The Annotated Northwest Passage

June 25, 2007 | Trades


The Annotated Northwest Passage
Scott Chantler
Oni Press
$19.95 US (Hardcover)
**** 1/2 (out of five)

Standard early Canadian history has been known to cure many a person of insomnia, but the taste readers will get in Northwest Passage might just keep them up until the wee hours.
Writer/artist Scott Chantler sets a tale of adventure and intrigue in 1755 against the backdrop of Rupert’s Land — a massive chunk of North America then-operated by the Hudson’s Bay Company that included what is now most of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, northern Ontario, northern Quebec and parts of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Minnesota and North Dakota.
While I probably learned all that in Grade 9 history, it had all fallen out of my head until I read Chantler’s thoughtful notes in this gorgeous new hardcover collection of the first three parts of the Waterloo, Ont.-native’s ongoing epic.
Beyond the obvious history lesson is the gripping tale of survival in the rugged north as the aging explorer Charles Lord is forced to choose between his loyalty to his friends, his company and country, his desire for revenge against an old foe and his dream of actually discovering the long-sought Northwest Passage.
Chantler’s thoughtful writing and cartoony-yet-edgy art on this series has earned him well-deserved back-to-back best cartoonist nominations for the Joe Shuster Awards (Canada’s top comic honours) and this new collection is both a perfect jumping-on point for new readers and packed with insight for longtime fans.

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