Cerebus and Aardvark-Vanaheim: Origins

Cerebus 1

Although much has been recorded on Cerebus the Aardvark, including a Cerebus wiki, a great fan site and Dave Sim’s own website, I’m going to cast my own post on the topic. Seeing as how you could just look up any questions you have regarding the “Earth pig born” on either of the above or more, I’m going to narrow down my post to include only the early history on the production of the comic, or, Cerebus Origins.

At the end of 1977, the first issue of Cerebus was released to the world on a bi-monthly basis from Kitchener, Ontario. Published by Denise “Deni” Loubert under Aardvark-Vanaheim productions, with Cerebus creator, writer and artist Dave Sim owning equal portions of the company. The couple set off publishing limited print runs of the 24 page comic. Based off the logo of the company coupled with Loubert’s misspelling of the mythological character Cerberus, the comic’s birth is a charming one.

As administrator and publisher of the comic, it was Loubert who wrote the editorials on the inside cover, and she who announced their marriage in the editorial of issue 7 of Cerebus. During the first few years of publishing, Deni orchestrated the production of much merchandise including a Cerebus plush toy, buttons, and T-shirts as well as starting the fan-club and organizing the distribution of subscriptions.

After two years, in March of 1980, the comic began to be published monthly. Shortly after, and because of the attention and success the comic was achieving, Deni and Dave began to include a line of short comics to the end of the Cerebus comic, and increasing its pages to 32. The line was called “A Unique Story” as a main header and featured several artists and their work which I will post a little later.

Unfortunately nothing lasts forever and Deni’s issue 55 editorial gave testimony to her and Dave’s separation. This separation did not reflect in the success of the business which was producing more merchandise and acquiring ever more subscriptions. The couple continued to attend many exhibitions and conventions throughout the year and readership only continued to grow.

Cerebus 70

Around 1984 the company began to publish some of the comics featured in the “Unique Story” section such as Neil the Horse by Arn Saba and Flaming Carrot by Bob Burden. Also, in August of 1984, Gerhard joined the team, producing magnificent backgrounds for Cerebus which was still the focal point of the company. Finally, in December of 1984, the company released AV in 3D, a 3D comic with Aardvark-Vanaheim favourites complete with 3D glasses.

Alas, shortly thereafter sadness again hits the editorial, this time in issue 70, as Deni announces her and Dave’s divorce and the break up of the company. She says:

There comes a time when you must admit that changes occur in people. That time has come for me. In April I will be starting my own company, Renegade Press. Since I know you will ask why, all I can say again is that people change. When once Dave and I agreed on many things, we no longer do. Cerebus will continue to be the focal point of Aardvark-Vanaheim, just as it should be. Neil the Horse, Normalman, Flaming Carrot and Ms. Tree will be coming to Renegade Press with me, when I start it up after my move to Los Angeles this spring.

By issue 72, Cerebus is very reminiscent of the original issues, no longer sporting “A Unique Story” and returning to 24 pages. That is as far as the similarities go though, as over the years not only has Cerebus’s visual appearance evolved, but Gerhard’s backgrounds give the comic more depth and solidity. Also, with Gerhard’s talent in painting, the covers of the comic went on to win several awards.

Despite the breakup, Cerebus remains strong with a circulation of about 22,000. By April 1 1985, Dave officially owns all shares in the company, and from there it continues as is. Obviously, there are more twists and turns down the line, but this is where the main frame and consistent style of the Cerebus comic and Aardvark-Vanaheim publishing history becomes more solidified.

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The Black Scorpion

Cover by Peter Grau

The Black Scorpion was a black and white comic released in 1991 by Special Studios, a subsidiary of Diamond Press. Although the publisher was located in Brantford, the comic itself was created by American Ron Fortier as a noir style detective story.

After writing the Green Hornet for Now comics, Fortier and co-writer Dave Darrigo wanted to produce something with a similar style but with a more modern touch. The outcome was that Fortier created the main character, the Black Scorpion, who was an African American “publisher turned crime fighter” also known as Ben Wright, and Darrigo created his young sidekick Dart.

