Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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Looking for David Collier at TCAF this year, I found him in a lecture room, drawing cartoons on a wipeboard. Not as part of session--but because “someone needed to fill up that empty space.” The same passion has driven Collier to fill notebooks and eventually the pages of comics and graphic novels since the mid-eighties, in autobiographical essays and other true-life tales.

His subjects are Canadians, outsiders and weirdos who might easily be overlooked, kind of like Collier himself. While his drawing looks hasty, his observations are acute and capture the feelings of real life experience. Comics scholar Jeet Heer calls Collier one of “the four great Canadian cartoonists” (alongside Chester Brown, Seth and Julie Doucet). You're always going to find something honest in his stories, because Collier is always going his own way.

Take his decision to re-enlist in the army at the age of 40, as documented in his graphic novel Chimo. While motivated by the desire to be part of the tradition of the Canadian War Artists Program, the actual attempt takes a turn due to his own failing joints. What results is more a meditation on mortality and the importance of family rather than a look at contemporary military life.

For his Whazamo comic, Collier chose a book by Canadian poet Al Purdy, his novel A Splinter in the Heart ; which is as much about what we read, as why we choose to read it.

WHAZAMO! Comics: Graphic vs Novel
Every TUESDAY and THURSDAY for the month of May, Open Book: Toronto will feature an original comic by a Canadian cartoonist. We asked them to share a story of one book that has inspired them as artists, as storytellers, as people. Together, their comics will open a window, a panel if you will, into the mysterious process of inspiration.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Ian Daffern

Ian Daffern directs and produces documentary videos and writes about books and comics for places like Quill and Quire, The Globe and Mail and The National Post. He's also half of the mighty writing team behind Freelance Blues, your favourite new supernatural-horror-comedy comic (tm).

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Go to Ian Daffern’s Author Page