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Book Review < Back

Louis Riel

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Chester Brown
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly


I've been following Chester Brown's work since the first photocopied Yummy Fur comics he circulated in the Eighties. He has remained, for his entire career, a committed creator of his own stories, a comparitive rarity in a North American medium where new, original creator-owned work can be described by important figures as "a secondary consideration" without anyone batting an eyelid.

LOUIS RIEL is Brown summoning his powers, producing in LOUIS RIEL a superbly controlled, understated and polished comic. This low-fi, black-and-white biography of the French Canadian rebel, exile and lunatic unfolds with an awful calmness. That slow tread of its narrative heightens the horror of an execution, frames the tension of political gameplaying and rising rebellion, and, when engaged with Brown's enduring quirkiness, makes the strangeness of Riel's mind genuinely unsettling.

-- Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis has written around thirty graphic novels, comics, prose fiction, journalism, videogames and screenplays. Sometimes he take photographs. He also creates and co-creates websites, including this one. He has awards and stuff, he's been in big magazines and newspapers, and he's been published in Nature, which he always mentions because it makes him laugh. He's on the web at warrenellis.com and diepunyhumans.com.


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