Item! Much of Ontario is celebrating a Civic Holiday today, many in the form of a “founder’s day” honouring local heroes or town founders. In my town it’s John Galt Day, in honour of the Scottish novelist who hacked his way through the Canadian wilderness to found the town of Guelph. Galt gave the English language the word utilitarian, borrowed by John Stuart Mill, and several novels, two of which contain passages on the founding of our fair city, as does Galt’s autobiography: “a large maple tree was chosen; on which, taking an axe from one of the woodmen, I struck the first stroke. To me at least the moment was impressive, and the silence of the woods, that echoed to the sound, was as the sigh of the solemn genius of the wilderness departing for ever.” Shades of Jebediah Springfield, Galt was later thrown in debtor’s prison and died a bitter old hack. As far as I can tell, he had little connection to the cartoonists and caricaturists of his day.
Item! Over at Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston does some numbercrunching on the New York Times Bestseller Lists for comics, looking at all the numbers for 2011. In the universe of the NYT list, DC dominates Marvel, and Scott Pilgrim dominates the trade paperback market.
Item! On a related note, overall North America comics/manga/graphic novel sales were down in 2010, according to an ICV2 report reported on here.
Item! Holiday fan post of the week: who are the 5 best Dr. Doom writers? courtesy of MightyGodKing Christopher Bird.
Item! One of the stories from last week’s San Diego ComicCon was the news that U.S. comics writer Brian K. Vaughan has announced his latest project, a series called Saga, to be illustrated by Fiona Staples. Vaughan’s previous collaboration with artist Pia Guerra made her into a highly-praised and hopefully highly-rewarded talent, so here’s wishing that the advent of Saga bodes equally well for Staples.
Item! Conundrum Press has released Hermoddities by Toronto painter Temple Bates. The book is described as “a lively collection of comics and oil paintings” by the publisher and Bates will be appearing today in support of her book at Eyelevel Gallery, Halifax at 7pm.
Item! Rebecca Kraatz’s Snaps is reviewed in The National Post.
Item! The Montreal Gazette talks to Sarah Leavitt about her Alzheimer’s graphic novel memoir Tangles. I found the book a chore to read but ultimately a tear-jerker. The illness the book deals with is scary hellish but readers dealing with Alzheimer’s in their own lives may take some comfort if they can get past Leavitt’s drawing style and repetition.
Item! There seem to be more and more kidlit titles being published in the comics format. Kids book illustrator Bill Slavin has a new graphic novel about an elephant, Big City Otto, reviewed here.