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Heroes of the Home Front presents 300+ pages of backstory info on WWII Bell Features artists and reproduces 150+ pages of original art
Heroes of the Home Front presents 300+ pages of backstory info on WWII Bell Features artists and reproduces 150+ pages of original art
151 backers pledged CA$ 25,971 to help bring this project to life.

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CA$ 25,971

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 THE BOOK

Early cover draft for the book.
Early cover draft for the book.

 

Did you know that Canada banned American Comics during the Second World War and then issued its own homegrown comics in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto? One Toronto company was Bell Features, and it put out comics touting the exploits of heroes like Nelvana, Johnny Canuck, Speed Savage, The Brain, Nitro, The Dreamer, Doc Stearne, and Super Commando.

Nelvana of the North, by Adrian Dingle
Nelvana of the North, by Adrian Dingle

The full draft of Heroes of the Home Front is complete. The three-year task of bringing these forgotten comic books and the people behind them out of a corner recess of our Canadian cultural attic and into today’s mainstream comic consciousness is just about done. The research has been completed, the text of the book has been written, the interviews have been transcribed, photos of the 175+ pages of original artwork have been taken and processed to achieve the best print quality, and permissions to use these images have been obtained.

Leo Bachle's original art page for the first appearance of "The Invisible Commando" in Commando Comics No. 1
Leo Bachle's original art page for the first appearance of "The Invisible Commando" in Commando Comics No. 1

The raw book is done. Crowdfunding is needed to get a hard copy of the work into the hands of those people who would be interested in it, and hopefully, into some libraries and schools around the country. This involves the design of the book, which is being ably and inventively handled by Dundas designer John Farr, who just so happens to be the son-in-law of Aram Alexanian who also happens to be the lead-off comic artist presented in the book (you may better know the Alexanian name from its carpet and flooring stores around Ontario—Aram was the company’s president from the early 1960s on).

The lead-off page for the section on Aram Alexanian, who was the youngest artist working for Bell Features.
The lead-off page for the section on Aram Alexanian, who was the youngest artist working for Bell Features.

The book is planned as a full-colour (to preserve the patina of those 70+ year-old original art pages) hardcover with a limited, signed, and slipcased deluxe edition of 100. The money raised by this “Heroes of the Home Front” Kickstarter project will go to these final steps needed to get this book into your hands. If you choose to support this book, I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed with the backstories it contains about Bell Features artists such as Adrian Dingle (creator of Nelvana of the North), Gerald Lazare (creator of Nitro, The Dreamer, and Drummy Young), Edmond Good (creator of Rex Baxter), Tedd Steele (creator of Speed Savage), Fred Kelly (creator of Mr. Monster), John Hilkert (creator of The Wing), and Leo Bachle (creator of Johnny Canuck and The Brain). You’ll also see, for the very first time, over 170 full-page reproductions of original Bell Features comic artwork from the collection at the Library and Archives of Canada and from various private collections. Heroes of the Home Front will come to occupy a treasured spot on your shelf of comic book-related material, glowing with pride in the roots of our own Canadian comic book heritage.

Here is a draft of the back cover of the book with a few testimonial blurbs:

For additional information about wartime Canadian comics check out my Comic Book Daily Column.

NOTE: Kickstarter only allows you to select one reward at a time but if you want to combine multiple rewards please contact me through Kickstarter messaging and let me know which reward combination you'd like and I can record it in the notes page next to your name when you make the pledge.

 

 

REWARDS

 

 7 LAC Collectors Cards

7 collectors cards reward.
7 collectors cards reward.

 WOW COMICS No. 1 Reprint

WOW Comics No. 1 reprint reward.
WOW Comics No. 1 reprint reward.

 

Collectors Cards and Buttons

Pin-back buttons and cards reward.
Pin-back buttons and cards reward.

 

ART COOPER Portfolio

Art Cooper's signed and numbered prints portfolio.
Art Cooper's signed and numbered prints portfolio.

PRINT SIGNED BY GERALD LAZARE

Poster of splash page from Triumph Comics 21
Poster of splash page from Triumph Comics 21

LOU SKUCE Coasters (1930s)

3 Lou Skuce coasters reward
3 Lou Skuce coasters reward

DAVE SIM Cerebus Archive Five Signed by Dave Sim

DAVE SIM Cerebus Archive 6

SID BARRON Original Editorial Cartoon (1960s)

Sid Barron original editorial cartoon 1960s
Sid Barron original editorial cartoon 1960s

 MARTY BAUMANN Original Art

3T's by Marty Baumann reward
3T's by Marty Baumann reward

 

ROB THIBODEAU Original Art

Rob Thibodeau's The Whistler illo.
Rob Thibodeau's The Whistler illo.

