Alter Ego exhibit attempts to define Canadian identity in comic books

Here’s my chat Meaghan Scanlon about the Alter Ego exhibit currently on display at the Toronto Public Library.

Meaghan Scanlon2
Photo courtesy David Knox, photographer

Meaghan is the Special Collections Librarian at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa. Her role includes overseeing rare books and special collections within the library including the major comic book collections.

During our chat, Meaghan talked about the Bell Features collection and the John Bell collection both of which are showcased in the Alter Ego exhibit.

captain canuck
Captain Canuck volume 1, No. 1
© Richard Comely, 1975. Reproduced with the permission of Richard Comely and Chapter House Publishing.

Meaghan explained the reason behind creating the display. She said: “We tried to develop an exhibition around the concept of Canadian identity in comic books.”

Meaghan said it’s hard to pinpoint what makes a comic book truly Canadian. “There’s also Canadian comics that are less overtly Canadian. All through the history of Canada, people have struggled to really define what Canadian identity is — so I’m not sure it’s really possible to say.”

Meaghan believes there was a lack of understanding about the history of Canadian comic books. She said: “If you talk to a lot of people of a certain generation they’ll tell you the first time they heard about Canadian comics was in 1971 when Hirsh and Loubert published ‘The Great Canadian Comic Books’ and brought the Canadian light back to the general public.”

The exhibit also includes a section about comic books from Quebec.

The exhibition is on display in the TD Gallery at the Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street, main floor) from May 12-July 29, 2018. Admission is free.  

You can discover more about the Alter Ego online at:
https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/programs-and-classes/exhibits/alter-ego.jsp
and
https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/about-us/events/Pages/Exhibitions/Alter-Ego-2018.aspx

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One comment

  1. […] I chatted with Meaghan Scanlon, the Special Collections Librarian at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, about the Alter Ego exhibit currently on display at the Toronto Public Library. Meaghan explained that the exhibit as an attempt to define Canadian identity through comic books from the past to the present. https://truenorthcountrycomics.com/2018/06/06/alter-ego-exhibit-attempts-to-define-canadian-identity… […]

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