Being the token Canadian writing for ComicBooked.com these days it seems appropriate that I would start my time as the site’s Justice League reporter with the release of Justice League United. This article is a list of times Canada has been a major theme, or inspired the creation of Canadian-themed superheroes in comic books. I think you’ll find some of this interesting, but if you want to check out my review of Justice League United first, you can find it here.
Captain Canuck first debuted in 1975, published by Canadian publisher Comely Comics based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was an independent venture, and it’s publication history is probably more interesting then the story lines. As it goes, Captain Canuck is the chief superhero agent of the Canadian International Security Organization. In the then futuristic world of 1993 Canada is the powerful nation in the world, and Captain Canuck is our Superman … I guess.
The first run of “Captain Canuck” lasted three issues before Comely Comics ran into financial difficulty. Three years later in 1979 the book began publishing again having secured new funding. This volume ran from issue four to fourteen, and also included one summer edition. Fans of the book would have to wait until 2004 for the fifteenth and final issue of the series to be published. Captain Canuck saw new characters take on the mantle in 1993 and 2004 but the original series is undoubtedly canon.
IDW collected the original Captain Canuck series into a two volume series in 2009, but the first three issues were excluded until 2011 when IDW was able to publish a 375 page complete version of all fifteen editions, plus the special summer issue.
My home province of Nova Scotia is the setting of much of Superman: Unchained.
I was completely surprised and rendered giddy by the fact that my home province of Nova Scotia was featured as a major setting in Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s Superman Unchained last summer. Admittedly, it isn’t exactly a favorable portrayal of my homeland, but in the middle of winter it’s close.
For you Yanks who have no idea where or what Nova Scotia looks like, just think Maine. Seriously, it’s a rocky, coastal province dominated by fishing and lobsters on Canada’s East Coast. Much of Lois Lane’s early story arc takes place in the province when her plane crashes on her shores. For such a small province, it might surprise you to know that it’s not the first time Nova Scotia has been featured in the pages of Superman.
My local comic shop was featured TWICE in Superman.
It’s true! In the pages of Adventures of Superman 547 and Superman: the Man of Steel 77 featured Strange Adventures Comic Shop based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. (They also have a store in Fredericton, New Brunswick.)
Published during the electric blue Superman era these appearances created a special connection to that storyline at a time when most Superman fans were preparing for holy war against DC Comics.
First Nation inspired superheroes.
Equinox, a Cree First Nation superheroine was just introduced this week in the pages of Justice League United, but she isn’t the first superhero inspired by Canada’s rich Aboriginal heritage.
Before Equinox there was Shaman, an Aboriginal medicine from Calgary, Alberta, and Snowbird, an Inuit demi-goddess from Yellowknife, Northwest Territoties, both members of Marvel’s Alpha Flight. Even before these characters there was Nelvana of the Northern Lights Canada’s first superhero ever created in 1940.
Speaking of Alpha Flight …
They were Canada’s first superhero team, created by John Byrne for Marvel Comics in 1979 and first appearing in Uncanny X-Men 120. It longest run was 130 issues between 1983 and 1994, and has been given new life periodically since then, most recently in 2011. The group’s leader Northstar is scheduled to take on a major role in November’s upcoming Amazing X-Men.
Well that’s my list. Before someone says “your list sucks, you forgot Wolverine, or you forgot this, or you forgot that” well take off hoser, no I didn’t. This is my list of favorite moments when Canada has had the spotlight in comic books. Tell me yours in the comments.