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George Sprott, 1894-1975
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George Sprott, 1894-1975

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  536 ratings  ·  48 reviews

First serialized in The New York Times Magazine “Funny Pages”

The celebrated cartoonist and New Yorker illustrator Seth weaves the fictional tale of George Sprott, the host of a long-running television program. The events forming the patchwork of George’s life are pieced together from the tenuous memories of several informants, who often have contradictory impressions. His

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published May 26th 2009 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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This book is really pretty, and it smells very nice. Yeah, so sometimes I sniff the books that I read, yeah it's a little weird, but with this book you can't help missing the smell, it's just so goddamn big that the smell hits you, it's a good smell of ink and paper though (some books don't smell nice, and I'm not talking about stinky mildew infested used ones, but some new books just smell like shit). And because the book is so fucking big reading it made me feel like a little kid sitting and r ...more
So obviously Seth's artwork is very charming, and that's the main appeal of the book. The large size gives him a lot of room to work with and the variety of tones and layouts he uses really pay off. Seth is unquestionably a great cartoonist. He is not much of a writer. The entire concept of the work, looking at an old man in the hours leading up to his death while jumping to different points in his life and seeing that he's made a lot of mistakes and is maybe not such a great guy after all, is v ...more
George Marshall
This book should be on the shelf (if you can find one high engough) of anyone who loves this art form. The opening two page spread - in my view one of the most remarkable in comics history- are the floating bodies and egg shaped heads of Sprott the old man about to die and Sprott the baby about to be born- united visually, as only comics can, through Seth's luscious curved drawing style. And this sets the tone for the book: an exploration of mortality, memory, loss, and guilt. That all sounds a ...more
If I was to provide a succint description vis a vis an analogy to a piece of pop culture to describe this absolutely fantastic work- I would most certainly declare Seth's George Sprott to be the Citzen Kane of graphic novels. Nope, I'm not mincing my words. Not at all. While Orson Well's Kane represents the rise and fall of not soley the eponymous character himself- but more grandiosly- the rise and fall of the very American Dream itself- George Sprott aims somewhat lower (He's Canadian you know ...more
The book is oversized, and the story is reflective of Seth's other work, but oversized as well, on a larger scale and more explicitly delineating the themes that run through everything he does. This originally ran as a weekly comic in the New York Times Magazine, and each page can be read separately, but they form into a longer story. Interspersed are photos of the intricate cardboard constructions he made of the buildings that appear in the story. Filled with nostalgia, loneliness, shades of gr ...more
Garrett Zecker
This is the biggest book I have ever read. Literally. And Seth’s artwork laid out in this gigantic fashion with the pungent aroma of paper and ink wafting over you as you turn the gorgeous pages printed by Drawn and Quarterly is an absolute pleasurable experience. I picked up several of Seth’s books after having listened to The Virtual Memories podcast (www. interview with the artist.

As I was reading I immediately recognized that I had actually read these before, an
Mawkish sentimentality expertly drawn.
Where to place this book? Not within the pantheon of cartoonists that have come to push the art form to it's limits, which Seth has done here and continues to do. Rather I mean, literally, where can I place this book? This thin yet over-sized book is a collection of one-page "wonders", as I call them, that come together to form a cohesive fictional biography of a Canadian broadcasting legend whose life is defined by separation. George Sprott is separated not only from the read
This was simply amazing. It is hard to believe, but I feel like I witnessed a real man's life take place before my very eyes, and in a funny book no less. It's a book about a man who will die in the course of the book, the author/artist makes that clear early on. And death is everywhere in this piece. The idea of having a chubby 80 year old hosting a local TV show, being a world explorer, or giving regular orations on local facts as a career - all those things dead and gone too.

Seth does his ma
Sam Cavanagh
George Sprott by Seth is a masterpiece in both comic form and in collected edition design.
George Sprott is a mockumentry about the final days of renown Canadian Arctic Adventurer George Sprott. We see his final days as narrated by his niece Daisy as well as documentary style interviews with the people in his life and the people his life touched.
Seth is a master cartoonist, using different grids and colours to show what is the here and now and what is an interview. Seth uses a monochromatic colou
Sean Kennedy
Seth has been my favourite graphic artist ever since I saw his brilliant cover to Aimee Mann's Lost in Space album. I found something immediately so appealing about his style, which is moody, atmospheric, nostalgic-twinged Americana - but despite the nostalgia there is still a healthy cynicism which refuses to look back through rose-tinted glasses.

