A superhero that started out as a "thank you" to the city of Sudbury has turned into Expired Comics' most requested character.
Big Nick 2 is set to launch this June at Sudbury's Graphic-Con, and the hero's co-creators are surprised at how much attention he's received.
"At this point, Big Nick has gone on to sell across Canada and the U.S," said Kevin Montpellier, co-owner of Expire Comics. "He resonates with a lot of people. There's a liking for the character that even we didn't anticipate."
"It's not huge numbers, but we never expected to see a Sudbury character in an international market," Montpellier said.
Montpellier said Big Nick was created for Graphic-Con in 2015, but wasn't expecting fans to want more.
"We thought 'how about we create something special for the event?,' Montpellier said. "[Co-creator] Martin Deschatelets took the lead and created Big Nick. The following year we created a comic book that represents Sudbury, has Sudbury humour."
"We never thought Big Nick would be our flagship character. We thought it was a thank you, never did we think it would be the main franchise our business actually offers."
Big Nick 2 takes place soon after the events of Issue #1. Big Nick is being presented with an award for his heroic deeds, when chaos breaks loose.
"The story arc is based on the mining industry in Sudbury," Montpellier said. "They may have mined too deep and awoken something from underground."
"A giant mountain-type creature appears and starts ravaging the city of Sudbury."
Montpellier said incorporating local details, like Sudbury's mining industry, are what the audience responds to.
"There's a lack of good Canadian heroes, based in real Canadian cities," he said. "Once you create a Canadian character and provide him with a good, proper story, and good artwork, we saw immediately that Canadians like that."
To help pay for the production costs of the comic, Expired turned to Kickstarter to raise funds.
"We've hired a second artist," he said. "A very important part of our approach is we want to produce faster. We're paying an artist to do the colouring. If there's anything else left over, that goes into profit."
Montpellier said the second issue will be ready for June 10's Graphic-Con.