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Louis Riel, Super-History Hero

Louis Riel, Super-History Hero

The Politics of Representation in Chester Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography

(p.162) 11 Louis Riel, Super-History Hero
The Canadian Alternative
Jordan Bolay
University Press of Mississippi

Using the work of Thierry Groensteen to inform its reading, the chapter closely analyzes Brown’s narrative strategies to construct readings of Riel, John A. MacDonald and other characters. Through the medium of comics and the super-historical characterisation of Riel, Brown’s Louis Riel incites a reconsideration of history and its impact on the individual. The comic satirises and deconstructs the gendered, racially, and linguistically biased ideologies on which Canada’s foundation and early governance were based. It incites critical thinking by estranging history through the incorporation of contemporary comic art, dialogue, and characterisation and by demonstrating social, political, and ideological progress through the incorporation of highly realist scenes depicting historically documented events and dialogue. Louis Riel offers a humanist deconstruction of the historical narrative of the Red River and North-West Rebellions.

Keywords:   Chester Brown, Deconstruction, Thierry Groensteen, Louis Riel, History

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