This is apparent in George Sprott in which an unreliable narrator tells the life story of someone who was himself unreliable in the way that he told i
Sam Quixote
Man alive, I love Seth but what was this?! "It's A Good Life If You Won't Weaken" was brilliant as was "Clyde Fans", while "Wimbledon Green" was a small masterwork. In fact it's from "Wimbledon Green" that he bases most of his new book "George Sprott" on (there's even one panel which I'm sure was in the endpapers of "Wimbledon Green" reproduced here). It's a similar fictional biography told in part by the subject, part by an omniscient narrator and part by people who knew him.

Here's the story o
Sam Quixote
Man alive, I love Seth but what was this?! "It's A Good Life If You Won't Weaken" was brilliant as was "Clyde Fans", while "Wimbledon Green" was a small masterwork. In fact it's from "Wimbledon Green" that he bases most of his new book "George Sprott" on (there's even one panel which I'm sure was in the endpapers of "Wimbledon Green" reproduced here). It's a similar fictional biography told in part by the subject, part by an omniscient narrator and part by people who knew him.

Here's the story o
Sam Quixote
Man alive, I love Seth but what was this?! "It's A Good Life If You Won't Weaken" was brilliant as was "Clyde Fans", while "Wimbledon Green" was a small masterwork. In fact it's from "Wimbledon Green" that he bases most of his new book "George Sprott" on (there's even one panel which I'm sure was in the endpapers of "Wimbledon Green" reproduced here). It's a similar fictional biography told in part by the subject, part by an omniscient narrator and part by people who knew him.

Here's the story o
Tout le monde connait George Sprott, le célèbre aventurier-animateur de la télévision. Pendant plus de quarante ans, il a fait rêver petits et grands en leur racontant ses diverses expéditions dans le grand Nord. Au crépuscule de sa vie, voici un petit retour en arrière sur une existence bien remplie.

Le passé et une fascination avouée pour des époques qu’il n’a pas - ou très peu - connues, ont toujours été au cœur des albums de Seth. George Sprott ne déroge pas à la règle. L’auteur de La vie est
Ricardo Baptista
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Schaafsma
I think the conception of this is awesome. Having just read Building Stories by his close friend and mentor Chris Ware, I see a conversation across texts. Both are works that look to explode story representation, in various ways. We have this large book format from Seth (as with Ware and his box of variously formatted books and magazines and posters), as he tries to capture a mundane (not an exciting or famous or "important" life (as Ware does with his three women in Building Stories), just a no ...more
I put a bunch of comics on hold at the library, and of course they all came in at once. But this book was so big it wouldn't fit in my backpack (I was on foot), so I had to drive back later that night to pick it up. True story.

If I had to criticize this book, I would say it's a little bit too similar to his earlier book, Wimbledon Green, but Seth does such a good job here that I'm willing to overlook this. I love the way he draws, his timing and pacing is spot on, and the story hits all the rig
Wow. Up until now, I'd have said Seth was a cartoonist I admired and respected but whose work was not really my thing. George Sprott has changed that. What an impressive piece of work. George's life and death are narrated with a complexity and economy that are astounding. But it's not really a narrative as you might expect--it's non-linear, reflective (emerging from interviews and reminiscences with and from those who knew George), subjective, and highly self-reflexive. Page design is remarkable ...more
Sasha Boersma
Probably my favourite books read this year. Beyond Seth's artistic and narrative talents, the little suggestions to the inspiration of elements within the story (fictionalization of a real TV station, people, places) were fun to discover.
I picked this up initially because I liked the art, and only noticed when I was about halfway into it that it was by the same person who'd done It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken -- which, similarly, I'd picked up initially because I'd liked the art, but which by several pages in didn't seem to be going anywhere, and which I gave up when a friend who'd read it informed me that it never did get around to going anywhere.

