Canadian comics seem to always slip through the cracks when discussing the history of comic books. From classic newspaper strips, to alternative auto-bio comics, to the Man of Steel himself, Canada has produced many comic book classics both modern and old. The country’s diversity shines through the art in those comics and has inspired countless creators around the world. Here is a list of five Canadians who have changed comic book history.
1. Joe Shuster
It’s becoming more common knowledge, but most people don’t know that one of the creators of Superman was a Canadian. Joe Shuster was born in Toronto, Canada in 1914. In 1933, alongside co-creator Jerry Siegel, the duo came up with the Superman in Action Comics #1. For a $130 check, they sold the first issue and the copyright to the most iconic comic book, and possibly pulp culture figure of all time.
2. Chris Oliveros
In April of 1990, Chris Oliveros edited and published the first issue of Drawn & Quarterly, an anthology magazine featuring cutting-edge alternative comics. Little did he know that he would grow to be one of the world’s leading publishers of graphic novels and comics. Chris helped kick-start the career of many alternative comics creators such as Adrian Tomine, Joe Matt, and Michael Deforge to name a few. Drawn & Quarterly, the name of his publishing house, operates out of Montreal, Canada.
3. Chester Brown
Since the mid eighties, Chester Brown has paved the way for all alternative comics creators to follow. Born in Montreal, and currently living in Toronto, Chester Brown has been an icon in the Canadian underground comics scene since there has been one. He is the creator of the classics The Playboy, Louis Riel, I Never Liked You, and many others. Chester Brown is widely known for being a sex-workers rights advocate, as explained in his graphic novel memoir, Paying For It.
4. Jeff Lemire
Starting his career off with the groundbreaking graphic novel, Essex County, Jeff Lemire’s artistic and writing abilities have skyrocketed him into fame. He’s currently writing and drawing comics for Marvel, Valiant, Image, and DC (basically every mainstream publisher), while maintaining to work on his own in depth graphic novels. As one of the only creators to successfully publish both superhero, and alternative comics, Jeff Lemire is currently dominating the comics world.
5. Julie Doucet
Published in January 1991, Dirty Plotte, by Julie Doucet, was the first stand alone comic series published by Drawn & Quarterly. Her rough edged, honest, and jarring memoirs set a standard for both auto-bio and feminist comics creators world wide. Her level of self exposure was a huge influence to her fellow Drawn & Quarterly artists, and she has stood her ground in the boys-club of comics to be considered one of the top underground creators of all time.
So, there are many reasons as to why Canadian comics are great, and these people are just a few. Make sure to check out the work of all of these brilliant creators and discover the diverse lineup of books available by Canadian comics publishers.
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Featured image via Canada Web Connection