Corner Gas

By | Monday, December 02, 2019 2 comments
Over the holiday break, my dad turned me on to a sitcom from several years back called Corner Gas. I'd never heard of it before, but it ran primarily in Canada from 2004 through 2009 with a feature length movie made in 2014 and an animated version that debuted last year. The show primarily focuses on the interactions of residents of Dog River, Saskatchewan. Particularly those in/around Brent Leroy, the proprietor of the titular Corner Gas, the only gas station for 60 kilometers in any direction. The comedy is generally pretty clever, but often very dry.

Brent Butt reading Comet Man #1
The reason I'm bringing it up is that series creator and lead actor Brent Butt seems to be something of a comic book fan. The show's opening credits sequence features him sitting in front of a gas pump reading a comic (which he recently identified on Twitter as being Comet Man #1) and there's more than a few instances of him reading comics throughout the show. Indeed, he seems to be pretty well versed in pop culture generally. There was an amusing sequence in a first season episode in which someone suggested another character might be a stalker, which was then nicknamed Kolchak, whose lead actor Darren McGavin was misidentified as having starred in The Fugitive and was later misnamed as Kojak leading the police to look for a bald fugitive stalker... with a talking car, because someone else mixed up Night Stalker with Knight Rider.

Brent Butt reading an issue of Savage Dragon
In any event, Brent is not infrequently shown reading a comic (usually with the cover folded back so he can read one-handed) and I believe some later episodes expressly focus on aspects of his being a comic book fan. This photo seems to show him engrossed in an issue of Savage Dragon. (A nod which creator Erik Larsen later returned by showing Savage Dragon wearing a "Corner Gas" t-shirt.)

As it turns out, before becoming a comedian/comic actor, Butt had aspirations of being in the comic industry. Along with his friend Colin Oleksyn, in 1987 they created a comic book called Existing Earth in which Butt did the artwork! (Except for the covers, which were by Terry Gilecki.) As near as I can tell, they only produced two issues, but the series was nominated for a Golden Eagle Award.
Existing Earth #1 Existing Earth #2
Anyway, I find it fascinating to see how comics permeate and cross over into other venues, particularly when it's done with a clear love of the medium. I certainly wasn't looking for a show about a comic book fan, and my father not once referenced the idea as part of the background of the character, but it makes for an additional fun layer of metatextual content while I'm watching the show for the clever writing itself.
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John Q said...

Love this show!

Bob said...

There are at least two episodes, I think both in the last season, where comics are a major point. One about New Years Resolutions where Hank gives up comic books and another where Brent and Hank go to the city to see their favourite creator at a convention.