Forging the Past
Seth and the Art of Memory

By Daniel Marrone

208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 50 b&w illustrations, introduction, appendix, bibliography, index

9781496807311 Printed casebinding $60.00S

978-1-4968-1479-1 Paper $30.00S

Printed casebinding, $60.00

Paper, $30.00

A critical study of the extraordinary Canadian comics creator

Nominated for a 2017 Eisner Award

At once familiar and hard to place, the work of acclaimed Canadian cartoonist Seth evokes a world that no longer exists--and perhaps never existed, except in the panels of long-forgotten comics. Seth's distinctive drawing style strikingly recalls a bygone era of cartooning, an apt vehicle for melancholy, gently ironic narratives that depict the grip of the past on the present. Even when he appears to look to the past, however, Seth (born Gregory Gallant) is constantly pushing the medium of comics forward with sophisticated work that often incorporates metafiction, parody, and formal experimentation.

Forging the Past offers a comprehensive account of this work and the complex interventions it makes into the past. Moving beyond common notions of nostalgia, Daniel Marrone explores the various ways in which Seth's comics induce readers to participate in forging histories and memories. Marrone discusses collecting, Canadian identity, New Yorker cartoons, authenticity, artifice, and ambiguity--all within the context comics' unique structure and texture. Seth's comics are suffused with longing for the past, but on close examination this longing is revealed to be deeply ambivalent, ironic, and self-aware.

Marrone undertakes the most thorough, sustained investigation of Seth's work to date, while advancing a broader argument about how comics operate as a literary medium. Included as an appendix is a substantial interview, conducted by the author, in which Seth candidly discusses his work, his peers, and his influences.

Daniel Marrone, Toronto, Canada, teaches English and visual culture. His work has appeared in Studies in Comics, ImageTexT, and Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, as well as in the anthology The Canadian Alternative: Cartoonists, Comics, and Graphic Novels.

208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 50 b&w illustrations, introduction, appendix, bibliography, index