Whites Tsunami

Canadian Ibis redraw from Whiz Vol. 3 No. 2
Canadian Ibis redraw from Whiz Vol. 3 No. 2

As is well-known now, the War Exchange Conservation Act (WECA) enacted on Dec. 6, 1940 stopped all American comics from coming into Canada. Canadian entrepreneurs took advantage of this vacuum and produced the first Canadian comic age with the appearance of Robin Hood Comics and Better Comics both cover dated March 1941. This age lasted at least until the end of 1946, just about 6 years. My wish in this section is to share some of the great “splash” pages from these WECA books (affectionately known as Canadian Whites). This is often great artwork seldom accessible to most collectors.

Let me begin with a segment of the WECA period that is put down a little by default. At the start of 1942, Anglo-American publishers needed more story material and sort of got around the ban on American comics by buying scripts from Fawcett comics. They would redraw the stories and the first two titles that appeared like this were Captain Marvel Comics and Whiz Comics. Then in the summer of that year Anglo-Americans version of Spy Smasher came out. For the next couple of years Fawcett character redraws took over took over the lead in two other Anglo-American titles, Grand Slam Comics by Capt. Marvel Jr. and Three Aces Comics by Bulletman, leaving Freelance Comics as the only untouched series.

whiz52ibis

Anglo-American artists didn’t copy the Fawcett books panel by panel but, for the most part, produced distinctive and creative versions of the published Fawcett material. The example I present is the Ibis story splash (plus the next page) from Canadian Whiz Comics Vol. 3 No. 7 dated July, 1944. This, to me, is a much better execution of the idea than what appeared in American Whiz Comics No. 52 dated March, 1944.

I believe that these WECA period redraws should be eminently collectible for all Fawcett specialists.

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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: 171

9 Comments

  1. A good majority of the re-draws were executed much better and conveyed the story quite excellently

  2. We don’t know who did the artwork on this. The main artists at Anglo-American were Ed Furness who did the Freelance books as well as Red Rover and Dr. Destine, Les Gilpin who did The Crusaders and then later Commander Steele, and John Calder who did Purple Rider. I’ve never come across a Fawcett script redraw that was credited. Robert MacMillan’s, “The War Years: Anglo-American Publishing Ltd,” article in John Bell’s Canuck Comics book (which John is presently redoing as an updated new edition) has more information, but not about this. Maybe readers of this blog will have more info.

  3. I so agree with this and when collectors wake up to this, these books will probably go up in value.

  4. There was at least one Fawcett redrawn character in the Canadian whites that was credited Ivan. Although it may turn out to be the ‘exception that proves the rule’.

    A couple of Dr. Voodoo stories were credited to a creator named M. Leake, who I have no other info on. I don’t even know the first name at this point but I’ll email you the first page of two stories.
    ~ jim b.

  5. Thanks for this valuable info, Jim and for the scans you sent. I’ll have to look at my Double A copies more closely again. I don’t think I’ve seen a reference to M. Leake before either. Thanks again, Jim, this is what makes a “blog” like this so interesting and worthwhile. Let us know if anything else turns up like this.

  6. You’re welcome Ivan. There really is too little known about the men and women who worked on Anglo-American’s comic books. I’ve just added a list of the creators that I know about to the Canadian Comics Wiki that Rachel Richey has started, similar to the one I’d started with the Bell Features creators.

    http://canadiancomicsdatabase.wikia.com/wiki/Anglo_American_Publishing_Comic_artists_and_writers

    If you (or anyone else reading this) can add to it please feel free to help keep it growing.

  7. I’ve also found that June Banfield worked on Anglo-American’s version of ‘Golden Arrow’ in the Canadian edition of Whiz Comics. (See Whiz Comics vol. 2, #1 for a sample)

    I’m looking for more but most of the redrawn Fawcett characters had gone uncredited as you said.
    ~jim b.

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