Nelvana of the Northern Lights and Triumph Comics

On September 10th, 1939 Canada joined the war effort and made its first independent declaration of war. It maintained its status and position in the war effort but by late 1940, preservation of the Canadian dollar became a priority. In December of 1940 the legislation known as the War Exchange Conservation Act (WECA) was passed and the prohibition of importing luxury goods from outside Canada commenced.

Also during this time, the American pulps and comics industry was booming. Some of the most famous current superheroes were well into their own story lines, and children in North America were reading them religiously. However, with the introduction of WECA, American comics were quickly removed from Canadian new stands as they fell under the non-essentials banner.

In the spring of 1941, two Canadian publishers sprang up to fill the void left by American comics which were Maple Leaf Comics and Anglo-American Comics and in the summer of that year, Hillborough Studios and Commercial Signs of Canada (later Bell Features).

Triumph #1Hillborough Studios was created and launched by Adrian Dingle with the assistance of the Kulbach brothers, Rene and Andre. Its only title, Triumph Adventure Comics, debuted in August of 1941 and contained the first appearance of Nelvana of the Northern Lights, also created by Dingle. She continued to be featured in all of Hillborough’s Triumph Adventure Comics up to issue six when Cy Bell of Bell Features purchased the title and the company and merged them with his own. Since then, Bell began publishing the comic from issue seven onward as Triumph Comics. Adrian Dingle was hired as art director for Bell Features but continued to work on the series as sole creator.

Nelvana of the Northern Lights was featured in the first 31 of the 32 issues of Triumph comics. It ran from 1941 to 1947, ending just shortly after the WECA ban was lifted. Two stories appear outside this run including a colour story in Super Duper Comics No. 3 published in May of 1947 and the Death Dealing Double story published in the collected Nelvana of the Northern lights. Nelvana is most famous for predating Wonder Woman and being part Inuit and goddess, her father being Koliak the Inuit god. Her story was loosely based on an Inuk elder the Group of Seven’s Franz Johnston brought back from his travels in the North and restylized to fit comics by Dingle. In 1970 when Michael Hirsh and Patrick Loubert purchased the rights to Bell Features, they named their animation studio after her, Nelvana Limited.

Nelvana GlaciaNelvana’s most famous adventures are that of her battling the Axis, with evil characters like Toroff and Mardyth and the Dictator! Subsequent storylines included Vultor, Queen of Statica and Knuckles, among others. She was assisted by her brother Tanero as both dog and human and her friend Corporal Keene, the RCMP officer. Although no Canadian Golden Age comics have been collected or reprinted since they were first published almost 70 years ago, my associate Hope Nicholson and I have obtained exclusive reprint rights and are crowdfunding the project until November 1st. Donating to this project will not only get you a copy of the complete collection of Nelvana, but funds will also go to promoting her and creating the highest quality product possible. The ultimate goal is to make Nelvana a household name!

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Corbo

“To my parents, for their patience, and to Will Eisner, for the dreamers in all of us.” Patrick R Hamou

This post is an extension of one of my previous posts on Roger Broughton and Charlton Media Group. Although the company produced a lot of reprint work, Corbo stands as some of the only known original material published by the company and was published by one of Roger Broughton’s many imprints Sword in Stone Productions.

The story takes place in 1936 and follows Jonathan Proud, “a freedom fighter, a mercenary or a terrorist, it depends what newspaper you read or what politician you listened to”. Fighting for social causes in other countries, Proud returns home to learn he is not only wanted but that his own country is in need of his attention and expertise. Hence, Corbo the vigilante is born.

Corbo Stats

Corbo stats at the back of the comic.

Corbo was published in February of 1987 out of Genevieve, Quebec at the height of the black and white comics boom. A full 32 pages it was written by Roger Broughton himself, with lettering was done by A. Kroy. The art was done by Patrick Hamou with assists by Errol Burke and Geof Isherwood with cover art by Mike Kaluta. Although the second comic was scheduled for May, it was never released along with a comic entitled Sun Warrior, also credited to Broughton.

Interesting to note, the dedication of the book, while thanking Isherwood and Burke for their work also especially spotlights Bernie Mireault. The comic hails Mireault’s work for its originality and encourages the reader to check out The Jam. It is also one of the many comics to thank Gene Day in memoriam.

An especially interesting comic for it’s position in Canadian comics history. There seems to be a lot of intrigue and mystery around Roger Broughton and the current status of his company. I definitely recommend picking one up if you have the opportunity.