The scripts were usually produced by either creator, and under the pseudonym George Stryker. For each issue, the two would each produced a 16 page story with the intent to find different artists for each story.

The series, like many Canadian small press comics, had a limited print run and in this case, Darrigo wanted to finish the comic after only three issues. After Black Scorpion, many of the artists became quite successful in the comic book industry. You can click on their names to see their sites and more recent work.

Luckily, most of this information can be found on GCD, but I will list some of the basic information for ease of reading.

Issue #1 April 1991 (Cover by Peter Grau)

Issue #2 July 1991

  • A Game for Old Men: Chris Jones (Pencils and Inks)
  • Roar of the Lions: Brian B. Chin (Pencils and Inks)

Issue #3 October 1991 (Cover by Peter Grau)

  • Blackmailers Auction: Peter Grau (Pencils and Inks); Fred Fairfield (Letters)
  • The Ravenia Ripper Strikes Again!: Brian B. Chin (Pencils and Inks)
If you haven’t already, I do recommend checking out some of the artists’ other work. Scott Dutton had a great site and a fantastic hand and Steve Leblanc has a great web comics blog. Special Studios did publish a few other comics which I will look at at a later date. Finally, a thanks to Ron Fortier for providing me with information regarding the short history of Black Scorpion. A really well done comic with some truly great art.

Casual Casual Comics

Casual Casual. A graphzine with an array of different styles and artists that sold in the States, the UK, France and Japan. What is a graphzine you ask? Peter Dako, the creator of Casual Casual says:

“But is it art? Of course it is, when it’s not being something else legitimate: Commercial design, advertising, promotion, magazine or calendar illustrations, or whatever. Though this stuff usually is being something else, it’s still interesting, as an array of the definitive design style that’s emerged to greet (and sell things to) the alienated, rich kids of the 1980s.”

But it wasn’t always like that.

Cover by Carel Moiseiwitsch

Casual Casual comics, by Casual Casual Enterprise, was created by Peter Dako in Toronto in 1983. The first issues were released in black and white, much like most zines, and all 8 of its pages feature the work of Dako himself. This carried on, as Dako published the zine twice monthly throughout October of that year to December, and slowly, Dako increased his content and page count. By December 1983, the zine had 12 pages and in March 1984, issue number 9 contained contributions from Sean Leaning and Dai Skuse.

It wasn’t until the 10th issue that the “graphzine” really began to take shape. The issue went from 12 pages to 16 pages and featured the work of 6 other artists including some of Chester Brown’s earliest work.

After this, Casual Casual exploded. The price, advertising costs, pages and artist content all increased. Within a year Casual Casual is distributed in over six countries including France, the US, the UK and Japan, with artists from those countries. A regular crew of writers and artists joined the lineup, covering a broad range of subject including social commentary, interviews and, I guess, just general humour. It was around this time that the graphzine changed its title to Casual Casual Graphix Magazine.

Cover By Cathy Millet.

The series finished with the Casual Casual Cultural Exchange at the Artculture Resource Centre in April of 1987. This exchange travelled to the above countries on a tour and the resulting tome was a special edition, containing issues 19 and 20. The book covered the event, some of the work of the attending artists and writers and the more regular crew like Carel Moiseiwitsch and Barbara Klunder.

If you’re interested in more of Peter Dako’s work, or would just like to read more about this series, you can visit his website here. Also, there is a full list of Casual Casual Cultural Exchange artists and contributors at the bottom of this post. And finally, much of Chester Brown’s work that appeared in Casual Casual can be found in his book The Little Man: Short Strips, 1980-1995. The final issue definitely represents a global generation of comic book artists and styles from comic “hotspots”. Worth checking out if you have the chance.

