Jay Baruchel

The comic ac­tor joins Chap­ter­house.

Comic Heroes - - Contents -

Ac­tor Jay Baruchel has joined Chap­ter­house as part owner and Chief Cre­ative Of­fi­cer of the Toronto-based pub­lisher. “It’s the best thing ever, it’s such a cool thing to have to work – us­ing fin­gers for air-quotes – ap­prov­ing su­per he­roes and com­ing up with crazy story arcs,” Baruchel en­thu­si­as­ti­cally ex­plains.

Chap­ter­house launched in 2015 af­ter its CEO Fadi Hakim wanted to use the Cana­dian su­per­hero Cap­tain Canuck’s im­age on his restau­rant’s menu. Af­ter buy­ing the li­cence for the char­ac­ter from its cre­ator Richard Comely, he got a team to­gether to re-imag­ine the char­ac­ter, launch an an­i­mated web­series and even­tu­ally a comic. The part­ner­ship with Baruchel stemmed from dis­cus­sions he had with Chap­ter­house about putting to­gether a Cap­tain Canuck film. “They asked me to write a movie and five days later I came back to them with a decade-long vi­sion for the com­pany and asked if I could in­vest.”

The pub­lisher and Baruchel are both proud to be Cana­dian, which is what drew him to Hakim, as Hakim ex­plains. “He’s un­abashedly Cana­dian – be­ing a Hol­ly­wood star but liv­ing in Toronto when Hol­ly­wood is where a lot of his friends are, is kind of a big thing.” Baruchel and Hakim share a goal of want­ing to make su­per­heroes and sto­ries for every­one, feel­ing some peo­ple aren’t rep­re­sented as well as they should be. Baruchel says, “We want to have su­per­heroes that are un­com­mon and di­verse, we want to make he­roes that the big two [pub­lish­ers] don’t nec­es­sar­ily have the balls to. So our char­ac­ters run the gam­bit eth­ni­cally and re­li­giously; gen­ders are equally rep­re­sented and so are sex­ual ori­en­ta­tions.”

He con­tin­ues. “I think there are a bunch of kids in Canada, in the UK, in Aus­tralia and in the States who grow up not of the ma­jor­ity cul­ture, and I think that those kids are un­der­served, those kids should be able to see su­per­heroes that look like them.”

Chap­ter­house wants to present sto­ries that Cana­dian kids can re­late to; when the su­per­heroes are fight­ing, it’s not on the streets of Man­hat­tan but across Yorkville. Baruchel hopes that his name can bring in new read­ers who may have once looked past the Cap­tain

Canuck or Piti­ful Hu­man Lizard ti­tles and see that there are tal­ented writ­ers and artists not just in the States but also in their back­yard. While still work­ing on movies, he has also been co-writ­ing on the Cap­tain Canuck: Year

One mini-se­ries as well as work­ing on other unan­nounced ti­tles. “Writ­ing Year One has been this nice, beau­ti­ful, lib­er­at­ing era; it’s re­stored my faith in writ­ing in a way be­cause there’s some­thing in­cred­i­bly pure and hon­est about it,” says Baruchel.

The fu­ture looks bright for Chap­ter­house as they have also an­nounced a part­ner­ship with Di­a­mond Books, who will dis­trib­ute their trades across North Amer­ica and Eu­rope. These books will be new trades as well as archived clas­sics. Hakim elab­o­rates, “We’ll have ap­prox­i­mately 26 books re­leased by the end of this year through Di­a­mond and in 2018 we’re look­ing to dou­ble that in terms of trades.” Cap­tain Canuck: Year One #2 will be pub­lished by Chap­ter­house this au­tumn 2017


Above: Baruchel’s films in­clude Trop­icThun­der and KnockedUp

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