Collier’s Popular Press

Aug 5, 2011 by

Collier’s Popular Press
David Collier

December 2011
ISBN 978-1-894994-60-6
8×10, 208 pages
$20

Introduction by Jeet Heer
Nominated for an Expozine Award

This book collects Canadian cartoonist David Collier’s work published over the last 30 years in various publications such as: The National Post, The Nerve, The Globe and Mail, The Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Geist magazine, The Comics Journal, and many more. With new introductions by the artist himself and plenty of added ephemera, this is the volume that Collier completists have been waiting for. Also by David Collier: CHIMO

“This is a great book that is sure to be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates the works of creators like Frank King, R. Crumb (especially his non-fiction work of the 1980s), Harvey Pekar, Joe Sacco, Seth and Dan Zettwoch, just for starters. There is simply no contemporary comics creator who is more down to earth than David Collier, and there is no better antidote to the feeling of being overwhelmed by the frentic pace of the non-stop electronic pseudo-connectivity of contemporary North American life, than Collier’s Popular Press.” -Copacetic Comics

From the introduction by Jeet Heer: “Over the last century there has been a rich tradition of cartoonists that have not only appeared everyday in newspapers but have also made the plain events of daily life a prime subject matter. This is the tradition of observational cartooning that stretches from John T. McCutcheon to Clare Briggs to H.T. Webster to J.R. Williams. These were all cartoonists who loved to draw the mundane events that make up our lives: shopping, waiting for a bus, grumbling about the weather with a friend, arguing with a husband or wife, pulling a prank on a workmate, sneaking off to go to a ball game. These cartoonists were masters at noticing the common experiences that were shared by millions. Unlike gag cartoonists, they didn’t aim for the big laugh but rather gave the pleasure of making us notice the world around us.

David Collier is perhaps the premier living embodiment of this tradition of observational cartooning. He’s very conscious of this older tradition and has in particular been shaped by the work of J.R. Williams. Like Williams, Collier draws a roughhewn, gnarly line that wins us with its homespun honesty. Some of the drawings in this book, particular the landscape illustrations Collier did for the Globe and Mail, are simply marvelous as stand-alone works of art. What distinguishes these drawings is the quality of Collier’s eye, his ability to notice details which are expertly recreated by his textured cross-hatching.

In the single panel strips, notably the Saskatoon Sketches and the 24 Simcoe Street strip Collier did for the National Post, the drawings are deployed in the service of anecdotes. Each individual strip might seem slight but as you read them they add up to a quirky autobiography. It’s a mistake to read these single panels in the spirit of The Family Circus or Marmaduke, expecting a big laugh. Rather you have to look at each one as a snapshot of a day’s event, a diary entry in cartoon form. As you read them consecutively, you start to appreciate Collier’s devoted attentions to homey details. The portrait of family life in the 24 Simcoe Street strips is particularly touching, as we see James, the son of Dave and Jen Collier, grow week by week.”

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