Progress isn’t always a straight line
When a non-denominational megachurch opens on the edges of a rural Mennonite community, a quiet—but longstanding—battle begins to reveal itself. For years, the traditionalists in the community have held fast to the values and beliefs they grew up with, while other community members have begun raising important questions about LGBTQ+ inclusion, Indigenous land rights, and the Mennonite legacy of pacifism.
Through a series of vignettes, Shelterbelts explores the perspectives, experiences and limitations of a wide range of characters who find themselves increasingly at odds with their surroundings.
A pastor and his queer daughter learn that a family has left their church because of the “LGBT issue.” Young activists butt heads with a farmer over the construction of a pipeline happening on his fields. A librarian leaves suggestive notes for readers inside popular library books. By pulling these threads together, artist Jonathan Dyck has woven a rich tapestry — one that depicts a close-knit community in the midst of defining its future as it reckons with its past.
“I rarely encounter a debut graphic novel that is as ambitious, as clearly told, and as deeply felt as Jonathan Dyck’s Shelterbelts. Here is a cartoonist to watch.”— Seth, creator of Clyde Fans
About the Author
Jonathan Dyck is an illustrator and cartoonist from Winnipeg, Manitoba—Treaty 1 territory and the homeland of the Métis Nation.
He won a Silver medal for illustration at the 2021 Alberta Magazine Awards, won the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award for Children’s Illustration at the 2018 Manitoba Book Awards, and received a Gold medal for illustration at the 2018 Alberta Magazine Awards. His comics and illustrations have appeared in Broadview, Geez, Briarpatch, Prairie Fire, The Walrus, Popula, Literary Review of Canada, Carousel, 4Panel, Reader’s Digest Canada, Hamilton Arts & Letters, Alberta Views, and THIS Magazine.
240 pages, 6×9 inches
b&w, trade paper
More Praise for Shelterbelts
“Dyck wows with his ability to convey unmistakable emotions and personalities in lightly detailed character drawings. Flashbacks nestled inside outer panels create an unusual, but rewarding, swerve within rigid panel layouts. Fans of Craig Thompson’s Blankets will welcome this nuanced portrait of faith and community.” — Publisher’s Weekly
“Shelterbelts may be Jonathan Dyck’s debut graphic novel, but don’t let that fool you. This is a powerful piece of work by a comic creator who is already firing on all cylinders.” — The London Free Press
“Shelterbelts, a graphic novel by Winnipeg artist Jonathan Dyck, follows in the rather large footsteps of well-known Mennonite authors such as Miriam Toews and Rudy Wiebe with a bemused overview of issues that just won’t go away.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“A vivid portrayal of people trapped by culture, geography, and history, and yet liberated by these forces at the same time. Jonathan Dyck shatters stereotypes about rural Mennonite life, providing complexity instead of caricature and nuance rather than simple answers.” — Andrew Unger
“A beautiful depiction of a rural community grappling with its roots, and a meditation on what happens when we open ourselves to the possibility that things we have long believed may not always be the whole or true story.” — Sophie Yanow (The Contradictions)