I realize it’s a little disappointing to hear this from a semi-professional know-it-all such as myself but I really don’t know nearly enough about Golden Age Canadian comic books to write intelligently about them. Mostly all I could do is just regurgitate the little I’ve learned online, so if this subject is of any interest to any of you I suggest you do what I did, Google, Bing and even check poor maligned Wikipedia (the lazy writer’s friend).
I also haven’t read nearly enough Golden Age Canadian comic books; for most of my life they’ve been unavailable, and not a “currently out of print” or the “it’s only a matter of time until somebody comes out with high ticket collection of reprints” kind. I mean a rock hard “oh, there’s no chance you’re ever going to see any of these” kind of reprinted or collected unavailable. They are just too old and rare and (let’s face it) foreign for the American market.
But thanks to the miracle that is the internet (and if any of you want to say otherwise I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to step outside) I’ve been picking up some issues here and there and though some of them are remarkably primitive (even by American Golden Age comic book standards), there’s some wonderful material in them as well.
Like Johnny Canuck, created by Leo Bachle when he was only fifteen (something you really need to keep in mind when you read this story). I don’t suppose Johnny is really all that much different from any number of non-powered two-fisted adventurers who prowled the back pages of Action and Marvel Mystery. And though it certainly could be as ham-fisted and flat footed as anything else published back in the Golden Age it was also weird and wild and odd and earnest. Mostly though it was earnest, it had earnestness in abundance. It was as earnest as all get out.
That’s what I think anyway. It was only a matter of time until someone woke up and revived some of these characters and happily that’s happening in the upcoming Moonstone title Northern Guard.
The guy in charge is Ty Templeton who is (a) brilliant and (b) Canadian (his comic Stig’s Inferno is available for absolutely free online viewing at his website; go read it right now) so I have high hopes. There’s part of me that’s still a little amazed Roy Thomas never put in legally non-actionable versions of some of the Golden Age Canadian characters into one of his many WWII era comics. Which is a shame since it would have nice seeing Johnny Hazard artist Frank Robbins try his hand at this (sometimes) aviator hero during his run on The Invaders.
But in any event, here’s the Johnny Canuck story from Dime Comics #1.
— Steve Bennett