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Ivan Kocmarek

Grew up in Hamilton's North End. Comic collector for over 50 yrs. Recent interest in Canadian WECA era comics.

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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…

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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.
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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.
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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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Where are they now?

Many times over the last year or so I’ve wondered about what became of the original locations of all the WECA era Canadian comic book publishing houses. Are the original buildings still standing or have they been razed to make way for modern money making enterprises? I glean the following address information from the indicia of the actual comics.
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Century Publications

In the twilight of the WECA period during the spring of 1946 a new comic publisher in Toronto, Century Publications, began putting out a handful of comics with most of the copies targeting a British audience. The address of Century Publications was 2382 Dundas Street West, now a used car lot in the Junction about half-a-block away from the Dundas West Subway Station on Bloor Street.
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Lou’s Goose

I attended an auction in Vineland this past weekend and it prompted me to write another short piece on one of the WECA artists. I went to the auction because, among other things, they were offering seven Toronto-themed coasters from the early thirties.
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The Canuck Corps.

“Johnny (Jack) Canuck.” He was a personification of our national identity much in the same way that America had “Uncle Sam” and Britain “John Bull,” who started to be depicted in political cartoons just a couple of years (1869) after Confederation. Like all national personifications he is an hyperbole, let’s say like a lumberjack riding a Timmie’s donut inner tube down the rapids a river of maple syrup and using a hockey stick for a rudder.
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My Back Pages

On occasion these B-sides became hits in themselves and sometimes even outshone their original A-sides in popularity. In the same vein, I think that there are a few WECA book back covers that merit attention and offer lots of historical information to mine and I wanted to share some of them with you.
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Hamilton’s Comic Past

Saturday will be the first comic-themed con held in Hamilton in many a year. I hope we can make it a success and then an annual event that can be expanded to the whole weekend. My small contribution will be moderating a panel on Hamilton’s connection with comics and...
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Stamp of Approval

If a comic book concept with a fairly slender thread connecting it to Canada (Joe Shuster the illustrator behind the creation of the character was born in Canada) can merit this ceremony, why can't a 75th anniversary of the birth of our own genuine and rock solidly Canadian comic books merit at least an equal value. I know we had that issue in 1995 that contained stamps of Johnny Canuck and Nelvana but this is different.
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Bell Reprints and Covers

The first happened during the WECA period itself when, in 1945, Bell Features decided to issue 6 compendiums of stories from earlier issues. These took features already published and brought them together in large (68 pg.) books that sold for 15 cents.
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