|Cartooning is full of eccentrics. This is ours.
Born January 24th, 1963 in the Windsor, Ontario there was probably no initial evidence to suggest that Collier would be an enduring, endearing oddball. At age 10 Collier was taken into a hippie clothing store where he was introduced to the artwork of R. Crumb which had as lasting and profound an effect on Collier as his unconscious attraction to girls in sandals.
At age 14 Collier's father gave him a sketchbook which would become the first of many sketchbooks destined to become Collier's constant companion. It wasn't long before Collier was a punker living in downtown Toronto, scrounging for a living, and making mini-comics with his friends. Much of this life is documented in Collier's #2, as is the postcard he received from R. Crumb in which Crumb told him "This is good stuff. Funny, weird & interesting drawing".
R. Crumb didn't publish him then, but in 1986 Crumb was Collier's first publisher, with his first strip in Weirdo #16.
Collier eventually tired of downtown drudgery and decided to see the rest of the country by joining the Canadian army where "the pay was good". In the army he was able to draw strips for the army newspapers, meet people from all over and take up long distance running which has been a hobby of Collier's ever since and to which he attributes his good humour, patience for observation, and strong legs. And it's where he discovered his talent for the biathlon in which he has competed nationally. (Anyone who has seen Collier take a photograph shudders at the idea of a gun in his hands.)
In 1990 Collier left the army for Saskatoon and for the next couple of years he took up cartooning professionally. He published his first comic book series, Collier�s, with Fantagraphics. At the same time he began a regular illustration and cartooning gig for both a national newspaper, the Globe & Mail, and his local hometown paper the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.
It was during this time that Collier really developed his distinctive visual and narrative style for comix essays. 1998 marked the year when Collier joined two new families. He married the Ontario artist Jennifer Hambleton with whom he shares a son James, born in 1999.
Collier also became a D&Q artist when his comic-essay strip work from the 1990s was collected for the 1998 book Just The Facts and Drawn & Quarterly began publishing his comic books. This first series of biographies were collected in the 2001 book Portraits from Life. Collier continues to publish his comic book series with Drawn & Quarterly; fans can check out the online catalogue for the latest issue.
2002 saw the publication of Collier's sketchbooks, titled The Hamilton Sketchbook, in which he drew about moving with his family from Saskatchewan to Hamilton, Ontario. It is a quirky meditation on family, work, and the nature of living in Canada.