The Return of ComicLink Canadian Whites

The last ComicLink featuring a collection of Canadian “Whites” was this past February and, in the end, commanded some eye-opening prices for these scarce books. There we had about three dozen books, most in mid-grade to better. In my opinion even 6.5 and up should be considered “high grade” for these scarce Canadian wartime comics, given that so few are found in this condition.

This month’s auction, even though it has almost double the amount of books (61), has them in mostly in lower grades. Almost a dozen of them are incompletes (0.5) because of a centerfold missing or a rectangular coupon cut out of the front cover. I’ve done a summary of the books on offer in a chart form anchored on condition, going from the lowest to the highest.

Canadian Crude

I recently came across a copy of a newsprint comic put out in April of 1941 called Canadian Rocket. I’m sure that some of you have already seen it. This has no glossy or cardboard type cover and is simply a newsprint publication that is a little larger than a regular comic book. Perhaps this was also the format of Robin Hood Comics No. 1 by Anglo American Publications which appeared on the stands a month earlier along with Better Comics No. 1 from Maple Leaf Publications. The indicia attribute it to Victory Publishing Co. in Toronto.

A Quest and A Question

As a lot of you may know, I am working on putting together a coffee table-sized book that would feature the main artists of these WECA comics, that is, the Canadian Whites. I’ve got about 10 sections finished and I have submitted a package with the first three sections to Dundurn Publishing in Toronto. I really don’t hold much hope for seeing my cache of fairly arcane information being picked up by a publisher over the next few months, but I will try a couple more (such as Drawn and Quarterly and Fantagraphics). Most likely, my project will only be able to see fruition as a self-published e-book or a book for which a good deal of publishing funding could be raised through an online funding scheme such as Kickstarter.

Thunderfist Three Ways: Karn, Bachle, Steele

“Thunderfist,” what a great name for a superhero. E. T. Leagault came up with this early in 1942 after having being the sole writer and artist for Cy Bell and his one title at that time, Wow Comics which featured two other Legault creations, Dart Daring and Whiz Wallace. The first issue of Wow Comics was cover dated September, 1941 and came out on the stands after half-dozen issues of Better Comics and a couple of issues of Lucky Comics issued by Maple Leaf Publications out of Vancouver had already been in the hands of lucky kids across the country.

Joe Shuster Awards Hall of Fame 2014

It’s that time of year again when Canadian golden age creators are considered for inclusion in the Joe Shuster Awards Canadian Comic Book Hall of Fame. Certainly an august constellation of creators but who are the two additions that should be inducted this year?

The Other Woman: John G. Hilkert’s The Wing

The Wing was the creation of John G. Hilkert and first appeared in Joke Comics No. 4 (Sept./Oct. 1942) as the Wing, but if we look closely we can find an appearance of a character (not costumed or super powerful) named Trixie Rogers in a text story written by Hilkert and art by Murray Karn in Dime Comics 5 called “Death Casts a Vote” a couple of months before she put on the costume in Joke Comics.

“Lost Heroes” Premiere

Overall the documentary was a slick and informative effort. It reminded me a little of the recent PBS Superheroes three-parter because it made heavy use of talking heads in front of green screen projections. This allowed the film itself to take on a sense of comic book levity and healthy self-deprecation. A comic book doc has to be heavy on graphics from the books themselves and this one didn’t let us down in that respect.

ComicLink Whites Auction

The latest ComicLink online auction finished last night and on offer were three dozen slabbed Canadian comics with all but two of them WECA books. The biggest irony of the final tally for me was that the highest prices were commanded by essentially reprint material.

Whites Mystery Artist

In doing my ongoing research into Canadian war time comics, I recently came across this Toronto Star article about a Whites artist named Michael (Bud) Riled who seems to have created a female jungle heroine called “Terena of the Jungle.” It even has a quote from Peter Berkemoe, owner of The Beguiling about the period of The Whites.

Bill Speed

John Stables (most often signing his work Jon St. Ables) has always been amongst the most appreciated of the WECA artists and his name is consistently placed at the head of lists of those artists best representative of the excellent, professional quality of Canadian war-time comic art whenever the artistic output of the Canadian Whites is brought into question. He was inducted into the Shuster Hall of Fame in 2006 and the write up with the induction by Robert Pincombe and Peter Hansen supplies you with the necessary details of his life and career.

Maple Leaf Checklist

Of all the WECA books, those produced by Maple Leaf Publishing out on the west coast of Canada are in the most demand and are the hardest to find. In this post I want to initiate the question of the number and dates of all the Maple Leaf issues… especially that murky last year—1946.

WECA Toons 2

My last post was on the “toony” side of Vancouver’s Maple Leaf Publications and in it I stated that there were no real toons in Montreal’s Educational Projects Publishers. I now want to qualify that since I’ve been able to find three fillers that might qualify.

WECA Toons 1

Comic book art runs the rainbow spectrum from realistic, to semi-realistic, to surrealistic, each time the metaphor getting stronger. In the surrealistic “toons” the world is populated by caricature humanoids and/or anthropomorphic fauna (‘funny animals”). Each of the four WECA publishers, except Educational Projects, had features that fell somewhere on the surrealistic end of this continuum.

Rucker Publications

Here’s one of those strange companies that started to appear towards the end of the WECA period. Its main title was The Weekender. For the first two issues it was known as The Comic Section of Illustrated Weekender News Reviews. The implication of the title was that it was some sort of newspaper or magazine insert but actually the so-called “news section” was included in the comic book itself. This news section was a dozen or so black and white pages of text and photos dealing with popular news items of the day.

Men of the Mounted

Of all Canadian icons the Mountie is perhaps the best internationally known. The red serge, jodhpurs and boots combination probably holds higher world-wide currency and branding for Canada than the beaver, crossed-hockey sticks, and even the maple leaf.

A Whites Christmas

Think back, even imagine, a time before our internet brains, before even our TV brains… when things inside our heads were much quieter and much clearer. Think back to the time of the Canadian Whites when tension came not from a barrage of digital and video bits streamed into our cortex but from a sustained home front war effort. Imagination didn’t have its dots connected with computer generated imagery. Here’s a war era imagination machine.

The Whites Project

Last Saturday our Canadian Whites Project Team had a meeting at Big B Comics in Hamilton to see where we were at and where we were going. Sure emails and online conferencing can accomplish a lot, but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. It was roughly a year ago that this project got off the...

Edmond Good

A couple of interesting original art pieces by Edmond came up on Heritage this week and this made me want to draw attention to his WECA work in this week’s post.

Masked Marvels

One great result of having a forum to make posts about WECA comics is that the readers can make corrections and cleanups of what I’ve written as well as offer new information that can fill in essential blanks, see my post from two weeks ago for example. Here are a couple more “blanks” for you all.

Lazare: The Orphan Strips

Some of the most interesting Lazare creations are the orphan “left-overs,” those stories that were one-shot “try-outs” or “fillers” and there were eight of these. The first three were in consecutive issues of Triumph Comics Nos. 20-22 which is a Bell title for which Lazare never did a feature character.

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