Seth’s Canadian Antics
by Jeet Heer
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
As I’ve pointed out before, there is a side of Seth that rarely gets seen outside of Canada, the design work and writing he does for small Canadian literary concerns. A good example of the care Seth puts into these projects can be seen in the new issue of Canadian Notes and Queries (CNQ), a very smart literary journal with a ridiculous title. Seth has re-shaped the whole magazine from top to bottom. Aside from giving the interiors a new elegance, he also did the cover and supplied a two page comic strip about the magazine’s new mascots, the lumberjack Hudson (“I handle the notes…”) and the dandy Stanfield (“And I deal with the queries.”) This comic can be found here.
Seth talks about his re-design in this National Post article. An excerpt:
“At first I wasn’t sure,” writes Seth in an e-mail to The Afterword. “It’s a lot of work to redesign a magazine and I was pretty busy. But it was really something that sounded like a challenge. And it couldn’t have been more ‘up my alley.’ I love Canadiana of all sorts and I particularly loved the absolutely stiffness and dullness of the magazine’s title – I mean, you just couldn’t have a more quintessentially Canadian masthead title than Canadian Notes and Queries. If you made it up, no one would believe it. In a way, the name of the magazine hides the fact that it is a very smart and entertaining read – not stuffy at all. I figured I could do something amusing but elegant with the magazine to draw attention to that fact – perhaps poke some fun at it’s purcieved stuffiness while at the same time pointing out what a marvelous magazine of criticism it is by giving the interior a look of class and austerity, but still showing off some charm and sense of humour about the whole thing.”