The theme of our anthology is “Home.” Be it positive or negative, our homes help create us, and these last few years of distancing, cohorts and quarantines have likely made that even clearer. A home might become a haven as the outside world descends into chaos or it might also feel like a cage. It can be both. A setting can be as much a character as a person. Sometimes we long for places simply for their beauty, but more often we’re seeking a reunion with a person, family or community.
We put out a call for stories that were quintessentially Albertan, and of course we got an amazingly diverse response, from slice-of-life to fantastical fiction. While one creator draws love-letter via a run-down of our “World’s Largest” sites, another hunts to feed their family. Teresa Wong drew a map of Calgary’s Chinatown overlaid with personal family history. Some reminisced over summers’ past – the party scene in Edmonton, and the buzz of activity in Okotoks when Pokemon Go was released – while another finds humour, and even hope, in the worst thing imaginable, zombies terrorizing the small town of Byemoor.
The characters within our comics frequently ask themselves just what makes a “good” home. Is it a crashed starship with only a glitchy holographic attendant? Or something even more fantastic, a page of art through which the artist is spontaneously transported – along with her cat – into the vastness of space? Naomi Fong shows us how complex it is navigating new parenthood amidst foreign traditions, values and language. Sam Hester shows how an owl taught her family about their local habitat and helped them keep sane during lockdowns. Great wisdom and encouragement are voiced by the most unlikely protagonists: a leopard gecko named Sponge, a magpie in its flight around a prairie farmyard, and a robot suffering from anxiety.
Given what we’ve all just gone through as a province (and a planet) we suggested that artists tell you all about their stay-at-home pandemic experiences. James Davidge had to manage cramped classrooms in an ever-evolving pandemic. Shannon M. Reeves describes a walk through a city that felt suddenly unfamiliar, and frightening. Our stories document a curious mix of pathos and optimism. Darryl Sinclair finds peace in the garden, and Mike Hooves shows how a simple gesture can let in so much light.
Editors: Alexander Finbow, Shea Proulx, Emily Pomeroy
224 pages, full colour
Featuring comic creators: Jillian Fleck, Theresa Wong, Kyle Simmers and Ryan Danny Owen, Shea Proulx, Janice Blaine, Aaron Navrady, Naomi Fong, Cam Haydn, Josh Rose, Chris Doucher, Jackson Gee, Derek Evernden, Chris Peterson, James Davidge, Chris Twin, Sam Hester, Brett Monroe, Nick Johnson, Morten Kristiansen, Shannon M. Reeves, Randi Hamel, Sho L. Uehara, Sylvia Moon, Steven Charles Rosia, Stacey Bru, Sean Seamus McWhinny, Simone Stehouwer, Mike Hooves, Luke Moore, Jacqueline Huskisson, Imaan Ladipo, Henry Hays, Darryl Sinclair, Corey Landsell, Chris Michaud, Caanan Grall, Nicole Gruszecki and more