World Stamps

Canada Post distinguishes the graphic novel with new stamps

May 15, 2024, 1 PM
Issued May 10, the Canada Post Graphic Novelists set of four stamps features the work of five artists of the genre. The graphic novel often explores serious themes in lengthier formats in comic book style.

By Scott Tiffney

Continuing to honor storytellers, on May 10, Canada Post issued a set of four stamps recognizing five graphic novelists. The set celebrates the works of Chester Brown, Michel Rabagliati, Seth, and cousins Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki.

Written in a minimalist style employing striking images in panel form, the graphic novel has steadily grown in popularity worldwide.

The narrative art form, distinguished from comic books by its serious themes, often includes lengthier formats such as anthologies, memoirs and other nonfiction works.

The genre dates to the earliest days of comic books, although the term “graphic novel” wasn’t coined until the mid-1960s, according to comic book historian Richard Kyle.

In 1995, Canada Post first paid homage to its comic book heritage with a set of five stamps (Scott 1579-1583) depicting superheroes Johnny Canuck, Captain Canuck, Fleur de Leys, Superman and Nelvana.

The new set of four features graphic novelists “all of whom have made significant contributions to the genre,” Canada Post said. “The five novelists honoured on the new stamps pushed the boundaries and elevated the form, leaving a mark on readers around the globe.”

For the designs of the stamps, each artist collaborated with Canada Post to create an original drawing exclusively for this stamp issue. Each final image features one of the artist’s most recognized books and depicts the main character or characters in the act of reading their own story.

The first stamp features the work of Chester Brown and highlights his best-known work, Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography. Published in 2003, the study of the indigenous leader became the first graphic novel on the Canadian nonfiction best-seller list.

The work of Michel Rabagliati is the focus of the second stamp, specifically his 2009 award-winning Paul a Quebec (published in English in 2012 as The Song of Roland). Born in Montreal, Quebec, Rabagliati’s semiautobiographical novels focus on modern Quebec history.

Drawing inspiration from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts and Marvel comic books, Seth (the pen name for Gregory Gallant) began his mock autobiographical Palookaville series in 1975. After combining these stories into his 1985 book, It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken, he continued the series about the gradual demise of a family’s electric-fan business into his award-winning 2019 novel Clyde Fans, which is depicted on the stamp.

The fourth stamp showcases the work of cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki. Writer Mariko and illustrator Jillian have collaborated on several witty and insightful novels culminating in their 2014 award-winning coming-of-age graphic novel, This One Summer.

The Graphic Novelists stamps and FDCs are available online from Canada Post, by mail order from Canada Post Customer Service, Box 90022, 2701 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 1J8 Canada; or by telephone from the United States or Canada at 800-565-4362, and from other countries at 902-863-6550.

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