Brenna Clarke Gray’s article titled Canadian Comics: A Brief History explores the comic book industry in Canada, describing its influences and growth over the years. The comic book sector enhanced people’s interest over the years because of its adaptations into movies. Although this is largely an American phenomenon, it has managed to gain significance in most of the world because of its superhero appeal. The article details how the comic book industry has struggled to find a firm footing among the Canadian audience, and the successes it has gained in the recent years. The author examines the growth of English Canada and French Canada comic books. Gray also mentions issues that include the appearance of comic books among First Nations, alternative comics that do not concentrate on superheroes, and the future of incorporating influences from other cultures, specifically anime.
In the discussion, the author seems to emphasize the importance of World War II to the development of the comic book industry. The analysis is relevant because it demonstrates the invasive nature of superheroes in the industry. The sector declined and stagnated after the war because the people no longer felt the need to have superheroes. Having superheroes at this time made them patriotic and hopeful (Bramlett 171). However, they did not have much to unite them after that since they did not have a common foe. It is also vital that the author chooses to discuss the comic book industry in Quebec because it is markedly different from that in English speaking Canada (Gray 67). The idea of integrating religion into the comic book is interesting although not surprising. This aspect resulted from the writers of these books being influenced by their cultural practices and traditions, and religion was an essential part of that culture (Bell 100). Even the most recognized superhero, Captain Canuck, prayed before he went on missions (Edwardson 184).
The article mentions the early representation of Canada as a virtuous young woman who needs protection. The analogy symbolized the historical perception of the country in the context of Britain and the United States. It emphasizes Canada’s morality, and it seems to caution her against the corrupting nature of the U.S. In this respect, the comics appeared to underscore the fact that Canada was better than the United States, especially regarding morals (Ayaka and Hague 199). This mention is significant especially considering the abundance and influence of American comic books in Canada. The representation of Canada in such favorable light was not enough to convince its citizens. In the end, however, American superhero comic books ended up attracting the appeal of many Canadians.
observes that Canada needs to tell its stories and that the use of comic books
will be essential to achieve this goal. However, the author fails to provide a
way forward on how it can accomplish this. The comic book industry in the
United States has grown by finding something that people can relate to, and
this has increased its appeal. Many of the superheroes are involved in fighting
crimes, capturing and defeating villains, and saving the people. The readers
develop a sense of attachment because they are sure that the superheroes have
their best interests. The development of the comic book industry in Canada
needs to find such a cause as this would ensure that it continues to retain
Ayaka, Carolene, and Ian Hague. Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels. New York, Routledge, 2014.
Bell, John. Invaders from the North: How Canada Conquered the Comic Book Universe. Dundurn, 2006.
Edwardson, Ryan. “The Many Lives of Captain Canuck: Nationalism, Culture, and the Creation of a Canadian Comic Book Superhero.” The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 37, no. 2, 2003, pp. 184-201.
Bramlett, Frank, et al. The Routledge Companion to Comics. New York, Taylor & Francis, 2016
Gray, Brenna Clarke. “Canadian Comics: A Brief History.” Pulp Demons: International Dimensions of The Postwar Anti-Comics Campaign, edited by John A. Lent, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999 pp. 62-69.
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