Brok Windsor

Brok Windsor was a relatively late comer to the WECA period. He debuted in Canada’s West Coast Publisher’s (Maple Leaf’ Publications) Better Comics Vol. 3 NO. 3 from April/May 1944, just over half-way through this Golden Age of Canadian Comics.

Better Comics Vol. 3 No. 3  , inside front cover
Better Comics Vol. 3 No. 3 , inside front cover

Brok was an athletically built Canadian Medical Doctor who always spent a month each summer vacationing shirtless at the Lake of the Woods which is a real place tucked into the corner of Ontario that borders Manitoba and Minnesota, with parts of the lake sticking out into both those places. One of these summers, Brok encounters a strange, thick mist and, instead of avoiding it, decides to explore and sail through it. After an arduous journey he comes through it just before nightfall to encounter a large island where, tired from his ordeal, he falls asleep on the shore.

When he wakes up the next morning he feels strangely energized and notices that his pants are now Hulk-style shreds.  When he picks up his medical kit, he realizes that he’s grown to basketball centre size proportions of over seven feet tall. Off he goes to explore the island and meets up with a native Indian who is over 12 feet tall and carrying Brok’s canoe under one arm. Brok, being a master of native languages, is able to converse with the Indian who, at the end of the 17 page story, reveals that his name is Torgon and that his is the son of the Great Chief of the place. This civilization turns out to be very Edgar Rice Burroughsian and quite advanced because Torgon carries with him a ray gun and the defense system encountered in the last few panels of the story seems technologically advanced.

Better Comics Vol 3 No. 6
Better Comics Vol 3 No. 6

Torgon informs Brok that the island makes humans grow until this unbridled growth kills them. He also tells Brok that his only chance for survival is to reach the Blue Spring at The Haunted Rocks of Antigrowth which is a long and perilous journey. Torgon and his own people have been inoculated from this growth disease by already having drunk from these waters.

On the way back to Torgon’s city, the pair are set upon by a giant Eagle-Bat type of creature and, in battling with it, Brok comes to realize that the island has also given him super strength. Together the pair defeat the creature with Torgon receiving a slight injury that Brok attends to with his medical kit. The rest of their journey is through crevices and darkness until they come to a guard post for the city and the story ends.

Cover of Better Comics Vol. 3 No. 3.
Cover of Better Comics Vol. 3 No. 3.

Torgon eventually becomes Brok’s “sidekick” in the rest of his adventures which are all drawn by his creator, Jon Stables, who most commonly signs himself as Jon St. Ables. Stables was one of the best and smoothest artists whose product could compete with any of the American strips. His work contributes to the notion that the west coast books generally outshone Toronto and Montreal product in terms of production quality and values.

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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.
Articles: 170

3 Comments

  1. We need a Brok Windsor graphic novel or collection that everyone can read. There’s some great Jon Stables artwork there that many comic readers have never seen. Thanks for a nice post here Ivan.

    Brok of course was one of the few Canadian golden age comic book characters that were pictured on the cover of the guide Canuck Comics from Matrix Books. The others being Nelvana and my favourite adventurer, Mr. Monster.

    There is a great illustration by Jon St. Ables adorning the cover of the 1948 Guide to the Pacific National Exhibition showing a crowded midway. I don’t know if he worked on any of the earlier P.N.E. guides as I’ve only ever seen the one.

  2. Great idea for a Brok Windsor compendium, Jim. I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be a good year for the WECA books. Let’s see what develops. For a while, as team mate Jim Finlay once said, we were fighting to prevent this “genre” from fading into the misty reaches of the land where Platinum books ended up. Now I know this is not going to happen. If you have a scan of the 1948 PNE guide cover, Jim, I’d love to see it.

  3. I do have an image, check your email box Ivan.
    I don’t see a way to post pics here.

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