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The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists Hardcover – October 11, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A sort-of companion piece to Wimbledon Green (2005), in which he limned a fictional history of comic-book collectors, Seth’s latest effort postulates an alternate universe set in a Canada where lionized cartoonists were viewed as important cultural figures, with membership in a prestigious guild, the G. N. B. Double C. of the book’s title. A largely unseen narrator leads a tour of the league’s expansive headquarters, now in disrepair but once the scene of clubby meetings of the nation’s cartoonists—a few genuine, but most contrived entirely by Seth, who details their careers with loving care, presenting lengthy samples of such colorful creations as Kao-Kuk the Inuit astronaut and patriotic superhero Canada Jack. The work’s deceptive modesty—Seth’s drawings are uncharacteristically casual, and he limits himself to an unvarying grid of nine uniformly sized panels—belies its impressive accomplishment, creating a fully realized world in which cartoonists receive the respect they’re denied in ours. Seth treats his profession with the same mix of affection and inventiveness that marked Guy Maddin’s wry mockumentary film about his Canadian hometown, My Winnipeg. --Gordon Flagg

About the Author

SETH is the cartoonist of Clyde Fans; It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken; Wimbledon Green; George Sprott; Bannock, Beans, and Black Tea; and Vernacular Drawings; the designer of the New York Times bestselling Peanuts collections; and a New Yorker illustrator. He lives in Guelph, Ontario.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770460535
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770460539
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Martin on February 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I'll be honest: I had no idea who Seth was when I bought this book. I bought it because I thought it would provide inspiration for my own sketchbooks. But then I actually started to read it. As a fellow Canadian I was surprised to discover I wasn't familiar with any of the characters or cartoonists he was writing about. Confused, I looked some of them up on Google and Wikipedia, and lo and behold I discovered most of what's in the book is completely made up!

I was blown away. Everything is so believable, with their little backgrounds and factoids. Knowing they never existed just serves to make the whole thing that much more amazing. I don't know, maybe it's because it appeals to my own peculiar brand of humor, but The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists is one shiny gem of a little book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C Wheeler VINE VOICE on January 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nobody can be serious all of the time; not even a Canadian. The cartoonist known only as "Seth" -- his real name is Gregory Gallant, and I'd have a pen-name, too -- is best-known for the deep, serious stories, mostly serialized in his irregular comic "Palookaville." Although, since serious, detailed comics take quite a while to create, that means that his major '90s story was collected as the book It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken, and that his major '00s work is the not-yet finished serial "Clyde Fans."

But, as a break from "Clyde Fans," Seth quickly made the light graphic novel Wimbledon Green in 2005, about the world's greatest comic-book collector, in a simpler, quicker style he called sketchbook. And -- possibly partly because of the strong response to that book, and possibly partly because "Clyde Fans" has been taking so long to be finished -- he came back six years later with another light-hearted sketchbook story with an inside-comics slant.

The G.N.B. Double C, as its cover calls it, is more diffuse and less successful than WIMBLEDON, which focused on a single character and his adventures. This new book instead is a leisurely guided tour of the headquarters of the title organization in Seth's fictional Ontario city of Dominion, and, along the way, of a mostly alternate history of 20th century Canadian cartooning. Seth does include some real comics, like Doug Wright's
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard C. Geschke VINE VOICE on October 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all I'm somewhat prejudice when it comes to the oeuvre of work done by Seth, and this latest creation seems to be his best work yet! In the preface Seth describes how he created this work and actually gave up on it when his perception of creativity seemed to waver. In fact he gave up on this work and went on to create his successful graphic novel titled "Wimbledon Green." Laying down his pen to go onto another endeavor shows one that Seth sets very high standards for his work. Eventually he comes back to finish "The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists."
In creating this magnificent work Seth goes to his own imaginary model town of Dominion where there stands a building erected in 1935 bearing the initials of G.N.B.C.C. The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists has their own local chapter where cartoonists have their own watering hole and local traditions and social get togethers.
It is in this creative setting that Seth sets out to explain the history of cartooning such as it is and was in Canada. As always Seth spends most of his time explaining the exploits and genres of all the important and influential artists in Canada. He tells the stories in short prose and wonderful depictions of drawings which in of itself shows of a nostalgic time of past pursuits in which shows a simpler and at times happier and at times somewhat sad displays. He also shows the artwork done by another artist, which of course is drawn by Seth. Seth shows the different styles of cartooning and goes on to explain the genre and actions of each individual artist.
In doing this work Seth goes from one artist to another in a rather seamless prose while exploring the rooms of the ancient G.N.B.C.C.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the book Seth was working on before inspiration struck and he abandoned the book unfinished to set off and create "Wimbledon Green" in its entirety. This book could be seen as a prequel to "Wimbledon" which celebrated comics collectors while "The Great Northern Brotherhood" celebrates the comics creators.

The narrator talks about the golden age of cartoonists when there was a great society of them and he recounts their varying, eccentric personalities and the strange comics they created. Some of these are real such as Doug Wright's "Nipper" or Seth's friend and peer Chester Brown, but some are made up and these are where the book shines with Seth going off on flights of fancy.

While I adore Seth ("It's a Good Life" and the liner notes to Aimee Mann's record "Lost in Space" made me interested in comics again after a decade or so of leaving them behind) and always look forward to his work, I felt this wasn't nearly as good as his other works, especially "Wimbledon Green" which had far more charm and imagination than this book. "The Great Northern" fails to interest because it's basically a monologue told by Seth describing a cartoonist, their work, and then moving on to the next cartoonist, and their work, and so on. It becomes a bit tedious.

Seth's artwork is as beautiful as ever, even if he labels it as from his sketchbook, and the production of the book is as lovely as all of Drawn and Quarterly's publications are, but it's not this artist's best work and a bit of a disappointment, even to a huge fan like me. It's not essential to read this and for those looking to discover this artist I suggest skipping this and going to "Wimbledon Green" or "It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken".
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