Toren Smith Information

Toren Smith

Studio Proteus
San Francisco, CA


Toren Smith (April 12, 1960 - March 4, 2013) was a manga translator and founder of Studio Proteus. He was born in Alberta, Canada, learned to read by the age of four, and by the age of 12 had won his first award for writing from the Calgary Stampede and Exhibition. By thirteen he had sold his first magazine article, an examination of body morphology in deep sea fishes, which included drawings by himself. In 1974 his science fair project in physics with Martin Brock won first place in the Physics category and they moved on to competition in London, where they took an Honorable Mention. Brock also introduced Smith to comics, which would become a lifetime passion. Smith had already been drawing for years, mostly influenced by newspaper strips such as B.C. and Andy Capp, but now he began to look at the work of Jack Kirby and Walt Kelly. Upon entering high school, Smith became interested in what would now be called extreme sports. He participated in caving, motorcycle racing, climbing, and hang gliding-briefly being the youngest licensed hang glider pilot in Canada. Focusing on climbing, he spent time working at the Lac des Arcs climbing school, being among the first in Canada to experiment with ice climbing tools and techniques. Smith was active in the arts while at school, working with the drama club, writing plays, and drawing for pleasure and sale. After graduating from high school, Smith chose not to attend university, and worked a variety of jobs from oilfield roughneck to computer operator. This gave him the time to pursue climbing and motorcycle touring, combining the two into long trips to places like Yosemite, Black Canyon, and Joshua Tree.

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