Item! Jesus, isn’t there any culture left in this country? German-owned Random House has bought 100-year-old Canadian publishing icon McClelland & Stewart, home of Alice Munro, Leonard Cohen, and Margaret Atwood. According to a press release, Brad Martin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Random House of Canada Limited, announced that his company has become the sole owner of M&S, established in 1906, noting that “the needed regulatory approval has been obtained from the responsible authority” –a reference to the lax foreign ownership regulations under the Harper Conservative government and its Department of Canadian Heritage. M&S donated 75% of its shares to the University of Toronto in 2000 and sold the remaining 25% to RHC, while remaining largely autonomous. The Association of Canadian Publishers is both sad and mad about the news, remarking that “All of us need to remember that the foreign ownership policy was initially introduced to both protect and encourage the development of an independent and diverse Canadian cultural sector. Today we have lost one of our greatest homes for Canadian stories. It’s a sad and scary day.” The company rose to the forefront of the nationalist Canadian culture movement under Jack McClelland in the 60s. Besides its literary credentials, M&S also has sterling comics cred, with books by George Feyer, Scott Chantler, Bernice Eisenstein, and a planned edition of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches illustrated by Seth on the horizon.
Item! We mentioned Comics Reporter’s recently completed Holiday Interview Series in the context of the Chester Brown news the other day, but Sequential failed to mention is the bevy of Canadian creators who were part of the same series. It’s worth reading them all, but from a hoser standpoint, the Rina Piccola has lots of Toronto content and the news that Piccolo’s online strip is shifting from short continuities and gags to longer narratives.
Item! Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki wins the “Most Awesome” award.
Item! Michel Rabagliati will be appearing at the Super Heroes shop in Paris on his way to Angouleme on January 24. Check out that shop! In other Rabagliati news, the cartoonist made the top 30 Quebec personalities of 2011 for La Presse newspaper (to my eternal shame I only recognize 4 of those names, including Arcade Fire). Also, is the next Paul graphic novel called “Paul en Ski”?
Item! “Some kind of goop … right on Bloor Street!” Did you know Marvel Comics artists Herb Trimpe and John Severin drew a superhero parody called Captain Toronto for Maclean’s in 1972? Jamie Bradburn has the lowdown.
Item! The FanExpo Toronto Comicon is March 10.
Item! 2011: The year at the Beguiling.
Item! First look at Darwyn Cooke’s The Score.