New stamps celebrate Canadian graphic novelists

May 10, 2024
4 minute read

Graphic novelists tell rich stories by deftly interweaving words and images. Since emerging nearly a half-century ago, this narrative form – which can include anthologies, memoirs and other non-fiction works – has steadily grown in popularity and captivated readers around the globe. Canada Post is pleased to celebrate some of the most talented and influential authors of the genre in a set of stamps that includes Chester Brown, Michel Rabagliati, Seth and cousins Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki. Individually, these five graphic novelists have inspired readers at home and abroad and elevated the graphic novel form. Collectively, they have helped establish Canada’s reputation in the comic arts world.

While Canada Post has issued stamps featuring comic book superheroes, it has never before showcased the unique work created by Canadian graphic novelists. When designing these stamps, each artist collaborated with Canada Post to create original drawings, exclusively for this stamp issue, of their main characters from their most beloved books engrossed in their own stories.

Chester Brown

Louis Riel, from Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography (Chester Brown)

Born in Montréal, Quebec, in 1960, Chester Brown studied art at Montréal’s Dawson College before moving to Toronto at age 19 with the ambition of becoming a comic book artist. He began self-publishing comic strips in 1983 and soon attracted a cult following. A pioneering and influential cartoonist, Brown’s off-beat and often deeply personal storytelling tackled subjects from mental health to religion and anti-authoritarianism.

In 2003, Brown published what is now his best-known work, Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography, after receiving the first Canada Council for the Arts grant awarded to a graphic novelist. Critically and commercially acclaimed for its powerful, minimalist style, Brown’s exploration of the enigmatic Métis leader became the first graphic novel on a Canadian non-fiction best-seller list.

Michel Rabagliati

Paul, from Paul à Québec (Michel Rabagliati)

Born in Montréal in 1961, Michel Rabagliati was in his late 30s and working as a professional graphic designer when he switched gears to pursue his childhood love of comics and create his alter ego, Paul. After first gaining recognition in Quebec, it didn’t take long for the rest of the world to fall in love with the character Paul and Rabagliati’s delicate pencil strokes.  Over the course of his sensitive, semi-autobiographical works, a whole chapter of modern Quebec history unfolds in 10 graphic novels, including Paul à Québec (2009; The Song of Roland, 2012).

From Paul’s childhood to his first loves, from his first apartment to his divorce, tender snapshots of daily life packed with references and details rekindle memories of an entire generation. Rabagliati is an indisputable ambassador of Quebec culture, having received numerous awards at home and abroad, including the distinctions of Compagnon de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Quebec, 2017) and Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France, 2022). In 2023, he published his first illustrated novel, Rose à l’île, a tender tribute to Paul’s love and pride for his daughter Rose, now a dynamic, assertive young woman.


Simon Matchcard, from Clyde Fans (Seth)

An influential leader in the underground comic book movement, Seth (the pen name of Gregory Gallant, born in 1962 in Clinton, Ontario) spent much of his youth drawing comics and poring over Charles Schulz’s Peanuts and Marvel comic books. After studying at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto (now OCAD University), he took over art duties for Marvel’s Mister X series in 1985 before launching his mock autobiographical Palookaville comics series. His uniquely introspective works rendered in a monochromatic style have captivated readers for decades.

In 1996, Seth collected the Palookaville comics in a book titled It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken – his first graphic novel. Seth continued the Palookaville series in the years that followed, telling the story of two brothers coping with the gradual demise of their family’s electric-fan business. In 2019, those works were combined and published as the award-winning graphic novel, Clyde Fans.

Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

Rose and Windy, from This One Summer (Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki)

Whether for their famed collaborations or their outstanding individual creations, cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki have received critical acclaim for their graphic novels. Mariko, born in Toronto, Ontario in 1975, had already amassed an impressive writing career with several books under her name before working with her illustrator cousin, Jillian, who was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1980 and raised in Calgary, Alberta.

Witty and insightful, Mariko’s writing style proved to be a perfect fit alongside Jillian’s skillful illustrations. Together, their moving graphic novels have garnered awards and won the hearts of readers worldwide. In 2014, the cousins published This One Summer, a powerful coming-of-age story told from the perspective of pre-teen Rose. This One Summer became their second prize-winning graphic novel and the first graphic novel to receive the Caldecott Honour (U.S.), awarded to the most distinguished children’s picture books.

New stamps celebrate Canadian graphic novelists

Available now