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Vancouver’s own fantasy world

Darren Davis, president and editor-in-chief of Bluewater Productions, stands on the front porch of his large home, embracing a sweeping view of the pastoral beauty found in the Orchards area of Vancouver. Davis, a lifelong comic book fan, launched Bluewater in 2006 after working for years in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles for Lionsgate and DC Comics. That experience influenced his belief that there’s a huge advantage to living and working where he does now.

“It inspires me to create,” he says.

Inside his colorful office adorned with comic and movie posters, action figures and scores of comic books, Davis looks a bit like a kid in a candy shop.

“I’m reliving my childhood,” he says.

Davis’ first creation was 10th Muse, a superhero comic about an invented hidden tenth muse, one of the mythological Greek goddesses of literature and the arts. Davis’ muse is the goddess of martial arts. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Davis got the idea for 10th Muse while watching Xanadu, the campy ’80s film starring Olivia Newton-John. He points to a poster of the movie on his wall, signed by Newton-John, and recalls the moment of inspiration.

“I thought to myself, ‘I can create something,’” he says, adding that the comic has since been optioned for television.

Watching Xanadu paid off and Davis was spot on about his ability to create. Once he made the decision to self-publish, he named the company after a restaurant called Bluewater, where he once dined with his mother in Vancouver, B.C.

Bluewater publishes traditional fantasy- and superhero-themed comics like 10th Muse, Legend of Isis and Judo Girl, but the company is best known for its biographical comics. The Female Force series is noteworthy for portraying women in positions of power. Issues have featured such influential women as Michelle Obama, Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and even Twilight creator Stephanie Meyer. A portion of proceeds from each feature goes to a charity of the celebrity’s choice. For example, Bluewater donated to the Humane Society for DeGeneres.

One of Davis’ favorite series is the Mis-Adventures of Adam West, which he co-created with the real Adam West—the original Batman from the ’60s television series and film. The premise entails a frustrated, elderly West receiving an amulet in the mail from a fan. Having spent his life typecast as Batman, the amulet allows him to travel back in time to play the roles he’d always wished he’d gotten. A spin-off series based around Julie Newmar, the original Catwoman from the ’60s show, is also planned.

Projects with pending film deals include the mythological fantasy Wrath of the Titans, and a feature based on the ’60s sci-fi novel Logan’s Run. Bluewater has published two comic series based on Logan’s Run.

Another thing to look for in Bluewater’s future is “Van Con” – a comic book convention in Vancouver planned for this summer. Davis hopes to incorporate local schools and libraries in the convention.

“I think it’s really important to embrace the community and the library system,” he says.

Van Con will be family-friendly and will feature music and live events.

Davis acknowledges that with digital taking over the market, this is a daunting time for publishers. Personally, he says he prefers books, but has established relationships with seven different digital publishers.

“Comic books are a collector’s market,” Davis says. “I like holding something. It’s a social thing, like baseball cards. When are those going to go online?”

Nevertheless, Davis is on board with digital, and Bluewater titles can be found on both the Nook and Kindle devices.

Regardless of what medium the future holds for comics, the hope is that with passion and dedication like Davis’, comic publishers will continue to provide generations to come with the books that have captivated and influenced writers, artists, kids and dreamers for decades.

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