I am currently at work on “Each in His Narrow Cell,” a graphic novel recounting the siege of Quebec and the Battle of The Plains of Abraham in 1759. In revisiting this pivotal moment in Canadian history, my intention is not simply to present a didactic history lesson in visual form, but rather to create an emotionally engaging, character-driven narrative centered on the personal motivations and inner conflicts of the French, English and Indigenous participants. Below are 8 completed pages of the first 60-page sample section I am working on.
One of the parameters I set for myself with the colouring was that all the characters from a particular nation would be depicted in a combination of a neutral grey tone and one characteristic colour -blue for the French, red for the English, purple for the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and so on. Similarly, the colour of the lettering in the speech bubbles indicates what language is being spoken. Chief Nissowaquet of the Odawa of l’Arbre Croche appears in yellow, a decision based on the background colour of the present-day flag of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa, within whose reservation boundaries the village of l’Arbre Croche was situated.
In this section, the French commander at the siege of Quebec, General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, finally returns to his beloved chateau of Candiac, in Languedoc. To fully understand this scene, it is necessary to know that just before the beginning of the siege, Montcalm received the tragic news that one of his four daughters had died. Although from across the Atlantic Montcalm was not able to find out which one, he assumed it was his youngest, Mirète, who had long been sickly.
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What an original idea, to color-code the language of the speakers! How very unusual! I can’t wait to see the finished results…
I’m quite looking forward to reading more pages of your novel.
Historical graphic novels seem to be becoming increasingly popular here, in France, as well. My father is a great fan of “l’Epervier”, the story of a Brittany nobleman falsely accused of murder, who spends several tomes trying to prove his innocence. It is beautifully set in the old feudal France, and the boats are drawn with amazing detail. A wonderful series.
thanks! my impression is that historical comics have been popular for quite a while in France. I’m familiar with l’Epervier, which I have always appreciated for its meticulously detailed and atmospheric backdrops.
Indeed. L’Epervier is great, especially in its close detail to boats and Brittany landscape.
Captivating and then some, Jools! Fantastic work! I can’t wait to read it in its entirety.
Grazie caro Marco! Un bel di’…
So inspiring. I reread so many of the classics in my teen years via Classics Comics. Most of my school mates read the same classics for the first time via those comics. Battle of the Plains of Abraham, well timed for Canada 150 +. History on wheels.
Thank you, Ben! I’ve heard a lot of great things about those Classic Comics. it seems like they left a lasting impression.