Jamie Michaels is a writer, educator, and filmmaker from Winnipeg. He researches the potential of historically informed graphic novels to generate social change as a SSHRC Bombardier Doctoral Fellow, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, and Killam Laureate at the University of Calgary. His most recent graphic novel Christie Pits unpacks the tensions between immigrants and proto-fascists in 1930s Toronto that culminated in the Christie Pits Riot. The project has been adapted as a documentary in partnership with Historica Canada and is forthcoming as an animated film.
Article: 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.
Canadian Literature issue 250: Comics is available to order through our online store at https://bit.ly/CanLit249.