‘Witch Hazel’ wins Awesome Kingston July grant

Image via Colton Fox.

Every month, Awesome Kingston awards a $1,000 microgrant to a local project that the trustees think will keep Kingston awesome. This month, writer Colton Fox’s Witch Hazel – a comic series about a queer ‘freelance’ witch who takes on magic jobs – was awarded the honour.

Fox, a local writer, artist, and editorial cartoonist, developed the idea for Witch Hazel after himself living the modern freelancer lifestyle in Toronto.

“Hazel is a freelance Witch that visits homes across Toronto to perform tasks through a job app called Witchcraft,” he explained. “This is all heavily inspired by my experiences living in Toronto as a freelance artist and doing door-to-door campaigning. The job app component is inspired by the modern gig economy we find ourselves in and the dissatisfaction of commodifying one’s talent to perform unfulfilling tasks to make ends meet. But don’t worry, Hazel will find a more fulfilling use of her talent in the next issue!”

Colton Fox and Matt Dubblestein, Dean of Awesome Kingston, at the Awesome Kingston Pitch Party on Thursday, Jul. 21, 2022. Photo by Josie Vallier.

With the first issue already completed, Fox said that the Awesome Kingston grant will allow him to write and illustrate the layouts of the comic, while also providing compensation to his collaborator and co-creator Beige Blum for their artistic contributions, as well as Matt Krotzer, who will letter the pages, and the printers to print the comic.

“Beige Blum and I were part of a charity zine,” Fox stated, when asked how they came to work together. “I was very impressed with their art. I loved that they were able to portray the same character in both a small, cute ‘chibi’ style, and in a more traditional comic book style. I found that to be a truly talented skill and one that I think makes Witch Hazel visually unique compared to other comics.”

What is truly special about Witch Hazel, however, is that Fox created her in order to allow his friends to be able to see themselves represented in comics.

“I was inspired to make Witch Hazel for my friends, who are all largely queer women,” he stated. “I had previously tried to share my love of comics with them, but ran into difficulty, as they weren’t represented in any of the books on the shelves. I decided to make the book that I wish I could have shared with them at that moment. I am very happy with the response it has gotten and that people have found themselves in the comic. I believe that comics should be for everyone and that representation matters.”

Fox went on to say that developing this comic was worth “every cent” he spent. “I am incredibly proud of the hard work that Beige and I have accomplished bringing this important comic to life and its amazing response,” he said.

When asked what’s next for Witch Hazel, Fox said, “We have a publisher in San Francisco that is holding a meeting about the comic. I don’t want to jinx anything, so I won’t say more. Fingers crossed!” 

Take a look at Fox’s website for his other work (and a sneak peek at Witch Hazel.)

Learn more about Awesome Kingston on their website.

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