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ARCHIVED - About This Site

Beyond the Funnies: The History of Comics in English Canada and Quebec was co-authored and co-curated by comics scholars John Bell and Michel Viau. John Bell was responsible for the site's English-Canadian content, including the essay "History of Comic Books in English Canada". Michel Viau contributed the essay "History of the Quebecois Comics" and all other material on the site relating to comic art in Quebec.

Viau is the author of the most authoritative guide to Quebec comics, BDQ : Répertoire des publications de bandes dessinées au Québec des origines à nos jours (2000). Since 1998 he has also been a major contributor to the BD Québec website ( Michel Viau writes a regular column on comics in the fanzine Zine Zag, as well as occasional articles for the French magazine Le Collectionneur de bandes dessinées. Since November 2001, he has been assistant editor-in-chief of the humour and comics magazine Safarir.

Bell is the main author of Canuck Comics: A Guide to Comic Books Published in Canada (1986) and the author/curator of Guardians of the North: The National Superhero in Canadian Comic-Book Art, which appeared initially, in 1992, as an exhibition (accompanied by a book of the same title), before it was revised and transformed, in 2001, into a Library and Archives Canada website ( Bell has also contributed articles on Canadian comics to the Canadian Encyclopedia and to periodicals such as The Comics Journal, The Classics Collector, and Heritage Post. As well, he has been interviewed about comics in various periodicals and on numerous television and radio programmes. In 1996, Bell donated the John Bell Canadian Comic Book Collection to the former National Library's Rare Book Division. Much of the material showcased in the English-Canadian section of Beyond the Funnies comes from this unique collection.

Bell and Viau's main goal in Beyond the Funnies is to offer a basic introduction to Canada's two comic-art traditions. It is also hoped that the site will encourage visitors to initiate their own explorations of Canadian comics heritage and to search out the best of contemporary comic art in English Canada and Quebec.

Like Guardians of the North, Library and Archives Canada's earlier comics-related website, Beyond the Funnies is intended for the general public; however, the nature of the comics medium is such that certain images may be offensive to some or not suitable for young children.


John Bell

Numerous people kindly assisted with the preparation of the English-Canadian portion of the Beyond the Funnies website, and/or with my earlier survey of Canadian comic art in Canuck Comics (1986), which served as the starting point for this expanded, web-based exploration of the graphic-narrative tradition in English Canada.

First of all, I want to acknowledge the help that I received from the following individuals: George Allanson, Cheryl Avery, Loretta Barber, Les Barker (Leo Bachle), Charity Bell, Nicholas Bell, Barry Blair, Jacques Boivin, Chester Brown, Jim Burant, Leo Burdak, Jim Burke (T.M. Maple), Peter Dako, Dave Darrigo, Dan Day, Gene Day, Peter DeLottinville, Gordon Derry, Jennifer Devine, Harlan Ellison, Terry Fletcher, Neil Forsyth, Hal Foster, Pierre Fournier, the Hon. E.D. Fulton, Dave Geary, Kathy Hall, George Henderson, Greg Holfield, Harry Holman, Robert Hunter, Lord Larry, Edward Letkeman, Owen McCarron, Paul MacKinnon, Bob MacMillan, Bernie Mireault, Gabriel Morrissette, Susan North, Owen Oulton, Bill Pelletier, Luc Pomerleau, George M. Rae, Dianne Reid, Su Rogers, Charles R. Saunders, Seth (Gregory Gallant), Mark Shainblum, Ron Sutton, Jeffrey Taylor, Colin Upton, Charles Spain Verral, Michel Viau, Jim Waley, and Kirk Wallace.

I would also like to thank the many staff members of Library and Archives Canada who have generously provided assistance to me during several years of comics-related research.

Finally, I want to stress my debt to the multitude of largely unsung artists, writers, and publishers who struggled, mostly at the margins of Canadian culture and often against formidable obstacles, to create comics in Canada. Hopefully, Beyond the Funnies will both contribute to an appreciation of their efforts and encourage further investigations of the rich comic-art heritage that is their legacy.

Michel Viau

The editing of this history of the BDQ was made possible by the help of many members of the BDQ community. I would particularly like to thank my friend Yves Décary, who offered me his collection of Quebecois magazines from the 1970's, as well as all of the authors who answered my questions and who sent me copies of their publications: Leane Franson, Michèle Laframboise, Dominique Galarneau, Nato, Karine Church, Marc Jetté, Denis Chiasson, Éric Thériault, Marc Pageau, Steve Requin, Rick Tremble, Kurt Beaulieu, Daniel Bernier, André "Gag" Gagnon, Paul LeBrun, Léon Leclerc, Yves Rodier, Dominic Béliveau, André Poliquin, Jacques Boivin, Jason Ginguené, Bonhomme, Jean-Claude Amyot, Raymond Lebrun and Pierre Fournier.

My thanks also to Hélène Brosseau, Francis Hervieux, Jacques Cloutier, Bernard Dubois, Jacques Samson, Richard Langlois, John Bell, Dominique Petitfaux, Claude Guillot and Mario Rendace, who suggested new directions of research. I must also thank the booksellers Yves Millet (Fichtre!), Yvan Plamondon (DéBéDé) and Jean-Bernard Vidal (Millenium) for their collaboration and useful advice.

I thank, finally, Luc Marleau for his comments and Pascale Ledoux for her corrections, patience and love.

I dedicate this brief history of the BDQ to all comics creators, authors and artists -- past, present and future -- without whom it could not exist. Thanks to all!

We also gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance of the Department of Canadian Heritage, whose ARCHIVED - Canadian Cultural Online Program (CCOP) made this work possible.

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