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This article was published 3/4/2018 (621 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A last-minute influx of contributors secured the future of a book highlighting the life’s work of local cartoonist Stephen Groves.
The kickstarter.com campaign, led by Groves’ longtime friend T. Keith Edmunds, capped off at $21,388 during the weekend, which notches slightly above its $20,000 goal.
Now that the fundraising is done, the hard work begins, with Edmunds charged with paring several hundred pages’ worth of content down to a 200-page hardcover book memorializing his friend’s talents
Groves died at age 46 late last year as a result of cancer.
With the artist deeming much of his work "not good enough," or "not perfect," Groves’ friends and family have long lamented the fact that he never found the audience they still believe he deserved.
The majority of his work has never been seen outside of a small circle of people.
The book idea was sparked during Groves’ funeral, where loved ones inquired as to where they might see the art they’d heard so much about.
Although his comic strip "The Grove" ran in the Wheat City Journal (now the Westman Journal) from 2005 to 2007 and encapsulated his sense of humour, it didn’t demonstrate his range of artistic talent, Edmunds said.
While Groves’ favourite creation was a cartoon raccoon named Puck, his work ranged from cartoon to realistic and also included the surreal.
Sifting through hundreds of pages of work, both on paper and digital, Edmunds’ work has only just begun, but it’s an effort that he said would be well worth it.
Relaying what he said at least one kickstarter.com contributor has already offered, he said, "It feels important."
In addition to Groves’ work, the book will include a forward by comic book artist Kaare Andrews.
Best known for his work on a handful of Marvel titles, Andrews got to know Groves during their time as roommates while attending the Alberta College of Art and Design.
Edmunds interviewed Andrews for his blog, Unfinished Stories: The Art of Stephen Groves (unfinishedstories.ca), where he is chronicling the book’s progress and receiving book orders.
"There was only one other guy at art school that would gush over comics the way I did," Andrews told Edmunds. "Steve’s love of comics was only matched by his love of music and Tim Burton movies. I’d often come home to find him with his headphones on, listening to Danny Elfman and reading the funny books."
Edmunds said that his goal is to get the book printed by September.
Although he’s the book’s principal editor, he said that there’s no doubt Groves’ friends and family members would be helping out.
"I have no shortage of people I can call in for help," he said. "A lot of Steve’s friends have been emailing me … and everyone’s pitching in and is excited about the project."
A September print date lines up with the first-ever Brandon Comic Con, scheduled to take place at the Keystone Centre on Sept. 8 and 9, at which Edmunds hopes to launch the book.
Provided Groves’ reluctance to publicly release his artwork in life, it’s difficult to say how he might have reacted to this project, Edmunds said.
"He’d be enthusiastic about the project, for sure, but whether it would ever happen is hard to say."
» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB