Dates and Places

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

Name Birth Date City Publisher
Middlestadt, Albert 1911 Toronto Bell Features
Easson, Manny 1916 Toronto Bell Features
Barron, Sid 1917 Toronto Educational Projects
Dexter, Clayton (Cowan) 1918 Toronto Bell Features
Kelly, Fred George 1922 Toronto Bell Features
Steele, Tedd Arthur 1922 Toronto Bell Features
Bachle, Leo 1923 Toronto Bell Features
Karn, Murray Joseph 1923 Toronto Bell Features
Town, Harold 1924 Toronto Anglo American
Cooper, Albert 1925 Toronto Bell Features
Crawford, Melville Thomas 1925 Toronto Bell Features
Shecter, Israel (Edward) 1925 Toronto Bell Features
Baldasse, Dann 1926 Toronto Bell Features
Alton, Edward E. 1927 Toronto Bell Features
Lazare, Gerald 1927 Toronto Bell Features
Mendes, Ross Allan 1927 Toronto Bell 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

Name Birth Date Place Publisher
Moyer, Harry 1882 Beamsville, Ont. Bell Features
Skuce, Thomas Lewis (Lou) 1886 Nepean, Ottawa Bell Features
McCall, Ted (Edwin Reid) 1901 Chatham, Ont. Anglo-American
Bell, Cyril Vaughn 1905 Nepean, Ottawa Bell Features
Brown, Spike 1907 Manitoba Maple Leaf
Miller, Vernon 1912 Winnipeg Maple Leaf
Griffiths, Bus 1913 Moose Jaw, Sask. Maple Leaf
Pleasance, Arch 1913 Manitoba Maple Leaf
Bushell, Bert 1916 B.C. Maple Leaf
Slater, Doris Mildred 1917 Chatham, Ont. Bell Features
McGrath, Dorothy 1922 Ottawa, Ont. Educational Projects
Alexanian, Aram 1928 Hamilton, 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

Name Birth Date Birth Country City Publisher
Thursby, Frederick Percival 1890 USA Detroit Maple Leaf
Halperin, Harry J. 1902 Russia ? Educational Projects
McKellar, Jay 1904 Scotland Edinburgh Anglo American
Schlienger, Oscar 1905 Switzerland Basel Bell Features
Gilpin, Edwin Leslie 1906 Ireland Holywood Anglo American
Kulbach, Andre 1909 Estonia Tartu Bell Features
Kulbach, Rene 1909 Estonia Tartu Bell Features
Furness, Albert Edward 1910 England Brighouse Anglo American
Good, Edmond Elbridge 1910 USA Salo, Maine Bell Features
Hillenbrand, Joseph  F. 1910 USA Hoboken NJ Educational Projects
Dingle, Adrian 1911 Wales Barmouth Bell Features
Yanovsky, Avrom 1911 Ukraine Kirov Rog Bell Features
Stables, Jon 1912 England Ulverston Maple Leaf
Rae, George M. 1913 USA New York City Educational Projects
Brunt, Harry 1918 USA Chicago Bell Features
Hilkert, John 1919 USA Ohio Bell Features
Tremblay, Jack 1926 USA Providence RI Bell Features
Zusi, Alfred (Caz) 1926 USA Patterson, NJ Bell 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.

 

Name Birth Date
Moyer, Harry 1882
Skuce, Thomas Lewis (Lou) 1886
Thursby, Frederick Percival 1890
McCall, Ted (Edwin Reid) 1901
Halperin, Harry J. 1902
McKellar, Jay 1904
Schlienger, Oscar 1905
Bell, Cyril Vaughn 1905
Gilpin, Edwin Leslie 1906
Brown, Spike 1907
Kulbach, Andre 1909
Kulbach, Rene 1909
Furness, Albert Edward 1910
Good, Edmond Elbridge 1910
Hillenbrand, Joseph  Francis 1910
Dingle, Adrian 1911
Yanovsky, Avrom 1911
Middlestadt, Albert 1911
Stables, Jon 1912
Miller, Vernon 1912
Rae, George M. 1913
Griffiths, Bus 1913
Pleasance, Arch 1913
Bushell, Bert 1916
Easson, Manny 1916
Slater, Doris Mildred 1917
Barron, Sid 1917
Brunt, Harry 1918
Dexter, Clayton (Cowan) 1918
Hilkert, John 1919
McGrath, Dorothy 1922
Kelly, Fred George 1922
Steele, Tedd Arthur 1922
Bachle, Leo 1923
Karn, Murray Joseph 1923
Town, Harold 1924
Cooper, Albert 1925
Crawford, Melville Thomas 1925
Shecter, Israel (Edward) 1925
Tremblay, Jack 1926
Zusi, Alfred (Caz) 1926
Baldasse, Dann 1926
Alton, Edward E. 1927
Lazare, Gerald 1927
Mendes, Ross Allan 1927
Alexanian, Aram 1928

