News / Calgary

'I see the world in a very unique way' — autistic Calgary cartoonist launches comic strip series

A self-taught autistic Calgary cartoonist has found her true calling in short and funny storylines, and is hoping to take her book making business to the next level.

Joni Righthand has produced two booklets of her own, inspired by the Garfield-styled strips she reads regularly.

Now that Righthand has printed 100 copies and begun selling them to friends and family she wants to expand on her business and feature the publications in stores.

“I’m the creator of Punctuation Association, it’s a comic I created all by myself,” Righthand said. “I built it from the ground up to this point.”

Righthand is autistic, she lives in a group home and participates in Calgary Alternative Day Options. She said making comics and running her own business is how she keeps some independence.

“It’s kind of nice to have something you’re in control of,” Righthand said. “Being disabled and having someone run your life gets kind of tiresome after a while.”

Her strips feature a question mark-shaped dog aptly named Question and a man shaped as an exclamation point fittingly called Excla. Righthand came up with the main characters during a Grade 8 assignment.

She said the dog is actually modelled after her own personality. Adding she often takes things literally, which can often lead to funny situations.

“That’s why I’m able to come up with so many of the jokes, beause I see the world in a very unique way," Righthand said.

Righthand has applied for a barcode to make her books available to retailers and will soon begin canvassing stores with her work. The books sell for $10 a pop, and can be purchased by emailing

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