League of Extraordinary Canadians … Group of 7 #1


During the First World War Canadian soldiers, fighting as the Canadian Expeditionary Force, distinguished themselves at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. This was the first time that, as a young nation, Canadian troops fought together and many see this particular battle as a “pivotal event in the emergence of Canadian national identity.” But what are the untold, secret stories of this historic event? Writer Chris Sanagan and artist Jason Lapidus explore this in their new comic book, Group of 7.

Group of 7 #1 Cover
Group of 7 #1 Cover

As Chris puts it … “While the battle rages topside, Canadian physician John McCrae leads a secret mission underneath the Ridge against a mysterious enemy with monstrous intentions. To succeed, he’ll need a group of unique soldiers. A group of legendary heroes. A Group of 7.”

So, who are the members of the Group of 7? None other than historical figures John McCrae, A.Y. Jackson, Francis Pegahmagabow, Lester Pearson, Frederick Banting, Norman Bethune, and Conn Smythe. With a team that consists of a future Prime Minister (Canada’s equivalent to a US President), a hockey legend, and the Doctor that discovered insulin, amongst others, this fictional account promises to be full of intrigue and adventure. The first issue sets up the concept and introduces the team with a good pace. Always a challenge for a first issue and Group of 7 did it well.

The art in Group of 7 is black and white which is not my favourite but artist Jason Lapidus does a great job of introducing depth with excellent ink washing and a real prowess to creating images without colour. While I never mistook the look, and feel of the comic book for a mainstream title, Group of 7 is a quality independent book and I was pleasantly surprised by how strongly I was drawn in.

Group of 7 #1 Interior Page
Group of 7 #1 Interior Page

On top of being entertaining, the lads have built a significant educational component for the book. Chris and Jason have developed a classroom seminar and are available to drop into schools to discuss panel-by-panel breakdowns of all the references and historical sources in the book. Interested educators can head to https://groupof7comic.ca/school-visits/ and https://groupof7comic.ca/resources/ for details.

Issue #2 is in production and I can’t wait. Chris Sanagan and Jason Lapidus will also be exhibiting at the Whitby Comic Arts Festival (WhitCAF) on November 18th, 2017. Since I will also have a table at WhitCAF with The Hey Kids Comics Radio Show I really look forward to meeting Chris and Jason.

Pick-up Issue #1 online at https://groupof7comic.ca/shop/ or if you live in Ontario you can grab a copy at The Dragon comic shop in Guelph, The Beguiling and Cyber City Comix in Toronto. Personally, I’ll be ordering the 6-issue subscription.

Issue: Group of 7 #1 | Publisher: self-published
Writer: Chris Sanagan | Artist: Jason Lapidus
Letters: Jason Lapidus | Editor: Chris Sanagan
Price: $5 – 24 pages


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