Unsettling the Canadian Whites

A Writing Back of Indigenous, Black, and Jewish Comics


  • Jamie Michaels University of Calgary


            Since its foundation during the Second World War, the Canadian comics industry has championed a white settler nationalism where Indigeneity was appropriated and Black and Jewish representation was ignored. However, creators from these marginalized groups are reclaiming the comics form. To do so, they are capitalizing on comics’ specific devices to solicit empathy and unsettle white-settler readings of history. This process is examined through three case studies: David Alexander’s The Ballad of Nancy April and The Scout, John Olbey’s anti-racist comics published in NOW Toronto, and an autoethnographic reflection of process in my own work creating Christie Pits. Understood collectively, these case studies problematize and challenge the racism inherent in the Canadian white normalities while shedding light on the form-specific devices that are used to do so.