Issue #10

  • Why, Big Boy? Letters:
  • Mr. D, the Comic: Sean Leaning
  • Snappy Jack Jones: Ed Hore
  • Grim Fairytales: Rumplezitskin: Barbara Klunder
  • Big Boy: Peter Dako
  • About Brad’s Enlightenment: Chester Brown
  • Tales from the Igloo: Peter Dako
  • The End Bar and Grill: Kat Cruickshank
  • Mickey Mouse Ad: John Pagani (Rendezvous)
Issue #13
  • Editorial
  • Why, Big Boy? Letters:
  • The End of the Nuclear Family: Carel Moiseiwitsch
  • Grim Fairy Tales: Handsome and Gruesome: Barbara Klunder
  • Little Orphan P.T.: Peter Dako
  • In Around Town: Renata Janizewski
  • Young Lizzie Biscuit: Julie Voyce
  • The Modern Hippie: Myra Hancock
  • End Bar and Grill: Kat Cruickshank
  • North BayGold: Lorne J. Wagman
  • Day in Day out: John Colapinto
  • Art Bar: Update: Peter Dako
  • Family Story: Placid
  • Bedtime Story: PT Boy (Who I think is Peter Dako)
  • Zulu Days: Sean Leaning and P Boy (Also Peter Dako)
  • I Have Seen the Wind: Michael Will
  • My Old Neighbourhood: Chester Brown
  • Big Boy: Peter Dako
  • I’m Down Man: Alex Currie
  • Happy Birthday Mr. D: Sean Leaning
  • Ehore: Ed Hore
  • About Our Artists:
  • Cover: Long Wok
Issue #14
  • Editorial
  • Why, Big Boy? Letters:
  • Hands Off, He’s Mine: Myra Hancock
  • Big Boy: Peter Dako
  • In and Around the Town: Renata Janizewski
  • The Art of Tragedy: Carel Moiseiwitsch
  • Big Al: Alex Currie
  • The Bird and the Pumpkin go to Mars: Chester Brown
  • Love Story: Placid
  • Average Average: John E.
  • Reading Room:
  • TurkeyTime: Peter Dako and Sean Leaning
  • Grim Fairy Tales: Rapunzel: Barbara Klunder
  • Security Shaman: Dai Skuse
  • Life as a Small Particle: Julie Voyce
  • A Tale from Gimbley: Phil Elliot
  • The Potato Boy on the Road to Recovery: Peter Dako
  • Cover: Placid
Issue #15
  • Editorial
  • Why, Big Boy? Letters:
  • In a Doubtful Fight: Placid
  • I See But I do Not, I See But I See the Animal: Chester Brown
  • Police May have Erred in Slaying: Carel Moiseiwitsch
  • Books in Review
  • Big Boy in Free Education: Peter Dako
  • Macdoodle Street: Peter Dako and Stamaty
  • Grim Fairy Tales #8: Barbara Klunder
  • The Realistic Rachel Random: Rae Johnson
  • Security Shaman: Dai Skuse
  • Seven Sins In Eight Pages: Mark Newgarden
  • I Have Seen the Wind: Michael Will
  • Jacob’s Hat; Casual Casual Exclusive: Phil Elliot
  • Artists in this Issue
  • Cover: Carel Moiseiwitsch
Issue #16
  • Sing-a-long Casual Song
  • Editorial
  • Why, Big Boy? Letters:
  • A Tale from Gimbley: Phil Elliot
  • Complex Complex: Bob X
  • Dogo and Bog Danone: Jocelin
  • I Have Seen the Wind: Michael Will
  • Douglas: Phil Elliot
  • The C.I.A. War Manual for Rebels: Carel Moiseiwitsch
  • Our Story So Far: Whatta Wally
  • From Big Boy With Love: Peter Dako
  • Reading Room: Chester Brown
  • The Realistic Rachel Random: Rae Johnson
