmed them, and while I have been around the comic business for years, to see all of that happening was mind blowing.”

The filmmakers spent about four days shooting in Toronto, as well as filming interviews and various segments in Los Angeles and at San Diego Comic Con. (So you get commentary from the likes of Stan Lee and Jim Lee in there, too.) In some ways, it reminded me of those “behind the scenes” Star Wars specials I loved as a kid: It was just fun hearing people talk about creating and being a part of something that I enjoyed so much.

DeSanto, who had worked on Cyborg 009 with To and Herring, also said that “It meant something special to me to visit the studio where our book was brought to life. To see the original pages and sketches was a really big moment for me.”

Comic Book Artists: The Next Generation is currently available to watch for free – no subscription necessary – at the U-verse Buzz website. (If you do have U-verse, the documentary runs on channels 300 & 1300.) If you like hearing comic creators talk about inspiration and work and doing what they love, it’s worth checking out.

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