Art and Design Comics

Read White Rapids

Read White Rapids by Pascal Blanchet

The rise and fall of a Canadian town. Blanchet seamlessly blends fact and fiction as he weaves together the official history of the town and snapshots of the quotidian life of its residents. Blanchet’s unique, streamlined, retro-inspired aesthetic draws on art deco and fifties modernist design to vividly conjure up idyllic scenes of lazy summer days and crisp winter nights in White Rapids, transporting the reader back to a more innocent time.

wordless spread of two illustrations of the exterior and interior of a hunting cabin in Quebec

cover of White Rapids showing powerlines receding into the distance in tans, browns and orangesLess graphic novel, more historical vignette, almost an exhibition in book form. Honestly this is the type of project I would love to do though I’m not sure how successful it was.

Love the limited color palette and fun period evocative illustration. Clever page layouts and playful uses of type (though I would quibble with some of the type combos).

spread illustrating an alarm being sounded at the dam at White RapidsThis is often how I feel about Drawn & Quarterly books — I’m drawn to their visuals, but the story doesn’t grab me.

What this leaves me with is the community this town lost when it was shuttered. Despite not being fully a story, I thought the ending of this book carried a sense of that loss. Blanchet dedicated several spreads to carry the weight.

illustration of board room meeting with silouhetted figures and illustrated crest of two horses on a shieldI have a promotional postcard of this cover framed with two other postcards I got at 2007 San Diego Comic-Con, a memento of the event. (Hung it in a bathroom for a few years and picked up some water damage.) So in a sense, I’ve been meaning to read this for almost 15 years.

framed postcards of an octopus illustration, cover of Shortcomings, and cover of White Rapids

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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