  • Fish-Head: James Stubbs
  • Rei De Surf (Surf King!): Peter Dako
  • Un Amor Di Flora: Brian Shein
  • Why Don’t They Just Die: Alex Currie
  • The Return of Mr. D: Sean Leaning
  • Casual Casual Artists:
Issue #17
  • Editorial:
  • Why, Big Boy? Letters:
  • Drunking Skull: y5p5
  • Mojo: Mary Fleener
  • Washington DC GO*GO: T. Yumura
  • Identified Objects: Brian Shein
  • Mr. Steel: Alain Pilon
  • Oh Canada Our Home and Native Land: Carel Moiseiwitsch
  • My Fight is Yours! Let’s Exterminate the White Race: Interview with cover artist Romain Slocombe
  • Shock Treatment: Text by Max Fournier Art by Romain Slocombe
  • Learn to Read: Bruno Richard
  • I Have Seen the Wind: Michael Will
  • Allo Mina!: Placid from Zoulou reprint
  • Man of Mystery Exposed: Placid Interview
  • Big Boy Meets Jim Bones: Y5P5, Peter Dako
  • Big Boy and Rita Meet Mr. Howl: Peter Dako
  • About the Artists:
Issue #18
  • Why, Big Boy? Letters:
  • Sexmalice Sucesoir: Placid/Toffe
  • A Tale From Gimbley: Phil Elliot
  • Crazy Tommy Finds Money: Martha Hamilton
  • It Does Happen Here!: Peter Dako
  • With Love and Affection: Henriette Valium
  • The Jim Bones Games #1 and 2: Y5P5
  • The Patience Party for Diet People: Akiko Miura
  • The Party at P.’s Home: Bruno Richard
  • Zoo Phobie: Phillipe Lagautriere
  • Garcon: Hideki Nakazawa
  • Corpsemeat Comix 11/2: Savage Pencil
  • Mr. Big Boy He’s Dead: Peter Dako
  • Ou Donc Daddy Fait Dodo?: Marc Caro
  • I Have Seen the Wind: Michael Will
  • Angels: Omuzi Suenaga
  • Love is Where You Find it: Carel Moiseiwitsch
  • Excerpt from “Femmes Pratiques”: Willem
  • Web of Horror: Peter Dako, Placid
  • Godzilla: Mary Fleener
  • Death Bar: Peter Dako
  • Sav X. How Big is Your Sex? (Interview): Peter Dako
  • Carel Moiseiwitsch Talks Too…(Interview): Brian Shein
  • Reviews:
Other artists and contributors appearing in the double issue #19 and 20 are:
Marc Caro, Bruno Richard, Pascal Doury, Toffe, Gerbaud, Placid, Muzo, Yves Chaland, Max, Y5P5, Phillipe Lagautriere, Willem, Jocelin, Jaques Elies Chabert, Cathy Millet, Mirka Lugosi, Zorin, Gary Panter, Robert Williams, Gilbert Shelton, Charles Burns, Peter Bagge, Kim Deitch, JR Williams, Mary Fleener, Dennis Worden, Julie Voyce, Kurt Swinhammer, Fiona Smyth, Bob X, Bill Griffith, Savage Pencil, Chris Long, Battle of the Eyes, Carel Moiseiwitsch, Henriette Valium, Rick Trembles, Alain Pilon, Lyne Lefebvre, Claud Beland, Barbara Klunder, Luc Dussault, General Idea, Sean Leaning, Fastwurms, Rae Johnson, Michael Merrill, Dave Geary, Chester Brown, Runt, Peter Dako, “King” Terry Yumura, Shigeru Sugiura, Tara Yumura, Yosuke Kawamura, Suzy Amakane, Emiko Carol Shimoda, Yoshikazu Ebisu, Tetsuya Kitada, Keiji Itoh, Takashi Nemoto, Keiichi Otah, Akiko Miura, Harumi Ichisi, Kayoko Yamashita, Vassily Tabascova, Omuzi Suenega

