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Hobohemia and the Crucifixion Machine

Although it sounds a lot like the name of a punk rock band, it is actually a book based on Todd McCallum’s Queen’s University doctoral thesis. It examines homeless men and the provision of public and private relief in Great Depression era British Columbia.

McCallum is currently researching comic books and so he steered me in that direction, suggesting a graphic illustration in which the city is surrounded by hobo jungles, as if under attack. I liked the atypical approach; most books on this topic go with a black+white photo of unemployed transient Vancouverites standing by the tracks.

I became fixated on cardboard throughout the drawing process and so my backup plan (let’s face it: the comic is rather informal for PhD-wielding author being published by a university press) involves positioning shipping icons in a way that suggests economic downturn, followed by relief, followed by Fordism-style labour camps and job creation.