Aurora Borealice


Aurora Borealice
by Joan Steacy

ISBN: 978-1-77262-037-5
250 pages, 6.5×9, b/w, trade paperback
April 2019
A memoir of triumph over the education system

When Joan Steacy graduated from High School in 1974, she left her small town behind to embark on a lifelong quest for education. In Aurora Borealice, Steacy explores her personal journey through alter-ego Alice, a functional illiterate with a creative mind and an astonishing amount of artistic skill. The book is a lesson in perseverance and ultimately believing in yourself regardless of the challenges thrown your way.

The story follows Alice as she winds her way through art college, marriage, an art career in Toronto, parenthood, and a major move to Victoria. Along the way, she draws encouragement from her partner, Canadian comics artist Ken Steacy, insight from media theorist Marshall McLuhan and mentor Eric McLuhan, and inspiration from Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud, and Jack ‘King’ Kirby. The more Alice learns, the more confident she becomes—until she’s accepted into the University of Victoria. There, she’s faced with one of the most important questions of her life: what is the true value of a university education?

Praise for Aurora BorealiceSequentialAwardsNom

“The Alice of Aurora Borealice is brilliant, talented, and a functional illiterate who believes what she’s been told all
her life, until with the aid of a supportive boyfriend and a healthy dose of Marshall McLuhan, she breaks free of her labels. Aurora Borealice is wittily written and charmingly drawn.” —Trina Robbins“

Joan Steacy’s Aurora Borealice is a whimsical, heartfelt and insightful look at the burgeoning Toronto art scene of the 1970s. A natural storyteller, her vivid characters come to life with her beautiful cartooning.” –Jeff Lemire, Essex County, Secret Path

“Joan Steacy offers up an interesting new door into a moment in cultural history now up for re-evaluation. A gentle and thoughtful look at the recent past that feels far away at the same time.” –Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, Bit Rot

“Aurora Borealice is delicate, tough, and direct. It’s about the box school systems try to force you in, and how destructive it is. But Joan Steacy decided who she was going to be. This is that story.” –Paul Chadwick, Concrete

About Joan Steacy

Joan Steacy is a visual artist who has worked in a variety of disciplines, including sculpture, illustration, and digital painting. She grew up in southern Ontario, and moved to Victoria in 1987. A graduate of Sheridan College, The Ontario College of Art & Design, and The University of Victoria, she currently teaches at Camosun College in Comics and Graphic Novels, a program she co-created with partner Ken Steacy. She is also the author/illustrator of “So, That’s That!” the biography of her father, a scrap-metal dealer who lived to be 100. Most recently, she illustrated a short story for “A Minyen Yidn” by Trina Robbins.

Leave a Comment