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.

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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