TUPPER LAKE - Local native Evan Bujold is getting a kick out of creating a whole new world.
Bujold, 22, is making a comic book set in a world called Late Earth, a parallel place similar to our own but with a few historic things altered. In the comic, which is five years in the making, Bujold deals with time travel, superheros, philosophy and science.
"It's turning out to be kind of a really heady project," Bujold told the Enterprise in a recent phone interview.
In addition to the comic book, Bujold is creating an album with songs telling stories about the same characters.
Bujold isn't a comic book collector, but he said he appreciates the culture of comics and loves the thought of creating worlds and heros.
"The whole thing is just very, very artistic," Bujold said.
Bujold's alter ego, Attaboy, is the book's main character. It's not just a character in Bujold's head; he dons a fox-eared hat and goggles and becomes Attaboy when he plays open mic nights and other musical performances.
Quantum physician and time fighter Attaboy spends his time trying to help the people of Late Earth, bringing to the story what Bujold calls a weird, cartoony lightheartedness, but his tragic downfall is that he often goes misunderstood because he gets lost in his head. When he's trying to prevent a catastrophe, readers will often see him typing into a calculator, mumbling numbers and figures rather than dashing around and punching bad guys' lights out. That's how he works.
"But mainly, he's trying to make the world a safe place for people to live and be and enjoy their lives," Bujold said.
Bujold includes people he knows in the story. When someone he knows says something insightful or inspiring to him, he'll ask if he can use it in the comic, often creating a character for the person in the story.
"I'll give my friends cameos," Bujold said.
He likes the idea of including more viewpoints and thoughts than just his own.
"It makes for more in-depth and more personal storytelling than something that is just made by one person," he said.
Bujold is using Kickstarter, a website that helps people raise funds for small projects, to find money to produce Late Earth. At one donation level, he includes a cameo for the donor in the comic. In another, he offers access to a secret Skype account where the person can talk to Attaboy at any time, and at another level, Attaboy will prepare a meal of the donor's choice and post the video of the cooking process on YouTube. He said he liked the idea of creating a down-to-earth superhero who is willing to chill with his fans. He said that when you're reading a comic, it's a very personal experience - just you and Batman and no one else.
"But if you met Batman in real life, would he say, 'Hey'?" Bujold said. "Would he hang out with you? Probably not."
The project is part of an independent study Bujold is doing at Syracuse University. He graduated from Tupper Lake Middle/High School as salutatorian in 2007, then got a bachelor's degree at Clarkson University in Potsdam in a program that was half art and half science - probably where the idea of a calculation- and philosophy-minded superhero developed. Now he's attending graduate school in Syracuse, working on a master's degree in fine arts and computer arts. He plans to look for jobs in animation once he's done.
He's made an album before, but while he's drawn since he was a kid, he's never sat down and tied an entire story together through a book - so he's traversing new territory.
Bujold is trying to raise $10,000 to do a 2,000-print run of a full-color, 64-page comic, plus a full-length acoustic/rap album. Each will cost about $5,000, Bujold wrote on his Kickstarter page.
He acknowledges it's unlikely he'll raise that much money, especially with a deadline this Saturday, but he figured he might as well give it a try. As of this morning, $839 had been pledged.
"I think I shot for the moon on this one, but hey, if you've got a chance, you've got to do it," Bujold said.
If he doesn't get $10,000, he said he'll have to re-evaluate the project and scale it back. Either way, he thought it would be cool for people from his hometown to know what he's up to.
"I'm from Tupper, and I want them to know I've got Tupper pride," Bujold said. "I want people to know there's a lot of great minds and hearts in Tupper Lake, and I thought this would be kind of a cool thing to show them."