Red Hill Billy: Red Hill Rising – The Great Canadian Werewolf Story.
With Canadian rock royalty RUSH recently playing two back to back, sold out, gigs in Toronto (June 17 & 19, 2015), even filming for the first time here in Toronto in almost 20 years and with Canada Day fast approaching I thought it was time introduce the Decibel Geek world to another Crazy Canuck. Ten-year-old Billy Dekana is a rabid RUSH fanatic and generally a hard rock fan. Billy sounds like a pretty cool kid right? Well, Billy has a big responsibility on his shoulders too! Billy lives in Red Hill, a small town in Northern Ontario, but Billy Dekana is in fact not a real person. Billy has a little of all of us in him, all of my high school friends that is. You see, Billy Dekana is the creation of one Robbie Armstrong, childhood friend to The Meister, in his brand new graphic novel Red Hill Billy: Red Hill Rising…….
“Rabid werewolves roam the remote Canadian Wilderness. 10-year-old Billy Dekana and his classmates must fight for survival and save the world – you know, typical kid stuff. Experience bloody fight scenes that would make even Dracula turn away in fear! Find out the secret origins of the Rabid Werewolves and what a bunch of kids are going to do about it, learn how to throw an axe AND the proper usage of the word “Eh”!. The year is 1985. The town is Red Hill. The t-shirt is RUSH!”
As kids I always remember Robbie with his drawing pad almost wherever we were, he created such memorable characters that always made us laugh like “The Forgotten Smurfs”, “The Turd Burglar” (A spoof of McDonalds‘ The Hamburglar) and “Farmin’ Buddy” (actually a based on another friend of ours). Robbie recently created and drew the artwork for the t-shirts that I made for “The EH Team” (a group of Canadians voyaging on the Monsters of Rock Cruise). Here’s a little history on the creator of Red Hill Billy through Robbie‘s official bio:
“Robbie Armstrong, with a Fine Arts degree from York University, began his professional career by having the short story “Johnny Bionic and the Eternal Flame” published in Slave Labor Graphic‘s “Love in Tights #3”. Co-created with and written by John Dranski, the project marked the first and last appearance of the Rebel Without a Clue. Years later, Robbie was hired as lead inker at Dreamwave Productions. Inking for Image Superstar Pat Lee, he worked on books such as Dark Minds, Warlands, Fate of the Blade and Neon Cyber.
Through the success of its own books, Dreamwave licensed properties through Hasbro such as Transformers, G.I. Joe/Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, all of which were worked on by Robbie (fulfilling many childhood dreams). It was during this time that he illustrated the Arcee Lithograph (later turned into a statue) and the Box Art for the relaunch of Transformers toys by Hasbro. As the success of THOSE books skyrocketed (the first mini-series, written by Chris Sarracini and based on the Transformers: Generation 1 characters, was the top-selling book on the sales charts for its entire run), Robbie also had the opportunity to work on X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Punisher, Black Panther, Iron Man for Marvel Comics; Batman and Superman for DC Comics, Conan for Dark Horse Publishing, and Witchblade for Top Cow Productions.
After Dreamwave folded and closed it’s doors permanently in January 2005, Robbie tried to maintain his presence in the industry with his creator-owned project American Nightmare, drawn by Noubar Kilislian. Publishers were not interested in this quirky tale of super-powered teens fighting zombies in the 50’s, so Robbie turned to his other passion: computing.
By day, Robbie is a Computer Engineer recovering crashed hard drives and RAID arrays in a class-100 lab. By night, he fights crime.
Just kidding – he is still creating. He wrote and drew the 26-page opus “Red Hill Billy: Red Hill Rising”, and is ready to launch the project on Kickstarter.”
And so now Robbie is set to unleash his latest creation, Red Hill Billy: Red Hill Rising through said above mentioned Kickstarter campaign. There are plenty of rewards available, depending of course on your level of pledge. Some of the highlights, aside from the book itself are artwork from industry superstars such as Alvin Lee, Joe Ng and Kalman Adrasofszky, names that I’m sure mean something to you if you’re into the comic world. Robbie has created the characters, written the story and of course drawn this 26-page graphic novel (comic book). Red Hill Rising is the first in a three book series with the coloring being completed by Sigmund Torre who has previously worked on DC Comics‘ DC Special: Raven and Neon Cyber. Robbie has set a Kickstarter goal of $8500 (CDN….so basically Monopoly money to the rest of the world). These funds will be used to cover the costs, such as the colorist’s work and also the printing of Volume One of Red Hill Billy. Any remaining funds Robbie plans to use to help fund Comic Con appearances.
Billy Dekana, 10 years old, listening to RUSH and saving the world from werewolves! You tell me a better combination than rock n’ roll, horror stories and comic books….check out the Kickstarter for more reward details.