Whenever I do an interview, one of the most commonly asked questions is, “Why did you decide to write Brute?”

You’d think there would be some great succinct answer to that, which sums up 30 years of ideas, passions, hopes and dreams. An answer that’d immediately help the listener to grasp why I’d have such audacity to expose the world to these characters, themes and stories. But in truth, the answer is closer to, ‘I didn’t have a choice.”

Waaaayy back in the 90’s when I was coming up with storylines for the superhero RPGs I ran for my friends and brothers, I created the characters, or most of them anyway (Rose came earlier, some later), that now inhabit the ‘Bruteverse’. There was just something about Brute, this unassuming teddy-bear-like alien that could kick everyone’s a**, who was both confident and a touch cocky yet kind-hearted and understated that held a special place in my heart.

Of course so did Jerrreecko/Vanguard, Rintax, Rose and others. It was like they had such great stories, such interesting chemistry and such great personality flaws – at the same time annoying, yet easy to root for, that you want to see them succeed, despite their character flaws, or perhaps, because of them.

They wouldn’t leave me alone. For 30 years they were locked up in my head, bouncing around, demanding to be told. They haunted me, in a pleasant sort of way, but I just couldn’t forget about them as new and even more interesting insights about them were revealed. I just had to tell their story. I had too!

I made many attempts over the years, but none of them felt ‘right’. Starting the story with Brute, especially early Brute as we see him in the flashbacks in Issue #2 ‘Beauty and the Brute’, just didn’t work. Early Brute is just too much of a jerk! LOL. He’s a mess of anger, entitlement, bawdy behaviour and condescending attitude all covering up a huge lack of self-worth. He’s not someone you want to root for, despite being cute.

It wasn’t until I finally realized Brute is the ‘Fonz’ of the show – the beloved, cool, bad-boy of the show, but not the actual star. Ultimately, this is really Rose’s story. Rose has two huge advantages over her companion; One) She’s human, and so the reader can immediately identify with her, and discover this unique space epic’s universe through her eyes, and Two) She’s truly someone you can root for. She’s also battered and broken, but she’s both tough, yet compassionate. She’s the heart of the group, and the real star of the show.

Rose also has the added benefit of bring out the best qualities in Brute. She makes him want to be a better person than he’s been being. He instinctively realizes he desperately needs what she’s bringing to his life, and she needs him to survive in this dangerous galaxy. Plus, who wouldn’t love a bad boy teddy bear? Their chemistry is great, if explosive…

Brute’s insecurity about his own self-worth makes him react angrily if he’s made to feel like he’s somehow, ‘not good enough.’ Combine that with Rose’s lack of trust in people, after being abandoned as a child, robbed, conned and enslaved, and her (understandably) fiercely independent streak, and you’ve got a dangerous mix of two co-dependent people who both love, and at times, hate each other.

Digressing… how could I not tell this story? It’s the kind of messy, human, tragic love story that’ll never work, maybe, that everyone would be compelled to see how this turns out (do they get together or is it a train wreck?) wrapped in an epic space saga with all the action, adventure and fun that entails.

Clearly, I’m haunted. It won’t let me go. It’s a story I just have to tell.

Welcome along for the ride!


I’ll be returning to the Barrie, ON area for the Barrie Comic Con this Sunday, September 11th.

Brute #3 ‘The Cost of Freedom’ is nearing completion, with the finished art 100% done, and finished inks almost 50%. It’s slower than we planned, but it’s definitely getting done.

We’ll be running a Kickstarter for Brute #3 to help cover print costs – and to help give it much broader exposure than we can doing conventions. So expect to see that in October or November. If it goes well enough, it’ll really help us to move to a much faster production schedule, and who knows what else that exposure could lead too?

Lastly, if you’ve the time and interest, I was interviewed recently on the ‘In Your Face’ show for a really indepth, if long, look into Brute. You can watch it here: