Transcript: Changing the Way We Look at Comics | May 02, 2019

Jeyan sits in the studio. He's is in his thirties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and gray plaid tie.

A caption on screen reads "Ontario Hubs: Canada Comics open library. Jeyan Jeganathan. @JeyanTVO. @theagenda."

Jeyan says A GROUP OF LIBRARIANS
AND CARTOONISTS ARE HOPING TO
BROADEN THE PERCEPTION OF
COMICS.
THE CANADA COMICS OPEN LIBRARY
OPENED ITS DOORS EARLIER THIS
YEAR IN TORONTO AND HAS OVER 700
BOOKS.
IT LOOKS AT COMICS AS A MEDIUM
RATHER THAN A GENRE, AND ITS
DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE COLLECTION
SHOWS THAT.

An animated slate reads "Ontario Hubs."

Then, a clip plays in which a comic is shown.
In the first strip, a female salesclerk shows a female one-piece swimsuit and a caption reads "The salesclerk shows us a style she calls 'cute.'"

In the second strip, a disappointed girl looks at her and a caption reads "I'd like to ask her what sport Monaco Team 51 could possibly participate in just to see the expression on her face. But no sound comes out."

In the third strip, an older woman in the store looks at the girl. The caption reads "My mom shoots me a sidelong glance as though to say 'What a ditz.'"

Jeyan says JANE THE FOX AND ME IS
A COMING OF AGE GRAPHIC NOVEL
THAT TOUCHES ON BODY IMAGE AND
LONELINESS.
IT COVERS SENSITIVE TOPICS.

Another strip shows the woman pushing the girl.

A female narrator says SHE PUSHES ME
ALMOST APOLOGETICALLY INTO A
FITTING ROOM. IN THE MONACO SUIT
I'M A BALLERINA SAUSAGE. IN THE
BLACK SUIT I'M AN UNDERTAKER
SAUSAGE. I'M A SAUSAGE.

Jeyan says THE BOOK IS ONE OF
OVER 700 IN THE CANADA COMICS
OPEN LIBRARY COLLECTION.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Rotem Diamant."

Rotem is in her twenties, with long wavy brown hair. She's wearing a white t-shirt.

She says ONE OF THE BIG
MISCONCEPTIONS IS THAT THEY ARE
AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING GENRE, BUT
WE BELIEVE THEY'RE A MEDIUM FOR
TELLING ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF
STORIES.

Jeyan says ROTEM DIAMANT IS THE
PRESIDENT AND LIBRARIAN OF THE
COLLECTION. WITH THE HELP OF
DEDICATED LIBRARIANS,
CARTOONISTS AND COMIC
ENTHUSIASTS, THEY WERE
ABLE TO OPEN THIS SPACE EARLIER
THIS YEAR.
AND WHILE THE COLLECTION IS
STILL GROWING, THEY COVER QUITE
THE GAMUT OF GENRES.

Fast clips show people selecting and returning books at a library.

Rotem says WE HAVE
AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, WE HAVE
BIOGRAPHIES, WE HAVE HISTORICAL
FICTION, WE HAVE EVERYDAY
FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION,
SO SCIENCE FICTION FANTASY.
WE HAVE ANTHOLOGIES.

Jeyan says ROTEM HOPES THAT
THROUGH THE LIBRARY THEY CAN
MAKE COMICS MORE ACCESSIBLE
WHILE PROMOTING AUTHORS AND
CARTOONISTS WHO ARE BLACK,
INDIGENOUS OR IDENTIFY WITH
THE LGTBQ COMMUNITY OR OTHER
MARGINALIZED GROUPS.

Rotem says THE MORE NARRATIVES
THERE ARE OUT THERE, THE BETTER
COMICS BECOME, THE MORE DIVERSE
THEY ARE, THE BETTER THEY ARE.

Jeyan says COMICS WERE
FOUNDATIONAL TO ROTEM'S PURSUIT
OF HER MASTERS IN LIBRARY AND
INFORMATION SCIENCES AFTER SHE
MOVED FROM WINNIPEG TO TORONTO.

Rotem says COMICS HAVE MEANT A
LOT TO ME OVER THE YEARS. THEY
HAVE HELPED ME THROUGH SOME
REALLY DIFFICULT TIMES.
TIMES OF RELATIONSHIPS, LIVING
IN TERRIBLE ROOMING HOUSES,
MENTAL HEALTH STUFF.
THEY'VE JUST MEANT A LOT TO ME.

Rotem sits and talks with a man in the library.

Jeyan says JORDAN AELICK IS A
SELF-PUBLISHED CARTOONIST AND
RESIDENT CARTOONIST AT THE
CANADA COMICS OPEN LIBRARY.

The caption changes to "Jordan Aelick."
Jordan is in his thirties, with long brown hair pulled back and a full beard. He's wearing a green shirt.

