“Have you ever met a pirate…” begins Scallywag Solution, Trevor Newland’s new graphic novel, and the first children’s book he’s had published.
Newland, who teaches creative writing and literature at Langara, launched the book last Thursday in the college’s faculty lounge.
With pages full of peculiar and colourful illustrations, Newland dives into a fantastic and unique world of scallywag pirates.
Greatly inspired by Asterix and Alice in Wonderland, Newland honours the latter with a checkerboard floor on the book’s front cover.
The book is a “rebellion against the cult of beauty in our society” Newland told the audience, with four physical misfits as the protagonists: Roger the Tailor, Gassy Jack the Cook, Lazy Eyed Liam and Peggy Legs.
“I think kids like to be a bit scared sometimes,” Newland said, winking to his son “and I think that’s something missing in our Disneyfied age.”
For years, Newland was a songwriter and musician. One night, while recording in L.A., his producer called him to say he was dropping Newland’s project to produce a Disney project with Hilary Duff.
Rattled, Newland hung up the phone and instantly drew the first picture of Roger’s character.
“Hilary Duff stepped in and gave me the knockout punch, and Jolly Roger stepped into the ring and picked me up,” he told the audience.
Nearly 18 years later, Newland has stuck with Roger, who he feels a sense of loyalty to.
The author admitted Roger and Gassy Jack’s characters are essentially himself and his brother Mike.
“Jack doesn’t need the spotlight too much, but he’s always around offering Roger good advice,” Newland said.
The room was filled with friends, family, colleagues, a former student and former band mates. Also present were Elio Rota, Newland’s friend and music composer for the film version of Scallywag Solution, and Langara health sciences professor, Paul Sunga.
Scallywag Solution is the first in a series of three books. Newland is contracted to do two more books, in this series and a different one.
“I think the series will get better and better, having looked at the direction he is taking his art and stories,” said Sunga.