The comic actor joins Chapterhouse.
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
FIVE DAYS LATER I CAME BAC K TO THEM WITH A DECADE-LONG VISION FOR THE COMPANY
Above: Baruchel’s films include TropicThunder and KnockedUp