Captain Canuck Part One

Captain Canuck #10

In celebration of the new Alpha Flight release today (I’m genuinely excited), I’ve decided to take a look at another famous Canadian superhero, Richard Comely and Ron Leishman’s Captain Canuck.

Designed and created in 1974 and 1975, Ron Leishman created the original look for Captain Canuck. After this though, the main comic team consisted of Jean-Claude St. Aubin, George Freeman and Richard Comely. During that year they released only 3 issues under the publishing title Comely Comix in Winnipeg. For the next few years, Captain Canuck, or Tom Evans, took a haitus, as Comley tried and failed at running a newspaper business. During these three issues, though, many artists and comic contributors assisted the team in creating one of Canada’s greatest silver age heroes. Owen McCarron came on for an issue, as well as Dave Abbott.

From number 4 to 14, Captain Canuck was published in Calgary, changing publisher titles to CKR Productions. This was to be their most regular run, even though they weren’t always regular, from July 1979 to April 1981. This series witnessed a cover page format change in number 13.

Number 13 itself was a special issue. Also in this issue, the the final installment of the Chariots of Fire arc was dedicated to Harold Town and the frontispiece contains a touching memoir of Terry Fox and his accomplishments.

Sadly, like all the other times Captain Canuck has ended, financing the comic was no longer an option. Although a 15th issue was almost completed, it never went to print.*

The last thing I’m going to include in this post is the Summer Special published in July 1980. This 64 page special contained three Captain Canuck comics, as well as a preview for the Captain Canuck newspaper strip. Interestingly, it also includes a Dave Sim rendered Captain Canuck as well as one by Gene Day, Vern Andrusiek and Tom Grummett. Definitely worth having in your Canadian comic book collection.

More information on Captain Canuck can be found here and here is a nifty little blog entry on the subject.

*It eventually published as a collectible in 2004.

Bloodlines (Blood Lines)

Bloodlines no. 4

Bloodlines no. 4

Rob Walton’s Bloodlines, or Blood Lines, was published in 1987, originally by Ottawa publisher Aircel Publishing. Rob Walton created the project, and although not published until 1987, he cited 1984 as some of his earliest concepts of the idea. The story takes place in the middle of a gang war, but the added touch is the presence of divinity within the war. Rob Walton explains it in his summary for the first portion of his script adaptation here. He says, “imagine that the drug gangs in the Wire were fronts for a war between good and evil.” Good enough for me.

Because of the comic’s mature content, it passed from publisher to publisher. After one issue at Aircel, it moved to Blackburn Video and Comics but only lasted two issues there. The comic finally rested with Vortex comics, a publisher commonly known for its line of adult or mature comics. Unfortunately, after its trek across Ontario, it only lasted four more issues under the Vortex title.

Rob Walton, a self-described “writer who draws”, also did the art for the comic, which is great in black and white and complements the point of the story as well. In fact, he did just about everything in the comic.

Here are the subtitles in order:

  • Overture – part one
  • Overture – part two
  • Overture – part three
  • Dreaming Innocence – part one
  • Dreaming Innocence – part two
  • Dreaming Innocence – part three
  • Dreaming Innocence – part four
Rob also did some work for Dark Horse Comics and published a graphic novel called Ragmop. If you want to check out some of Rob’s other stuff, here are a few different links:
Rob “Waltoon’s” Webpage (All kinds of goodies on here)
Ragmop Blog (Older)

George A Walker

Yesterday, while attending what I thought was a used book sale, I stumbled upon George A. Walker at a Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG) event promoting the work of Canadian artisans and artists. Having only just the other day taken George’s book Graphic Witness out of the library, I was only vaguely familiar with wood engraving and relief printing techniques as a means of wordless graphic narratives. I was much more than vaguely excited by the accident I had made though.

Kiss - A Wood engraving by Walker

What is great about relief printing is its rawness. It’s an art form that can evoke much more in the reader than just its story. The materials are raw: wood, ink and paper. The block itself can make endless amounts of prints. The black and white of the image is raw, based solely on the presence or absence of the wood and ink. And finally, without the presences of words the reader is left to decipher the picture based on emotion and experience through symbolism.

What I didn’t see in Graphic Witness was George Walker’s own work, and when I finally did I was extremely impressed. His most recent work is called the The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson. True to Walker’s inspiration Frans Masereel, The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson is many images long, and contains not a single word. The book is not yet commercially produced but there are beautiful copies available through Walker on his webpage.

