Seth (cartoonist)

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Seth, c. 2014
BornGregory Gallant
(1962-09-16) September 16, 1962 (age 61)
Clinton, Ontario, Canada
Area(s)Cartoonist, writer, artist
Notable works

Gregory Gallant (born September 16, 1962), better known by his pen name Seth, is a Canadian cartoonist. He is best known for his series Palookaville and his mock-autobiographical graphic novel It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken (1996).

Seth draws in a style influenced by the classic cartoonists of The New Yorker. His work is highly nostalgic, especially for the early-to-mid-20th century period, and of Southern Ontario. His work also shows a great depth and breadth of knowledge of the history of comics and cartooning.

Early life and education[edit]

Seth was born Gregory Gallant on September 16, 1962, in Clinton, Ontario, Canada. His parents were John Henry Gallant[1] and the English-born[2] Violet Daisy Gallant (née Wilkinson);[1] he was the youngest of their five children. His family moved frequently but considers Strathroy, Ontario his home town.[3] He was inward, unathletic, and had few friends, and took to comic books and drawing at a young age.[2]

Seth attended the Ontario College of Art in Toronto[4] from 1980 to 1983.[1] He became involved with the punk subculture and began wearing outlandish clothing, bleaching his hair, wearing makeup, and frequenting nightclubs.[2] He took on the pen name Seth in 1982.[1]


Seth, then living in Toronto, first drew attention to his work in 1985 when he took over art duties from the Hernandez brothers for Dean Motter's Mister X from Toronto publisher Vortex Comics.[5] His run covered issues #6–13 (1985–88), after which he did commercial artwork for publications including Saturday Night and Fashion. In 1986 he met fellow Toronto-based Vortex artist Chester Brown, and in 1991 Toronto-based American cartoonist Joe Matt.[1] The three became noted for doing confessional autobio comics in the early 1990s, and for depicting each other in their works.[6]

In April 1991 he launched his own comic book, Palookaville, with Montreal publisher Drawn & Quarterly. By this time, Seth's artwork had evolved to a style inspired by The New Yorker cartoons of the 1930s and 1940s.[5]

He is also a magazine illustrator and book designer, perhaps best known for his work designing the complete collection of Charles M. Schulz's classic comic strip Peanuts. The books, released by Fantagraphics Books in 25 separate volumes (so far) combine Seth's signature aesthetic with Schulz's minimalistic comic creation. Similarly, he is designing the Collected Doug Wright, and the John Stanley Library.

Seth's illustration work includes the cover artwork for Aimee Mann's album Lost in Space (2001) and the jacket and French flaps for the Penguin Classics Portable Dorothy Parker (2006).[7]

Clyde Fans, the story of two brothers whose trade in electric fans suffers and eventually goes out of business from the failure to adapt to the rise of air conditioning, was serialized in Palooka-ville. Seth's short graphic novel Wimbledon Green, about an eccentric comic-book collector, was published in November 2005.

Graphic novels[edit]

From September 2006 to March 25, 2007, Seth serialized a graphic novel titled George Sprott (1894–1975), for the Funny Pages section of The New York Times Magazine.[8] Selections from George Sprott were featured in Best American Comics 2009. In the liner notes of that publication, Seth announced he was expanding Sprott into a book, filling in gaps that were cut to meet the restraints given by NYTM. The book was published by Drawn & Quarterly in May 2009.[9]

Seth's affection for early- and mid-20th century popular culture and his relative disdain for pop culture since then is a recurrent theme in his work, both in terms of the characters (who are often nostalgic for the period) and his artistic style.[10]

Seth's artwork has landed on the cover of The New Yorker three times, which he said was a professional milestone he was happy to achieve.[11]

Seth collaborated with children's novelist Lemony Snicket on his four-part series All the Wrong Questions, starting with Who Could That Be at This Hour? released on October 23, 2012 and ending with Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights? released on September 29, 2015.[12]

Model buildings[edit]

Seth's Dominion models on display at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

A selection of Seth's original models (studies for his fictional city, Dominion) has been exhibited extensively, most notably at the Phoenix Art Museum in 2007[13] and the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2005[14] and 2017.[15]

In 2008, Seth collaborated with the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery and RENDER (now the University of Waterloo Art Gallery), on an exhibition titled "The North Star Talking Picture House". For this exhibition one of the buildings from Seth's Dominion City project was re-built at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery as a walk-in theatre wherein visitors could sit and watch a program of black and white documentary shorts that had been produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

Seth is the subject of the 2014 documentary film Seth's Dominion, which received the grand prize for best animated feature at the Ottawa International Animation Film Festival.[16]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2004, Seth lived in Guelph, Ontario, with his wife[10] Tania Van Spyk, whom he married in 2002.[1]


Seth has won a number of industry awards throughout his career, and in 2011 was honoured by being the first cartoonist to win the literary Harbourfront Festival Prize.[17] In 2020, Clyde Fans became the first graphic novel ever to receive a Giller Prize nomination.[18] On June 17, 2022 Seth was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres[19] by the French government.

