by BK Munn
Fiona Smyth and Alootook Ipellie are the latest artists to be inducted into The Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame, otherwise known as The Giants of the North. The announcement was made yesterday by the organizers of the Doug Wright Awards who administer the honours. Smyth and Ipellie will receive their medals at the Wright Awards ceremony during TCAF on May 11.
The announcement of two inductees for 2019 is a new thing: with the exception of the first slate of inductees in 2005 and a group of 1940s cartoonists in 2014, the Hall of Fame used to pace itself with a single new member per year. In a tweet, the Wright Awards announced its intention of bringing in two per year going forward, inducting one living and one non-living member with each ceremony (there are currently only four living Giants: Lynn Johnston, David Boswell, Aislin, and Katherine Collins).
The Hall of Fame cites Fiona Smyth as “an artist and teacher known for her groundbreaking comics tackling female sexuality.” Koyama Press published a career retrospective last year, Somnabulance.
Alootook Ipellie (1951–2007), cited by the Giants as “a multi-faceted artist, writer, activist, and cartoonist recognized for his satirical comics about Inuit life in Canada,” died tragically young but has recently had a revival of interest in his work, with a retrospective at Carleton University last year.