Drawn and Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels

By Jacobs, Rita D. | World Literature Today, March/April 2016 | Go to article overview

Drawn and Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels


Jacobs, Rita D., World Literature Today


Drawn and Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels. Ed. Tom Devlin. Montreal, Canada. Drawn & Quarterly. 2015. 776 pages.

When the first issue of Drawn and Quarterly appeared in April 1990, the cultural landscape for graphic novels and serious comics was almost bare. Yes, Pantheon had published Art Speigelman's first six chapters of Maus to acclaim in 1986, but superheroes dominated the genre at the time and Maus was considered an anomaly. But Chris Oliveros, the founding father of D&Q, was indeed visionary. The quarterly itself ceased publication in 1992, but Oliveros and his talented staff moved onto even grander endeavors. In the twenty-five years since 1990, D&Q, based in Montreal, has become a driving force in the publishing of graphic novels. This new and hefty 776page volume attests to that fact.

Not only does this anthology serve as a compendium of comics, essays, and excerpts from graphic novels, it is also a quirky and complete history of the evolution of Drawn & Quarterly and of the comics genre. In a complex introductory layout, the history of D&Q by Sean Rogers is bordered by the chronology of D&Q running along the bottom of the pages. Interspersed are a variety of statements from artists, observers, and D&Q staff, often in bright orange boxes. The collection then finds its pace with essays about artists and a compendium of comics. In an odd and rather engaging way, the awkward layout of the opening pages sets the reader up for the idiosyncratic artistry of the drawings that follow. …

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