raider in canada:
portrait of sean martin

a documentary by Randy A. Riddle


Slack Events:

Standing Calf RopingThe Rodeo typically starts with what are known as "Slack Events", a series of safe competitive events that require more skill than athletic prowess. An example would be Standing Calf Roping, where a calf is released from a chute and the competitor has to lasso the animal as he or she stands next to the chute. Slack Events are a way that many "first timers" can enter the Rodeo.

Sean had been doing, in his words, some "light cartooning" for some time when he hit upon the idea of doing a series about a couple in a relationship, a strip that would get away from what he saw as an overt amount of sexuality in Gay cartoons at the time. He approached the editor of a small newspaper, "Q", in Vancouver who thought it was a great idea and published two of the panels. Unfortunately, much to Sean's surprise, it turned out to be the last issue of the publication.

Luckily, "Xtra" in Toronto began running "Doc and Raider" and in Sean's words, "the series just snowballed from there". The panel saw a steady growth over its first few years of publication and, at its height, was seen in publications on three continents, from local gay and lesbian weeklies to monthly special-interest Gay magazines such as Drummer.  Sean was also approached by the National Archives of Canada to donate the original panels to their collection -- Doc and Raider became the first works by a Gay cartoonist to be added to the Archives.

Doc is the aspiring writer who finds himself making a living by writing romance novels -- "Danielle Steele kinds of things," Sean says, laughing. Doc provides "all the bright colors" in the couple", Sean said in a telephone interview before shooting the documentary. He always imagined the character as being the son of a former hippie couple on the Sunshine Coast, bringing a kind of "New Agey" quality to the relationship.

 "Guess which little piggy..."
(c) copyright Sean Martin

Raider, Doc's partner, is definitely a product of the Prairies -- down to earth, a construction worker -- someone with a strong sense of values and spirituality, but without the religious and political conservatism. Raider is also the "cultured" one, who may be at the construction site and two hours later wearing a tux in a box seat at the opera, explaining the plot of "Aida" to a somewhat confused Doc.

"I'm getting off work by five ..."
(c) copyright Sean Martin

Initially, the characters began as roommates, but they were inevitably "drawn to each other" (pun intended). One of the earliest and most popular series of the panels, shown in the first book collection of Sean's work, Doc and Raider: Caught on Tape, shows how Raider stumbles through a formal proposal of marriage to Doc and their eventual wedding before a suitably befuddled older minister.

"Baby's awake. Your turn" -- probably the most popular and well-known Doc and Raider panel.
(c) copyright Sean Martin, 3.15.99