Self Portrait, Arctic Comics, 1986: inside back cover.
Born 11 May 1957.
He immigrated with his family to Canada in 1959 and became a Canadian citizen in 1970.
He studied graphic arts at Selkirk Central Jr. High School, three years Fine Art and Commercial Art at Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive High School, where he cartooned for The Lord Selkirk Daily, a high schoo0ol underground paper. He pursued his interest for four years Fine Arts at University of Manitoba where in 1980 he received a D.F.A. While at U of M he cartooned and illustrated for the university paper The Manitoban and created a credit course for himself, “Graphic Narrative” in order to follow his interest in graphic story telling.
After he graduated, he did graphic work for the Manitoba department of Health Education, television ad scripts and storyboards for Actron Agencies, hotel murals, set designs for low budget films, portraits, paintings, brochures etc. At the same time he crossed paths with the Captain Canuck phenomenon, writing a script for Captain Canuck Summer Special no. 2 and doing colours for Captain Canuck no. 15. He met George Freeman who became a major influence on Nick. CKR Productions collapsed before either was published. His bad luck continued when he did a story, art and colours for an “E-man vs. Captain Atom” story for Charlton Bullseye, only to have that company fold before the issue was published. He persevered and worked on Marvel’s Jack Of Hearts and Fanfare as well as Pacific Presents, Death Rattle, Go Berserk, etc.
He exhibited his drawings, paintings, and sculptures at the Centre Cultrel Franco Manitobain in St. Boniface, and at Gallery 111, the Janet Ian Cameron Gallery and the Amie L’heureux Gallery in Winnipeg. In 1980 he joined the Manitoba Snow Sculpture team. They travelled to Québec City where they won 2nd prize in the national competition and were asked to create a piece for the international exhibition at the Carnaval de Québec. They returned to Manitoba and were the subject of a short film L’esprit des Neiges.
He went to the Arctic in 1984 and settled in Rankin Inlet, where he did small art jobs. Helped found and chair the local library board and created educational comics for federal and territorial agencies.
When George Ferrand purchasing agent for the proposed the NWT Pavilion for the Vancouver Expo came to Rankin Inlet looking for proposals, Nick submitted a collection of graphic stories which he called Arctic Comics which he accepted. Remaining in Rankin Inlet while doing the book, Nick used NWT Air Cargo as the liaison between him and Winnipeg, moving the pages back and forth at various stages in the production. George Freeman inked the second story in Arctic Comics , and let Nick use his studio during the final touches on the book. The NWT Pavilion ordered 50,000 copies of Arctic Comics and another 10,000 copies were sold to the NWT Department of Renewable Resources under the title True North. These were given away by the department. The book was saddle stitched, contained about forty pages and had a glossy cover and pulp pages.
The three stories in the book are structured as past, present and future with the end of the third story tying into the Innuit legend on the inside front cover. The first story explored Inuit culture, traditions and myths. The second was a comment about careless tourists. The third was a satire on the animal rights movement. Nick roughed out another 18 issues of Arctic Comics as a private enterprise, but market conditions prevented any further publication.
In 1990, Nick was still in Rankin Inlet, working on a graphic novel when Richard Whittaker the Special Projects Coordinator at the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) in Ottawa, asked him if he would be interested in writing and drawing a graphic version of the IBC’s popular television character Super Shamou. Whittaker had seen Arctic Comics and thought Nick would be good for this project. The book supported by several social agencies was to discourage solvent sniffing. Nick set aside his graphic novel, researched the issue and working with Barney Pattunguyak and Peter Tapatai the creators of the character produced the book.
About the same time, Nick was asked to produce a book similar to Arctic Comics for the Canadian Pavilion at the 1992 World Exposition in Seville Spain. The project included stories by well established Inuit writers and artists: poet Michael Kusugak with illustrator Susan Thurston Shirly and story teller Jose Kusugak with artist Germaine Arnaktauyok. Nick with his old friend George Freeman did the remaining stories. One story “The Great Softball Massacre” was a sequel to Nick’s story “My Northern Summer Vacation” which appeared in the first Arctic Comics. The manuscript missed the window for publication in time for the Exposition and so the contents were shelved. Time passed. Then Lovern Kindzierski introduced Nick to Alexander Finbow of Renegade Arts Entertainment and a new hardcover Arctic Comics, containing the 1992 material was published in 2016.
The final product is particularly interesting as it gives us a view of the only time, Michael Kusugak and Susan Thurston Shirly (“On Waiting”), and Jose Kusugak and Germaine Arnaktauyok (“Kiviuq Vs Big Bee.”) used the cartoon format to tell stories.
Nick’s work has has also appeared in publications by Kitchen Sink, Metal Hurlant, two volumes of Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection, True North and DC Comics. He has storyboarded several films including Curse of Chucky and The Lookout.
BOOK GRAPHIC ANTHOLOGY:
Content editorial comment:
|True North Comics, Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund, 1988:|
|“It Comes Down To This.” Car., Nick Burns: 14.||“Counterblast”. Car., Nick Burns: 24.|
BOOK GRAPHIC ANTHOLOGY:
Content story & Cover wraparound:
Arctic Comics: Souvenir NW Pavilion, 1986: “My Northern Summer Vacation.” Writ. & Pen., Nick Burns, In., George Freeman. Col., Lovern Kindzierski & Michele Buchanan. Let., Gudrunb Rohatgi & Ron Muns: 17-30. “Spring: Adventure From The Arctic Past.” Car., Nick Burns. Col., Lovern Kindzierski & Michele Buchanan. Let., Gudrunb Rohatgi & Ron Muns:1-16. “Stragglers.” Car., Nick Burns. Col., Lovern Kindzierski & Michele Buchanan. Let., Gudrunb Rohatgi & Ron Muns: 31-40.
CARTOONIST & WRITER:
Arctic Comics. Renegade Arts Entertainment, 2016: “Blizzard House.” Writ., N. Burns. Illus., George Freeman. Col., L. Kindzierski & Lurie. E. Smith: 60-80. “Constable Puquittuq and her Loyal Dog Vincent in Film Nord.” Car., N. Burns. Col., L. Kindzierski & Lurie E. Smith: 54-59. “The Great Slo-Pitch Massacre.” Car., Nick Burns. Col., Lovern Kindzierski & Lurie E. Smith: 37-53. “Sheldon The Sled Dog: Hunger Games.” Car., Nick Burns. Col., Lovern Kindzierski & Lurie E. Smith: 2. “Sheldon The Sled Dog: Any Port In A Storm”. Car., Nick Burns. Col., Lovern Kindzierski & Lurie E. Smith: 36.
BOOK GRAPHIC ANTHOLOGY
|Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection. Ed., Hope Nicholson. Alternate History Comics Inc.: … : “…” …. & ….|
|v. 1, 2015: “Tlicho Nàowo”. Writ., Richard Van Camp: 122-130. & “Caribou”: 4.
v. 2, 2017: : “Creator Tamosi.” Writ., Gerard & Peta-Gay Roberts: 104-114.
Arctic Comics. Arctic Comics,1986.
Arctic Comics. Renegade Arts Entertainment, 2016
Arctic Comics. Michael Kusuak, Germaine Arnaktauyok, Jose Kusuak, Susan Shirly, George Freeman & Nicholas Burns. Canmore: Renegade Arts Entertainment. 2016.
Moonshot. Alternate History Comics Inc., 2015: “Biographies”: 173.
From Nick Burns to Robert MacMillan 26 March 1987. Email.
Arctic Comics, 1986. Front cover.
Arctic Comics, 1986: “ Spring: An Adventure From The Arctic Past”: 15.