#CanLit in Mississauga | Coming Soon

Heads up Mississauga #CanLit lovers: some exciting news coming your way this winter/spring!


Image courtesy of the event website

In conversation with Charles Pachter and Margaret Atwood

Tuesday, March 29, 6 pm, Noel Ryan Auditorium, Mississauga Central Library

Tickets: FREE, book on Eventbrite

First up, Margaret Atwood (yes, the Margaret Atwood!) hits the stage at the Mississauga Central Library on March 29th. I am a huge fan of Margaret Atwood’s work, so you can bet I booked my tickets immediately and will be staking out a claim on a front row seat.

Atwood and Pachter will be in conversation about their book The Journals of Susanna Moodie (first published in 1970 and reprinted in 1997). The book features poems by Atwood, taking on Moodie’s voice, about life in rural Canada in the early 19th century, and Pachter’s illustrations of these poems.

The event is organized in line with Mississauga Museums’ exhibition The Journals of Susanna Moodie, featuring prints on loan from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and can be viewed at the Bradley Museum until April 17, 2016.


13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

Publication date February 23, 2016, YA Fiction

Mississauga will also be getting its time in the #CanLit sun in Mona Awad’s upcoming novel 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl. The story is set in Mississauga (or as the book’s protagonist Lizzie calls it, “Misery Saga”), and features an teenage girl’s struggle with her weight and body image. The author will be visiting Montreal and Toronto (check out the full list of publisher’s events for this book), so heads up if you’re interested.

The book sounds hilarious, and I definitely have it on my TBR pile, so keep an eye out for a review forthcoming on this blog.


Image from Facebook

The Pitiful Human Lizard Issue # 7 by Jason Loo

Publication Date April 20, 2016, Pre-order at your local comic book shop

I’ve long been a fan of Jason Loo’s Pitiful Human Lizard comic book series about a self-deprecating Toronto superhero whose adventures are hilariously endearing.

In issue 7, coming this spring, our hero is stranded in the suburbs of Mississauga, with only his costume and not enough cash for bus fare back to the city. Will he get back home in time for work the next day? Will he discover the seedy underbelly of Square One’s parking lot? And above all, will he team up with iconic former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion? We’ll have to wait until April to find out!

Review | Archie # 1, Mark Waid and Fiona Staples

image2I’m not usually a fan of reboots, but oh my god, Mark Waid and Fiona Staples are absolute geniuses for what they did with the Archie comics series! I bought a copy of Archie # 1 mostly out of curiosity — having grown up a fan of Archie comics in the 80s/90s, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the company completely overhauling the characters that I’ve always loved. Archie comics have long been, for me, a space of comfort — Riverdale was home, and Archie and the gang my friends since elementary school.

Waid and Staples’ genius lies in breathing new life into these beloved characters without completely overhauling them. The look has changed, the storyline has become less episodic, and the humour has become more subtle. Yet, at its very heart is the same Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones and Betty Cooper we’ve all grown up with. (Similar to Archie Comics’ initial launch in the 1940s, Veronica has yet to make an appearance in Riverdale.)

The story is fairly straightforward — a power couple since kindergarten, Archie and Betty have broken up because of a mysterious “Lipstick Incident,” and while Reggie is interested in taking advantage, the other students desperately want to bring them back together. “What did they want?” Archie asks in one panel. “Stability,” Jughead replies. And indeed, the scheming that follows takes on add resonance — the other students’ interest in Archie and Betty’s relationship isn’t about meddling in gossip, nor alas is it about genuine concern over their welfare, but rather, it is about making things make sense again. As Kevin notes in one panel, if Archie and Betty can’t make it, what chance do the rest of them have?

Throughout the story are mentions of the Lodge family moving into town, and for those of us who’ve grown up with the Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle, we know that Riverdale High’s world is about to become even less stable than they realize. Waid and Staples have crafted a beautiful, heartfelt story, one that manages to speak to a whole new generation, while equally hearkening back to the nostalgia of the rest of us who’ve grown up with these characters.

What I love most, however, is that their most radical update to the Archie universe isn’t the addition of new technology or pop culture references, but rather a deliberate, fantastic, much needed depiction of diversity in Riverdale High. In the Archie I remember, there were probably fewer than ten characters of colour in Riverdale High, and the only Asian I remember ever seeing is a Japanese student whose story was basically about her adjusting to American life and talking to readers about life in Japan.

In Waid and Staples’ Archie, the very first page introduces two new characters of colour, Trevor and Raj, who are chatting with Dilton and are presumably going to be main characters. And best of all, there’s another new main character who looks Asian! What I especially love is that, like Trevor and Raj, her skin colour wasn’t a big deal at all — she was simply one of a group of three students actively scheming to restore the Archie and Betty coupledom. I’m not sure if her name is Maria or Sheila (she and another girl were referred to by name only once in passing), but just seeing her on the page made me squee.

So excited about this character!

So excited about this character!

About time, Archie Comics! Thank you! A note as well if you’re interested – there is a whole line up of variant covers for this issue, and they all look pretty amazing. I don’t know enough about comic book artists to really appreciate how big these names are, but I do know that I stood in front of the shelf at Silver Snail Toronto for probably a full fifteen minutes trying to decide which cover to get. (I ended up with two, just because.)

No regrets.

No regrets.

Review | The Pitiful Human-Lizard, Jason Loo

00cover01A Toronto superhero with a dead end day job whose name would strike fear into the heart of any self-respecting bad guy… what’s not to love about Jason Loo’s Pitiful Human-LizardIt took me a while to track down a copy of this book. I went from The Beguiling to The Silver Snail to a couple of comic book stores in Kensington Market only to find out they were either completely sold out or (in the case of the Kensington stores), they happened to be closed that day. I was having a case of Pitiful Human Lizard luck myself, it seemed, but more than that, I learned just how popular and how much a phenomenon this comic book series has become. A lesson to all of you then: if you want to get your own copy of this series, snap up a copy at your local comic book store before it’s too late. (For the record, I finally found my copy in the Toronto talent section of Silver Snail, by the Eaton Centre. There were two other copies left on the shelf when I left, and the staff member who spoke with me said she was planning to check it out herself after her shift. So like I said, snap up your copy today.)

Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. This Toronto superhero story is absolutely hilarious, an everyman loveable loser-type bundle of awesome. The Human Lizard is Lucas Barrett, an office worker who can barely afford to pay for his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lessons and who covers up his superhero exploits by telling his mother that he’s learning to play the harmonica. He signs up for a clinical trial for a super healing drug and, well, the rest is superhero history… with a pitiful twist, of course.

I absolutely love the Toronto setting. This story features a hot dog vendor, a streetcar and an epic superhero battle in one of my favourite Toronto landmarks — the Royal Ontario Museum! A ROM security guard makes a cameo in a hilarious bit that will make other museum or art gallery workers recognize a bit of themselves in him.

Loo’s self-deprecating humour is what makes this story so fantastic, and punchlines and sight gags are littered throughout. Particularly effective are Lucas Barrett’s interactions with his parents, and the scenes where the Human Lizard joins forces with the (much more traditional superhero type) Mother Wonder.

Author and artist Jason Loo was kind enough to provide some excerpts of the book for my blog, so check these out:




The Pitiful Human-Lizard is available at various locations in Toronto: Silver Snail, The Beguiling, The Comic Pile, and Dr. Comics. You may also purchase it online and check out the Pitiful Human-Lizard Facebook page for a schedule of upcoming events and signings!