“Through the Alt, Weakly”
by BK Munn
On the occasion of the great-looking Alt-Weekly show happening right now in New York City at the Society of Illustrators, Sequential presents a short walk down memory lane to those golden days of yesteryear when free newspapers across Canada printed comic strips. There are a few hardy publications of that ilk left in this country, but they don’t print many cartoonists.
Exclaim is still going strong but nowadays it focuses on its core strength of being a shill for the music biz and instead of printing comics and reviews of comics you will now find (blecch!) video game columns. Back in the day, Exclaim had a pretty strong comics section, as evidenced by this Holiday issue celebrating the shiny New Year of 1998, with a great cover by the one-and-only Jay Stephens aka Sin. Today Jay is content to rest on his Emmy Award-winning laurels, but back in the late-90s he was a hungry young turk with a devil on his shoulder.
Also included in this issue is inter nations superstar Marc Bell. Bell is the lone Canuck featured in the current show in New York. He was a mainstay of alt-weeklies wayback-when. You will also see early work by the great Joe Ollmann and Fiona Smyth, as well as Alan Hunt, and Tony Walsh. Even one-time Sequential contributor Dave Howard used to have a regular column on comics where he reviewed things like Chester Brown’s Underwater Maurice Vellekoop, Lorenz Peter, and more. Take a gander:
Joe Ollmann 1999