Following the latter, he was hanged for high treason. Macdonald[ edit ] Macdonald —91 was the first Prime Minister of Canada , in office —73, and again — He is a man of ambitions and will not let anyone stand in the way of his legacy. In the appendix, however, Brown discloses that he does not see Macdonald as the villain he has portrayed in the book. Macdonald than one run by Louis Riel". Brown takes a distanced approach and relies faithfully on his source material—he focuses on the concrete and corporeal and eschews techniques of speculation such as thought balloons.
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Ignoring the matter of interpretation, the biographer still has to grapple with the reality that there are not really any such things as brute facts.
The biographer is never simply representing What Happened, but instead puts forth a version of what happeneda story that conforms more or less plausibly with the ultimately unknowable way history actually spun itself out. In my response to Christopher Fraylings biography of Sergio Leone, I wrote: Biography is always a tricky thing to pull off well. The biographer is never simply representing What Happened, but instead puts forth a version of what happened—a story that conforms more or less plausibly with the ultimately unknowable way history actually spun itself out.
See, the thing of it is: biographers are every bit as much storytellers as Dickens or Gaiman or Hemmingway or Stoppard. They not only have a responsibility to the historical record, but perhaps more importantly, they are beholden to the attentions of their readers. The biographer, on the other hand, is more like a film editor who has to craft a compelling story with found material he had no hand in creating.
As if truth and history even belong in the same sentence. Often in his research Brown is confronted with conflicting reports, some from recollections published well and many years after any of the involved incidents. To this end, Brown supplies the reader with a gratifying section of endnotes, in which he is allowed to explore questions that his straightforward narrative is unable to ask.
He will often use this as an opportunity to show how the history he presents is an amalgamation of reports conflated again with fictionalization to help the story spring to life. As an example, Brown shows a scene in which historical figure Thomas Scott and several others beat a Canadian aboriginal named Parisien. Neither Sutherland [another casualty] nor Parisien died immediately.
Stanley p. This is just one example among over a hundred. He is unshackled enough that he can tell the story he is going to tell in the way he wishes to tell it. Visual space is used to create story beats, punctuating decisions or underscoring the humour in a given situation. The pacing and storytelling is excellent throughout. Hollow, pupil-less eyes float detached in wide-open faces.
More insidious, however, is the blunt scheming of the Canadian prime minister to force Riel into open rebellion for the sake of some lucrative rail contracts. And his version of things might be more compelling anyway.
Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography
Brown cooly documents with dramatic subtlety the violent rebellion on the Canadian prairie led by Riel, who some regard a martyr who died in the name freedom, while others consider him a treacherous murderer. Winnipeg Free Press Brown has invented a biographical form unique to his medium. Village Voice This is more than pages of stunning Chester Brown drawings portraying one of the most fascinating stories of revolution North American history has to offer. This book is as thorough and obsessive as Henry Darger, but without the mental illness. When the panels do get busy, as in the latter stages of the rebellion, the effect is that much more powerful.
Louis Riel : A Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown
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