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Windsor comic artist goes international

Monday November 15th, 2010, 2:30pm


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Tony Gray, a local comic artist with a passion for drawing, has recently earned international fame and notoriety. His strip The Incredible Conduit has become increasingly popular around the world amongst comic book collectors.
“I started drawing early, maybe four or five years-old. Drawing a Donald Duck head and being somewhat surprised it looked like something,” said Gray. “Then I remember as a kid sitting in front of the TV watching Speed Racer, Astro Boy and Kimba, The White Lion and emulating those characters in my drawings.”
Gray, now 40 years old, says he’s always had a knack for drawing and his sister has the same ability, so there is an artistic trait in his family.
“Even at that time it was amazing that I could picture these characters in my head and they were showing up on paper,” said Gray. “It was almost magical and I just drew and drew and drew from that point on.”
According to Gray, his fascination with comics was all consuming and by the time he was eight or nine years old he was sending material to Marvel Comics.
“There were some people at Marvel, like John Romita who drew Spiderman, that actually took the time to respond to me … and push me to get a proper education in the art field.” said Gray.
Gray attended the University of Windsor studying visual arts and history, which gave him a much stronger background. He learned to draw everything and see things from a different perspective.
Gray has been with the electronic division of The Windsor Star since December 2000, when he began producing a piece called Saturday Afternoon and another strip called Mick and Me.
“Saturday Afternoon was the first daily comic strip I began working on. It started doing well,” said Gray. “I started to get interest from the syndicates and it’s now running in about 70 papers across North America.”
After Gray began doing work for Legacy Comics he came up with the idea of creating a superhero strip. The result was The Incredible Conduit which currently appears in The Windsor Star and in comic books.
Gray said he pitched the idea of running The Conduit instead of Mick and Me to Marty Beneteau, editor at The Star, to see if it flies.
Gray says The Conduit has flown very well.
“It’s moved on to a comic book. It’s become international and I am constantly asked to attend comic book conventions and book signings,” Said Gray.
The Conduit has a special twist to its theme and storyline.
“There is community involvement within the strip. It’s about a superhero that fights crime right here in the city of Windsor,” said Gray. “If you look closely at the strip you will find actual Windsorites written into the script.”
In 2008 Gray teamed up with Daniel Palanca to form Legacy Comics and is currently writing and illustrating the continuing series White Plastic for Legacy. He is also working with writer and host of The Comic Book Syndicate Michael Poirier on the series Laser Police.
“It’s getting out of hand,” said Gray. “I’m working 14 or 15 hours a day and I’m finally at a place where I’m fortunate enough to shift off and focus on the comic books completely.”

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