His first book, 2017’s “Instrumental,” followed the story of Tom, a struggling jazz musician who, having become disillusioned with his stagnant career and his seeming inability to reach an audience, is gifted a powerful trumpet that can simultaneously make captivating music and cause apocalyptic destruction.
“I try to look at myself and say, ‘What am I struggling with? What’s my laundry list of things I struggle with?’” Chisholm says. “So I have this list of things, and then I have a list of big ideas that aren’t related to those things, and then I try to mash ‘em up.”
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- A page from Dave Chisholm's "Canopus," Issue No. 1.
“This was me trying to understand myself: How do I escape this cycle in my head of hanging onto this poison of resentment?” Chisholm says. “So it’s hard to say, 'cause the word forgiveness comes up, but it’s not quite that. It’s not quite forgiveness. But it’s more like letting go of that anger and poison that you carry around.”
Chisholm first got the inspiration for the new comic book while on a flight to Boston on February 28, 2018. For the next five months, he was fixated on the idea. Given the “lost in space” premise, he had questions about the essence of personal identity and memory. How do our memories make us who we are? And how do we break free from resentment?
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“It’s all about having a sense of normal that you can then disrupt,” he says, “and using the comic’s language, and restricting yourself for most of the story so that when you take away those restrictions, you do it at key story points.” Chisholm also uses a surrealistic style that recalls the screenplays of Charlie Kaufman, in which the psychological issues that characters experience are often manifested physically in the tactile world.
The subsequent three chapters of “Canopus” will be released monthly, beginning in March. Chisholm also has another big project, yet to be announced, to be published later this year. While the details of this new story have yet to be shared publicly, you can trust that the author will confront his own truth in the work.
- PHOTO BY ELISE HUGHEY
Daniel J. Kushner is CITY’s music editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.