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.
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.
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 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.
7 LAC Collectors Cards
WOW COMICS No. 1 Reprint
Collectors Cards and Buttons
ART COOPER Portfolio
PRINT SIGNED BY GERALD LAZARE
LOU SKUCE Coasters (1930s)
DAVE SIM Cerebus Archive Five Signed by Dave Sim
DAVE SIM Cerebus Archive 6
SID BARRON Original Editorial Cartoon (1960s)
MARTY BAUMANN Original Art
ROB THIBODEAU Original Art
DAVE ROSS Original Art
GRAND SLAM COMICS Vol. 4 No. 4
RONN SUTTON Original Art
GERHARD Original Art
MANNY EASSON Original Sketch (1970s)
RON KASMAN Original Comic Art
JOE OLLMANN Original Comic Art
JOKE COMICS No. 18
DAVID COLLIER Original Comic Art
AL MIDDLESTADT Original Comic Art
ARAM ALEXANIAN Original Comic Art
WOW 10 SIGNED BY JACK TREMBLAY
GERALD LAZARE Oil painting
$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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)