Canadian Whites Collection Found

Yesterday marked 1 year and 6 months since my Undervalued Spotlight #103 post.

In that post I put the spotlight on Maple Leaf Publishing’s Better Comics #1 and talked about the importance and the scarcity of the book.

I remember not being able to find a color photo of the issue, thus the black and white image on the post.

A lot has happened over the past 18 months.

I’d say things really started to break in June of 2012 when I was contacted by Vernon Miller’s grandson Brent Miller. Vernon Miller created Better Comics #1 and when his grandson Brent came across a small stash of his grandfather’s comics Brent jumped on the internet to find some information on the books. There really wasn’t much info available on the comic but Brent did find my post.

Canadian Whites comic collector Stephen Lipson and I approached Brent about purchasing some of these comics. Lucky for us there were 3 copies of Better #1 in Mr. Miller’s possession, Stephen got 1, as did I and the Miller family kept the 3rd (the one signed by Vernon Miller).

Inside Back Cover
Inside Back Cover

The books arrived just in time for the August Fan Expo of 2012. I still remember how excited Stephen and I were. We were as giddy as school girls.

Our 2 copies were sent down to CGC for grading and mine got a 7.0 while Stephen’s got a 6.0 (I paid more to have the nice copy). There were 12 other comics in this deal, all Maple Leaf Publishing issues including more issues of Better Comics and some Lucky Comics. These are the pride of my small “Canadian Whites” collection.

At about this time Ivan Kocmarek and I started discussing the possibility of doing an indexing project on this era of Canadian comics. Ivan was still teaching but was excited about his approaching retirement just a few months away.

By November of 2012 Ivan and I were joined by Stephen Lipson and Jim Finlay. The 4 of us held our first meeting and the Canadian Whites Heritage Project was born.

In January 2013 Ivan started his White Tsunami blog I’m now posting on. Ivan has in 5 months shed more light on this era than perhaps has been shed in the last 40 years. These posts are incredibly invaluable and are educating seasoned collectors as well as people with general interest in the subject. Thanks for these Ivan!

During these past 18 months we’ve met a lot of people with a keen interest in these comics, many of these people have very respectable collections of “Whites” themselves though not surprisingly none want to part with their books.

A few odds and sods come up on eBay now and again but there were no real new discoveries of note since Vernon Miller’s stash surfaced.

I never visit the CGC forums. As a vintage comic reseller I really should but who has time!!

I do pop into (CBD) every day though to check traffic to the site and see who has posted what that day.

About 3 weeks ago I logged on to CBD and notice that the 2nd most active post that day was Undervalued Spotlight #103. Why is an 18 month old post getting so many hits?

I checked and the hits were coming from a CGC Forum thread.

Dave Stuart posted the thread and provided some nice scans of books he had at the Calgary Comic Con. All the comments on the board were positive and complementary, everyone patting Dave on the back for a nice find.

Over in the private correspondence section of the forums Dave was getting emails from several prospective buyers, I was one of them.

Within a few days Dave told me the books were mine and I was ecstatic. When the books came in they were as good as I thought they’d be. Better Comics #6 has a bit of water damage but the rest were stellar, conservatively ranging from 7.0 to 9.0.

better 1 to 7 overlap

To my knowledge this is the nicest run of early Better Comics that exists. They seem to be from an original owner collection based on their grade and color consistency but who knows. Dave was unaware of their history.

Within a day of getting the books I began receiving emails, people interested in buying these books. To be honest I was surprised with the size of the offers. I was in a position to turn a quick profit but I just can’t get myself to part with these books.

This is an historic find as far as I’m concerned and I hope to use this run, starting with this post, to further raise awareness for this era of Canadian Comics.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

Articles: 1702


  1. Congrats on getting that great run of Maple Leaf comics Walter!

    I’d love to see a list of all the Canadian creators who worked on those books.

  2. Thank you Jim.

    Ivan and I carefully took pictures of every page!

    It will take a bit of work but I know Ivan intends on indexing and cataloging the books fully. All this information will be shared.

  3. In my opinion, Walt. These books merit a pedigree ranking from CGC once you send them in. I’m not at all surprised that you are getting additional and higher offers on them. This is an important and quality find.

  4. You realize that what you have there is a straight run of all of the monthly issues of Better Comics.

    After this, with issue 8, they go to bi-monthly and stay on that schedule ’till they go to colour at the end of 1945 and then there’s a break somewhere (I’m guessing so they can catch up with production) before the title ends at #38. At least that’s the last issue that’s been found up until now. It’s a nice neat little collection.

  5. Thanks for noticing this. The final numbering of all the Maple Leaf issues is a problem that I hope we can get closer to solving when we finish our index and the on-line database. I’m not really familiar with the consecutive numbering of the Better issues but I am pretty sure that the first two volumes of Better had 10 issues each with Vol. 3 No. 1 coming out in Dec./Jan. 1943-44. The rest of the volumes definitely didn’t have 10 issues each. Vol. 3 probably had 7 issues with Vol. 3 No. 7 coming out in Dec./Jan. 1944-45. Then things are a little unclear but the last four issues seem to have been Vol 6 No.1 (Aug./Sep. 1945), Vol. 6 No. 2 (Oct./Nov. 1945), Vol. 7 No. 3 (Dec./Jan. 1945-46) and what I think is the final issue Vol. 7 No. 4 (Feb./March 1946). The last two I know are in full colour. Jim, or anybody, if you could shed any further light on this it would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Just ran across this. Thought I’d mention I have about 50 Whites left mostly brittle/incomplete. These were part of a massive original owner collection I picked up in Guelph. There were about 200 Whites to begin with (well that I saw), apparently some were sold before I got there. The other 150 were in nice shape and I sold most of them on ebay and privately about 11 years ago> At first there wasn’t too much interest but as I was selling them they really gained momentum and created quite the explosion in price and interest. One of the last books I sold was Active #1, which at the time was the first copy of it that surfaced for sale (according to Eddy Smet long time collector)

  7. When I visited from Winnipeg last year, you showed Me your 7.0 copy of better comics #1. I thought how amazing is the idea of the Canadian Whites. I’ve spent years and years gaining comic knowledge yet had no clue they even existed. You inspired me Walter to research everything I could find on them. In the process I found myself becoming a fan of many Canadian comics, including the bronze age character Captain Canuck by Comely. Being from Winnipeg issues of Captain Canuck are so common they’re over looked. You helped change my view on the significance of Canadian comics in our history.

  8. Wonderful to hear of your newfound interest in Canadian Comics Matthew. Lots of stuff going on in this field at the moment and we welcome any input and insides you pick up along the way. Hope you can make it back to Hamilton soon.

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