Unsettling the Canadian Whites: A Writing Back of Indigenous, Black, and Jewish Comics


Since its foundation during the Second World War, the Canadian comics industry has championed a settler nationalism that has prioritized whiteness, appropriated Indigeneity, and omitted representations of racialized minorities—including Jews—almost entirely. However, creators from these marginalized groups are reclaiming the comics form. I examine this process from the perspective of a comics researcher and creator. By exploring the devices used in David Alexander Robertson’s The Ballad of Nancy April and The Scout and John Olbey’s anti-racist comics published in NOW Toronto, I establish the contours of a movement of comics makers restorying Canadian history outside of the confines of the white-settler national narrative. My central case study, an autoethnographic reflection of the techniques used in creating Christie Pits, offers insights into the making process and comics specific techniques that may be valuable to other creators writing back against dominant readings of history.

This article “Unsettling the Canadian Whites: A Writing Back of Indigenous, Black, and Jewish Comics” originally appeared in Pasts, Presents, and Futures of Canadian Comics Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 249 (2022): 30-49.

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