A Very Comic Christmas

For nearly a decade, James McNee, a Toronto-based communications consultant, has hired local cartoonists to draw his family’s annual holiday card.

Winter, 2018–2019 / No. 42
Photo by Thomas Blanchard
Thomas Blanchard

“I read Archie as a little kid, but I didn’t keep up with comics as an adult. One year, I read Seth’s book It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken. The story starts in London, Ontario, my hometown; he reminisces about Strathroy, where my wife grew up; then he ends up in Cabbagetown, my current neighbourhood. That was sort of my arc too.

“We always sent out a Christmas card with a family photo on it. When my marriage broke up, I thought it would be cheesy to have competing Christmas photos. There was a show at the Jet Fuel Coffee Shop featuring panels of the café drawn by local cartoonists. I met Jason Kieffer there and approached him with the idea I had for a card featuring my kids, Aiya, Grace, and Spencer. Jason drew the first one.

“Jason had the idea to get a different cartoonist for each card. The next year he introduced me to Dave Lapp, and then Dave got Nina Bunjevac involved, and it just continued from there. It gives me great pleasure. I think they’re wonderful.

“My children are all adults now. At worst they tolerate it, at best they enjoy it. I guess I’ll continue as long as we can get artists and the kids don’t say stop—or until the family grows. That’s either a time to expand the card or pull the plug.

Photo by Thomas Blanchard
Thomas Blanchard
Illustration by David Collier
David Collier (2018)
Illustration by Dakota McFadzean
Dakota McFadzean (2017)
Illustration by Joe Ollmann
Joe Ollmann (2016)
Illustration by Dalton Sharp
Dalton Sharp (2015)
Illustration by Nick Maandag
Nick Maandag (2014)
Illustration by Hartley Lin
Hartley Lin (2013)
Illustration by Dave Lapp
Dave Lapp (2011)
Illustration by Jason Kieffer
Jason Kieffer (2010)