Last weekend at the Metro Convention Centre, geeks of all kinds gathered for Fan Expo. Back to the Future fans checked out the DeLorean, comic fans in Bane and Batman costumes posed for photos, and others gawked at Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee. With that backdrop, a booth about the War of 1812 looked a bit out of place.
Along the far wall of the main convention floor in “artist alley,” Winnipeg-based colourist Lovern Kindzierski and publisher Alexander Finbow were selling their week-old graphic novel The Loxleys and the War of 1812. Described as a “historically accurate comic strip about a Canadian family caught up in the war,” the three-years-in-the making project marks the conflict’s bicentennial. “We’ve had a lot of interest from social-science teachers,” said Kindzierski, who regularly colours for DC Comics.
Kindzierski pointed to appreciative military veterans who loved the book, a letter of support from Stephen Harper, and a war of 1812 re-enactor who was moved to tears upon seeing it, which suggests that maybe the booth isn’t so out of place after all—historical re-enactment being its own kind of “cosplay.” (Cosplay is short for “costume play”—essentially, dress-up and make-believe for adults, popular in the comic and sci-fi scenes.)
And the 200-year-old skirmish has been an unexpected inspiration for geek culture lately. An educational panel about the war was held at Fan Expo, independently from The Loxleys booth. And earlier this the year, cartoonist Joe Sergi released—what else—The Zombie War of 1812.