This one being considerably shorter, I decided to press on to the end, but
Seth, why must you make it so hard for me to love you? The book is brilliant, heart-wrenching, and beautifully drawn. But it's overly designed. you almost lost yourself a purchase from one of your hugest fans (a guy who has considered naming his unborn child after you someday in fact) because of the design of the book. Why did it have to be so huge? yes it's gorgeous, but it would have been equally gorgeous at two-thirds its size, and then it could fit on a bookshelf. Plus... $25? the book is 10 ...more
A terrific piece of storytelling and book design from Seth. "George Sprott, 1894-1975" is a fictional biography of the titular character, an arctic adventurer and Ontario broadcaster, and a complex, not entirely sympathetic man. Seth's talent for gradually accumulating detail – from narration, "interviews," testimonials and vinettes – into a full portrait of character, time and place is on full display here. His deceptively simple artwork captures the smallest hints of emotion in the characters, ...more
... favourite thing by Seth ...

I'm suspicious of/unsympathetic to the nostalgia driving his cartooning ...... though here it's not as oppressive as it was in It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken or Clyde Fans, maybe because there are a lot of different characters' viewpoints letting some air into the story, not just one old man's sadness over a distant past he can't recreate or revise.

The book's partially omniscient narrator's self-deprecatory asides never amused me, but Seth's painstaking atten
Seth continues to astound me with his sensitive, Algonquin-Round-Table sense of style, humor and illustration, and characters that seem to inhabit a mythical world where cartoonists, comic book collectors, shop owners and obscure TV personalities are kings in their own humble domains. Like Charles Addams, Edward Gorey, Otto Soglow and others, these stories come from another place and time.

The format of George Sprott is worth mentioning: it's enormous. A tabloid-size folio you'll have to find a s
It's Seth, so you kinda know what you're going to get. Real life told real well. I read it in one sitting, and I think you really need to to get the scope. It's a story that jumps around a lot, and mainly concentrates on his life and death, mostly death. I've never been a huge fan of Seth, but always appreciated what he's trying to do. At the end, I was a little depressed, and was probably manipulated to feel thus. What do it all mean ? Anyway, the format , story and art are up to his usual high ...more
A stunning bit of work - this and "Asterios Polyp" are two of the best books I've read this year, and that says quite a bit about the increasing power of the medium of the graphic novel. There were parts of this book, about a fictitious Canadian broadcaster, that moved me very deeply. Beautifully bound, and quite large - the book provides a wide canvas for Seth's panels. The photographs of the cardboard models of buildings found throughout the story were a nice touch.

Cannot recommend this enough
Beautifully designed and printed, this covers some of the same thematic ground as Chris Ware or any of the other contemporary creators who examine the minutiae of a character's life. Here, the storytelling is more intimate and emotionally involved than many similar books, but overall I don't know if it's engaging enough on that level to really hook the reader or to evoke the feeling of poignancy it seems to strive for. Visually, though, the book is stunning, and it's well work reading for that a ...more
Loved the packaging. Great story.
Aug 16, 2009 Jan marked it as to-read
I'm going to give another graphic novel a try on the recommendation of Sonia:

"Out of the handful of graphic novelists I read (somewhat) religiously, Seth is the one who gets better and better, both in art and in storytelling. (Adrian Tomine, are you paying attention?) The size and fanciness of this book are not the only ways in which Seth is showing the influence of Chris Ware, but I've always found Seth's art much more appealing."
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Seth is the pen name of Gregory Gallant. Seth is the cartoonist behind the painfully infrequent comic book series PALOOKAVILLE. His novels, which have been translated into 8 languages, include IT'S A GOOD LIFE IF YOU DON'T WEAKEN, WIMBLEDON GREEN, CLYDE FANS BOOK ONE, and the illustrated memoir of his father, BANNOCK, BEANS AND BLACK TEA.

As a book designer, Seth has worked on a variety of projects
More about Seth...
It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken: A Picture Novella Wimbledon Green Clyde Fans, Book 1 The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists Palooka-Ville #20

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“People claim that love is the deepest feeling, but don't you believe it. Loneliness is the most affecting of human emotions. Nothing makes life more vivid. If you wish to live in the moment, I recommend intense loneliness.” 15 likes
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