For This Magazine, Brad Mackay writes on the history of reportage by cartoonists, with a behind-the-scenes look at the origins of Extraction!, the Cumulous Press collection of comics stories about mining. Along the way, he also touches on Joe Sacco, Art Spiegleman, the 19th Century cartoonist JW Bengough and early comics reportage in Canada (like the image of the Riel Rebellion from The Canadian Illustrated News above):

The choice to use comics was equally easy. “How do we make people who maybe don’t read the financial section of the newspapers aware of Canada’s role in the mining industry around the world?” Widgington says of his decision. “It seemed like the perfect opportunity; to get some comics and some journalism together, and see what happened.”

The result, released in December, is Extraction! Comix Reportage, an investigative graphic novel that reveals the dark side of the Canadian mining industry both internationally, in India and Guatemala, and at home in northern Quebec and Alberta’s controversial oil sands.