Colin's Comment

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

So, Robin and I were interviewing comics creator Alex Robinson, creator of the very good comics series “Box Office Poison” and the excellent original graphic novel, “Tricked”. Now, Alex’s stories are about characters struggling to survive in the real world and the way lives collide in the city, a bit of soap opera, a bit autobiographical. In the interview we were talking about other interests Alex has, as you probably know by now I have a theory that many auto and semi-autobiographical cartoonists have a affinity for history and so we asked Alex about this. As I suspected, Alex admitted to having an interest in history. Then he said something that surprised us. He asked us if we’d heard about the American Civil War up there in Canada! Okay, it’s not fair, I’m a military history nerd, a war gamer and the previous day I’d been reading a book on the Battle of Chancellorsville! (That Stonewall Jackson, man what a nutcase!) I’m not singling out Alex, who’s a pretty smart guy and has travelled (hell, the dreaded French gave him an award for Box Office Poison, which I assume put him on Dick Cheney‘s list of subversives), but I’ve encountered this sort of thing before from my American friends. They assume, naturally, because they know nothing about Canada that we in Canada know nothing about the USA.

How to explain the force of “American cultural imperialism” to someone in the United States? That our films, television, music and hell our comics are dominated by the cultural behemoth south of the border? That most of our cultural products (not comics of course) require government quotas and funding just to survive? That we love/hate American culture? That the Europeans do too, however much they live in denial! Even the people in Iran, America’s sworn enemy, feel the allure of American pop culture! Our “American cultural imperialism” is their pop culture, its all most of them know! I’ve also noticed that American’s who take an interest in history rarely study the history of any place other than that of the United States. I blame the schools. In a Canadian school the map of Canada includes the American border states on the margins. When I was in school outside Boston for a year I noticed the map of the United States was just that, the United States. No Mexico, no Canada, it’s like there was a big blank space where Canada used to be, between the US mainland and Alaska. I’ve met Americans who have never left the United States, some of them in border cities but have no interest in the world outside. You really gotta wonder how this totally insular worldview affects the way Americans see the world, and the evident belief by many that theirs is the only free and democratic country on earth. One guy I was talking to in the states seemed to think that Canada was still ruled directly by the whim of the Queen of England! Somebody said that war was how God teaches the Americans geography… mind you, that being said Roberta Gregory, born and raised in the USA, has one of the sharpest minds for geography I know.

I'm working on stuff for Word Under the Street in late September, I have 5 mini-comics done, want to do one more and I’m working on a couple more Colin’s Comics collections of stories from various anthologies. I’ve done the cover illos, back cover copy and now it’s just a matter of copying art, pasting up, copying comics, collating, folding and stapling. Piece of cake… yeah, right…


At 4:56 p.m., Anonymous GX said...

Americans live in complete denial of just about everything.

At 9:25 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...



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