Alberta Comics Anthology: Home
Alberta Comics Anthology: Home
A setting can have as much character as a character. Sometimes we long for places simply for their beauty, but more often we’re seeking a reunion with a person, family or community. You’d be hard pressed to find a community as warm and engaging as the comic creators in this province. We put out a call for stories that were quintessentially Albertan, and received a cornucopia of submissions with as much variety as the weather here in May.
As a reader who is living on the traditional, unceded Treaty 7 territory of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), Nakoda (Stoney), and Tsuut'ina—Lethbridge, specifically—I was quick to identify with the sights within Alberta Comics: Home. Whether it was the magpies flying over prairie land or the crunch of snow in a bundled-up walk, the graphic stories within this anthology were truly and profoundly Albertan. However, that shouldn’t stop a reader from outside of the province from picking up this book; the content and plot of many of the short comics are applicable to a greater sphere of knowing and oftentimes are deeply fantastical and based so deeply in science fiction that they transcended being simply Albertan. With its recent publishing date, many of the stories discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic shaped ideas of home, whether that meant spending more time at home or redefining what home meant altogether. Alberta Comics Anthology: Home, through a wide variety of storyteller perspectives, is a refreshing look at not only home as a place, but home as a feeling.
The variety of art and storytelling styles in this anthology will appeal to many different readers. Some stories are more muted in nature, presenting a watercolour softness in the art, while others are more of a digital style. As previously mentioned, because there is a wide variety of stories being told in this anthology, readers have plenty of opportunity to bounce around within the text to connect to different characters and themes. A few personal favourites of mine were a story being told from the perspective of a puppy helping a young adult heal from loss (“A Long Distance Hug”), how a pet gecko might view the pandemic (“The Box I Live In”), and the peak of Pokémon Go and how that impacted a small town (“Take Me Back”). Readers should know that, since some of the stories do contain nudity, violence, mature language, and mature themes, this anthology would appeal to older YA readers.
As stated in the “Introduction”, be it positive or negative, our homes create us. This comic anthology presents itself as a way to reflect both joyfully and deeply on what home really means, and, more specifically, what home means in the province of Alberta. After finishing Alberta Comics Anthology: Home, I was left thinking about how I would represent and tell my story of living in Alberta for 30+ years—a compelling afterthought triggered by many of the simple visuals or grandiose plot lines that are contained in the pages. Again, don’t let the locality of Alberta be a deterrent to picking up this anthology – I am convinced there is a little something for everyone in here!
Lindsey Baird, currently a high school English teacher on Treaty 7 territory in Southern Alberta, grew up on Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. She has spent time in many of the stops and spots in between.