‘This Place: 150 Years Retold’ [Comics Review]

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This is a story that has a lot of information to be had and there were many moments when I thought to myself “why is this the first time I’m hearing about this?” 

After all, I actually grew up in Canada and this is certainly not the firs time I’ve had a history lesson about it. But for whatever reason, this tense to be a lengthy history on how the country was “settled” by the French and then English with vaguely summarized histories about the rest (kind of like how every literary class has no idea that contemporary novels exist).

The point I’m trying to make is that I think this is a really important book for people from Canada and other parts of the world to read. There are a lot of things in it that I find upsetting as someone who lives in the country it depicts but I don’t see that as a bad thing. Treating people as if they are less than you based on cultural differences should be upsetting–especially when it’s happened recently.

Goodreads Summary:

Explore the last 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in the graphic novel anthology, This Place: 150 Years Retold. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through magic realism, serial killings, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

However, while I loved most of the art in this book, I felt separated from the story the whole time. This might have to do with the art styles being too detailed, or it could be some underlying feeling that this is a world I’m not a part of. Either way, these were not characters I could lose myself in, something I felt this story could benefit from. Which raises the question: why would this be the case?

Let’s assume this was an intentional choice on the part of the writers and artists. In which case, what could be their motivation for keeping that barrier up? I think part of this would have to do with the informative nature of the book. This is meant to be a source of information for those who do not live in the reality described–a narrative way of expressing a culture and history that rarely gets talked about. 

I also found the pages with the timelines fascinating. I wanted to put together the whole of information presented in this manor–since most of it pertains to facts useful in understanding a specific story–and have a conspiracy-esc board about all these historical events about my country no one bothered to teach me about. 

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I adored reading this book. The stories are riveting and thought provoking, accompanied with gorgeous artwork. It’s a work of collaboration that gives these very personal stories vitality and allows them to reach all these different people in order for them to understand each other.

The world needs more understanding in it and the truth is there are things in this book I didn’t know I needed to understand until I read it.

Anything you think I should be reading, comics or otherwise? Feel free to leave a comment with your suggestions!

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