As someone who has only recently begun enjoying the graphic novel section of my local library, I have been really impressed with the fantastic Canadian content that I have been able to find. We have many awesome graphic novelists here in Canada. I have compiled a small selection of titles to hopefully give readers a taste of the diverse range of work being published by Canadian authors. Personally, I find graphic novels to be a fun, visual way to explore Canadian settings or topics.
Northwest Passage by Scott Chantler is set in Rupert’s Land in 1755, just before the Seven Years War breaks out. An historical adventure, you are right in the middle of the action as the French and the British compete to control the fur trade. As a reader, I enjoyed the feeling of being transported back to another time.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll features five horror stories told using beautiful, colour illustrations that have a gothic feel to them. The publisher describes the stories as “fairy tales gone seriously wrong.” A New York Times Bestseller, this is a fun read with fantastic artwork throughout.
The Outside Circle by Patti LaBoucane-Benson with art by Kelly Mellings is a graphic novel with an incredible amount of depth. Centred around a troubled Aboriginal man, the story follows him as he goes through a specialized rehabilitation program. The author draws on 20 years of work and research on the healing and reconciliation of gang-affiliated or incarcerated Aboriginal men. The result is a touching story told alongside fantastic artwork that offers insight into the continued impact of residential schools and traditional Aboriginal healing circles and ceremonies.
Hark! a Vagrant by Kate Beaton is a fantastic collection of comics from the author’s personal website. The comics feature such diverse topics as Canadian stereotypes, Victorian style sitcoms, and adventures with Nancy Drew (my personal favourite). This is another title that was on the New York Times Bestseller list for quite some time. It is also worth noting that Kate Beaton grew up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Essex County by Jeff Lemire
Louis Riel: a comic strip biography by Chester Brown
Paul Has a Summer Job by Michel Rabagliati