Books

The best Canadian comics of 2020

Here are CBC Books's picks for top Canadian comics of the year.

Here are CBC Books's picks for top Canadian comics of the year.

Constantly by GG

Constantly is a comic by GG. (Koyama Press)

Constantly explores the debilitating impact of anxiety on the every day, examining how it stretches and paralyzes daily tasks and decisions. The graphic novel is a follow-up to GG's Doug Wright Award-nominated debut I'm Not Here.

GG is a cartoonist based in Alberta. CBC Books named GG a writer to watch in 2018.

Talking to Strangers by Marianne Boucher

Talking to Strangers is a comic by Marianne Boucher. (Doubleday Canada)

Marianne Boucher's graphic memoir Talking to Strangers describes how, in the summer of 1980, she moved to California to follow her figure skating dreams and ended up joining a cult. Boucher details how the group's sophisticated brainwashing techniques overpowered her free will — until she managed to escape.

Boucher lives in Toronto and has covered major criminal trials as a court reporter and illustrator.

The artist and illustrator Marianne Boucher on her graphic memoir Talking to Strangers, about being lured into a cult as a teenager. 16:17

Dancing After TEN by Vivian Chong & Georgia Webber

Dancing After TEN is an autobiographical graphic novel by Vivian Chong and Georgia Webber. (Fantagraphics Books)

In Dancing After TENVivian Chong recounts how her life changed after a rare skin condition, Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis or TEN, resulted in her becoming blind. Chong explored a range of artistic practices — from drumming to stand-up to dance — in an effort of expression, healing and self-discovery.

Chong is an artist based in Toronto. She's releasing Dancing After TEN in conjunction with a dance-theatre production called Dancing with the Universe.

Chong's co-writer Georgia Webber is the graphic novelist behind Dumb, a memoir about the creator's experience losing her speech for months after a throat injury.

Suddenly going blind didn't stop this artist — it only pushed her work further

Exhibitionists

4 years agoVideo
4:08
Artist Vivian Chong opens up about life on the stage and The Sunglasses Monologue, her one-woman show about going blind 4:08

Familiar Face by Michael deForge

Familiar Face is a comic by Michael DeForge. (Drawn & Quarterly, Matthew James-Wilson)

A constant flow of radical updates from the government throw citizens into turmoil. At the government's department of complaints, the narrator of Familiar Face sorts through an endless pile of citizen-reported issues that range from trivial to heartbreaking.

Michael DeForge is a Toronto-based creator who has won awards for comics like Leaving Richard's Valley, Dressing and Lose #1. Other acclaimed books include StuntBig Kids, Ant Colony, Sticks Angelica Folk Hero and more.

Toronto comic creator Michael DeForge talks about his latest graphic novel, Familiar Face. 15:04

To Know You're Alive by Dakota McFadzean

To Know You're Alive is a book by Dakota McFadzean. (Conundrum Press)

To Know You're Alive is a collection of comics by Dakota McFadzean that explores the ways adulthood is disappointing when compared to how one imagines it would be when you're a kid. It takes mundane daily life and renders it absurd to explore loneliness, connection and finding one's purpose.

McFadzean is a cartoonist from Toronto. He is the author of two other books, Other Stories and the Horse You Rode in On and Don't Get Eaten by Anything.

He grew up in north central Regina, and the neighbourhood still comes to life in his graphic novels and cartoons. Host Shauna Powers checks in with award-winning cartoonist Dakota McFadzean about his brand new graphic novel. 8:22

Kimiko Does Cancer by Kimiko Tobimatsu, illustrated by Keet Geniza

Kimiko Does Cancer is a graphic novel written by Kimiko Tobimatsu and illustrated by Keet Geniza. (Jenny Vasquez, Arsenal Pulp Press, Eloisa Guerrero)

Kimiko Tobimatsu was 25 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her life instantly changed and became filled with doctors' appointments, medical treatments and difficult conversations. She shares her story in the comic Kimiko Does CancerThe comic is a frank and moving look at what it means to have cancer, and how your life can change once you become a cancer survivor.

Tobimatsu is a lawyer from Toronto. Kimiko Does Cancer is her first book.

Keet Geniza is a comic artist who was born in Manila and now lives in Toronto. Kimiko Does Cancer is her first book.

