CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 10 . . . . January 4, 2007
John Bell is known as the expert on Canadian comic books. He is the author of several earlier volumes on the topic as well as, in his professional role as a senior archivist at Library and Archives Canada, the curator of several exhibitions on the topic.
Invaders From the North is extremely accessible, filled to the brim with facts and lists of authors, titles and dates, as well as photographs and reproductions of comic book covers, in colour and black and white. Along with the fairly succinct history of Canadian comic books, Bell offers two in depth examinations on "Johnny Canuck and the Search for Canadian Superheroes" and "Chester Brown and the Search for New Narratives." Bell's narrative has been impeccably researched and includes solid endnotes which are followed by a comprehensive selected bibliography and an index.
Bell examines the history of comic books in Canada, the effect of the war effort on Canadian titles and creators, early censorship challenges, and the gradual evolution of the Canadian creative force. He looks, too, at readership and significant forces such as publisher Drawn & Quarterly, a major player in the contemporary publishing world of comics and graphic novels, as well as the Toronto comic bookstore, The Beguiling.
For readers unfamiliar with the varied history that Canadians have had with comic books, their creation, readership and distribution, Invaders from the North sheds a great deal of light (and perhaps surprise) on the subject. For other readers, Bell's writing style and extensive research provide a welcome reminder of Canada's involvement in the emergence of this format as a serious art and literary form both within and outside of our borders. Highly recommended for public libraries and high school libraries.
Gail de Vos is a storyteller and author of five books on storytelling and folklore. Along with a course on storytelling, she teaches a course on comic books and graphic novels in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.