Canadian Comics References in Print

The back story is that Canadian comics came into existence because of the war-time ban on American publications. They flourished during the war because they were the only comics available to Canadian youth, and they were very good, but they suffered no competition. I sometimes think this kind of rule should be applied more often, especially in regards to Canadian pop culture, but let’s not open up that can of worms.

Anyway, after the war ended, the ban was lifted, and this was basically the end of Canadian comics as a flourishing industry until about the early nineties. There’s more to it, and here’s where you can find it.

Basically, nothing really happened until 1971. Canadian comics were being produced in different ways, educational, underground, etc., but the first reference book on the subject that talked about superheroes and proper mainstream comics from Canada was Michael Hirsh and Patrick Loubert’s The Great Canadian Comic Books. This book is basically a look into perhaps the most successful, and most Canadian, comics produced during the forties and includes histories and excerpts on almost all facets of the Bell Features collection including Nelvana, The Penguin, Johnny Canuck and popular genres. It was published kind of as a companion to an exhibition that was happening at the time.

The introduction by Alan Walker should be taken with a grain of salt as not all of his facts are accurate. The other chapters include The National Gallery of Canadian Heroes, Sports, The Surreal World of Secret Agents, Comic Book Covers, Humour, Western Action, Miscellaneous, The War Spirit, Youngsters Only, Jungle, Adventure, A Stable of Costumed Heroes, Detectives and an Afterword by Harold Town.

Unfortunately, this book is rare. Published in 1971 by Peter Martin and Associates Limited, it had a smaller print run. Being about comics, Canadian comics even, especially in the seventies, didn’t automatically mean great sales. It was published with two editions, but the only difference is that the second edition has a different cover. You can find it online, but it’s not cheap. The good news is that it was republished in Alter Ego #71. The other good news is that, if you’re on a budget, you can buy a digital copy for cheap, but they do have back issues as well. The bad news is that the republication does not include all of the Bell Features excerpts that the original does. You’ll find a link near the end to purchase these online.

And then nothing again. Well, almost nothing. At this time, the makings of the next great book on the subject were being collected by John Bell. An archivist with Archives Canada since 1975, John Bell had his own archives of comics with everything from fanzines, to underground comics, to one shots and comic anthologies. In 1989 he published the first Canadian comic price guide called Canuck Comics with Matrix Graphics Comics, which is not a complete listing of all the comics up to that time, but some of the more common or popular ones. The book also includes:

  • A Publisher’s Preface by Mark Shainblum entitled “Of Canadians and Comic Book People”
  • A foreword by Harlan Ellison entitled “Dreams of Joy Recaptured”
  • A humourously titled introduction by John Bell called “Yes, There Are Canadian Comics”
  • Also by John Bell, “A History of English Canadian Comic Books”
  • “The War Years: Anglo-American Publishing Limited” by Robert Macmillan
  • Luc Pomerleau’s “Québec Comics: A Short History” in both English and French (La BD Québécois: Bref Historique)

Shortly after the release of this comic, Bell, who had been a curator of the Canadian Museum of Caricature in Ottawa, wrote and published Guardians of the North: The National Superhero in Canadian Comic-Book Art. This small book was released as a program or companion to the 1992 exhibition of the same name, and focuses more on Canadian superheroes. Good luck finding this one. Your best bet is probably a library again, but there are a few available for purchase at a sharp price.

In May 2004, TwoMorrows Publishing released its first issue with a feature on Canadian comics, (I’ve done this a bit backwards) Alter Ego #36 and includes some fantastic pieces. In this issue is:

  • “The Golden Age of Canadian Comic Books and Its Aftermath” by John Bell
  • “Living in a World of Fantasy” in which Dave Sim talks with Adrian Dingle, Pat Dingle and Bill Thomas
  • “My Teacher Was Just Alex Raymond Strips” which is an interview with Jerry Lazare
  • “Comic Crypt: Fred Kelly – An Appreciation” by Michael T. Gilbert
  • “Les Barker, a.k.a. Leo Bachle” by Robert Pincombe

Like Alter Ego #71, Alter Ego #36 can be purchased in both print and, somewhat cheaper, digitally. Another benefit to having both copies is that issue #36 includes extra pictures (in black and white) and samples of Golden Age comics that #71 does not. 

Finally, the real treasure trove of information can be found in John Bell’s Invaders From the North: How Canada Conquered the Comic Book Universe. This was released in 2006 by Dundurn Press in Toronto. It features a concise history of comics in Canada from the man who essentially put it together. Since its publication the book has been remaindered, and is quickly becoming another rare book on a  long list of rare books about and of Canadian comics. This is, generally, the height of publications on Canadian comic books. But more information is obviously always available online. A great resource is always Sequential if you check out the blog roll and links section to the right, and I try and keep updated with reliable online references.

Sources

Bell, John, ed. Canuck Comics: A Guide to Comic Books Published in Canada. Montreal: Matrix Books, 1986.

Bell, John. Invaders From the North: How Canada Conquered the Comic Book Universe. Toronto: The Dundurn Group, 2006.

Hirsh, Michael. Loubert, Patrick. The Great Canadian Comic Books. Toronto: Peter Martin and Associates, 1970.

Lost Heroes. Pascoe, Will. Wosk, Tony. Toronto: Far Point Films. Middle Child Films, 2014.

The True North

Cover By Dave Sim

In September of 1987, the RCMP seized 192 comics from a comic book shop called Comic Legends in Calgary, Alberta. They also charged owners Julie Warren, Darren Ott and Dale Clarke with circulating obscene materials. The comics in question were adult comics and were never intended for children, nor were they sold to children. The reason for the search and confiscation of the comics was that a 14-year-old boy purchased a copy of Warlock 5 by Aircel Comics, and his mother complained. Warlock 5 was not a comic that was seized that day.

When comic artists caught wind of this, as they would, they were outraged. As a result, Paul Stockton (Of Strawberry Jam Comics), Leonard S Wong, Liz Schiller and Derek McCulloch formed the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund (hereafter CLLDF). In order to raise funds for Warren, Ott and Clarke, CLLDF published an anti-censorship comic book anthology called The True North. Despite the unfavourable circumstances with which it was created, the comic book is an excellent testament to the conviction of the comic book industry both in and outside Canada. It also features a fantastic array of Canada’s writers and artists, as well as some Americans, spanning from from style to era and genre.

Unfortunately, all three shopkeepers were convicted with a fine of $5500. Although they did appeal with the help of CLLDF, the result was only a reduced fine.

In 1991, the CLLDF published True North II, a second anthology collection, again anti-censorship, and again, a great collector’s item. What I love most about these comics is the sampling of so many different Canadian writers and artists. Here is the contents of each book and there are some useful links at the bottom of the post.

True North

  • Anti-Censorship Propaganda – Chester Brown
  • Reid Fleming – David Boswell
  • One Romantic Evening – Jeffrey Taylor
  • Ronald and the Ducks – Ron Kasman
  • Starbikers – Ronn Sutton
  • The Life and Times of Tomas De Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor – Kent Burles
  • A Little Thought About Comics – Ty Templeton
  • Dan Panic: Think Allowued Talk – Greg Holfeld
  • It Comes Down to This – Nick Burns
  • A Suburban Nightmare – Michael Cherkas and Larry Hancock
  • Real Life – M.A. Bramstrup and Monique Renee
  • Comic Books – William Van Horn
  • Dan Day Pinup – Dan Day
  • A True Story – Bernie Mireault and Joe Matt
  • Counterblast – Nick Burns
  • Warning – George Metzger
  • Wizard Pinup – Ron Kasman
  • Media Violence – Mark Shainblum and Gabriel Morrissette
  • Centerspread: Manunkind – Matt Wagner
  • -And So It Goes – George Freeman
  • Beware of…They! – Rodney Dunn
  • Jail for Joe – Dave Darrigo
  • Freedom of Choice Hot Tub – Todd McFarlane and Terry Fitzgerald
  • Edgar the Common Sense Elephant – Seth
  • Defenses of Clay – Rob Walton
  • Malcom and Eric – Ian Carr
  • Vox Populi – Richard Taylor and Mark Askwith
  • Bizarre Taste with Asta Roid – Gordon Derry and Adrian Kleinenberg
  • Rosebud – Derek McCulloch and Simon Tristam
  • Other Artists – Dave Sim, Gerhard
True North II
  • Lethargic Lad – Greg Hyland and John Migliore
  • Bachelor Party or The Road Not Taken or Just Another Male Fantasy – Dennis Eichhorn and Carel Moiseiwitsch
  • R.G. Taylor Pinups – Richard Taylor
  • How These Bastards Operate – Ron Kasman and Gabriel Morrissette
  • On Being Eurasian – Theresa Henry
  • The Weird Canadian Artist – Chester Brown
  • Prescription For Ignorance – Diana Schutz and Monty Sheldon
  • A Public Disservice Message – Roberta Gregory
  • Random Pornography – Darren Raye and Sean Scoffield
  • Saved – Seth
  • The Steel Brood – Kent Burles
  • Surgie Center Tales of the Existentialist Private Eye – Ty Templeton
  • Big Boss Barney – Sylvie Rancourt and Jacques Boivin
  • Reflections – Denis Beauvais
  • Little Zemo in Censorland – Richard Pace
  • Statue of Liberty – Jeffrey Morgan
  • The Censors – Stephen Bissette
  • Revenue Canada – Leonard S. Wong
  • Jungle Rescue – Ronn Sutton
  • The Eye of the Beholder – Deni Loubert
  • Tierra de Pajaro – Gilbert Hernandez
  • May 29th 1988 – Joe Matt and Bernie Mireault
  • Reid Fleming – David Boswell
  • Tales of the Censor – Janet Hetherington
  • Words and Thoughts – Toren Smith and Tomoko Saito
  • Potato Man – Todd McFarlane
  • The Raven – Patrick McEown
  • Three Card Monty – Derek McCulloch and Simon Tristam
  • Benefit – Rick Trembles and Bernie Mireault
  • Stupid Fucken Dumbass Censorship – Rick Trembles
  • Those People! – Reed Waller and Kate Worely
  • Blank – Tom Grummett and Roger Williamson
  • Captain Censored Vs. Dr. Goingtoofar – Al Roy and Max Douglas
  • Corpus Delicti – Jerry Prosser and Matt Wagner
  • Other artists – Dave Sim, Gerhard, Kelley Jones, Moebus

