Books·Spring Book Preview

12 Canadian comics to look out for in spring 2019

A new year means new books! Here are some Canadian comics to look forward to.

A new year means new books! Here are 12 Canadian comics to look forward to in the first half of 2019.

This Woman's Work by Julie Delporte, trans. by Aleshia Jensen & Helge Dascher

This Woman's Work is a comic by Julie Delporte. (Julie Delporte, Drawn & Quarterly)

This Woman's Work offers a string of memories that explores Julie Delporte's experience of womanhood. Throughout the book, the Montreal artist challenges gender assumptions and looks at how rape culture and sexual abuse has shaped her life and the world of women around her. In cursive writing and coloured pencil drawings, This Woman's Work is a personal and contemplative inquiry into feminity and feminism in the #MeToo era. Delporte's previous work includes the book Everywhere Antennas, for which she was nominated for the Doug Wright Spotlight Award.

When you can read it: March 5, 2019

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood & Renee Nault

The graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was done by Renee Nault. (Liam Sharpe, McClelland & Stewart, Submitted by Renee Nault)

Published to great acclaim in 1985, Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale continues to resonate with audiences around the world. Adapted for television, film, ballet, opera and more, the classic dystopian novel is now being turned into a graphic novel by Victoria-based artist Renee Nault. The book tells the story of a Handmaid known as Offred who is trapped in a society where her only purpose is to conceive and bear the child of a powerful man. The original novel won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.

When you can read it: March 26, 2019

Death Threat by Vivek Shraya & Ness Lee

Death Threat is a comic by Vivek Shraya (right) and Ness Lee. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Tanja Tiziana)

In Death Threat, poet and musician Vivek Shraya collects the transphobic hate mail she received from a stranger in the fall of 2017. These disturbing letters, along with her responses, are accompanied by illustrations from Toronto artist Ness Lee, culminating in a surreal and satirical comic book about the spread of hatred, violence and dangers of the internet. Shraya is also the author of the essay I'm Afraid of Men and poetry collection even this page is white.

When you can read it: April 1, 2019

Dear Scarlet by Teresa Wong

Dear Scarlet is a graphic memoir by Teresa Wong. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Ken Hurd)

Teresa Wong pens an honest and emotional letter to her daughter in the graphic memoir Dear ScarletThe Calgary writer describes her experience with postpartum depression — how feelings of sadness, loss and guilt consumed her — and her many attempts at healing. Dear Scarlet is Wong's first book.

When you can read it: April 1, 2019

Leaving Richard's Valley by Michael DeForge

Leaving Richard's Valley is a comic by Michael DeForge. (Matthew James-Wilson, Drawn & Quarterly)

Toronto artist Michael DeForge collects his Instagram comic Leaving Richard's Valley in book form, following the fates of Omar the Spider, Neville the Dog and Ellie Squirrel as they risk the wrath of a beloved, but tyrannical leader in order to save a friend. When exposed, the three friends are kicked out of the only home they've ever known and make their way to the big city for a fresh start. Leaving Richard's Valley won the Slate Book Review and Vermont's Center for Cartoon Studies's Cartoonist Studio Prize for best web comic in 2018. 

When you can read it: April 2, 2019

Clyde Fans by Seth 

Clyde Fans is a comic by Guelph, Ont. artist Seth. (David Briggs Photography, Drawn & Quarterly)

Seth's Clyde Fans illustrates the quiet desperation of two brothers struggling to keep their family's increasingly irrelevant business afloat. As homes adopt air conditioning, selling oscillating fans proves challenging — and less than fulfilling — for Simon Matchard, who struggles to shake off his dutiful brother's criticism. Seth, who hails from Guelph, Ont., has contributed to publications like The New Yorker and New York Times Magazine and twice won the Doug Wright Award for best book.

When you can read it: April 23, 2019

When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll

When I Arrived at the Castle is a comic by Emily Carroll. (Koyama Press)

A young woman determinedly makes her way to the Countess's castle, where many have gone but never returned. When I Arrived at the Castle is a gothic horror comic from Stratford, Ont.-based artist Emily Carroll, whose first two books Through the Woodsa collection of horror comics, and Speakan adaptation of Laurie Halse Anderson's YA novel, were published to critical acclaim.

When you can read it: April 26, 2019

This Place by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, et al.

This Place is an anthology of comics. Contributors include (from top left): Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Andrew Lodwick, Scott A. Ford, Katherena Vermette, Chelsea Vowel, Donovan Yaciuk and Alicia Elliott. (HighWater Press)

This Place is an anthology of comics featuring the work of Indigenous creators as they retell the history of Canada of the past 150 years. Elements of fantasy and magical realism are incorporated throughout the book, telling the stories of characters like Jack Fiddler, an Anishinaabe shaman facing murder charges, and Rosie, an Inuk girl growing up during WWII. Contributors include Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, Chelsea Vowel and more.

When you can read it: May 1, 2019

Bezimena by Nina Bunjevac

Bezimena is a graphic novel by Nina Bunjevac. (Fantagraphics/Alaine Francoise)

What brings a person to commit a terrible evil? Toronto artist Nina Bunjevac seeks answers to this question in the noir-like graphic novel Bezimena, which translates to "nameless" in many Slavic languages. Writing from the perspective of a sexual predator, Bunjevac delves into the increasingly twisted mind of a young man obsessed with his classmate. The book is inspired by the myth of Artemis, the virgin goddess of hunting and childbirth, who turns a human man into a girl for attempting to rape one of her companions. Bunjevac's previous book Fatherland, an autobiographical graphic novel about a Serbian man in Canada, was published to critical acclaim in 2014.

When you can read it: May 7, 2019

Manfried Saves the Day by Caitlin Major and Kelly Bastow

Manfried Saves the Day is the second book by Caitlin Major (left) & Kelly Bastow. (Quirk Books)

In a world where the roles of cat and man have switched, tomcat Steve Catson lives with his ginger-haired pet man Manfried. As Steve gets closer to his purrfriend Henrietta and Manfried makes new friends at the local man shelter, the arrival of a fat cat disrupts the entire neighbourhood. Manfried Saves the Day is the sequel to Major and Bastow's debut Manfried the Man.

When you can read it: May 14, 2019

Meat and Bone by Kat Verhoeven

Meat and Bone is a graphic novel by Kat Verhoeven. (Conundrum Press)

In Meat and Bone, three friends living together in Toronto quietly contend with their deeply-held insecurities. Jane copes by spending all of her time at the gym, while Gwen experiments with polyamorous dating and Anne struggles with old body image issues that resurface after meeting Marshall, the girl downstairs. Meat and Bone, originally a webcomic, is Ontario artist Kat Verhoeven's second book after Towerkind, published in 2014.

When you can read it: May 24, 2019

The Handbook to Lazy Parenting by Guy Delisle, trans. by Helge Dascher

The Handbook to Lazy Parenting is a comic by Guy Delisle. (Cecile Gabriel/Drawn & Quarterly)

Guy Delisle creates a series of charming and funny nonfiction comics inspired by his experiences with fatherhood. With stories of trying to persuade his son Louis to play video games instead of doing homework and forgetting his daughter Alice at a stationary store, Delisle offers a guide to the many mistakes he's made as a parent. This is the third and final instalment in Delisle's irreverent parenting series, which also includes The Owner's Manual to Terrible Parenting and A User's Guide to Neglectful Parenting.

When you can read it: June 11, 2019