Monday, November 14, 2016

Thanksgiving - Canadiana - Grant McLaughlin

I couldn't help but use this as an opportunity to educate on Canadian Thanksgiving.  I imagine this would be in a very cartoony / exaggerated style, leaning into corniness.  My apologies for the wordiness.

1 - We've got a pseudo-title screen here, with a big logo at the top of the panel reading "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Canada (But Didn't Know to Ask About)!".  Beneath is our "host", Mountie Mike (who is a cartoony mountie with a hilarious moustache), greeting the "audience" filled with cheer.  Beneath Mike is an unfurled scroll which reads "Canadian Thanksgiving".

MOUNTIE MIKE (1): Welcome to another edition of everyone's favourite Canadiana explainer!

MOUNTIE MIKE (2): This week:

SCROLL: Canadian Thanksgiving!

2 - Mountie Mike stands in a black, backgroundless panel, looking as cheerful as ever.  He holds up one hand, his finger pointing upwards to grab one's attention.

MOUNTIE MIKE (1): You read that right!  In one of its ongoing efforts to differentiate itself from its American neighbours, Canada has its own Thanksgiving.

MOUNTIE MIKE (2): And it's worth noting that ours actually came first!

3 - Samuel de Champlain and another settler sit at a table that has the remainders of what was clearly a large feast.  Both have smiles on their face and full tummies.  The settler extends a medallion to Champlain.
LETTERING NOTE: We're going to have lots of captions from Mountie Mike.  It's not strictly necessary, but perhaps we could have a little cartoonier Mountie Mike face to put at the beginning of the first one (to really emphasize the after-school special nature of all this).

CAPTION (MOUNTIE MIKE): "It's true!  French explorer Samuel de Champlain's settlements held annual feasts of Thanksgiving as of 1606 - 17 years earlier than the first recorded American one!"

CHAMPLAIN: Thanks for the meal!

SETTLER: Thanks for the idea!

CAPTION (MOUNTIE MIKE): "These guys were so thankful that they started the Order of Good Cheer to make sure everyone knew!"

4 - Similar set-up with two Victorian-era dressed people (a man and a woman) sitting at a table with the remainders of a large feast.  They're as full as the guys on panel 3, but they look a lot less excited about it.

CAPTION (MOUNTIE MIKE): "However, thankfulness fell out of fashion after that early start, leaving Canada with only the occasional celebration every few decades, generally popping up after wars or rebellions."

MAN: Aren't you glad those conflicts are done?

WOMAN: Eh, it's cool, I guess.

5 - A newspaper boy stands with a stack of papers, the top one reading "Prince Feeling Much Better!".  A passerby looks at the headline and looks relieved / jubilant.

CAPTION (MOUNTIE MIKE): "The first Canadian Thanksgiving after Confederation was in 1872, when Canada came together on April 5th to celebrate of the Prince of Wales' recovery from a serious illness."

PAPERBOY: Extra! Extra!

MAN: Oh, thank goodness!

CAPTION (MOUNTIE MIKE): "(Canada was really into its monarchy at the time.)"

6 - A First World War-era Canadian soldier apologizes to an anthropomorphic turkey.

CAPTION (MOUNTIE MIKE): "Canada used to be in the habit of celebrating Thanksgiving in November, but once Armistice (now Remembrance) Day came into vogue in the years following the First World War, we decided we'd be thankful in October instead."

SOLDIER: Sorry about that.

TURKEY: Naw, it's cool.

7 - Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson stands outside Parliament Hill, talking with a colleague.

CAPTION (MOUNTIE MIKE): "That said, we didn't settle on a recurring date until 1957, when Parliament officially set Thanksgiving as the second Monday every October.  Until then, it was set by proclamation every year - a fancy way of saying we decided willy nilly."

PEARSON: What do you think - Tuesday?

8 - A modern-day family sits at a table, with the same remnants of a hearty meal on their table and in their tummies.  They look happy and pleased.

CAPTION (MOUNTIE MIKE): However, that's where the differences end, because today it's pretty much an excuse to get together with family and eat too much food, just like the American iteration!


9 - On a football game, but all the players are beavers and moose - except for Mountie Mike who is there in the quarterback position.  While he holds the ball aloft, he looks towards the reader with a smile on his face.

MOUNTIE MIKE: We also have an annual Thanksgiving Day Classic, where our Canadian Football League teams play each other (yes, Canada not only has its own version of Thanksgiving, but also its own version of football - but that's a story for another day!).

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