Jeff Lemire

Jeff Lemire, illustrator, graphic novelist (b at Essex County, Ont, 21 Mar 1976).

Jeff Lemire

Jeff Lemire, illustrator, graphic novelist (b at Essex County, Ont, 21 Mar 1976). Born and raised in rural south-western Ontario, Jeff Lemire has gained a reputation as one of Canada's foremost graphic novelists and illustrators since his self-published book Lost Dogs (2005) first garnered attention. Since then, Lemire has worked with American-based Top Shelf Productions and published his award-winning trilogy Essex County (2009). In 2009 DC Comics subsidiary Vertigo published The Nobody. Lemire has also published two additional graphic novels with the comic giant, Sweet Tooth: Out of the Woods (2010) and Sweet Tooth: In Captivity (2011), and worked on the comic series The Atom and Superboy. He has also contributed work to anthologies for Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics, and created album covers for Canadian band catl and England-based Art Brut.

Lemire is best known for his trilogy Essex County (2009). The trilogy portrays life in a fictionalized version of Lemire's hometown in south-western Ontario. Tales from the Farm follows a young boy named Lester as he is sent to live with his uncle upon the death of his mother. Lester finds solace in comic books and superheroes as a means of coping with his loss. Ghost Stories centres upon retired fictional hockey player Lou LeBeuf as he spends his days looking back at his life with regret. The third part of the trilogy, The Country Nurse, follows a travelling nurse in Essex County. It is through this nurse that Lemire ties his trilogy together and finds resolution for his damaged characters.

Jeff Lemire has been nominated for, and won, several awards honouring cartoons and cartoonists. For Lost Dogs, Lemire won the 2005 Xeric Award, which awards grants to self-publishing comic book creators. Essex County Volume 1: Tales from the Farm won the American Library Association's Alex Award (2008). Lemire has also been honoured with a Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Award for Outstanding Cartoonist (2008) and the Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent (2008). He has been nominated for an Ignatz Award (2007), a Harvey Award (2008) and two Eisner Awards (2008). Essex County was also one of five Canadian texts included in the 2011 CBC Canada Reads competition. Despite first-round elimination, its inclusion speaks to the quality of Lemire's work and the growing acceptance of the graphic novel as a form of literature.