Graphic Novel (on TV) Month: The book vs. the film, part 1

Inspired by my conversation with Merril Collection librarian Lorna Toolis, I started thinking about how a shift from book into film can change the subtext of a graphic novel. I’m thinking generally here of how comics occupy a middle ground between books and film – more explicitly visual than a text-based book but less so than a movie. As such, a graphic novel as format exists in this liminal, outsider space that is often reiterated by the content: misfits, rebels, masked marauders, loners, and freaks.

Writers on TV survey: Evan Munday

Happy Tuesday! Author and illustrator Evan Munday answers our Writers on TV survey, in which I ask Toronto authors, editors, agents and others to tell us a bit about their personal reading and viewing habits.

Name: Evan Munday

Recent work: The Dead Kid Detective Agency book series, the third of which, Loyalist to a Fault, will be in stores this September.

Writers on TV feature interview: Rupinder Gill

One of the best things about this writer-in-residence gig is using it as an excuse to interview smart people who are doing interesting things somehow related to books and TV. This week's feature interviewee is writer Rupinder Gill, who I wanted to talk to about the difference between writing for TV and books.

Writers on TV survey: Kathryn Mockler

As part of our Books and TV theme, I invited Toronto authors, editors, agents and others to tell us a bit about their personal reading and viewing habits. First up, poet, screenwriter and The Rusty Toque editor Kathryn Mockler.

Name: Kathryn Mockler

Recent work: The Purpose Pitch (Mansfield Press, 2015),
Personal website:

Confessions of a TV addict

I'll just say/ I started watching Frazier/ I'll just say/ Every single episode
-David McGimpsey,
Asbestos Heights

It started in grad school. I had moved from Brooklyn to sleepy, manicured London, Ontario to study 16 hours a day for 12 months. From the outside my life looked pretty good. My book of poems came out that fall, the same fall I wrote 17 papers in 13 weeks. There was a short and well-organized publisher tour, but to be honest, I don't remember much about it except that I paid so dearly for the time off when I returned to classes.

Television as the New Novel

One late afternoon many summers ago, I found myself on a sunny balcony with a bunch of writers. Naturally we were talking about television. When one of us admitted she hadn't seen The Wire, I jumped in with the kind of enthusiasm that comes with being two beers in on a sunny balcony after a long winter of mainlining all five seasons of The Wire. "Blah blah Idris Elba blah blah Omar. It's a layer cake of society, with an arc like a symphony, written to completion before it was aired," I crowed. "It's the Great American Novel!"

On Blogging, Accompaniment, and Gratitude

This has been an interesting April of blogging for me. While I read blogs, I’ve never myself blogged before. It was more difficult than I’d anticipated, and more enjoyable. What I so value in the blogs I read is their writers’ openness, their generosity with thinking in public, their invitation to their readers to accompany them in the experiences and thoughts they write about. It’s the offer to accompany, and, obliquely, to be accompanied, that I find most moving. It’s one of the solaces writing offers, a thinking with and feeling with that extends across space and time. Which can, in an instant, alter the texture and dimension of solitude. I read to inhabit others writers’ thoughts and modes of thinking.

"A Place in the Sun"

Jane Gregory’s poem articulates exactly my feeling of being in the late afternoon, late April sun today on April 29, 2015:


In the dumb mud of attention, dear Judge, mood was everything, up to a certain
point, a bunch of what there was. And on the lawn the least of what was known
of the bird was not the feather it left behind where everyone was using the word
labor against the rubble rubble thunder rubble and aspired to the condition of the
music of the condition that aspired to destroy you through music. But I have found
a place in the sun, I said, inaccurate place inaccurate besides, sitting here is no way
a place in the sun, a product of chance overheard as chants over our heads, above

Anna Karenina, Dance, and Relief

Last week, I saw the Eifman St. Petersburg Ballet perform Anna Karenina. Before the performance, Julia Zarankin gave a lecture on the novel to ballet-goers. She said that Tolstoy was deeply interested in exploring what the body knows that the mind does not, which makes interpreting Anna Karenina as dance an exciting choice. This thought stayed with me during the performance, which was always beautiful to watch and, in particular sequences, thrilling. In an interview with Globe and Mail writer Martha Schabas, Boris Eifman, founder and artistic director of the Eifman Ballet, said, “I’m not trying to illustrate the plot of the novel.

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