Tag Archives: canadian politics

‘EXTRACTION!’ Pre-Ordering is Now OPEN

Ad Astra Comix is pleased to announce that our crowdfunder for a classic work of Canadian comics journalism is now live. “EXTRACTION! Comix Reportage” is an anthology of journalistic comics about the damage caused by different sectors the Canadian mining industry around the world and within the nation state’s own borders. Using research, on-the-ground journalism and original comic art, the work features stories about the extraction of uranium, oil, aluminum and gold and their devastating impact on communities and the environment.

title image for press kit

The human and ecological cost of this industry is too often buried in the fine print of annual reports. ‘EXTRACTION!’ can help stories from India, Guatemala, Alberta and the Northwest Territories reach Canadians – the people best positioned to challenge these companies.

‘EXTRACTION!’ touches on a number of issues of interest to our readers including colonialism, indigenous rights, ecological devastation and corporate malfeasance. It also features work by a number of contributors who have gone on to do exciting things, including journalist Dawn Paley and artist Jeff Lemire.

Ad Astra Comix is an independent Ottawa-based comics publisher. We believe in the power of comics to share the stories of regular people and speak truth to power. We have no investors, stockholders or friends in high places – just an enthusiasm for comics and social justice.

Organizations, individuals and local book retailers are encouraged to participate in the crowdfunder. Funding rewards range from a copy of the book before it’s available in stores, to custom-made comics about the mining issue of your choice, to a lump of coal delivered to the Canadian Government, on your behalf.

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EXTRACTION!’ has already been published once and has sold the entirety of its print run. By republishing it, we hope to share these stories and help Canadians understand the high cost of cheap commodities. By contributing to the project or simply sharing it with people you think may be interested, you can help us reach that goal.

If you’re interested in contributing to the publication of ‘EXTRACTION!’, or want to know more about the project, you can check out our crowdfunding campaign. For information about Ad Astra Comix, including other titles we carry, workshops we offer and critical coverage of political comics, check out the rest of this website. To get in touch, please e-mail adastracomix@gmail.com. You can also follow us on Twitter @AdAstraComics or like our page on Facebook.

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NOW AVAILABLE: EXTRACTION! Comix Reportage

Ad Astra Comix is pleased to announce that “EXTRACTION! Comix Reportage” 2nd edition is back from the printers!  With a thoughtful combination of research, on-the-ground journalism and original comic art, ‘Extraction’ features stories from major  industries–uranium, oil, aluminum and gold–and their devastating impact on communities and the environment in Canada, India, and Guatemala.

UPDATE: ‘EXTRACTION! Comix Reportage’
can now be ordered through our online store!

 EXTRATION! Comix Reportage | Journalists:  Peter Cizek, Tamara Herman, Dawn Paley, and Sophie Toupin | Artists: Phil Angers, Jeff Lemire, Joe Ollmann, Carlos Santos, Alain Reno, Ruth Tait, Stanley Waney | Edited by Frédéric Dubois, Marc Tessier, and David Widgington

EXTRACTION! Comix Reportage | Journalists: Peter Cizek, Tamara Herman, Dawn Paley, and Sophie Toupin | Artists: Phil Angers, Jeff Lemire, Joe Ollmann, Carlos Santos, Alain Reno, Ruth Tait, Stanley Waney | Edited by Frédéric Dubois, Marc Tessier, and David Widgington

The human and ecological cost of this industry is too often buried in the fine print of annual reports. “EXTRACTION!” can help these stories reach Canadians – the people best positioned to challenge these companies.

In May 2016, we sold pre-orders of “EXTRACTION!” through a 40-day crowdfunder. Organizations, individuals and local book retailers were encouraged to participate. We also offered special “perks”, like sending the Ministry of the Environment a lump of coal for the poor record on holding extraction projects to account, as well as custom-made comics about mining projects.

Ad Astra Comix is an independent Toronto-based comics publisher. We believe in the power of comics to share the stories of regular people and speak truth to power. We have no investors, stockholders or friends in high places – just an enthusiasm for comics and social justice.

