Gerald Bull Project
Some exciting news for me is that last month I received a Canada Council grant for my next new project - a full fledged historical graphic novel in the vein of my Banting mini-comic about Canadian scientist Gerald Bull.
Gerald Bull was considered by many to be one of the most brilliant scientists of the twentieth century. His research led him across the globe, from Canada, to the Pentagon in the U.S., to Barbados, South Africa and Iraq – where he developed the “Supergun” for Saddam Hussein, and ultimately to Brussels, where he was assassinated in 1990.
Canadians often think that our history is boring, but this story is one of drama, intrigue and politics that reads like it came right out of a John LeCarre novel. It also has a lot of themes that are relevant to the politics of today - namely how far should individual passion and obsession take you?
I first became aware of Gerald Bull through my grand aunt Louise Murphy. A Sergeant and code-breaker in WWII, she served as Bull’s personal secretary during his time at Valcartier, Quebec in the 1950s and would house sit for him while he was on overseas trips.
She knew him as a genius, a caring family man and boss. She also felt that he wasn’t given the respect or support he deserved from the Canadian and US governments (his work for South Africa actually got him imprisoned in the US for 6 months), and that this is what led to his downfall.
So - this is what will be taking up my time for the next couple of years. Right now I am in research mode, but am also doing some sketches. This summer I will be writing the first draft.
Above is my drawing of Bull in Barbados, where he worked on the HARP gun (High Altitude Research Project).