More recently, an American man was charged with possessing child porn when Canada customs agents discovered manga scans on his laptop. Both The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) and CLLDF have both decided to support the case. If you want to donate, you can go to their site. Here is a great new and informative promotional flyer as well. Here and here are further resources.

Maple Leaf Comics

Cover art by Ley Fortune.

There’s often a lot of focus on Bell Features for their contribution to the Canadian comic book industry, and rightly so. The company published hundreds of comics under several titles during the crucial years of comic book development in Canada. Not necessarily overlooked, but perhaps not looked upon as often as they should be, are the publishings of another founding father of Canadian comics, Maple Leaf Publishers.

Along with Anglo-American, Maple Leaf was one of the first to publish and release comics in Canada. While I try not to express too much favouritism, I do agree with John Bell in that it was the first true Canadian comic, as Anglo American evaded the wartime ban on American periodical publications by purchasing scripts. Maple Leaf’s first issue was Better comics, released March of 1941 in the Canadian tradition of black and white interior with colour covers.

Second issue of Better Comics

Maple Leaf’s line of comics included Better, Bing Bang, Lucky and Rocket comics. Most were released regulary on a bi-monthly basis from 1941 to 1946. They also wasted no time in producing a Canadian hero, and again, the first in Canada, which was Vernon Miller’s Iron Man in Better Comics. Later Maple Leaf produced the more famous Brok Windsor who came out in the April May 1944 issue of Better Comics.

Some of the other more regular comics published in the anthologies’ titles were The Exciting Adventures of Peter and Peggy, Coast Patrol, The Adventures of Lucky, Derry Dreamer, Black Wing, Juke Box Joe, Piltdown Pete, Deuce Granville, Cariboo Trail, Rags the Dog Marvel, Callahan, Cosmo and his White Magic, The Honourable Freddy, Bill Speed, Stuffy Boggs, Circus Girl and Senorita Marquita. One benefit to having several lines as Bell did was that he could cater to different audiences depending on the book. Maple Leaf’s stories spanned several genres but were contained within four books.

That said, one argument certainly true of Maple Leaf Comics is that they had some quality artists on staff. Some of my own favourite Golden Age artists worked for Maple Leaf such as Bert Bushell, Jon Stables (St. Ables) and Vernon Miller. Other artists included Ernie Walker, Shirley “Ley” Fortune, Ray Hazall, Bill Meikle, Bill Benz, Vim Pearson, Spike Brown, Ted Watson, FP Thursby and Herb Brew with writers such as Hall, FP Thursby, Hal Kerr, Bus Griffiths and Ted Ross. A smaller staff than Bell Features, Maple Leaf had the benefit of having a more consistent product. And, although Bell Features owner Cyril Bell created something great with Bell features, many of his own artists were either in, or fresh out of high school and were therefore very young, amateur artists.

But, like many of the publishers that sprang up at the beginning of the forties, Maple Leaf ceased publishing in 1946 when the War Exchange Conservation Act was lifted.

Don’t Touch Me Independent Comics

The flyer for the launch of DTM #15.

Don’t Touch Me Comics is a comic anthology that was released in October of 1994. The comic was based out of Weston, Ontario but was mainly distributed in Toronto, and was founded by alternative artist Dave Howard. The comic was released irregularly as a small press publication in black and white until 2002. Until this time, the anthology regularly featured an interview with an artist or other comics professional like Joe Matt or Chris Oliveros.

