ABOUT THE ENCYCLOPEDIA:
The first thing to recognize about this encyclopedia is that it is a hobby not a business.
The object of this encyclopedia is to provide a road map to the vast subterranean world of Canadian graphic arts that lies largely unknown under the feet of most unsuspecting Canadians. The second and associated objective is to place this world within the context of the even larger and more complex world of Canadian culture. The third objective is to draw in information from others to fill the encyclopedia’s obvious gaps. Even this limited subject is too broad and complex to be embraced by one mind.
Having said that, there are several things to know about this encyclopedia. It is a work in progress. It is based on the physical file I have gathered over the years.
Even though I’ve been working on this encyclopedia for several years, I have yet more to record of my collection than I have already recorded. As in so many aspects of Canadian culture the field is far more extensive and complex than one would believe. The result you see before you is the first level, a framework on which I hope to add more information. If many of the entries look like research notes. That’s because they are. I put the pieces of information I gather directly into the encyclopedia as I find them. Only after I have achieved a fairly comprehensive idea of what the subject is about do I try to organize it into an essay. The length of the entry often depends on circumstance and the information available to me.
The information in this encyclopedia comes primarily from the physical material I have collected over the past six decades. I first entered the world of Canadian culture in the late 1950’s via a literature portal and have since wandered from one cavern to another I would be in one cavern and see what looked like a small cave to the side only to find that when I entered that cave I found myself in another vast cavern with its own multiple offshoots. One of the apparently small caves was graphic arts, and the result is this encyclopedia. I have more or less restricted the information in the encyclopedia to the material I have so that I can be reasonably sure it is accurate. However, because of this approach you will see examples rather than comprehensive lists books and periodicals.
I have fitted this encyclopedia within the context of Canadian culture rather than a particular genre. The object is to investigate or at least point to how the graphic arts and other aspects of Canadian culture influence and inspire each other: for example Sean Scoffields graphic novel emerging from David Cronenberg’s film eXistenZ, or the collaboration between the prominent playwright and film maker Robert Lepage and Fred Joudain to create a graphic novel of LePage’s remarkable play Le Dragon bleu, or when Gregory Gallant (Seth) creates the series “The North Wing, Selections from the Lost Library of Canlit Graphic Novels” in which he commissions prominent Canadian cartoonists to create small two page versions of novels by prominent Canadian authors, or when Jeff Lemire creates a graphic version of “Secret Path” from Gord Downie’s lyrics inspired by the story about Chenie Wenjack written by journalist and author Ian Adams in a 1967 Maclean’s magazine, or Ken Gass the founder of Factory Theatre Lab turning Bell Features cartoon characters into a play called Hurrah For Johnny Canuck. Because of my interest in how these aspects of Canadian culture relate to each other, you will see a bias toward Canadian publications etc. For Canadian participation in U.S. projects, you will still have to go to their very ample coverage in U.S. sources.
Another reason for this attempt to build connections, is that Canadian culture exists mostly in silos firmly embedded in American infrastructure matrix. I first saw it when I moved back from Alberta to Ontario. It was then that I realized the rich local music scene there was unknown in Ontario but also Ontario’s rich local music scene was unknown in Alberta. The individuals in both provinces were intimately familiar with the British/American matrix. Canadians are so integrated into the Anglo-American cacophony, it is hard to hear each other.
As well, I have attempted to present the broad range of these artists accomplishments rather than any particular achievement. Few of them are one trick ponies. You’re more likely to find individuals like cartoonist and illustrator Oscar Cahen who was also a member of the avant garde abstract group Painters 11. Doris Slater/Titus’ role as an educator was at least as significant as her role in the 1940’s Canadian whites. The bulk of Gerry Lazare’s accomplishments lie in commercial and book illustration and painting. Canadian creators I have found tend to be generalists rather than specialists, exploring and attempting multiple avenues of expression.
