Vancouver comics artists take over bus shelters!

Comics in Transit art by Nina Matsumoto.

Comics in Transit art by Nina Matsumoto.

Vancouver comics artists’ work is being seen by more people than ever before.

It’s all thanks to an initiative on the part of local publisher/collective Cloudscape Comics, working with the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Department.

Comics in Transit is a public art project that brings comics by local artists to transit shelters. Bus-riders and passersby can view work by some of the city’s most talented illustrators, including Colin Upton, Steve Rolston, and The Simpsons/Futurama comics artists James Lloyd and Nina Matsumoto.

In total, 20 giant-sized one-page comics will be going up before the end of October. Some are already installed, including Matsumoto’s, which is at the busy Dunbar & 41st stop.

“I knew from the start I wanted to keep mine short, simple, light on text, and show people sleeping on trains in Japan,” Matsumoto writes on her website,

“I then decided to say ‘otsukarésama’ to hard-working Vancouverites. The expression can take at least a paragraph to fully explain, so it was tough keeping it brief, but I consulted with fellow (award-winning!) Japanese-English translator Zack Davisson to make sure I got the idea across well.”

According to Matsumoto (and Davisson), Otsukarésama “can be translated a few different ways depending on the context – ‘thanks for your hard work,’ ‘good job,’ or even ‘hello’ – but I wanted to at least show that the word “tired” is in there, since praising one’s fatigue is the theme of this comic.”

The comics even have a theme: each documents city life around the world, from Vancouver to Paris to Japan.

In a Vancouver Courier story, Cloudscape president Oliver McTavish-Wisden says, “I wanted to do something that would connect with the people waiting for the bus together. Because it’s such a multicultural city I decided to do stories from cities around the world so that the people waiting for their bus meeting other people would learn a little something about their neighbours.”

Art by Sam Logan.

Art by Sam Logan.

The first batch, up until Oct. 5, includes:

Powell 20m W/O Main NS – Phillip Barrett
Cambie 31m s/o W. 43rd WS – Steve Rolston
Commercial 20m N/O E. 6th ES – Steve Rolston
Fraser 20m N/O E. 28th ES – Sam Logan
E. Hastings 43m E/O Windermere SS – Jonathon Dalton
Kingsway 20m W/O Rupert NS – Johnnie Christmas
Nanaimo 27m S/O William WS – Jonathon Dalton
W. 10th 29m W/O Tolmie – Jason Turner
W. 41st 11m W/O Dunbar SS – Nina Matsumoto
E. 49th 31m E/O Killarney SS – Sean Karemaker

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