That said, not all of Walker’s work is wordless. He has strategically paired his art with authors such as Lewis Carroll, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe and Neil Gaimon, illustrating works like The Raven and an alternate telling of Snow White. These works have inspired very creative art from Walker who is now working with The Porcupine’s Quill to establish other artists in the art form.

Beer Comix

Beer Comix

Alright, so here’s a hot comic from Canada’s underground which, as I write this, is selling for $156 on ebay. Completely produced by David Stewart Geary, or Dave Geary, the comic focuses primarily on beer and features much of the same bawdy tones as many other comix of its time. Geary was another master of the Underground comix age in Canada, producing other titles such as Gopher Freedom and Fleshapoids.

Definitely some mature content, and I have to tell an anecdote. Inside the front cover in the indicia, there is what I assume to be a purposeful “typo”. This typo asserts that the comic was published by Public Pubications, and not Public Publications. I laughed, which I’m sure was the intent of the writer. The funnier still was the entry made in the old finding aid. The person who went through this collection before me did not put down a publisher! There’s no way they could have missed this, and it’s blasphemy that they put nothing. What I assume happened was that they couldn’t cross check it, and rather than embarrassingly putting down what was there, they put nothing at all.

Published in Saskatoon in September of 1971, the heart of the Underground comix era, Geary did put out two more issues after this one. Here are the titles from Beer Comix #1:

  • Chimo Queen of the Ritz in Love’s Labours
  • You Betcha
  • Eco Tunes and Murky Maladies
  • I Love My Frog
  • Goony Bunny answers that Age Old Question, “Is it Sex or is it Lust?”
  • Things to Do: “How to Get on Everybody’s Nerves”
  • Dream of the Rave Beer Fiend
  • Love on the Slopes: A Shelly James Ture Romance Adventure
  • A Beer Comix Vignette
  • Metropolitan Comix
  • Chimo Queen of the Ritz
  • Lurid Pap Comix
  • Goony Bunny the Philosopher Rabbit
  • Stark, Scary and Lustful
  • A New Era Dawns in Agadir-Morocco
In the first Chimo comic, Chimo’s name is given this introduction:
*Chimo (Pron. CHEE-MO) Ancient Canadian Colloquialism. Mod. trans. “Eat poop white eyes”
See also: Bridge City Beer Comix and Bridge City Revue.

Bearded Lady

Cover of the second issue of Bearded Lady Comics.

Like I did with Kevin Kurytnik and the French zine Arg, I would like to honour all comics, artists and contributors to the Canadian comic book scene including zines. I’ve gone through a pretty good list of zines so far, including Kurytnik’s A.R.G. and I want to do it a lot more. Some of these zines are just so good, and I’m constantly grateful to be able to see them. The rarity is hard to imagine.

Bearded Lady Comics. A fantastic series that lasted only two issues in 1992. Produced by Ontario College of Art and Design students Mike Linkovich and Rafael Alvarez, it also included the work of Nicolas Kadima and in the second issue Dave Marshak.

Each comic stood out in its own way and the effort put into each issue is clear. In the photo to the left, you can see the professionalism the artists put into creating a zine that could be taken seriously. Not that zines aren’t taken seriously, but the minimalist design and general easiness of the cover is appealing to a broader audience.

Here is a summary of the contents of the first zine:

  • A Little Red on the Block: Mike Linkovich
  • The Mutants at the End: Nicolas Kadima
  • Presenting Denny: Rafael Alvarez
And here is the second:
  • Letters
  • A Little Red on the Block II: Mike Linkovich
  • The Mutants at the End II: Nicolas Kadima
  • Reader Beware: Dave Marshak
  • Rainy Daze: Rafael Alvarez
  • Presenting Denny II: Rafael Alvarez
Finally, here are some current links to the authors if you want to explore them or see if they have a copy of the zine lying around or for sale. I’m 99% sure these are links to or about the correct people.

ARG

Coincidentally, there was another ARG zine released in Québec in 1987. ARG was published by Québec artist Denis Goulet, and is written in French. This does not mean you have to speak French to appreciate the comic. ARG was so titled for the sound we make when we die…arg. This is relevant because the five part series sought to commemorate deceased artists or their creations and they took a strictly satirical approach.

