Vancouver
2 min

Fun and fresh

Patrick Fillion's illustrations are playful

IT'S FANTASY. Patrick Fillion's comic work is often proudly erotic. "I've always had a sense of what I felt was right and wrong and I feel that people the right to express themselves, so far as they're not hurting other people," he says. Credit: David Ellingsen

When he was five years old, Patrick Fillion’s family moved from Quebec to Prince George. One fateful day his aunt gave him some pop bottles and he took his younger brother to the corner store for candy. That day, he remembers, he noticed some brightly coloured picture books.



“That’s when I picked up my first comic, ever,” Fillion grins. “It was X-Men.”



It clearly made a deep impression. He makes his living making comics and illustrating them for others.



“Basically I do illustrations and my forte is comic books,” he explains, “and for the most part, what I have done is erotica.”



Fillion and his partner run Class Comics which produces a line of erotic adult comic books aimed primarily at a gay male audience. Three years ago, he dropped out of the mainstream job market to start his business.



“I thought, ‘If I don’t make it drawing gay stuff, then I don’t make it.'”



Now he’s excited about illustrating Rob Gray’s characters in Waterboys, the serialized novel now running in Xtra West, and a successor to Tide Pool Sketches, which ran in 2001.



Fillion illustrated the first novel, too.



He finds the work a bit different from his day-to-day fare. Most of his experience is with nude subjects, he laughs, so it might be a bit of a challenge drawing people wearing clothes.



His personal challenge is: “I want these characters to look like fun and to be fresh.” He’s not often asked to draw female characters, so he was pleased to do that for the first book.



The 30-year-old artist does his illustrations as the story progresses-only after he has confirmation of the final script. He says he likes to work “under the gun,” finding some level of inspiration in the pressure of no-mercy newspaper deadlines.



His comic book illustrations have been labelled pornographic by social conservatives.



“I’ve been asked before, do I feel like I contribute to the degradation of society.”



He makes no apology. “I have to draw a line. It’s fantasy!” The majority of his comic book characters and stories are science-fiction.



Sure, “some of the depictions that I’ve drawn have been quite explicit,” but he rejects any suggestion that his work could be damaging.



“I have strong opinions. I’ve always had a sense of what I felt was right and wrong and I feel that people have the right to express themselves, so far as they’re not hurting any other people.



“I don’t get up in the morning and think, ‘Today I’m going to draw a porn comic.’ I just get up and think, ‘I’m going to draw.’ I really don’t look at what I draw as being dirty. People have been really receptive and quite welcoming.”



Fillion puts his talent where his mouth is. He was upset when Canada Customs seized Meatmen comics issues 18 & 24, destined for Little Sister’s in 2001. Fillion had contributed to Meatmen as had some of his friends. He volunteered to draw the cover for a book, What’s Wrong?, published to raise funds for the Little Sister’s fight against the Meatmen seizure.



Fillion gets letters and e-mails from his readers saying things like: I love the story in this one, and, I really like this character.



“That’s what gives me the charge,” he says. “People are seeing more than just the sexual acts.”



As far as the mostly clothed characters in his current project with Waterboys, Fillion has found an intriguing character in Dr Max.



“He’s quickly becoming my favourite,” he grins. “Some characters just speak to you and he has spoken the loudest.”



MEET PATRICK FILLION.

Thu, Feb 19 at 7 pm.

At Little Sister’s.

1238 Davie St.

Class Comics.

www.patrickfillion.com.