As a big fan of made-up history, I was excited to read Seth’s newest graphic novel, The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists. The story follows an unnamed narrator as he guides the reader on a tour of the titular GNBCC, a building long past its prime, that once was the hub of Canadian cartoonists.
As the narrator wanders through the building, he gives a fictional history of Canadian cartoonists and their work from Bartley Munn’s Eskimo astronaut Kao-Kuk to Bernard Reaume’s “Pierre Lacombe – Voyageur” series. However, it’s not all fictional: Seth does make a few references to fellow graphic novelist, Chester Brown.
The narrator also takes the reader on a tour of the GNBCC’s archive, a building in the far north of Ontario that takes an arduous journey to reach. The building resembles one large igloo with tunnels to four smaller igloos and houses a treasure trove of rare artifacts.
The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists is more than just a fun read. The narrator mourns for the grand ol’ days when Canadian cartoonists were admired and flourished on that attention. Is the time of the cartoon over, the narrator wonders, or will a new wave of cartoonists take up the mantle and continue Canada’s cartooning legacy? With books like this, we can hope it’s the latter.