By choosing to present a broad and rather shallow approach to these three interrelated subjects, I hope to provide many portals through which future researchers will enter to dig deeper into the many fascinating individuals, companies and associations that inhabit this wonder filled world. For this reason and to honour those who have researched and written before on various aspects of this subject, I have included as far as possible extensive lists of sources.
About the indicies, these are lists of some of the subjects described in more detail in the entries. Under “Index Characters” you see lists of the names of fictional protagonists who are featured in the entries. “Award”, “Company” , “Cartoonist Military & Police”, “Feature Panel”, “Feature Strip” give names that lead directly to the subject. Under “Index Biographies” there are lists of historical personalities dealt with in greater detail usually in the entries under the author’s name. Under “History of Canada” the entry is sometimes under the item and sometimes under the author’s name.
There are two individuals I especially want to thank. Both of them have been with me from the time I entered the cartooning portal, helping me to find hidden treasures of Canadian creativity and to support me when my enthusiasm for this project faltered. They are Dave Darrigo who is still with me and George Flie who was with me till his health failed.
Of immense help are those who have broke ground before me. Terry Mosher and Peter Desbarats whose wonderful book The Hecklers is the best history of Canadian editorial cartooning up to the 1979 yet written. Combine it with the excellent series Portfoolio mostly edited by Guy Badeau and you have the most complete coverage of Canadian editorial cartooning in existence.
Peter Harris should be remembered as the first person to bring to world attention some of the 1940’s Anglophone Canadian creators and theirs characters in Maurice Horn’s World Encyclopedia of Comics. Maurice Horn himself, brought Francophone Canadian creators to world attention. Kenneth Baker should be remembered for his pioneering work on Canadian cartoon strips in both languages.
Of more recent vintage, John Bell’s Canuck Comics provides a comprehensive overview of Canadian graphic periodicals and their publishers, a good framework within which to work. Karen Mazurkewich’s Cartoon Capers has been an immense help in my investigation of Canadian animation. Most recently, Ivan Kocmarek’s wonderful book Heroes of the Home Front puts flesh on the bones of our knowledge about the creators of Bell Features Publishing.
THE CANADIAN ACI (Animation, Cartoon, Illustration) AWARDS?
There are so many superb creators in the graphics field and the various categories are so diverse, that I have concluded no single individual should have the whole field named after them. Therefore taking a page from the Festival de la Bande Dessinée Francophone de Québec, I have attempted to name each award category after an exceptional practitioner of that category. As you can see I haven’t been able to think of individuals’ names for all the categories or perhaps I haven’t even got all the categories. . Do you have any ideas?
BEST ANIMATOR: THE NOMAN McLAREN AWARD
BEST VOICE: JOHN DRAINIE AWARD
BEST BOOK – FICTION:
BEST BOOK – NONFICTION:
BEST SHORT STORY; THE ENGLISHMAN IN CANADA AWARD
BEST PANEL EDITORIAL: LET THEM EAT CAKE AWARD
BEST PANEL NON EDITORIAL: JASPER AWARD
BEST SERIES ADVENTURE – NEWSPAPER: MEN OF THE MOUNTED AWARD
BEST SERIES HUMOUROUS – MAGAZINE:
BEST SERIES ADVENTURE – MAGAZINE: NELVANA AWARD
BEST CARTOONIST PANEL EDITORIAL: BENGOUGH/JULIEN AWARD
BEST CARTOONIST PANEL NONEDITORIAL: JAMES SIMPKINS AWARD
BEST CARTOONIST NOVEL/SHORT STORY:
BEST CARTOONIST SERIES: ADRIAN DINGLE AWARD
BEST WRITER SERIES: TED McCALL AWARD
BEST ILLUSTRATOR SERIES:
BEST ILLUSTRATION – LINE DRAWING:
BEST ILLUSTRATION – PAINTING:
BEST ILLUSTRATOR – LINE DRAWING: J.W. JEFFERIES AWARD
BEST ILLUSTRATOR – PAINTING:
BEST GRAPHIC PUBLISHER:
BEST ANIMATION PRODUCER:
BEST RETAIL OUTLET: HARRY KREMER AWARD