Item! Cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki have previewed the cover image to their follow-up to the award-winning Skim graphic novel. This One Summer is the name of the new book (formerly known as Awago Beach Babies), to be published by Groundwood Books (First Second in the U.S.) in March. The cover and sample pages are previewed with a short interview at the LA Times. According to writer Mariko, “the spark for what happens in “This One Summer” was a story I heard about a Burger King in Niagara Falls that made girls pregnant. How, I’m not sure, but that’s what I heard. I thought, “There’s a book in that somewhere.” I’m fascinated by the mythologies of where babies come from, the stories we come up with as a way of addressing taboo subjects like sex and pregnancy. The rest of the story really evolved from the process of making the comic with Jillian.”
Item! Writing about new crowdfunding projects by Jonathan Dalton and Audran Guerard, U.S. critic and comics historian Sean Kleefield asks, what’s the difference between Canadian comics and those made south of the 49th? “what I’ll be on the lookout for are more Canadian-based comics projects that focus on those differing perspectives. Do I want to see a Canadian do another superhero story? Not especially. I want to see creators show me what sets Canada apart from the U.S.? I heard a year or so back that there was some confusion over what constituted a “Canadian identity” beyond “America Lite”. Let’s see if some more Canadian creators step up and show us what you’ve got!”
Item! On the other hand, Canadian critic and comics historian Jeet Heer has something of a rebuttal to Kleefield’s query, in an interview with The Comics Reporter: “Back in the 1980s, the Canadian comics scene felt claustrophobically small, basically a few hardy souls struggling in the wilderness. Working on the Doug Wright Awards, I’m heartened by the fact that the strong cohort of cartoonists who emerged in the 1980s and 1990s was not a one generation-affair but has been supplemented by rising talents like Michael DeForge and Ethan Rilly. Among publishers as well, there has been a thickening out. Drawn and Quarterly is now more than just Chris Oliveros working from home. Building on what Oliveros started, Peggy Burns and Tom Devlin have helped turn it into an actual book publisher with a staff. The D&Q Store has given the firm a new public face in one of Canada’s biggest cities. Nor is D&Q the only outlet for good comics. Conundrum, Koyama and other presses have expanded the range of what Canada publishes. […] I don’t think there is a single Canadian school of comics but perhaps a few regional schools. The Southern Ontario cartoonists — Seth, Chester Brown — seem like kissing cousins of American mid-western cartooning. Many cartoonists in Quebec have a definite debt to the Franco-Belgian tradition — I’m thinking here of Pascal Girard or Michel Rabagliati. Traditionally Canada has been the middle ground between Europe and the United States. That’s perhaps were our comics are as well, an attempt to synthesize what’s best in both the Old World and the New.”
Item! Someone gave out Jack Chick comics for Halloween in Cambridge, Ont, prompting complaints from the parents of the 3-year-old child who received the tracts, according to the local newspaper. (Incidentally, the Canadian government has a history of banning Chick tracts.) From the description, it sounds like the comics in question include such classics of the hate literature canon as “Somebody Loves Me” but not, confusedly, “Happy Halloween” or “The Good Little Witch”: “Masquerading such images as a message of love couldn’t be more flawed,” Linda Garneau, Murray’s sister-in-law, said of the religious comic book. “Halloween should not be a political or evangelical event, let it remain a celebration for those little ones among us who still believe in unicorns and supermen,” she stated. “What were they thinking? Who would even publish this,” Garneau asked in an interview. Murray echoed Garneau’s sentiments. “Anyone thinking that a three-year-old Princess Rapunzel … needs to be subjected to pictures of cruelty and violence on any day, let alone (Halloween) – a day for kids to be kids – is pretty shameful,” he said.