The Chance of Life: Jeff Lemire’s Essex County Trilogy, Canadian Identity, and the Mythos of Hockey


  • Dale Jacobs University of Windsor


"While the whole of Essex County reflects life in one corner of Southwestern Ontario and is filled with references that would be recognizable to many Canadians (such as Captain Canada, Canadian beer, and Canadian settlement history), it is the mythos of hockey that is at the centre of the text. This mythos permeates Essex County, mediating communication between characters, shaping their identities, illustrating tensions between isolation and community, and informing the choices that Lemire makes in using the comics medium to tell his story. If hockey captures the Canadian experience as Leacock asserts, Essex County explores that experience by drawing on a wide array of the medium’s rhetorical possibilities. This essay examines the ways in which hockey is essential to the Canadian identity constructed within the comics medium in Essex County in general and Ghost Stories in particular."