News / Calgary

Comic engagement: Calgary artist uses comics to tell stories about Ramsay

Sam Hester has been writing comics about her cross-continent adventures for years. As a flight attendant, she always sought out new stories to tell from the streets of Germany or the English countryside.

“I grew up in Calgary, but I never knew what was going on here,” she said. “Even though I lived here, I didn’t know anyone on my street, I don’t know what was happening in town at all.”

But after going on maternity-leave for her first child, so the Ontario College of Art and Design grad had to stay on the ground, and began writing comics about Ramsay.

“I had to find the meaningful stories in my own neighbourhood,” she said. “And I realized – what should have been no surprise – that there was more inspiration than I could ever want on my own block.”

In 2012, she began illustrating a full-page comic strip for the Ramsay community newsletter. Her monthly comics included maps, stories about motherhood and conversations with people on the street. She said the stories are universal, but it took her time to see them in her own backyard.

“People in Canada grow up reading books about other places, not realizing that their own stories have the same merit as those from Paris or Tokyo,” she said. “But why not? The same human dramas are unfolding. It still matters.”

Martin L’Heureux, co-editor of the Ramsay community newsletter, said that he’s heard from the community that readership has grown since 2012.

“Our mandate’s always been to weave the community together, that’s what we strive to do, and the comics are a part of that,” he said. “You want the poetry and the magic of where you live.”

As of January, Hester no longer posts the comics in the newsletter, but will compile the Ramsay comic collection in a book for the Calgary Comic Expo this April.

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