 

 

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Talk is Cheap: Episode #4

Hey Everyone,

We’re back this week with a fresh episode of “Talk is Cheap”. This week’s comic features those lovable little critters that come out this time of year: the opinion pollsters.

We’re still looking for a few more newspapers interested in running the comic! TiC is timely, ever so witty, and a steal-of-a-deal. E-mail us at adastracomix@gmail.com for more info.

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Episode 2 of “Talk is Cheap”

Welcome to ‘Talk is Cheap’, our new newspaper-style comic covering the Canadian political scene – such as it is. Following in the tradition of Doonesbury, Bloom County and Weltschmerz, TiC aims to measure the space between rhetoric and reality with a mixture of surrealism, snark and snappy visuals.

Currently running in Trent University’s Arthur Newspaper, with art by Ad Astra Comix founder Nicole Burton and text by lead staff editor Hugh Goldring,

‘Talk is Cheap’ is available for syndication, so send us an e-mail for details if you’re interested!

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Next: Episode 3

Episode 1 of “Talk is Cheap”

Welcome to ‘Talk is Cheap’, our new newspaper-style comic covering the Canadian political scene – such as it is. Following in the tradition of Doonesbury, Bloom County and Weltschmerz, TiC aims to measure the space between rhetoric and reality with a mixture of surrealism, snark and snappy visuals.

Currently running in Trent University’s Arthur Newspaper, with art by Ad Astra Comix founder Nicole Burton and text by lead staff editor Hugh Goldring,

‘Talk is Cheap’ is available for syndication, so send us an e-mail for details if you’re interested!

Episode 1 (Week of Sept 7)

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Next: Episode 2

Social Media Contradictions: Sharing Knowledges of Life and Death in Story of Helen Betty Osborne

Pamela Jayne Holopainen.
Amanda Sophia Bartlett.
Tina Fontaine.
Delores “Lolly” Whitman.
Maisy Odjick.
Jennifer Catcheway.
Elizabeth Mary Dorion.
Bea Kwaronihawi Barnes.
Lisa Marie Young. Leah Anderson.
Helen Betty Osborne.
Danita Faith Big Eagle.
Shannon Alexander.
Brittany Sinclair.
Danielle Creek.
Amber Marie Buiboche.

These are a few of the too many indigenous women missing and murdered across North America.

Projects like Walking with Our Sisters commemorate and raise awareness of missing and murdered First Nations women and girls. This project began through social media as an attempt to value to the lives of missing and murdered indigenous women as well as raise awareness for the posthumous ‘violence of silence’. Here, social media has proven a powerful tool for amassing histories and sharing stories, like that of Cree woman Helen Betty Osborne, who had hoped to become a teacher, but was kidnapped and murdered while walking down the street in La Pas, Manitoba.

Betty

Title: Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story
Author: David Alexander Robertson
Artist: Scott Henderson
Published: Highwater Press, 2015
Specs: 30 pages, B&W, softcover
Age Group: For grades 9+
ISBN: 978-1-55379-544-5
Price: $16.00

In the age of hashtag revolutions, social media can be a powerful tool for sharing histories and directing action. But it is a double-edged sword. At the same time that it is a vehicle for sharing love and honour, digital media also helps to spread hate.

Continue reading Social Media Contradictions: Sharing Knowledges of Life and Death in Story of Helen Betty Osborne

The RCMP slaughter of Inuit dogs: There’s a comic for that & it’s headed for Classrooms

In April 2015 our free webcomic DOGS gained national attention in Canada for its depiction of the little-known but horrific RCMP sled dog slaughter of the 1950s-60s in Eastern Arctic Canada. On Friday, June 5th, Ad Astra Comix launched a small crowdfunder to print the comic as a poster in bulk.

Destination? How about every classroom in Canada?

