Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Why aren’t there more Canadian superheroes?

The Vindicator

The Vindicator

Superheroes | Writer Jim Zubkavich tackles the burning question of why there are so few Canadian superheroes: “We don’t have a long standing superhero tradition in this country. We don’t have a long-standing focal point character people recognize (I like Captain Canuck, but the average person on the street does not know who he is). We’re not a country galvanized by heavy-duty patriotic pride that lends itself to a Superman, Captain America or even a Batman. We don’t have the kind of rampant crime that ‘needs’ a heroic symbol to fight back against.” [Zub Tales]

Digital comics | The first issue of Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy sold more than 100,000 copies in stores, but was that because he refused to allow it to be sold in digital format the same day? Steve Bennett is doubtful, because so many people (including himself) didn’t realize until the last minute it would be print-only for now. [ICv2]

The Private Eye #2

The Private Eye #2

Digital comics | Mike Romo won’t pay $3.99 for a digital Marvel comic, but he voluntarily paid $5 for the second issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s The Private Eye (which is available on a pay-what-you-want basis). His explanation? His relationships with Marvel and the creators are very different. [iFanboy]

Publishing | Dan Nadel interviews Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell, the founder and associate editor, respectively, of the Library of American Comics, which is not a library but an imprint featuring collections of classic comic strips. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | Gary Erskine talks about drawing the Doctor Who comic Prisoners of Time #4, which features the Fourth Doctor. [Down the Tubes]

Creators | Writer F.J. DeSanto discusses adapting Shotaro Ishinomori’s classic manga Cyborg 009 into an American-style graphic novel. [PreviewsWorld]

Very Casual

Very Casual

Creators | James Romberger talks to Michael DeForge, whose newest graphic novel Very Casual, debuted over the weekend at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. [Publishers Weekly]

Graphic novels | Seventeen-year-old Kylie Larkin has just published her first graphic novel Midnight High, which has been in the works for the past two years. Larkin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome (her mother calls her “an artistic autistic”), developed the graphic novel with help from a local art studio that has programs for children with autism. [The Press-Enterprise]

Editorial cartoons | A pro-gun website took an anti-NRA cartoon by Mike Peters and Photoshopped it so it was the exact opposite of the original (basically, the group rearranged the “before” and “after” panels). Peters pointed out that not only did this violate copyright laws, it also infringed his right to free speech. The cartoon has since been taken down. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Conventions | If you couldn’t make it to the real thing, you can have your own private Toronto Comic Arts Festival thanks to Jamie Coville, who recorded nine panels plus the Doug Wright Awards ceremony. [Jamie Coville’s MP3 Files]

Criticism | A panel of judges, led by Ng Suat Tong, presents their picks for the best comics criticism of 2012. [The Hooded Utilitarian]

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Comments

22 Comments

Uhhh… We’ve got Wolverine and Deadpool. I think we’re good.

What, did you just see Red Dawn? Are Vaughn and Martin going to release the average amount people are paying for their book?

That’s one Ayo. Northstar might count as two. I think the article means ‘recurring Canadian Superhero in his own book.’

The editiorial cartoon is interesting though. I’d have thought that fell under fair use (parody) IANAL of course.

For some reason, the article is blocked at my workplace. However, I’ll say this: Wolverine and Deadpool are essentially American characters. Yeah, they’re written with Canadian backstories, but they were invented and produced in the U.S. (It’s like saying that Captain Picard is the most famous French Starfleet captain. Well, yeah, he is, but I’m not aware of the French holding him in high esteem the way U.S. Star Trek fans do.)

Wolverine is not to Canada what Superman is to the U.S. From the quote above, my impression is that the author means that there’s no “native son” comic character to Canada the way that the U.S. has a plethora of characters who are easily associated with the U.S. Believe me–my wife is Canadian, and I don’t believe she associates Wolverine with her country in any sense other than novelty.

Technically Superman is half-Canadian (on Shuster’s side).

“What, did you just see Red Dawn? Are Vaughn and Martin going to release the average amount people are paying for their book?”

Here’s what Vaughan told the New York Times, (and reported here on Robot 6):

“I’m delighted to say that many more people paid us than didn’t. Those who opted to pay something paid at least 99 cents, and I don’t think too many people paid more than $5. Three bucks, the cost of most new paper comics, seemed to be a common payment.”

Wolverine is a Canadian character but he’s not designed to be emblematic of Canadian ideology or a Canadian ethos. I agree with Jim Zubkavitch: As an American, I’m kind of envious of Canada for not necessarily needing to culturally define itself through power fantasy or revenge narrative, they’re better for that. America views itself metaphorically as an omnipotent godhead that exerts its power unilaterally and through force – the superhero paradigm is toxic, it’s a shame that it’s our lens for perceiving ourselves.

Seneca Ani Grad

May 15, 2013 at 8:39 am

Zub Tales what a joke!

Jim likes to hear himself talk… and only himself.

I thought the lack of canadian heroes was due to the whole superhero regestration act being not over turned in canada

While I respect Mr. Bennett’s opinions about Mark Millar’s comic, he doesn’t give us any evidence to the contrary either. And it is more plausible to believe that hard core fans of Mark Millar would know that the comic was not going day and date, as its likely he’s been that way with every one of his other books and that’s what pushed the numbers up. But again that’s all speculation. I don’t think you lose sales by not going day and date and the way everyone seems so fixated on his desire not to do that just seems like criticism for criticism’s sake. Honestly, if you’re going to pick on the man do it for his asinine remarks about movies or his weak story endings.