Meet the Toronto lawyer who made a graphic memoir about her unexpected breast cancer journey

CBC News Toronto

1 month agoVideo
2:57
Kimiko Tobimatsu was diagnosed with breast cancer at 25. As a queer, mixed-raced woman, Tobimatsu quickly noticed blind spots in the medical community’s handling of reproductive cancers. She spoke to Kelda Yuen about her journey detailed in her new graphic memoir "Kimiko Does Cancer.” 2:57

Paul at Home by Michel Rabagliati

Paul at Home is a book by Michel Rabagliati. (Drawn & Quarterly)

Paul at Home is the latest memoir from famed Quebecois comics creator Michel Rabagliati. In Paul at HomePaul is now in his mid 50s and is a successful cartoonist. But he's divorced, his mother is dying and his daughter has moved out. Paul must figure out how to find meaning and purpose in his life as he gets older and the relationships that defined his adult life are drastically changing.

Rabagliati is a cartoonist from Montreal. He has written several semi-autobiographical comics including Paul Up North, Paul Goes Fishing and Paul Joins the Scouts.

Breakdown by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson

The Reckoner Rises: Breakdown is a book by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson. (Portage & Main Press, Submitted by David A. Robertson)

The Reckoner Rises is a graphic novel series that will continue David A. Robertson's popular YA The Reckoner trilogy about Indigenous teen Cole who recently learned he has powers. In the first instalment of this series, BreakdownCole and Eva have arrived in Winnipeg, intent on destroying Mihko Laboratories. But when Cole starts getting terrifying visions, Eva must continue their mission alone. Are Cole's visions just dreams? Or are they telling Cole and Eva something they need to know?

Robertson is an author and graphic novelist based in Winnipeg. The multi-talented writer of Swampy Cree heritage has published 25 books across a variety of genres, including the graphic novels Will I See? and Sugar Falls, a Governor General's Literary Award-winning picture book called When We Were Aloneillustrated by Julie Flett, and the YA book StrangersHe hosts the CBC Edmonton podcast Kiwew.

To say Cree author David A. Robertson is prolific is a bit of an understatement. He started his writing career in 2009, and has already published more than 20 titles. This fall he has three books being released. This week on Unreserved, an extended conversation with the author. 43:38

Wendy, Master of Art by Walter Scott

Wendy, Master of Art is a comic by Walter Scott. (Drawn & Quarterly, CBC)

In Wendy, Master of ArtWendy is a serious art student at the University of Hell in a small Ontario town. As she works toward her Master Fine Arts, Wendy confronts her ever-ballooning insecurities, fears and doubts with therapy, excessive drinking and partying.

Walter Scott is a Kahnawá:ke-born artist who lives in Toronto. He's published two other Wendy books, including Wendy's Revenge, and has appeared in The New Yorker and the Best American Comics anthology.

Scott discusses creating the comic Wendy as a way to tell his own story about being an art student trying to make his way in the fussy Canadian art scene. 9:34

I Know You Rider by Leslie Stein

I Know You Rider is a comic by Leslie Stein. (Drawn & Quarterly)

Leslie Stein's memoir, I Know You Riderbegins at an abortion clinic and takes readers through a year in her life, as she questions the decision to reproduce. Stein speaks to a childhood friend about raising twins in an environmentally-conscious household, to a man undergoing a vasectomy so his wife can stop using birth control and to her mother, who longs to be a grandmother.

Stein is a Canadian creator based in New York. Her previous books include Present and Bright-Eyed at Midnight. She's been featured in The New Yorker and the Best American Comics anthology.

Leslie Stein talks about creating her new graphic memoir I Know You Rider. 11:38

Northwest Resistance by Katherena Vermette, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson, colour by Donovan Yaciuk

Northwest Resistance is a comic written by Katherena Vermette. (Highwater Press, Lisa Delorme Meiler)

The next chapter in Katherena Vermette's graphic novel series follows time-travelling teen Echo Desjardins as she witnesses the return of Louis Riel. The first two books in the A Girl Called Echo series were Pemmican Wars and Red River Resistance.

Vermette is a Governor General's Literary Award-winning poet and bestselling novelist based in Winnipeg. Her books include North End Love SongsThe Break and river woman.

Artists Scott B. Henderson and Donovan Yaciuk were contributors to the first two books in the graphic novel series.

Award-winning poet and filmmaker Katherena Vermette talks about her graphic novel series A Girl Called Echo. 5:27

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