Continue reading The RCMP slaughter of Inuit dogs: There’s a comic for that & it’s headed for Classrooms

The Mazinbiige Indigenous Graphic Novel Collection & The Politics of Public Knowledge

sir arthur            Outside of the Library and Archives of Canada, there is a statue of Sir Arthur Doughty, the country’s first National Archivist. In a city of thousands, he is one only of two civil servants who has been honoured with his own statue – the other died a hero while saving a drowning woman. While Sir Arthur never dove into a frozen river, he is a hero of a very different kind to Canada. There is a plaque at the base of his statue inscribed with the following quotation:

“Of all national assets, archives are the most precious: they are the gift of one generation to another, and the extent of our care of them marks the extent of our civilization.”

Our idea of nation and civilization are very different from Sir Arthur’s, and I don’t mind saying better. I grew up taking the idea of a national archives for granted – my mother worked for it, and my father worked in it. The archives is the glacial melt from which so much of the river of history flows. But in recent years it has been under attack.

Who would attack such an apparently non-partisan body? The Conservatives, we are not surprised to discover. But why? Surely nothing could be more stale, more status quo, than the National Archives, one might think. You’d be wrong.
The National Archives are a knife held to the throat of the government. Records held there were instrumental to building the case against the protracted cultural genocide waged by the Canadian state against indigenous peoples. There is information enough in the archives to lay bare proof of crimes past and present. Archives are a vital resource in the fight against colonialism. They are a weapon in many struggles for justice.

camille_callisonAll of which may seem like a strange way to introduce our feature on Camille Callison, the Indigenous Services Librarian at the University of Manitoba. But doing so sets the stage to help understand just how important – and potentially threatening to colonialism – her work at U of M is. Camille has recently coordinated the assembly of Mazinbiige Indigenous Graphic Novel Collection (‘Mazinbiige’ is an Anishinaabe word meaning “beautiful images and writing”), of more than 200 titles written by and about indigenous people.

The collection not only captures the best of the genre but also the worst. It includes the most racist, stereotypical depictions of indigenous people as well as the most authentic ones. The reasoning for doing so is that these racist depictions are often far more visible and it is important to understand how settler culture portrays indigenous people.

It’s one of the very first such collections available at a Canadian university. Callison describes the increasing literary credibility of comics and graphic novels in society as well as the increased recognition of the medium as an educational tool. She sees comics as a way to engage youth with topics that they might find too try if they were presented with conventional writing on the subject.   Based on the buzz around the collection, it looks like she’s right. Not only the university but the student paper and even CTV have taken notice of the launch of the collection. Given the ongoing interest in innovative teaching methods, this is hardly surprising. Callison’s work will create a resource for critical discussion on the depictions of indigenous people, as well as greatly simplifying research for comics scholars interested in the subject. Accessibility is a major consideration for librarians and archivists, and indigenous peoples often find that their efforts to access residential school records at the Library and Archives of Canada was obstructed by bureaucratic obstacles.

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Photos from the launch of the Mazinbiige Indigenous Graphic Novel Collection, November 2013
Photos from the launch of the Mazinbiige Indigenous Graphic Novel Collection, November 2013

Callison notes the role of her son in interesting her in graphic novels as a medium; they were one of the first kinds of reading he became interested in doing. She says that they read them together and had critical discussions of the way women were depicted in the media so that he could enjoy them without absorbing sexist stereotypes. This is very much in line with her emphasis on critical reading as a way of understanding depictions of indigenous people in mainstream comics.

She also acknowledges the importance of working with Blue Corn Comics and discussions with Professor Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, an Assistant Professor in Department of Native Studies who teaches a course on graphic novels. In an article for the Manitoban, Niigaan Sinclair is quoted as describing graphic novels as a vehicle for self-determination.

There are a lot of great discussions going on about how mainstream comics reinforce sexism, racism and other toxic ideologies. Alas, these discussions seldom get beyond the politics of representation in terms of what comics can do. It’s great to see indigenous authors producing comics about indigenous superheroes. But The Mazinbiige Indigenous Graphic Novel Collection includes more than good and bad portrayals of indigenous heroes – it includes diverse narratives of indigenous experience that can help to communicate trauma, share traditional knowledge, and help us decolonize ourselves.