As fast clips show him flipping through the pages of a black and white comic, Jordan says THE STORY OF A
CHARACTER I HAVE CALLED FRET.
HE'S JUST SORT OF THIS CHARACTER
WHO WORRIES A LOT FOR NO
SEEMINGLY APPARENT REASON. THE
BREADTH OF WORK IS UNLIMITED.
LIKE, THERE'S SOMETHING ELSE
THAT APPEALED TO ME ABOUT COMICS
IS THE IDEA THAT ONE PERSON CAN
MAKE A FULL STORY.
I LOVE MOVIES AND ALL OTHER
FORMS OF MEDIA AS WELL, BUT THEY
TAKE A LOT OF PEOPLE TO CREATE.
LIKE, IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT
ONE PERSON COULD TACKLE ON THEIR
OWN, AND THAT WAS A BIG APPEAL
TO ME.

Jeyan says JORDAN RUNS
INSTRUCTIONAL WORKSHOPS FOR
CARTOONISTS WHO ARE LOOKING TO
PICK UP NEW SKILLS OR SIMPLY
CHAT ABOUT THE ART FORM.
THE LIBRARY HOPES THE NEW SPACE,
LOCATED IN TORONTO'S REGENT
PARK, WILL BECOME A PLACE WHERE
COMIC READERS AND CREATORS CAN
COME FOR EVENTS AND PANELS.
THE LIBRARY'S PHYSICAL SPACE IS
A RECENT VENTURE.
FOR OVER A YEAR, THE GROUP HAD
BEEN CROWDFUNDING TO RAISE MONEY
FOR A BRICK AND MORTAR SPACE.
LOCATED ON THE THIRD FLOOR OF
THE CENTRE FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION
ON DUNDAS STREET EAST, THE
LIBRARY'S PUTTING A BIG FOCUS ON
FOSTERING COMMUNITY AND
ACCESSIBILITY.

A satellite map of Ontario homes in on Toronto, then on Regent Park and the Centre for Social Innovation.

Rotem says THE BEST THING IS
GETTING PEOPLE TO WALK UP TO THE
SHELVES AND SEE WHAT'S THERE.
AND ONCE THEY DO, JUST SEEING
HOW MUCH REPRESENTATION THERE IS
BY CARTOONISTS OF COLOUR AND
QUEER CREATORS.
I THINK IT HAS SURPRISED A LOT
OF PEOPLE.

A caption reads "Brandon Haworth."

Brandon is in his thirties, with short brown hair and a goatee. He's wearing a gray shirt.

Brandon says A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE
PRECONCEPTIONS OR MISCONCEPTIONS
ABOUT WHAT COMICS ARE, AND WE
WANT TO SHOW THEM THAT THEY ARE
ON THE SHELVES TOO.
THEIR REPRESENTATIONS, THEIR
IDENTITIES EXIST THERE AS WELL,
AND ALSO TOPICS THEY MAY BE
INTERESTED ARE THERE AS WELL.

Jeyan says READERS CAN FIND BOOKS
THAT DELVE INTO QUEER CONTENT
AND BOTH MENTAL AND PHYSICAL
HEALTH. BEFORE THEY HAD A
PHYSICAL SPACE, THE CANADA
COMICS OPEN LIBRARY WAS A
VIRTUAL COLLECTION.

Brandon browses a catalog on a laptop.

He says WE HAVE OUR WHOLE
COLLECTION ON-LINE, AND I THINK
NOW SOMETHING LIKE 3400 UNIQUE
KEYWORDS, SO WE HAVE A WAY OF
SHOWING KEYWORDS TO PUBLIC
USERS SO THEY CAN FIND NEW
THINGS, THEY CAN FIND THEMSELVES
ON THE SHELVES BASICALLY, BUT
THEY CAN DO THAT DIGITALLY.

Jeyan says THE LIBRARY OPERATES
SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND IS OPEN TO
ANYONE. MEMBERSHIPS ARE FREE OR
PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN. AT THE MOMENT,
IT'S A NON-CIRCULATING LIBRARY,
MEANING READERS CAN'T TAKE THE
BOOKS HOME, BUT THEY CAN ENJOY
THEM WHILE THEY ARE THERE.

Brandon says SEEING KIDS AND
OTHER PEOPLE GET ACCESS TO THAT,
AS ADULTS WHO NEVER READ COMICS
OR KIDS WHO REALLY WANT TO READ
COMICS BUT DON'T HAVE TOO MUCH
ACCESS TO THEM, THAT'S AWESOME.
THAT ALONE IS ACHIEVING A GOAL,
TO ME.

Jeyan says THE GROUP HAS BIG
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF COMICS
IN CANADA.

Rotem says OUR NAME IS THE CANADA
COMICS OPEN LIBRARY, AND WE
CHOSE THAT NAME WITH THE
ULTIMATE GOAL THAT EVENTUALLY
THERE COULD BE A NON-PROFIT
LIBRARY ACROSS CITIES IN CANADA,
INCLUDING RURAL AREAS WHERE THEY
MIGHT HAVE A LOT OF LESS ACCESS
TO COMICS THAN A CITY LIKE TORONTO WHICH IS A BIG COMIC CITY.

A caption reads "Ontario Hubs Field Producer, Jeyan Jeganathan, @JeyanTVO. Editor, David Erwin."

An animated slate reads "Ontario Hubs. Ontario Hubs are made possible by The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust and Goldie Feldman."

Watch: Changing the Way We Look at Comics