Orion: The Canadian Magazine of Space and Time

I know subject of my last few posts blur the areas I’m trying to cover, but I really want to state the importance of including all related and important material on the subject for future reference.

In 1981, a Science Fiction fanzine was published, a publication hand in hand with the comics industry at the time. Orion Magazine: The Canadian Magazine of Space and Time was first published in the summer of 1981 by Discovery Publications in Montreal, Quebec. This exceptional magazine was published and edited by a young, 18-year-old Mark Shainblum. His intent, very clear not to alienate other nationalities, was to provide a fanzine that fairly examined most English speaking science fiction and comics output, but of course, Canadian based. That said, the magazine was definitely Canadian content heavy. 

Accompanying letter.

The first issue is perhaps most noted for Shainblum’s article on Captain Canuck and an interview with Richard Comely. Sadly, the inaugural issue of this series was already printed and ready to be shipped around the same time CKR Productions ceased publishing. In order to remain topical, Discovery included this letter also provided here by Mike Sterling.

Orion #1 contains several other timely references including a rare article on small time zine publisher Kenny Moran Comics out of Winnipeg, Manitoba and a comic entitled Captain Chinook by Captain Canuck artist Claude St. Aubin. Otherwise, the fanzine is 36 pages, oversized, black and white with colour cover and mostly a compilation of reviews, interviews, poetry, etc. at .

The second issue was almost double the length at 64 pages and slightly larger than the first. As far as luck goes though, it didn’t fair much better. Shortly after giving a long, in depth interview to Shainblum for the magazine, Gene Day passed away at only 36. Fortunately, Orion wasn’t already printed and Shainblum was able to explain that it was one of Day’s last interviews. Like the first issue, the second contains several excellent supporting pieces including a comic by Geof Isherwood called White Thunder and a Captain Canuck parody comic called Captain Canduck.

Orion only saw two printed issues before retiring in 1982. This was not the end though. In 2004, Shainblum resurrected Orion digitally with Comicopia for six more issues, all of which can be read here. Should you want a copy of the earlier Orion issues, you may be able to aquire copies directly from Shainblum himself.

Until then, here is the content of the first and second issue.

Orion #1

  • Quantum (Editorial) – Mark Shainblum
  • The Definitive Batman – James J.J. Wilson
  • Broadening Horizons: First Encounter with The Spirit – Mark Shainblum
  • Captain Canuck: The Triumphant Return of the Canadian Hero – Mark Shainblum
  • World of Elzon: Imaginitive but… – Mark Shainblum
  • Update (News from the World of SF) – Michael Gilson
  • The Wager – Michael Gilson
  • Ode to a Super Hero – Mark Shainblum
  • “Orion Interview” A Conversation with Richard Comely – Mark Shainblum
  • “Viewpoint” Commentary – Michael Gilson
  • Software: Harlan Ellison reviewed – James J.J. Wilson
  • The Ubiquitous Captain Chinook – Jean-Claude St. Aubin
  • “MediaViews” Galactica: What Happened? – Michael Gilson
  • Books: North By 2000 – Review by Mark Shainblum
  • Pharma – Mark Shainblum
  • The Riddle – Rhonda Kert
  • Afterburn: Closing Commentary – Mark Shainblum

Orion #2

  • Quantum (Editorial) – Mark Shainblum
  • Orion Response (Letters)
  • Comicswatch (Reviews)
  • An Interview with Marv Wolfman – Mark Shainblum
  • Another Interview – Gabrielle Morrisette
  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Writer – Lesley Choyce
  • White Thunder – Geof Isherwood
  • The Last Interview: A Conversation with Gene Day Mark Shainblum
  • Fanwatch (Fanzine Reviews)
  • Captain Canduck – John Bell (Words) Owen Oulton (Art)
  • …And the Canadian Way? – Christine Kulyk
  • Books (Reviews)
  • Brass Orchids (Column) – Lisa Cohen
  • Afterburn (Closing Commentary) Mark Shainblum
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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?

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

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.

Kevin Kurytnik

Business As Usual – Video 2010

It’s pretty interesting to go through some of the older zines from the 80s and 90s and stumble upon some that exceed the typical standards of zine culture. Today I stumpled upon a zine entitled “ARG: Apocryphal Restituion Guild”. This zine, created and produced in Calgary in 1989 by Kevin Kurytnik, was not only one of the better zines I’ve seen as far as physical appearance and production quality went, but also the content. Later Kurytnik later produced “UGH! Undulating Gods in Heat!”

The editor and greater contributor of content to ARG, Kurytnik’s illustrations and dark humour are more subtle and dry than the genre typically produces. His simple but detailed black and white drawings attract the attention of any reader and pair up remarkably well with the content and style of his writing.

Although Kurytnik strayed from the comic world, he was able to carry out his creations and ideas in animation. From ARG, Kurytnik published “Mr. Reaper’s Really Bad Day” which he later turned into “Mr. Reaper’s Really Bad Morning”; a short film that he directed and co-wrote with Carol Beecher. You can see it here:

Here is a link of his other accomplishments if you’re interested in learning or seeing more. Kurytnik is now an instructor at Alberta College of Art and Design and here is his faculty profile.