Big news and little from the world of Canadian comics.
Item: During World War II a Canadian comic book industry briefly sprang up when imports of U.S. magazines were temporarily banned. Subsequently, a generation of Canadian superheroes were created by teams of high school students, immigrant socialists, and starving artists. Since then, a legion of cartoonists, collectors and comics historians have fantasized about a renaissance of the “Canadian Whites” (so-called because these early Canadian comics were mostly printed in black and white) and a new lease-on-life for characters like Nelvana (the first female superhero and first native-Canadian character in comics), Johnny Canuck (the first shirtless jodhpur-clad Canadian superhero to punch-out Hitler), and the Penguin (the first Canadian playboy adventurer to wear a tuxedo and cumbersome mask based on a flightless bird from Antarctica). I’m pretty sure my own fantasies, nurtured since I discovered the definitive history of Canuck publisher Bell Comics, “The Great Canadian Comic Books” in the 1970s, did not involve a post-apocalyptic team of classic Canadian superheroes, re-imagined a la Alan Moore’s Tom Strong pulp pastiches, who are trying to turn the lights back on, Kamandi-like, in the Alaska-New York corridor. But it’s hard to argue with a fur bikini, not to mention the combined talents of Ty Templeton, David J. Cutler, and K.T. Smith –the creative geniuses behind The Northern Guard, a new floppy series from Chicago publisher Moonstone Books, who specialize in minor licensed properties and otherwise defunct and/or moribund subgenres. (tip of the Sequential chapeau to joeshusterawards.com for bringing this new series to light)
Item: Go on a pub crawl with Aislin in honour of Mordecai Richler!
Item: Shary Boyle does sculpture but she is also a cartoonist. She has a new show at the AGO in Toronto. The National Post has a profile that is readable.
Item: Von Allen is launching a new comic, Stargazer.
Item: I didn’t cover this past weekend’s Montreal Comicon because I was working without an internet connection and a little pre-occupied with the Guelph jazz festival and my own biz (plus, I’m a provincial hick), but here is Tim Sale talking about the death of floppies (deathies?) in advance of the show.
Item: Most comics are still basically illegal in Canada, warming the cockles of teenage comics arson enthusiast Brian Mulroney, I’m sure.
Item: Best weirdo (by which I mean glorious) link of last week leads us to this image of Thor, Loki, Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye checking out the patio action!
Item: Add another costly comic to the list: a Canadian entry in the most expensive derby. Someone here is selling a Flash #1 ashcan for millions, I guess? Or what?