Graphic novelist feels power of responsibility in latest offering


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This article was published 08/04/2010 (4685 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

West End writer David Robertson can relate to the famous Spider-Man line that says with great power comes great responsibility.

Robertson has been using his own power of the pen to make a difference since publishing his first graphic novel, The Life of Helen Betty Osborne, in 2008. That initial offering was an effort to educate people about the dangers of racism.

Stone, the first of four planned chapters in his new 7 Generations series, continues that theme. It will be officially launched April 15 at 7 p.m. at Chapters Polo Festival.

Trevor Suffield David Robertson is excited about the release of his graphic novel, Stone, the first in a four-part series.

The series spans three centuries and follows one family from the prairie encampment of Plains Cree in the early 19th century to modern-day society.

While writing the graphic novel was enjoyable, Robertson said he made a conscious effort to educate people about what they can do to make a positive change in the world.

“I think everyone has to use their own talents to fight for something better and for me it’s writing,” said Robertson, who is the current writer-in-residence at Aqua Books.

“So getting these stories out there, I feel a great deal of responsibility to get the history right and to start trying to make a little bit of a difference.”

Robertson, 33, is proud of the fact that his first graphic novel has been incorporated into the curriculum of some schools around the city and hopes that his 7 Generations series is adopted into classrooms as well.

Robertson said that as much as the book is meant to educate readers, he admits that he also learned a lot.

“I’m Swampy Cree, not Plains Cree, and the traditions are different. So (through the writing and research) I found that I wanted to learn more about Swampy Cree,” said Robertson, who grew up in River Heights.

Robertson said that aboriginal elders were involved in the making of the book to ensure that what was being presented was accurate.

He said that the book really started to come together once illustrator Scott Henderson came on board and created some striking imagery.

For Henderson, who lives in Charleswood, working on the 7 Generations series has been a unique collaborative effort.

“It was very easy between the two of us because we both thought along the same lines. He’d write something and I wouldn’t feel much need to change it, unless for practical reasons,” said Henderson, who is also working on his own graphic novel The Book of Era.

He added that Stone is a story that will appeal to everyone and hopes that it has a positive impact on people’s lives.

“If people are like Edwin (the main character) and having trouble, maybe this will make them think and give themselves hope if they relate to the history or not.”

Robertson said that the upcoming chapters — Scars, Ends/Begins and The Pact — will deal with topics like the small pox epidemic and the impact of the residential school experience.

He hopes to release them every three to four months and then would like to see them eventually collected in one volume.

The book launch for Stone will take place April 15 at 7 p.m. at Chapters Polo Festival at 695 Empress St. It is available at Chapters, Aqua Books and online at

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