Forget Batman and Superman, Toronto is getting it’s own superhero. It’s been six years in the making, but Jason Loo is finally turning his childhood passion into reality.
The Pitiful Human Lizard is a comic about an ordinary man who works 9-5. But at night the character is a savior of the city. He roams the streets of Toronto, passing Honest Ed’s and surfing the top of the 501 Neville Park streetcar, looking to save the city from the evil within.
Loo grew up reading Marvel Comics in Mississauga, but Toronto has always been a big part of his life. Almost every weekend, he would travel to the city to visit places like Chinatown, Yonge-Dundas Square and the Waterfront. These are where scenes of his comic take place.
“I feel that so many big cities have a superhero situated around it. Look at New York,” Loo said. “I thought to myself, ‘Why doesn’t Toronto?’ So I decided to bring one to my home.”
Loo hopes that by focusing on well-known areas of the city, anyone in Toronto and the GTA will recognize and appreciate the setting.
“When readers open the comic, I want them to get a sense of pride for living in Toronto,” Loo said.
He explains his choice of the title “Pitiful Lizard” as something that he felt would make the comic unique because lizards are only seen in pet stores for most Canadians, Loo said.
“I picked the word pitiful because, if you look at the other superheroes like the Amazing Spider-Man or Incredible Hulk, my character can stand out because he’s different.”
Loo says he incorporates multiple characteristics of himself into the character.
“He experiences such bad luck and when I first created him in Grade 10, I was having horrible luck, so I feel like he reflects the experience I was having,” Loo said.
This comic is a true labour of love for Loo. He works full-time at a public library in Toronto but dedicates his time after work to the comic as both the illustrator and writer. He often works on the book into the early hours of the morning.
“I decided that even though I’m working full time, I can bring back my passion with illustration and telling the story of the Human Lizard,” Loo said. “Once you are passionate about a subject you can devote hours upon hours to it without it seeming excessive.
The creator is focused on promoting his first 51-page comic. He has been fundraising through a Kickstarter campaign for money to print 1,000 copies of the book. He has so far raised about $4,000, which is $500 shy of his goal. The campaign will end on March 29.
“The support has been overwhelming, and I am confident I will reach my first goal,” Loo said. “Hopefully I will be able to show Toronto what their new hero can be,” Loo said.