by Jeet Heer
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
If the past is prologue David Collier’s new book Chimo, which will be widely available in early 2011, will probably receive far less attention than it deserves. For me, the four great Canadian cartoonists are Chester Brown, Seth, Julie Doucet and David Collier. Of the four, Collier has received the least praise and press. So it’s worth inquiring what makes Collier’s work so special and also ask why his appeal, so far at least, has been limited.
Thanks to the Beguiling, I got an early look at Chimo and it has all the peculiar qualities that distinguish Collier’s output. The book is a free-ranging memoir that deals with Collier’s life-long relationship with the army. He joined up in the 1980s when he was in his 20s. He initially did only a few years and then became a full-time cartoonist. Launching his eponymous comic book series Collier’s was published by Fantagraphics in 1991. But more recently Collier rejoined the army, in part to participate in the Canadian War Artists Program but also to work as a regular soldier.
Collier has already done a few stories about his soldiering career but Chimo offers the most extensive account yet, and is his longest sustained narrative, clocking in at over a hundred pages (with samples of Collier’s earlier military cartooning filling out the book). (more…)