In 2002, Dave Lapp, another local artist and comic creator, joined Howard and together they reformatted Don’t Touch Me, taking out the interview and publishing it in better quality. Since that time the anthology has been published regularly four times a year.

The flyer for the launch of issue 17.

Don’t Touch Me has featured such artists as Fiona Smyth, Joe Ollmann, Alan Bunce, Dave Lapp, Zach Worton, Greg McCann, Marc Bell, Matt Daley, James Waley and Ron Kasman among many others and is a great way to stay on top of local developing artists. Current and back issues can be purchased online here.

As further evidence of his determination to keep the alternative comics scene going, two years after creating Don’t Touch Me, Howard began the Toronto Comic Jam, fashioning it after Rupert Bottenburg’s Comix Jam in Montreal. In 2005 Howard retired from the Comics Jam, but it remains very successful, taking place at The Cameron on the last Tuesday of every month.

Lapp himself published his first collection in October of 2008 called Drop In by Conundrum Press. He has also produced several zines including The Hood and a regular strip for the Georgia Straight called Children of the Atom from 1996 to 2001.

You can find out more here on Howard’s art page, as well as more about Howard and his other work. To learn more about what Howard is still up to, check out his other blog which features a mixed bag of comic or music related stuff. Yeah, I said stuff. Things?

Aircel and Nightwynd

This Logo for Aircel was established some time in 1986 and was used until about 1989.

For those those of you who are already familiar with Canadian comics, you’ll know all about Aircel. For those of you who don’t, it was one of the most successful and well known publishers of the Canada’s eighties alternative comics inside Canada. Hopefully this post will be informative either way.

Officially founded in September of 1985 by Barry Blair and Ken Campbell, the roots of Aircel had long since been established. Campbell, the owner of an insulation installation company (Aircel Insulation) had lost his contract with the government at which his enthused employee wasted no time in trying to persuade him to move in the direction of comics. It worked, and Aircel Insulation then became Aircel comics.

Samurai, officially their first title, had been in print long before Aircel was producing comics, as was Elflord and Dragonring. These were the house titles Blair published under Nightwynd productions which had been publishing since the beginning of the eighties. Interestingly, many of these featured the work of a very young artist by the name of Dave Cooper. Some of the other artists featured in Nightwynd at this time were Mike Burchill, Donald Lanouette, Ron Fortier, Tim McEown, and Guang Yap, the latter two which continued to work with Aircel for a very long time. The majority of these comics were black and white, oversized and were somewhere between a small press comic and a fanzine. The quality improved greatly when they were moved over to Aircel which made the comic in the traditional size with colour covers and newsprint interior.

The comics did very well. After a short first volume of black and white interiors they introduced the second volume in full colour. Blair, having grown up all over Asia, was very familiar with manga and applied this to his own style despite its absence in a predominantly North American style industry. He later became known for popularizing the manga style despite its weak North American market.

Aircel successfully produced comics until late 1988 when the company merged with Malibu comics in exchange for support through their financial difficulties. Because of this and other changes including staff, shortly after the merger Aircel ceased publishing its house titles. It was around this time that it began to publish erotic or sex themed comics, most notably Blair’s Leather and Lace, and change the Aircel logo. In 1990, Men in Black, which later became the hugely successful movie. Finally, in 1991 Aircel broke even, and Blair formally handed the company over to Malibu before moving on to other projects. Aircel continued under Malibu until 1994 when Marvel bought it, after which it ceased publishing.

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.

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

Roger Broughton and Charlton Media Group

In 1986, Roger Broughton purchased the remaining rights to Charlton Comics after DC had also purchased many of their titles. Through this purchase, Broughton obtained the rights to Adventures into the Unknown and other Charlton titles including Atomic Mouse and Atomic Rabbit. Shortly after, Broughton also purchased some American Comics Group (ACG) titles including Herbie and Magicman.

Broughton’s Montreal based company has published under many imprints such as Sword in Stone Productions, A+ comics, Avalon Communications and America’s Comics Group. Finally, as of 2002 he became Charlton Media Group through a merger with a Graphic Design company.

The company predominantly published reprint material from both of these former publishers with few original publications. One of more notable of these works is Corbo, a vigilante style comic concept taking place in 1936. The comic never exceeded 1 issue. Through Broughton’s publisher’s notes in the frontispiece of many of his comics, he seemed to have had greater ambitions including an interest in regularly putting out comics and producing more titles. Perhaps in the future there will be more work put out by the company.