And those pro-gun people sure are being hypocritical taking the man’s cartoon and switching it around. Our right to guns matter but not your possession of your own intellectual property. I guess coming up with a creative counter-argument would have required too much thought, and its so much easier to photoshop.

And Canada really does need more heroes . . . you don’t have to be all patriotic gun-ho or come from a crime-filled country. They could just fight aliens and stuff . . . how very odd, still we got Scott Pilgrim so its not like Canada isn’t contributing cool comics.

I count Wolverine as Canadian. He has American origins, but plenty of his stories in the 80’s, when the X-Men really took off, were illustrated by John Byrne, a native son. So that counts. And yes, Alex W. is right: Shuster was a born Canadian. So if Superman can be an American superhero, then Wolverine is a Canadian superhero.

I mean, come on: Marvel and DC both have rather international staffs. To claim that the heroes presented within are American just because the publishing companies are located in New York isn’t entirely correct.

Brian from Canada

May 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Wolverine is not Canadian. There’s nothing about him that’s distinctly Canadian except a love of beer.

But the problem goes much deeper than Jim Zubkavich suggests. The real problem about Canadian superheroes is the little brother syndrome that Canada faces against the US: we’re the ONLY country in the world that’s dominated culturally by a neighbour that’s equal in language and identity who barely recognizes our borders when it comes to entertainment products.

If you come to Canada, you’ll learn our top Canadian TV network ONLY shows American programs. Our movie theatres run American films at the same time.

So if you want Canadian, you have to go to the fringe. Our movie and TV heroes aren’t physically imposing. Our movie and TV heroes are not heroic in action and deed; they’re just good people who push through the bad by sheer luck or their wits. Our heroes are flawed from the outset.

Want proof? Look at the McKenzie Brothers. Look at Republic Of Doyle, Bon Cop Bad Cop or Arctic Air. Those are made distinctly in Canada, so the Canadian writers who go to the US are those who want to be like the Americans and make true heroes.

We’ve got Captain Canuck, Johnny Canuck, Fleur de Lis, Nelvana of the North, Northguard, Scott Pilgrim, and of course… Mr. Canoehead!!!

@Brian from Canada:

Do shows from the CW count as American shows? I know they’re set in America, but they’re also obviously Vancouver.

Like, everytime the wife and I watch “Arrow” we totally love pointing out all the shots of Canada Place (and also the weirdly incongruous times the American flag shows up). Nikita too. I mean, it’s set in America… but it’s obviously Canada.

And don’t sell Canadian TV short! I actually think Flashpoint is a pretty awesome show… and they don’t ever hide the fact that it’s Toronto! (Not anymore, anyway.)

Wolverine is the most popular Marvel comic book character who isn’t Spider-Man and Deadpool is fairly popular, too. What else do they want?

Franky Komart

May 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm

We need more Canadian Super-Heroes ?
Hmmm ! American superheroes notwithstanding is there any other country with more heroes than Canada ?? U.K. heroe?? maybe…I think that Super Heroes is an American gimmik and find it normal that 99% of Comic book heroes are American…In fact only Captain America is a recognisable american hero,all other heroes could pass for any country’s hero.
I’ve always found ridicul any attempt to create a new flag costumed inspired super hero, this was a one shot deal and it only worked with Captain America

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because marvel took the best one,wolverine!

“I’ve always found ridicul any attempt to create a new flag costumed inspired super hero, this was a one shot deal and it only worked with Captain America”

Guardian, the guy pictured at the top. Done.

Franky Komart

May 16, 2013 at 6:32 am

Yeah! Dale Power …Wolverine is Canadian,and he became so popular that I feared at some point that an american creator would try a stunt like …Ho! look, a memory implant that says that in the past Logan was in fact really an american and somebody put a memory implant to pass him as a Canadian…..LOL…. don’t laugh it could still happen,,,,,

And yes – B – John Byrne did the impossible I must say when he created Guardian’s costume it really is second to none…And come to think of it Union Jack has one kick ass costume too…….My bad…

The Last Word

May 16, 2013 at 11:54 am

D. Peace writes:

Wolverine is a Canadian character but he’s not designed to be emblematic of Canadian ideology or a Canadian ethos. I agree with Jim Zubkavitch: As an American, I’m kind of envious of Canada for not necessarily needing to culturally define itself through power fantasy or revenge narrative, they’re better for that. America views itself metaphorically as an omnipotent godhead that exerts its power unilaterally and through force – the superhero paradigm is toxic, it’s a shame that it’s our lens for perceiving ourselves.

Being American but having grown up in Vancouver, I disagree, and find myself agreeing with Brian from Canada. While Canada is distinct socially from the United States, its entertainment tends to be dominated, in most respects, by the United States, although far less today than in my youth during the Seventies. I understand D. Peace’s argument, but it suggests that comics and cartoons are not purchased in Canada, which isn’t the case at all. Rather, they’re simply imported because the industry in the United States had a huge head start. The same logic applies to the music industry, movies, etc. The United States is the locus for the world’s entertainment industry.

What about Dudley Do-Right?

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