When it comes to his latest project, Curt Shoultz is perfectly happy settling for second place.
On Monday, the Brandon-based artist was busy putting the finishing touches on sections of "Yay Comics," a larger-than-life, 24-page volume that is 96.5 centimetres long and 62.2 centimetres wide.
In terms of scale, your average Marvel or DC Comics book is less than one-third of that size, sporting measurements that are roughly 25.7 cm by 16.8 cm.
Shoultz told the Sun that his finalized project will be the second-largest comic book in the world, falling just short of the current Guinness record holder, a Brazilian work titled "Turma da Mônica," that is 99.8 cm by 69.9 cm.
"When I first thought of this idea, the paper that I had was perfect for it last summer," he said. "But in the last year, these guys down in Brazil made this thing that was just a little bit bigger."
But Shoultz is still moving forward with this project and isn’t discouraged by the fact that his book is getting slightly edged out in the size department. He’s not even thinking about mass producing this story and putting it on store shelves.
To him, "Yay Comics" is more of an arts installation that he is going to debut at the Bran-Con comic convention, which is taking place Oct. 19-20 at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium.
There, any curious passerby can browse through Shoultz’s original, all-ages story about three kids who find out how dangerous comic books can be.
"I wanted to do something that was more interactive," he said. "So I’ll be at the convention, at a table, and I’m hoping people come by and invest 15 or 20 minutes in reading it and give me some feedback."
Having drawn comics and newspaper cartoons for most of his life, including an eight-year run working for DC in the ’90s, Shoultz is just happy that he’s still getting the opportunity to experiment with the medium.
Since the canvas for "Yay Comics" is way larger than what he’s used to, Shoultz said the artwork is much broader and evokes bigger emotions, even if it means every tiny mistake he makes is more noticeable.
"I have to be OK with mistakes," he said. "I have to be more confident and more fluid with it, and say ‘this is going to be the way it is. Maybe it doesn’t look as good as some of the artists I really admire, but it tells the story and that’s all it has to do.’"
Shoultz also hopes this project inspires him take more risks in the future, including creative ventures outside the world of comic books and newspaper cartooning.
But in the meantime, the artist said he’s looking forward to meeting up with friends and strangers alike at Bran-Con, where they can use his new oversized volume to bond over their mutual love of sequential art.
"Comic books have shown me a lot," he said. "I’ve learned a lot of about drawing. They’ve been a good income for a period of time, and I just want to celebrate that."
» Twitter: @KyleDarbyson