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The comics were produced in the size of a quarter page mini, with the exception of number four which was a half-page size. Here are some of the contributing artists: Jean Morin, Serge Boisvert (Denevert), Michel “Love” D’Amour, André Gagnon, Evan “Boly” Bolduc, Jean-Françoise Guay, Paul “Paulo” Bordeleau, Valium, Mario Giguère, Denis Goulet, Jacques Hébert, Pago, Benoît Joly, Blackwell, Suzanne Payette, Marc

Pageau,”W.M.”, Davio and Blonk. Some of these artists went on to do other things. Jean Morin and Benoît Joly both worked on Bambou, a French alternative comic anthology and Denis Goulet released another zine entitled Teton Magazine dedicated to Gumby. For now, here is a list of the ARG comics and the artists in memoriam.

  • Arg #1 – Hergé
  • Arg #2 – Edgar P. Jacobs
  • Arg #3 – Krazy Kat
  • Arg #4 – Windsor McCay
  • Arg #5 – Batman
A thank you to both André Gagnon and Denis Goulet for giving me a list of contributors and cover scans.

Here are André Gagnon and Denis Goulet‘s current blogs if your interested in checking out more of their work.

Owen McCarron and Comic Book World

Auntie Litter…Amazing

In light of my recent post on government or public service comic books, I’ve decided to focus in a little bit more and look at the career of Owen McCarron. Although he’s more well known and searchable on the internet than many other Canadians involved with comics, his company, Comic Book World, is not, which is why I’d like to highlight that aspect of his career.

It is perhaps the most memorable and weighted area of his career. While working in advertising at the Chronicle-Herald limited in Halifax, McCarron also spent his time creating puzzles for the fun and games section of the paper. It was also around the beginnings of his career that McCarron produced the art for some Charlton titles.

In the mid 1960s, McCarron transferred his talent and passion for games, puzzles and comics and created created what became Comic Book World, formerly Comic Page Features. Binkly and Doinkel were just a few characters in his long line of promotional and educational comics. Art very reminiscent of the seventies, I thought of Frosty the Snowman, the soft lines and very colourful style was the appeal for his young audience. Probably the intended goal, his comic company was very successful among private companies and government departments, commissioned to educate children about everything from ethics to safety and sometimes just interesting facts.

The comics were well received among among adults who appreciated the nature of them and the publishing house. One of the only Canadian companies flourishing in the “above ground” scene in the sixties and seventies, McCarron’s only real competition was Ganes Productions by Orville Ganes, located in Toronto. Both were the only successful comic book publishers in an otherwise American-comic-dominated Canada. Despite residing in Halifax, McCarron also received presidential recognition for his contribution to fun and educational comics.

For the most part, McCarron drew, inked and coloured almost all of the comics he produced under CBW and obtained help on several issues from writer Robin Edmiston. The team produced many comics before McCarron went on to produce “Marvel Fun and Games” for Stan Lee in the mid 1970s and some work for DC as well.

Finally, McCarron drew and contributed art to Captain Canuck comics and “helped to inaugurate the Canadian Silver Age of Comics” (Bell 102). He passed away in 2005. Here are a list of titles from Comic Book World as I find them. Also, here is his work on the Halifax Explosion and here is another bio worth reading.

  • Adventures of Binkly and Doinkel, The
  • Adventures of Skoodi the Rabbit, The
  • Auntie Litter Comics
  • Aylmer “Taste of Canada” Comics (with E.S. Pea)
  • Cap’n Bluenose Comics
  • Captain Enviro
  • Colonel Ernie Comics #1
  • Colonel Ernie Comics #2
  • Colonel Sanders Comics #1
  • Colonel Sanders Comics #2
  • Gassy the Elephant Comics #1
  • L’il Easy Saver Comics #1
  • L’il Easy Saver Comics #2
  • L’il Easy Saver Comics #3
  • Wayne & Shuster Comics #1
  • You and the Co-op