Louis Riel

Louis Riel

A Comic-strip Biography

Book - 2003
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Martyr or Madman? The Passionate Rebel History Can't Close The Book On. Is this the future of comics? Respectably penning the dowdy pages of history? Don't be fooled. This is one of the hippest comics going and will be a controversial must-have in 2003. Legendary cartoonist Chester Brown reveals in the dusty closet of Canadian history there are some skeletons that won't stop rattling. To some Louis Riel was one of the founding fathers of a nation but to others he was a murderer who nearly tore a country apart. A man so charismatic he was elected to government twice while in exile with a prize on his head--but so impassioned his dramatic behavior cast serious doubts on his sanity. Riel took on the army, the government, the Queen, and even the Church in the name of freedom. Will Riel's visionary democracy ever be enough to defend him from the verdict of history?
Publisher: Montreal, PQ : Drawn & Quarterly Publications : 2003
ISBN: 9781896597638
Branch Call Number: 971.05 RIE 2003
Characteristics: 272p illus


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Sep 09, 2017

My second reading. A story that's more relevant now than when first issued.

Jul 24, 2017

Brown presents a fascinating way to engage with history. The story can seem over-simplified at times, but overall this is a neat way to learn about Riel.

May 16, 2017

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.” — Will Shakespeare

Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown centres around Louis Riel, a Métis man who founded the province of Manitoba and fought for democratic recognition of the Métis people in the new government of Canada. The biography focuses primarily on his antagonistic relationship to the government of Canada and the Red River Rebellion.

While it only focuses on a small portion of Riel’s life and often misses huge sections of history, I found this biography to be very accessible and provided excellent recommendations for further reading, many of which I have placed on hold at the library or already purchased.
If you’re a Canadian high school or elementary school teacher I highly recommend reading this book as it provides a first-person perspective for Riel and makes some of the repetitive political history more readable and accessible. While I wouldn’t recommend this tome for elementary school kids, I think some key pages could be used as a helpful discussion piece in any classroom.

… and oh my god, what a book this is. Sometimes, I had to close it and clutch it to my chest because Brown has written this so thoughtfully. This is well-researched and contains footnotes for many of the characters or historical instances in this biography, but that is not what makes it great. The artwork is simple, black and white, almost stark, but effective in its execution. Brown knows how to write silences, but also draw them. His empty or minimalist panels were some of my favourites and I fully support all his creative decisions. What makes it great is the quiet moment Brown takes with Riel, shows his uncertainty, his doubts, his concerns, his compassions.

I fell in love with the character Brown had crafted through his research, and I believed. If you know anything about Riel, you know how this story ends — but I believed in his cause, I believed in him.

I love this, so so much.

Apr 19, 2016

I think this is a great way of learning about the life of Louis RIel and not just him but more! And honestly it's better then read a large textbook.

Mar 12, 2016

Who said Canadain history is boring.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 05, 2015

Chester Brown’s characters are reminiscent of Herge or Little Orphan Annie in this graphic version of Canadian folk hero Louis Riel’s courageous struggle with the government of Upper Canada. Perfect to share with a high school student.

Dec 05, 2013

In the canon of historical graphic novels, this is a particular treat. Brown is a master of dialogue who moves the story forward without devoting pages to monologues and rants. The scope of Riel's life is equally impressive, and Brown is excellent at showing the reader his transformation.

Very worthwhile and a quick read.

Oct 15, 2013

A classic.

Jun 30, 2012

Quite simply: WOW. Mr. Brown, Thank You. This is ART! Every panel should be blown up and all displayed in the National Gallery of Canada. Nuff said.
Okay, one more thing: Why is this always found in the Children's section of the Central Library? Is it because of the "Oh, it has cartoons, it must be for children" mentality of library staff? DISRESPECTFUL.

Jul 31, 2011

Made history much more enjoyable until I read all the notes. Recommended read to all those non-history people. I learned so much about Canada.

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EPLPicks_Teen Mar 24, 2010

The story of the charismatic nineteenth century Metis leader, whose struggle to win rights for his people led to violent rebellion on the Canadian frontier.


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May 01, 2011

"He shall hang though every dog in Quebec bark in his favour." (pg.233)

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