Tues. July 8. I know I should have had the gov't issue cotton gloves on but I love the  feel of original art on the skin.

Tues. July 8. I know I should have had the gov’t issue cotton gloves on but I do love the feel of original art on the skin.

 

I’m up at the archives again, flipping original Bell Features art pages and have just had time to put together a patchwork column this week.

First of all, I’d like to share with you some dates and geography. My amateur research into the backgrounds of the creators behind the Canadian war time comics has produced three strata that I wanted to share with you.

First of all a good number of these creators were, in fact, born in Toronto as I’ve tried to sum up in the following chart:

Ross Mendes from Dime Comics No. 26

Ross Mendes from Dime Comics No. 26

 

WECA Comics Creators Born in Toronto

NameBirth DateCityPublisher
Middlestadt, Albert1911TorontoBell Features
Easson, Manny1916TorontoBell Features
Barron, Sid1917TorontoEducational Projects
Dexter, Clayton (Cowan)1918TorontoBell Features
Kelly, Fred George1922TorontoBell Features
Steele, Tedd Arthur1922TorontoBell Features
Bachle, Leo1923TorontoBell Features
Karn, Murray Joseph1923TorontoBell Features
Town, Harold1924TorontoAnglo American
Cooper, Albert1925TorontoBell Features
Crawford, Melville Thomas1925TorontoBell Features
Shecter, Israel (Edward)1925TorontoBell Features
Baldasse, Dann1926TorontoBell Features
Alton, Edward E.1927TorontoBell Features
Lazare, Gerald1927TorontoBell Features
Mendes, Ross Allan1927TorontoBell Features

 

There have probably been a bunch more, but I haven’t been able to find solid confirmation yet. As an aside, remember that Joe Shuster, the illustrator behind the creation of Superman was also born in Toronto in 1914.

There are also a good number that I can confirm were born across Canada outside of Ontario’s capital:

Vernon Miller from Bing Bang Comics Vol. 6 No. 5

Vernon Miller from Bing Bang Comics Vol. 6 No. 5

WECA Creators Born in Canada Outside Toronto

NameBirth DatePlacePublisher
Moyer, Harry1882Beamsville, Ont.Bell Features
Skuce, Thomas Lewis (Lou)1886Nepean, OttawaBell Features
McCall, Ted (Edwin Reid)1901Chatham, Ont.Anglo-American
Bell, Cyril Vaughn1905Nepean, OttawaBell Features
Brown, Spike1907ManitobaMaple Leaf
Miller, Vernon1912WinnipegMaple Leaf
Griffiths, Bus1913Moose Jaw, Sask.Maple Leaf
Pleasance, Arch1913ManitobaMaple Leaf
Bushell, Bert1916B.C.Maple Leaf
Slater, Doris Mildred1917Chatham, Ont.Bell Features
McGrath, Dorothy1922Ottawa, Ont.Educational Projects
Alexanian, Aram1928Hamilton, Ont.Bell Features

 

Remember also that Win Mortimer (born in 1919 in Hamilton, Ontario) who, as far as I can see, never had anything to do with The Canadian Whites, had a career that flourished with D.C. Comics south of the border starting just about when the war ended. What an addition to The Whites roster he would have been. The great Hal Foster, creator of Prince Valiant, was also born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1892.

The final chart shows those WECA creators who were born outside of Canada:

 

Les Gilpin from Three Aces Comics Vol. 2 No. 11

Les Gilpin from Three Aces Comics Vol. 2 No. 11

WECA Creators Born Outside Canada

NameBirth DateBirth CountryCityPublisher
Thursby, Frederick Percival1890USADetroitMaple Leaf
Halperin, Harry J.1902Russia?Educational Projects
McKellar, Jay1904ScotlandEdinburghAnglo American
Schlienger, Oscar1905SwitzerlandBaselBell Features
Gilpin, Edwin Leslie1906IrelandHolywoodAnglo American
Kulbach, Andre1909EstoniaTartuBell Features
Kulbach, Rene1909EstoniaTartuBell Features
Furness, Albert Edward1910EnglandBrighouseAnglo American
Good, Edmond Elbridge1910USASalo, MaineBell Features
Hillenbrand, Joseph  F.1910USAHoboken NJEducational Projects
Dingle, Adrian1911WalesBarmouthBell Features
Yanovsky, Avrom1911UkraineKirov RogBell Features
Stables, Jon1912EnglandUlverstonMaple Leaf
Rae, George M.1913USANew York CityEducational Projects
Brunt, Harry1918USAChicagoBell Features
Hilkert, John1919USAOhioBell Features
Tremblay, Jack1926USAProvidence RIBell Features
Zusi, Alfred (Caz)1926USAPatterson, NJBell Features

 

If we put all the birth dates in one list we can see that from Harry Moyer to Aram Alexanian the range of Canadian WECA creators extends over about two generations.

 

NameBirth Date
Moyer, Harry1882
Skuce, Thomas Lewis (Lou)1886
Thursby, Frederick Percival1890
McCall, Ted (Edwin Reid)1901
Halperin, Harry J.1902
McKellar, Jay1904
Schlienger, Oscar1905
Bell, Cyril Vaughn1905
Gilpin, Edwin Leslie1906
Brown, Spike1907
Kulbach, Andre1909
Kulbach, Rene1909
Furness, Albert Edward1910
Good, Edmond Elbridge1910
Hillenbrand, Joseph  Francis1910
Dingle, Adrian1911
Yanovsky, Avrom1911
Middlestadt, Albert1911
Stables, Jon1912
Miller, Vernon1912
Rae, George M.1913
Griffiths, Bus1913
Pleasance, Arch1913
Bushell, Bert1916
Easson, Manny1916
Slater, Doris Mildred1917
Barron, Sid1917
Brunt, Harry1918
Dexter, Clayton (Cowan)1918
Hilkert, John1919
McGrath, Dorothy1922
Kelly, Fred George1922
Steele, Tedd Arthur1922
Bachle, Leo1923
Karn, Murray Joseph1923
Town, Harold1924
Cooper, Albert1925
Crawford, Melville Thomas1925
Shecter, Israel (Edward)1925
Tremblay, Jack1926
Zusi, Alfred (Caz)1926
Baldasse, Dann1926
Alton, Edward E.1927
Lazare, Gerald1927
Mendes, Ross Allan1927
Alexanian, Aram1928

 

You’ll certainly notice that the last group in this chart, that is, those born in the 1920s (from Dorothy McGrath on) certainly forms a stratum. These were all kids when the Whites began in 1941. They were in their teens and most of them still in school. At the other end of the spectrum we have those creators born around or before the turn of the century up to the end of the first decade (The Kulbach twins). In the middle you have those creators starting with Edmond Good and Ed Furness, extending through the First World War and just one year after (John Hilkert).

I hope to discover additional dates and further biographical details about additional WECA Canadian comic creators as my research proceeds and if anybody has anything to add or correct I certainly welcome it.

Caring about Canadian comics and still searching for the original art for the Nelvana one-shot cover in Ottawa this week…