The best Canadian comics of 2020
Here are CBC Books's picks for top Canadian comics of the year.
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.
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.
In Dancing After TEN, Vivian 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.
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 Stunt, Big Kids, Ant Colony, Sticks Angelica Folk Hero and more.
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.
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 Cancer. The 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.
Paul at Home is the latest memoir from famed Quebecois comics creator Michel Rabagliati. In Paul at Home, Paul 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.
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, Breakdown, Cole 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 Alone, illustrated by Julie Flett, and the YA book Strangers. He hosts the CBC Edmonton podcast Kiwew.
In Wendy, Master of Art, Wendy 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.
Leslie Stein's memoir, I Know You Rider, begins 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.
Northwest Resistance by Katherena Vermette, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson, colour by Donovan Yaciuk
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.
Artists Scott B. Henderson and Donovan Yaciuk were contributors to the first two books in the graphic novel series.