 

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…

Default image
Ivan Kocmarek
Grew up in Hamilton's North End. Comic collector for over 50 yrs. Recent interest in Canadian WECA era comics.
Articles: 170

11 Comments

  1. I love lists.
    It looks like we had a healthy representation of Canadians of all ages and a truly Allied coalition working the homefront.
    I’d be interested in also hearing more about the documents related to the paper shortage issue and Rotary Litho’s relationship with Bell and the government.

    I was going through the archive website myself yesterday but I looks like its much more interesting from your end.
    Perhaps you can encourage them to make the collection more available to the general public.

  2. Great job Ivan.And I couldn’t agree more about the feel of the original art on the skin!

  3. When I looked at the Cy Bell text document collection last April, it was clear that Cy was fighting for more paper every inch of the way. I have recorded most of these and will probably discuss them in a future post.
    I think that one way to make the collection more accessible is to put together an art sized, high-quality reprint book of the highlights of this collection with annotation and biographic information so that collectors could tap into it at their leisure, A book like that would be a handsome addition to the shelves of any collector of Canadian comics and Canadiana in general. I’m exploring what is involved in terms of copyright.

  4. The look of the ladies supervising the Special Collections area were not approving. I was told that the original art was meant to be horizontal and never picked up. I did everything quickly and got my wife to take the pic and then apologized to them afterward.

  5. Indeed, you were fortunate enough to be able to even handle those gorgeous splash pages. The archivists did make an exception for you. When Will Pascal came by my home to interview me for the Lost Heroes movie, he indicated that he was not allowed to handle any of the Bell Features items at LAC. BTW, did you get to see if the Nelvana compendium cover art during your visit Ivan?

  6. I’d don’t know what happened with Will Pascoe, Stephen, but there is no restriction on handling the original art. There may be on handling the more fragile Bell comics themselves. I don’t know. I didn’t have the time to request to see them this time, that may be for a future trip. I think I was mistaken in assuming that the original for the Dingle Nelvana compendium cover was at the archives. When I read the online description more closely it’s just a reference to the actual comic book and a full colour transparency that is in the collection. So no grand prize, Stephen.

  7. Yes. It must have been the Bell Features comic books in particular, and not the Original Art, that were not allowed to be handled. Thanks for the update Ivan.

  8. Ivan: Are there any original art in the collection for any of the later Canadian Golden Age reprints?
    If there is not I would think its time to assume that the answer is they might reside with Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert as picks of the litter before they made their gracious donations to the National Gallery of Canada or they were gifted to the artists who’s art was highlighted in each book.

    Have you had any detailed interviews with the Patrick and Michael that you are saving for a later blog or perhaps a Fan Expo guest appearance?
    Inquiring Canadian Collectors want to know.

  9. Jim, there are some of the contest pages for some of the post-WECA books as well as a couple of ad-type pages that are post-WECA. I did ask Michael Hirsh at the Doug Wright Awards whether he and Patrick had held back any pieces from their deal with the Archives and he said no.
    When I look at what was reproduced in their book, The Great Canadian Comic Books, I wonder if they used the original art or the comic books as the basis of their reproduction? The pages from Wow Comics 1 in their book are from the comic. They reproduced Hillborough Triumph stuff in the book and there is none in the archive original art collection. They reproduce pages from Thunderfist, Invisible Commando, Nitro, The Brain, Capt. Wonder, etc. that are not in the Archives collection. Did they use the comic books as their source or did they have the original art pages. The quality of the reproductions in their book makes me think that they used the comic books, now that I have seen examples of the originals.

  10. But you know what, Stephen. I have seen pictures of Rachel Richey from her time as an intern at the Archives handling the books freely. The next time I go up, I want to take a look at the books them selves and find out.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: