Comic Strips and other Merchandising

Comic Strips

My information on C.C.'s life in the funny pages is sketchy. What I  know is listed below.

        The 1970s:

In Captain Canuck #4, there was a reprint of a Captain Canuck daily newspaper strip from 1976 (credited to the Winnipeg Tribune), but it wasn't  clear how long, or how much, of the strip had been published...or where else. Click here to see the strip (art by Comely).

According to my trusty, old, yellowing, Doug Sulipa's Comic World catalogue (a great Winnipeg-based, mail-order comics store in the '70s and '80s -- I mean, this guy had everything!), the Dec. 20, 1977 edition of The Albertan Mirror carried a complete Captain Canuck Christmas strip, and was the only newspaper to do so. Exactly how long the strip was, or what the story was, I don't know.

        The 1980s:

In the Summer Special, a new, one page advance was carried of a full-page, weekend edition Captain Canuck strip (with art by Freeman). I don't know where it may have run, if at all. According to information I gleaned from an ad in Comely's Star Rider and the Peace Machine, 18 days worth were done, but the story was incomplete, and it's described as a "syndicate sample", which may mean it was never published. I'm assuming he was refering to the strip promoted in the Summer Special, as opposed to the '76 version.

        The 1990s:

There was a Captain Canuck strip as recent as 1996, drawn by Richard Comely and Sandy Carruthers (thanks to Canadian comic artist Ron Kasman for the info -- he pinch hitted and drew a couple of days worth). This was synidicated to at least eight papers and featured the "new" Captain Canuck character.

Mark Shainblum, a writer of both prose and comics books (Northguard, Angloman) lists a Captain Canuck newspaper strip among his credits. He would've been too young to work on the '76 version or even the early '80s version, so I'm assuming it was the '90s version (which I only learned about recently thanks to an e-mail).

If I learn anything more substantial, I'll add it to this page. If you know anything more, feel free to e-mail me here.

Other Merchandising

Various itemsAlmost from the get go, Comely recognized that merchandising was part of the business, mercenary as that may sound (heck, when George Lucas made Star Wars, apparently he happily sold the movie rights to 20th Century Fox, so long as he could hold on to the profits from the toys and lunch boxes...and everyone calls him an artist).

Just one of the T-shirt designsIn the 1st issue, Comely was already hyping Catman and an issue or two later, a future Jonn comic (in fact, throughout Captain Canuck's run, on-again/off-again promises were made about other titles). An official fan club was started up and ads ran in the comic book for everything but the proverbial kitchen sink, including Captain Canuck T-shirts, jackets, pens, visors, pads, engraved plaques, various posters, decals, pins, doodle sets, crests, and other things; many of which came in more than one design. Club members also got a regular newsletter and apparently had access to other, exclusive items (though, since I was never a club member, I don't know what).

Comely Comix/CKR was possibly the only comic book company (at the time) that stocked its own back issues, making it easy to fill in blanks in your collection (unlike the big boys Marvel and DC). Which is why I have a complete run of the series to this day.

Other-Other Merchandise

On Oct. 2, 1995, Canada Post released a series of five 45 cent commemorative stamps saluting Canada's (modest) history of superheroes. The five were Captain Canuck (based on the front page of C.C. #7), Johnny Canuck, NelvanaFleur de Lyse, and Superman. Superman was included, ostensibly because co-creator Joe Shuster -- cousin of Frank Shuster (one hallf of the famous Wayne & Shuster comedy team) -- was Canadian. More likely it was because Canada Post felt Supes would boost the publicity for the stamps (which he did). Along with the stamps, Canada Post released a first day cover (an envelope with all five stamps and a picture of Canada Post mousepadNorthguard); a new line of T-shirts featuring, individually, each of the heroes, including one of Captain Canuck; and a mousepad with replicas of all five stamps on it (with C.C. getting the centre spot - see right). For more info on the other characters, check out my Progenitors and Prodigies page.

Much of the Canada Post stuff is still available at some post offices, while the original Comely Comix and CKR items are probably pretty hard to find these days.

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