DAVE ROSS Original Art

Dave Ross' pencil take on Thunderfist.
Dave Ross' pencil take on Thunderfist.

GRAND SLAM COMICS Vol. 4 No. 4

Original Copy of Grand Slam Comics V. 4 No. 4
Original Copy of Grand Slam Comics V. 4 No. 4

RONN SUTTON Original Art 

Ronn Sutton's The Wing illo.
Ronn Sutton's The Wing illo.

 

GERHARD Original Art

Ger Hard Scotty McDonald illo.
Ger Hard Scotty McDonald illo.

 

MANNY EASSON Original Sketch (1970s)

Original, signed Manny Easson sketch of Dizzy Don circa '70s.
Original, signed Manny Easson sketch of Dizzy Don circa '70s.

 

RON KASMAN Original Comic Art

Ron Kasman art: Gerry Lazare meets Ross Mendes
Ron Kasman art: Gerry Lazare meets Ross Mendes

JOE OLLMANN Original Comic Art

Joe Ollmann capturing the comic book spirit of Aram Alexanian.
Joe Ollmann capturing the comic book spirit of Aram Alexanian.

JOKE COMICS No. 18

Original Copy of Joke Comics 18
Original Copy of Joke Comics 18

DAVID COLLIER Original Comic Art

David Collier capturing Harry Brunt
David Collier capturing Harry Brunt

AL MIDDLESTADT Original Comic Art

Unpublished 1946 Al Middlestadt Billy Beaver splash page.
Unpublished 1946 Al Middlestadt Billy Beaver splash page.

 

ARAM ALEXANIAN Original Comic Art

Aram Alexanian "Reid South" original comic art page.
Aram Alexanian "Reid South" original comic art page.
 

WOW 10 SIGNED BY JACK TREMBLAY

GERALD LAZARE Oil painting

Gerald Lazare Painting of the Canary Restaurant
Gerald Lazare Painting of the Canary Restaurant

Stretch Goal 

$30,000 - Creation of an Appendix for the book that will feature 8-10 pages of additional original artwork from the Bell Features Collection at the Library and Archives of Canada.

Budget

 

Risks and challenges

The challenge that I can foresee is printing the best quality book possible and shipping it efficiently given the crowdfunding funds available to us.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 2 or more About $1.61

    APPRECIATION, No Reward

    Acknowledgement that you appreciate the project and that you don't want a reward. Thank you for helping us. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    7 CANADIAN SUPER HERO COLLECTORS CARDS

    Pack of 7 collectors cards given out at the Library and Archives of Canada "Alter Ego" display in May 2016. This item was donated by the Library and Archives of Canada for this project. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    WOW COMICS NO. 1 REPRINT

    2016 reprint of the very first Bell Features Comic, WOW Comics No. 1 (Sept. 1941) featuring swashbuckler Dart Daring and Space Ace Whiz Wallace. High quality reprint created by Jim Finlay and donated to this fundraiser. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 20 or more About $16

    PDF OF THE BOOK

    Receive a copy of the book in PDF form. This is the same full PDF that will be sent to the printers to produce the final printed copies. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    ART COOPER CANADIAN WHITES PORTFOLIO

    Envelope containing 6 individual prints of Bell Features superheroes. Each print has been numbered and signed by Art Cooper. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 70 or more About $56

    Heroes of the Home Front Hardcover

    This is a 9" X 12" 300 pg. hardcover copy of the book containing 175 full-page reproductions of original art pages (mainly from the Bell Features Collection at the Library and Archives of Canada) for Canadian Bell Features WWII comic books as well as backstories and interviews on the artists who created them, The book has been wonderfully designed by John Farr, with Forewords by Gerald Lazare and John Bell.

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    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $81

    LIMITED, SIGNED, DELUXE EDITION

    Numbered edition signed by Gerald Lazare and the author in a foil stamped slip case. This edition is limited to 100 copies (99 here + one included in the Gerald Lazare painting incentive) plus however many are purchased in the 3 book bundle reward offer. You will also receive a digital PDF of the book and your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    BOOK + Buttons + Cards

    Receive a hardcover copy of the book plus the 7 comic book pin-back buttons plus a set of the Library and archives collectors cards. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $81

    DAVE SIM CEREBUS ARCHIVE 5 Signed

    Just got this kind note from Dave Sim:
    I've offered Ivan access to our "overages" for the CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER FIVE an CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER SIX Artists Editions portfolios at $100 Canadian each (roughly $80 u.S,) and will sign the front of each portfollo personally to any of Ivan's pledge partners interested in pledging for one (or more—makes the Ideal Christmas gift) of them. You will receive one copy of Dave Sim's Cerebus Archive 5 personally inscribed to you by Dave Sim.

