Seventy-two years ago, the very first issue of Nelvana of the Northern Lights was published by Hillborough Studios in the first issue of Triumph-Adventure Comics. Created by Adrian Dingle–and adapted from an Inuit legend about a witch-like character of the same name–Nelvana was a Canadian hero in a time where Canadians had no other heroes to latch on to.
This past week Hope Nicholson and Rachel Richey launched a Kickstarter project aimed at republishing the original print run of Nelvana that was published from 1941 to 1947, a project which has seen a tremendous amount of support from the comic book community.
Nelvana of the Northern Lights
Nelvana of the Northern Lights holds the distinction of being Canada’s first national superhero, and is one of the first superheroines in comics; she predates Wonder Woman by several months. Her powers are not unique, but cool all the same given that she is able to utilize heat rays, telepathy, invisibility and is capable of moving at light speed.
Throughout the character’s comic run, Nelvana visited lost kingdoms under the Arctic ice and has journeyed to other dimensions where she fought against the Axis Powers during the Second World War.
Despite being only six days old, Nicholson and Richey’s Kickstarter raised enough funds to continue forward with their reprinting project. With 24 days remaining and having already had over $27,000 contributed, the project is near-guaranteed to be published. Given that assurance, there’s no harm in seeing what the fuss is all about with Canada’s Golden Age superpowered heroine. You can get a copy of the reprinted collection in digital format for $15, while the print edition is available with a $30 pledge.
All donations will be used to compile and track down the physical copies of the original books, in addition to paying for the necessary equipment and software to aid in the restoration of the collection in high definition. The remaining funds will be used to cover shipping and publishing costs, while funds over Nicholson and Richey’s goal will assist in publishing reprints, and promotional and convention-related costs.
Beyond getting the collected work outright with $15 and $30 pledges respectively, you can also get one of the only colour issues of Nelvana of the Northern Lights for $10; the only colour comic of her entire comic run. If you want a little more variety in your campaign rewards, Nicholson and Richey have gathered a large of number Canadian artists who have offered their services, the end result being the option to get a pin-up calendar featuring different interpretations of Nelvana for $20 or a signature Nelvana print from one of the artists for $25.
Why Should You Support Them?
This is a project that is distinctly Canadian from another generation. The book is a very progressive comic for its time, an era when they were still too few female comic book leads. Her distinctly Canadian backstory place her among the elite of Canadian comic-dom. Given her place in the industry’s history across Canada, the ability to read her classic story and celebrate the original comic as well as learn about the Inuit legend the character was adapted from is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed on.