Year Organization Award for Award
1997 Ignatz Awards Outstanding Artist[20] Seth
Outstanding Graphic Novel or Collection[20] It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken
2005 Eisner Awards The Complete Peanuts Best Publication Design[21]
Harvey Awards Special Award for Excellence in Presentation[22]
2011 Authors at Harbourfront Centre Harbourfront Festival Prize[23][24] Seth
2022 French Government Recognition of significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields Ordre des Arts et des Lettres


Books and collections[edit]

Year Title Publisher ISBN Notes
1996 It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken Drawn & Quarterly 1-896597-70-X originally serialized in Palookaville #4–9 (1993–1996)
2000 Clyde Fans: Part One 978-1-894937-09-2 originally serialized in Palookaville #10–12 (1997–1998)[25]
2001 Vernacular Drawings 1-896597-41-6 Sketchbook
2003 Clyde Fans: Part Two 978-1894937603 originally serialized in Palookaville #13–15 (1999–2001)
2004 Clyde Fans: Book One 1-896597-84-X Collects the same contents as Clyde Fans parts one and two, originally serialized in Palookaville #10–15[26]
2005 Wimbledon Green 1-896597-93-9
2009 George Sprott 978-1-897299-51-7 originally serialized in The New York Times Magazine in 2006
2011 The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists 978-1770460539
2012 Who Could That Be at This Hour? Little, Brown 978-0316123082 Written by Lemony Snicket
2013 When Did You See Her Last? 978-1405256223
2014 File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents 978-0316284035
Shouldn't You Be in School? 978-0316123068
2015 Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights? 978-0316123044
2019 Clyde Fans Drawn & Quarterly 978-1770463578


  • (2017) Christmas Ghost Stories (Charles Dickens' The Signalman, A. M. Burrage's One Who Saw, Marjorie Bowen's The Crown Derby Plate, Edith Wharton's Afterward, M. R. James's The Diary of Mr. Poynter, E. F. Benson's How Fear Departed the Long Gallery, W. W. Jacobs' The Toll House, and Algernon Blackwood's The Empty House) designed and illustrated by Seth
  • (2018) Cover of The Criterion Collection's Blu-ray and DVD release of Gregory La Cava's My Man Godfrey (spine #114).[27]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hoffman & Grace 2015, p. xvii.
  2. ^ a b c Hannon 2015, p. 92.
  3. ^ "It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken", Wikipedia, 2021-06-20, retrieved 2022-03-12
  4. ^ Thalheimer 2010, p. 5602a1=Hoffman.
  5. ^ a b Bongco 2000, p. 199.
  6. ^ Bell 2006, p. 150.
  7. ^ Thalheimer 2010, p. 561.
  8. ^ "Sequential | Canadian Comics News & Culture". Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  9. ^ "Drawn & Quarterly". Drawn & Quarterly. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  10. ^ a b Miller, Bryan (June 2004). "An Interview with Seth". Bookslut. Archived from the original on 2018-12-29. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  11. ^ "Dorothy Parker Society". 2006-03-15. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  12. ^ Archived 2012-02-11 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "". Archived from the original on March 11, 2008.
  14. ^ "Present Tense 31: Swing Space". Art Gallery of Ontario. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  15. ^ "Every Now Then: Reframing Nationhood". Art Gallery of Ontario.
  16. ^ Brownstein, Bill (9 October 2014). "The life of Seth, animated". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  17. ^ Smith, Kenton (2011-12-23). "Cartoonists, too, wish things otherwise". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  18. ^ Deborah Dundas, "Thomas King, Emma Donoghue make the 2020 Giller Longlist in a year marked by firsts". toronto Star, September 8, 2020.
  19. ^ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, “Canadian cartoonist Seth wears his French knighthood with ease”, The Globe and Mail, June 17, 2023
  20. ^ a b "1997 Ignatz Award Recipients". Small Press Expo. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  21. ^ "The Eisner Awards: Complete List of Past Winners—2005 Eisner Awards". San Diego Comic-Con International. Archived from the original on 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  22. ^ "2005 Harvey Award Winners". Harvey Awards. Archived from the original on 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  23. ^ Medley, Mark (2011-09-21). "Seth wins 2011 Harbourfront Festival Prize". The National Post. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  24. ^ "Seth wins Harbourfront Festival Prize". The Globe and Mail. 2011-09-21. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  25. ^ "GCD :: Issue :: Clyde Fans Part One".
  26. ^ "GCD :: Issue :: Clyde Fans: Book One".
  27. ^ "My Man Godfrey Blu-ray". Retrieved 29 December 2018.

Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]