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    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $81

    DAVE SIM CEREBUS ARCHIVE 6 Signed

    Just got this kind note from Dave Sim:
    I've offered Ivan access to our "overages" for the CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER FIVE an CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER SIX Artists Editions portfolios at $100 Canadian each (roughly $80 u.S,) and will sign the front of each portfollo personally to any of Ivan's pledge partners interested in pledging for one (or more—makes the Ideal Christmas gift) of them. You will receive one copy of Dave Sim's Cerebus Archive 6 personally inscribed to you by Dave Sim

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    Pledge CA$ 115 or more About $93

    BOOK + PORTFOLIO + WOW REPRINT + CARDS

    Receive a copy of the book plus the Art Cooper portfolio plus the Wow Comics No. 1 reprint plus a set of the collector cards together. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 130 or more About $105

    BUNDLE INCENTIVE - 3 BOOKS + PDF

    You will receive 3 copies of Heroes of the Home Front at a discounted price plus a digital PDF copy of the book. Your name or your business name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 150 or more About $121

    3 LOU SKUCE 1930S COASTERS + BOOK + PDF

    Lou Skuce was an internationally famous Canadian cartoonists during the first half of the 20th century. He did some work for Bell Features comics during the war. These are three coasters he did for Quebec's Dawes Brewery in the 1930s, and are hard to find. Receive the coasters plus a copy of the book plus a digital copy of the book.Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 150 or more About $121

    BOOK + SIGNED AIR WOMAN PRINT BUNDLE

    Receive a copy of the book plus an "Air Woman Print" signed by Gerald Lazare, plus the Art Cooper portfolio, plus the Wow Comics No. 1 reprint, plus an Air Woman print signed by Gerald Lazare, plus a set of the collector cards together. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 200 or more About $161

    MARTY BAUMANN ART + BOOK + PDF

    8.5" X 11" original by illustrator Marty Baumann plus a copy of the book and a digital copy of the book. Marty Baumann has worked for Disney/Pixar and on movies like "Toy Story 3" and "Zootopia." The illusration is a tribute to Bell Features artist Mel Crawford, whose first ever feature was "The Three T's" in Bell Features' Joke Comics Nos. 1-3. Mel Crawford went on to a long and outstanding career in illustration and comic books in the U.S. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 200 or more About $161

    SID BARRON CARTOON ART + BOOK + PDF

    During the Second World War, Sid Barron worked for Montreal comic book publisher Educational Projects, whose main title was the Canadian Heroes comic book. Among his many features for Canadian Heroes, Sid Barron created the naval character Bos'n Bill and the Air Force character Ace Deacon. Sid Barron went on to national fame as an editorial cartoonist for the Toronto Star. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 200 or more About $161

    RETAILER INCENTIVE: 5 copies of the book

    You will receive 5 copies of Heroes of the Home Front at a wholesale price plus a digital PDF copy of the book. Your name or your business name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 200 or more About $161

    DELUXE EDITION: 3 book bundle

    Receive 3 copies of the Deluxe signed (by Gerald Lazare and the author) and numbered slip-cased edition of Heroes of the Home Front. You will also receive a digital PDF of the book and your name or your business' name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 250 or more About $202

    ROB THIBODEAU ART + BOOK + PDF

    Receive Rob Thibodeau's original update take on Dan Baldasse's The Whistler, who appeared in Joke Comics plus a copy of the book and a digital copy of the book. This is an 11" X 17" original signed illustration. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 250 or more About $202

    BUNDLE BOOK + CEREBUS ARCH. 5 + 6

    Receive a copy of the Heroes of the Home Front book plus a copy each of Cerebus Archive 5 and 6 with each Archive copy personally inscribed to you by Dave Sim.

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    Pledge CA$ 300 or more About $242

    DAVE ROSS ART + BOOK + PDF.

    This is a pencil only signed sketch by Dave Ross of Canadian Golden Age character Thunderfist who appeared in Bell Features title Active Comics. This is an 11" X 17" original signed illustration. Receive this illustration plus a copy of the book and a digital copy of the book. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 300 or more About $242

    GRAND SLAM COMICS + BOOK + PDF

    This is an original copy of Grand Slam Comics Vol. 4 No. 4 from March, 1945 featuring Red Rover on the cover. The copy has 2.5 inches of invisible tape on the top of the spine otherwise a nice complete, flat copy. This rare comic also features Dr. Destine and Commander Steel stories. Receive this original comic plus a copy of the book plus a digital copy of the book. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 350 or more About $282

    RONN SUTTON ART + BOOK + PDF

    Artist Ronn Sutton's take on Bell Features' super heroine, The Wing plus a copy of the book and a digital copy of the book. The Wing was created by John Hilkert and appeared in Joke Comics. This is an 11" X 17" original illustration and is signed by Ronn on the back. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 350 or more About $282

    GERHARD ART + BOOK + PDF.

