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.

This was the same address listed in the indicia for comics put out by Superior Publications, the giant of Canadian comic publishing of the post-WECA period who published comics out of Canada for about 10 years up to about 1956. In fact, it may be that Century Publications was the first manifestation of the comic book side of Superior Publications which  didn’t seem to get underway properly as a comic book publisher  using that name until about 1947 with copies of Star Studded Comics and the Chesler reprints Punch Comics, Dynamic Comics and Red Seal Comics (this had contents that were made up of reprints of Zor the Mighty No. 1 and Space Nomads No. 1).

Red Seal Comics No. 19

Red Seal Comics No. 19

On eBay, have seen evidence for a digest size, square-bound joke/cartoon book called Whiz Bang that was put out at the start of 1944. It was put out by Superior Publications and contained lots of full page cartoons and some black and white racy pin-up pictures, but it wasn’t a comic book proper.

Superior Publications went on, along with Bell Features to be among the biggest producers of the reprinted American material which was the mainstay of Canadian comic book publication in the post-WECA period up to 1956. Superior mainly reprinted Timely superhero titles (while Bell Features seemed to have a deal with DC, as well as Archie and Quality and even some of the Romance, Crime, and Western Marvel titles) in the late forties and continued on into their morphing into Atlas comics at the start of the fifties. It is also known for taking on the reprinting of EC and Farrell titles for the Canadian market as well as putting out original horror titles such as Journey into Fear (which seems to be the first Canadian horror book and, in fact, Journey into Fear No. 41 is cited in Seduction of the Innocent) and Adventures into Fear using Iger studio writers and artists and sporting that maple leaf in a circle logo that must have been a mystery to all those American readers for a comic book coming out in the States.

Journey into Fear No. 1

Journey into Fear No. 1

 

An example of the Superior Publications Maple Leaf logo

An example of the Superior Publications Maple Leaf logo

Five of the Century books I’ve found to exist appear on an ad from Century’s edition of Jeep Comics No. 2 (which reprints Golden Lad Comics No. 3). This ad seems to have been a reworking of a similar ad from the Century edition of Circus Comics nn. (which reprints the same title from Farm Womens Publishing) but the books listed in this ad are all unfamiliar to me and were perhaps British comics since I don’t think they had counterparts in Canada or the United States.

Ad from Jeep Comics No. 2

Ad from Jeep Comics No. 2

Ad from Circus Comics

Ad from Circus Comics

What you can see on both the covers of Jeep Comics No. 2 and the unnumbered copy of Circus Comics are the two price tags–one of nine pence for the British market and one of 15 cents for the Canadian.

Jeep Comics No. 2

Jeep Comics No. 2

Circus Comics nn.

Circus Comics nn.

The first Century titles seemed to appear in April of 1946. They included  Blue Circle Comics No. 1 which used the cover from the American second issue but reprinted the contents from the first (the second Century issue reversed this) and Three Ring Comics No. 1 which used the Prankster cover from Red Circle Comics No. 2 and the contents from Red Band Comics No. 3.

Blue Circle Comics No. 1

Blue Circle Comics No. 1

Three Ring Comics No. 1

Three Ring Comics No. 1

Two other issues of Three Ring Comics were put out in 1946, No. 2 which was a reprint of the funny animal comic of the same title put out by American Spotlight Publishers. Issue No. 3, which came out in September of 1946, was another funny animal book but with the famous cover from Pep Comics No. 22.

Three Ring Comics No. 2

Three Ring Comics No. 2

Three Ring comics No. 3

Three Ring comics No. 3

Other Spotlight titles that Century put out were Bee 29 The Bombardier Comics the title of which was shortened just to Bombardier Comics, Twinkle Comics, and Latest Comics. Bombardier and Twinkle used the original covers while Latest Comics found a completely different cover.

Twinkle Comics nn.

Twinkle Comics nn.

Latest Comics No. 1

Latest Comics No. 1

Bombadier Comics No. 1

Bombardier Comics No. 1

Of these I can only comment on the contents of Bombardier Comics whose origins are a complete mystery to me. They feature Lee Vickie (whose last panel points to his ongoing appearance in Knockout Comics – which was a British Beano style title), The Bold Buccaneer, Johnny Rex (drawn by Canadian born, well-known Golden Age artist Jack Alderman) and Mr. Miracle. My suspicion is that they might be strips from British comics.

Lee Vickie splash from Bombadier Comics

Lee Vickie splash from Bombadier Comics

The Bold C=Buccaneer splash from Bombadier Comics

The Bold C=Buccaneer splash from Bombadier Comics

Johnny Rex splash by Jack Alderman

Johnny Rex splash by Jack Alderman

Mr. Miracle splash from Bombadier Comics

Mr. Miracle splash from Bombadier Comics

Other issues put out by Century were Blazing Comics No. 1 (which reprints the same title from Rural Home Publishers) and what looks like a bunch of remaindered coverless comics with the Century imprint are reported to have been shipped over to the UK as ballast in ships and then sold. One features Dr. Mercy on the first page and this is a reprint of Zoom Comics by Carlton Publishers, another that features a Conquerors splash is a reprint of Conqueror Comics by Albrect Publishing (issues of Zor the Mighty also received this treatment).

Blazing Comics No. 1

Blazing Comics No. 1

Examples of the coverless remaindered Century titles from a book on Canadian nostalgia whose source information I've lost track of

Examples of the coverless remaindered Century titles from a book on Canadian nostalgia whose source information I’ve lost track of

Finally, Century did put out two titles that were full of all original materials and were, in fact, tour de forces of a single creator, Edward Letkeman (see my post from a couple of weeks ago for examples of his unpublished Canuck Kid). These were two issues of Zor the Mighty, a sort of Golden Age Ka-Zar, and two issues of Space Nomad Comics and each was entirely drawn by Letkeman.

The Mighty Zor Comics No. 1

The Mighty Zor Comics No. 1

Zor the Mighty Comics No. 2

Zor the Mighty Comics No. 2

Space Nomad Comics

Space Nomad Comics

All in all, Century Publications can probably be best looked at as part of a transition from the WECA period to the post-WECA period (1947-56) of Canadian comics that became a time of reprinted and repackaged American material.

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