If you’re looking for a comic that offers options not normally found in standard fare, then AH! Comics will have a title for you. Founded in 2011 by Andy Stanleigh and Mike Tymczyszyn, Toronto Canada’s AH! (Alternate History!) was launched with the title Titan: An Alternate History. Titan was written by Tymcsyszyn and illustrated by Stanleigh. The two men decided to build the company based on that title.
“AH Comics (Alternate History Comics Inc.) was named after our debut publication, Titan: An Alternate History. We liked what we could do with “AH”, said Stanleigh.
Rather than choosing a standard comic book format, they decided to develop in the format of a graphic novel, including a diverse offering in their titles. “It was a conscious decision to go with books that are more ‘graphic novel’ than comic book. While we love comics, from Indy to mainstream, we’re definitely more passionate about stories that do not feature powers or capes. “ Stanleigh said “The books we end up choosing to produce have to be unique and engaging, each one having a different look and feel.”
And what a diversity they offer.
Titles range from; Titan: An Alternate History, the story of a history professor who learns something about his own past which could affect the future; The Jewish Comic Anthology, a collection of stories from a variety of well-known creators drawn from Jewish myth and folklore; Hobson’s Gate, a title that was nominated for the 2014 Association of Arts & Social Change Canadian Publishing Award, as well as an AASC People’s Choice Award. AH! Donates a portion of proceeds from every sale of Hobson’s Gate is donate to mental health charities in Canada; to the current project Moonshot, a volume of collected stories from native artists with comic book backgrounds as well as several other titles.
The last two projects were both successfully funded through Kickstarter campaigns. “Those two publications each include dozens of authors and writers from all over the world contributing stories. With that, it seemed like a great fit to give readers – from all over the world – a chance to be a part of these project’s creations. We were so lucky and are incredibly thankful that so many people came out to support both Kickstarter campaigns, “Stanleigh said. The successful funding of Moonshot has caused it to be named one of the 2015 Top 10 crowd funding successes for books in Canada by the Globe & Mail. This is quite an impressive accomplishment for an independent publisher.
Although Stanleigh was originally credited as an artist, AH! Comics’ expansion has caused him to take on several roles. “By default I wear many hats – editor, producer, art director, etc. It’s just kind of how things go in a publishing company this young, but we’re growing and in a short while we’ll be employing a full complement of minions to help spread AH Comics to all corners of the Earth.”
Despite their success to date, Stanleigh isn’t about to let the ball stop rolling. Currently, they are working on a second Titan book as well as an adaptation of Mark Twain’s stories. This comes at a busy time as Stanleigh prepares for the upcoming convention season where the much-anticipated title Moonshot will be promoted.
You will have the opportunity to meet Andy Stanleigh at the May 9 – May 10 Toronto Comic Arts Festival (or TCAF.).
John Goodale is the author of ‘Johnny Gora’ (available through Amazon.com), and a number of articles here on TMRZoo.com. His monthly column ‘Indy Comics Spotlight’ appears here and through his blog Indy Comics Spotlight