    Gerhard is best known for doing background illos. for Dave Sim's Cerebus series from No. 65 to No. 300. This is a wonderful take on Al Cooper's Air Ace Scotty McDonald who appeared in Dime Comics. This is an 11" X 14" original signed illustration. Receive this illustration plus a copy of the book and a digital copy of the book. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 375 or more About $303

    RETAILER INCENTIVE: 10 book bundle

    You will receive 10 copies of Heroes of the Home Front at a wholesale price plus a digital PDF copy of the book. Your name or your business name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 450 or more About $363

    MANNY EASSON SKETCH + BOOK + PDF

    An original drawing by Manny Easson of his character Dizzy Don, who appeared in 20 issues of The Funny Comics for Bell Features. Art by original Bell Features artists is extremely rare, and this piece is doubly so because it has Manny Easson's complex full signature, which never appeared on his comic book work. This drawing was done in the '70s on the back of an 8" X 10" photocopied sheet of a General Sales Manager job description, Manny Easson did become a Sales Manager for a Carpet and Flooring company. Receive this original plus a copy of the book plus a digital copy of the book. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 500 or more About $403

    RON KASMAN ART + BOOK + PDF

    An original piece of art done by Ron Kasman especially for this project. The topic of the piece is the first meeting between two of the Bell Feature artists, Gerald Lazare and Ross Mendes. This incident is described in the book and both of them became life-long friends. It measures 12" X 17". Receive this original plus a copy of the book plus a digital copy of the book. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 600 or more About $484

    JOE OLLMANN ART + BOOK + PDF

    Original piece of art created by Hamilton cartoonist Joe Ollmann especially for this project. The subject is Aram Alexanian one of the wartime Bell Features comic book artists. It measures 12" X 17". Receive this original comic art page plus a copy of the book plus a digital copy of the book. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    JOKE COMICS NO. 18 + BOOK + PDF

    This is an original copy of Joke Comics No. 18 featuring The Wing drawn by Adrian Dingle on the cover. The copy has been extracted from an issue of Colossal Comics and shows some spine artifacts because of this. It also has the extra staple holes that would have attached this comic to the four others in that issue of Colossal Comics. Finally, it is also trimmed to the size fitting the Colossal Comics issue. It is a complete issue of Joke Comics 18 with no pages missing or panels missing with bright cover colours. A rare issue with a classic Wing cover. Receive this original comic plus a copy of the book plus a digital copy of the book. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 700 or more About $565

    DAVID COLLIER ART + BOOK + PDF

    Original piece of art created by Hamilton cartoonist David Collier especially for this project. The subject is Harry Brunt one of the wartime Bell Features comic book artists. It measures 8.5" X 11". Receive this original comic art page plus a copy of the book plus a digital copy of the book. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 800 or more About $645

    AL MIDDLESTADT ART + BOOK + PDF

    Al Middlestadt published Billy Beaver stories in Joke Comics Nos. 23 and 25. This item was donated by the Middlestadt family. It is an original piece of art done by Al Middlestadt in 1946-7 and measures 11" X 17". I believe it is a splash page from 1946-7 that was never published because Bell Features folded. Receive this original plus a copy of the book plus a digital copy of the book. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 800 or more About $645

    ARAM ALEXANIAN ART + BOOK + PDF

    Aram Alexanian is the first Bell Features artist covered in my book. This is an unpublished page probably done between 1946-9 and donated by the Alexanian family. It measures 11' X 17'. Receive this original comic art page plus a copy of the book plus a digital copy of the book. Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 1,000 or more About $807

    DELUXE EDITION: 12 book bundle + PDF

    Receive 12 copies of the Deluxe signed (by Gerald Lazare and the author) and numbered slip-cased edition of Heroes of the Home Front. You will also receive a digital PDF of the book and your name or your business' name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 1,370 or more About $1,105

    WOW 10 SIGNED BY TREMBLAY + DELUXE BOOK

    This is a CGC Signature Series copy of Wow Comics 10 Signed by Jack Tremblay. One of only 4 Signature Series Jack Tremblay Comics known. Receive this book plus a copy of the limited, signed, slip-cased, deluxe version of Heroes of the Home Front and a PDF of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 3,000 or more About $2,420

    LAZARE PAINTING + DELUXE BOOK + PDF

    Original 14" X 9" oil on masonite painting by Gerald Lazare entitled "Canary Restaurant (One More Time)." Reworking of a larger version that is held by the Reference Library in Toronto. Comes with a black frame. Receive this original plus the limited deluxe signed (by Gerald Lazare and the author) edition of the book plus a digital copy of the book.Your name will be printed on the special thanks page of the book.

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- (31 days)