Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Whazamo! Profiles: John Bell

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Whazamo! Profiles: John Bell

Name: John Bell

Hometown: Montreal-born Haligonian living in Ottawa

Website: http://www.collectionscanada.g...

Role: Comics Historian

Latest Work: Invaders from the North: How Canada Conquered the Comic Book Universe (Dundurn, 2006)

What’s It About in a Nutshell:The history of comics and graphic narrative in English Canada, with emphasis on comic books.

What first inspired you to write about comics? I grew up in the 1950s, when comics were a mass medium – and a kid’s salvation.

What for you makes a comic or graphic novel AWESOME!? Comics generally work best when text is used with great economy. The more that is told visually and the more left to the reader’s imagination, the better.

What subjects are you obsessed with? Canadian popular culture.

If you weren’t doing comics or graphic novels, what would you be doing? When I am not working on comics-related projects, I am usually exploring other areas of Canadian cultural history, including Atlantic sea stories, science fiction, baseball writing, and non-sports trading cards.

What’s your favourite graphic novel of all time? It is hard to point to a single work. Among my favourite graphic novels are Black Hole, Palestine, Watchmen, From Hell, Maus, The Playboy, Flood!, and It’s a Good Life, if You Don’t Weaken.

What are you working on now? I am taking a break from comics and am currently working on a history of Confederate naval-commando operations on the Great Lakes during the American Civil War.

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).

His website can be found here at
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Go to Ian Daffern’s Author Page