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The Great Northern Brotherhood of Cartoonists


Seth (Author and Illustrator)

Drawn and Quarterly (Publisher)

> Review by EMIL J. NOVAK SR.

Just like the National Cartoonists Society for cartoon illustrators in America, our counterparts up north, the true north, have the Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists. It’s true, or so it seemed as I delved into another satisfying graphic novel by Canadian great Seth, the same creator responsible for the Palookaville comic books and graphic novels. The whole plot, or lack thereof, actually centers around an artist, Seth in general, as he systematically pens a travelogue in cartoon form. Included are real Canadian strip artists such as Chester Brown, Doug Wright and others. In some ways, this graphic novel is like a documentary film, the only difference being that it’s illustrated. As with most of Seth’s work at the pioneering cartoon publisher Drawn and Quarterly, the book is stocked with no shortage of “Canadianess,” which I love and appreciate from this comic book genius, who I believe is underrated despite his obvious talent. We run though the “G.N.B. Double-C” (abbreviated title on cover) room by room, with historic explanations and personal details of who’s who in this hall-of-fame fantasy trip of the author. This full-length graphic novel is taken from Seth’s sketchbook, which he tells us was never intended to see print, even though it consists of finished pages, lettering, and is inked and colored in monotone blue-gray. The author’s work is so personal and enjoyable that this book ends up being more personal than most would assume if this is their first read of a graphic novel by the creator. Though the work is entirely fictional (or not), I’m always interested in what he has to say and illustrate.

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