O Canada! – The Return of Captain CanuckPosted: 07/01/2015
Happy Canada Day! In celebration of this occasion, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back (and forward) at Captain Canuck, the “Hero of the True North”
Captain Canuck was created in 1975 by Richard Comely, who set out with a goal to create a hero who was “distinctively Canadian”. He published Captain Cancuck under the “Comely Comics” banner sporadically from 1975-1981, resulting in 14 issues and a summer special one shot. The book became notable for being a huge success in Canada and being the first successful Canadian-published comic since the country’s comic industry had collapsed in the 1940’s, following World War II. It was also the only independent Canadian comic of its time to cross over and be distributed in the United States, where it went on to gain a cult following.
Captain Canuck has had 3 main incarnations:
The first Captain Canuck was Tom Evans. Evans was a RCMP officer and member of the C.I.S.O. (Canadian International Security Organization) before one fateful night when, while driving around the Northwest Territories, he encounters a UFO. The startled alien shoots him with a ray, which Tom finds has bestowed him with superpowers including peak human levels of strength, endurance and agility. In addition to his already incredible list of skills (He has a photographic memory and is an expert pilot, marksman, martial artist, and equestrian), this transforms him into a great hero of his homeland. Also, did I mention that he is bilingual? (He’s fluent in English and French, obviously).
Evans was sort of like a Canadian analog for Captain America in those days, sans shield. He starred in the original run, up until the series went dormant in 1981.
In 1993, the series was resurrected for a lengthy 3 issue run (lol). In this series, the star was a new Captain Canuck, Darren Oak. Oak is a…community manager creating a new city in the Canadian wilderness. He…has no powers at all…he has just trained himself to near peak human abilities. He ends up creating a suit based on the original Captain and sets out to fight crime. I guess you could say he was closer to a Batman type of hero.
Third was David Semple, an RCMP Constable (and again non-powered person) who takes up the role of Captain Canuck. He is inspired by the original 70’s Captain Canuck comics (yes, in this series the original series is a comic within this comic) and creates a new suit of his own design. He sets out to take down a biker gang called the “Unholly Avengers”. Unlike the last two incarations being based out of Toronto, Semple called Vancouver his home. Because of this, he has been given the nickname “West Coast Captain Canuck” by fans. This version of the Captain appeared in a single 4 issue miniseries in 2003 and then vanished.
In 2013, a successful Indiegogo campaign brought an animated series to the internet, featuring a newly redesigned Captain Canuck, but that was just the beginning…
Starting this year, Captain Canuck has returned to comics. Featuring the same new power armor suit featured in the animated series, Tom Evans is once again back fighting crime as Captain Canuck. Joining forces with a task force named Equilibrium, founded by his brother Michael Evans, he fights for justice and to protect Canada from evil. Tom chooses to use the least violent approaches he can, but if need be, he will do what it takes to protect his country.
Issue one of the series opens with the Captain leading a team to save the crew of a refinery which is going down in flames after an explosion. In his team are: Kebec (a sharpshooter from Quebec), Blackbird (The team’s pilot) and Parminder Patel, the team’s tech specialist. The director of Equilibrium is Redcoat, a tough and highly skilled agent from Brixton. One nice feature of this team is it showcases the diversity of Canada and its people. We have a French Canadian, a person of indian decent and an immigrant from Britian (symbolizing the counties historical ties to the UK and crown) all working together for the security and safety of Canada.
The action gets off to a good start with the Captain jumping straight out of their chopper into the fray without a parachute. (You might be thinking this sounds like another famous Captain. Yeah, shut up. lol), but he soon finds he got more than he bargained for when he finds all the workers are now zombie like and begin to attack him. Not long after, Parminder decrypts the rest of the distress call they responded to and discovers the people are being infected by a pathogen. This biological weapon seems to spread in the form of some kind of somewhat-sentient golden blob.
Meanwhile his brother, famed businessman and entrepreneur Michael Evans is summoned to a gathering in downtown Toronto. He requests a gun from his bodyguard (Which results in a funny, very Canadian “Do you have a license to carry this?” exchange). Unclear of exactly what his motivations are, we find him facing off with a council of sorts who have seemingly stripped him of many of his assets. This ends with him being accepted into this group by the sinister and seemingly evil figure, Mr. Gold…
The new Captain Canuck is a very fun read. The art is great, rendering a classic superhero tale with a modern sensibility. The script is just enjoyable from start to finish. The comic has plenty of intrigue and drama, while at the same time balancing it out with plenty of lighthearted moments and a sense that it isn’t taking itself too seriously. The villain can get a tad “mustache-twirly” at moments, but it never goes far enough to be annoying. If I had to sum up the tone of the book, it’s very much like the Marvel Studio films; fairly serious and action packed while still funny and friendly.
You can check out Captain Canuck on Comixology by clicking the picture above. Issue #0 is a Free Comic Book Day comic, so you can check that one out first for free and see if the Captain is for you before buying.
You can also check out the Captain Canuck animated short series, starring great Canadian actors like Kris Holden-Ried (Lost Girl) as the titular hero , Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) as Redcoat and Laura Vandervoort (Smallville) as Blue Fox, below!
Entire Series Here: https://www.youtube.com/user/CaptainCanuckInc/videos
Also, get info on all things Captain Canuck at http://www.captaincanuck.com/