Thursday, March 15, 2012

Captain Wonder!

I've never been crazy about the option of digital comics, but landing on the Digital Comic Museum last weekend changed my mind somewhat.

I had been searching for information about the war time heroes; Nelvana, Johnny Canuck, etc. From time to time I would land on another blog or site which featured a few pages from those 1940's books or on rare occasions a full issue.

The DCM is a gold mine though. Free, downloadable, public domain, golden age comics that obviously would be extremely difficult to obtain otherwise. And if the amount of content alone were not enough to impress, having a specific Canadian section is a juicy cherry on the sundae. They made it easy to access the early issues of Triumph Comics (among others) and our title character in particular, Captain Wonder.

Vernon Miller's Iron Man is considered the first Canadian superhero. But Captain Wonder is the first mask-and tights type. And while Iron Man was created by a Canadian, he lived in the ocean (???). "Capt. Wonder" (as his name was usually written), on the other hand, was in-your-face Canadian. To wit:

Did you pick up that he was a young Canadian going back to Canada to fight Canadian evil? In Canada?

Our boy had the strength of 100 men, great wisdom and speed, the power to fly like a bird and swim like a fish (which has to be better than swimming like iron).

He may not have had many appearances but it's still surprising to me that he's not better known. Not that our first lady Nelvana and Johnny Canuck don't deserve their iconic status, but this guy was our Superman! Dude should have been on a stamp or something! ;-)


  1. Actually, Captain Wonder is less a Canadian version of Superman than he is of the original Captain Marvel right down to them both getting their awesome abilities from white-bearded wizards who called upon supernatural entities to lend him their power, although Captain Wonder apparently never had to shout "Shazam!" in order to transform.
    According to the International Hero website, his secret identity was Toronto playboy Bob Victor, although as near as I can find out he never seemed to use it much.
    I have two coverless issues of Triumph Comics where he goes to hell to battle Satan and ends up hypnotizing the prince of darkness into believing he was a ballerina, only to end up getting slapped in the face by the damsel in distress he rescued for his troubles. He was also referred to in one panel as the Man of Steel(!).
    Like most Bell Features comics his costume colours were inconsistent on the covers (the interiors were black and white as pictured) where it was shown as either red or green and sometimes even with bare legs, although the mask was always black and the belt was always white.
    Although I've never seen it, according to what it says on the aforementioned International Hero page Captain Wonder once teamed up in issue 18 with his athletic Triumph Comics co-star Speed Savage, aka the costumed vigilante known as the White Mask as part of a reader request contest, giving Canadian readers their own Golden Age version of those Batman/Superman team-ups that are popular to this day.
    Hope these details are of some interest!


    1. I picked up on the Shazam similarities, in fact I could have sworn I'd pointed that out and I see now that I didn't. Odd...

      Man, I read those issues (online) in which he goes to hell. They're so terrible that they're almost good. ;-) But even though Nelvana, Johnny Canuck and a couple of others have seen a recent spike in popularity, if I had one character from that era that I could mess with and modernize, I'd choose Captain Wonder (and start with the name).

      I don't recall ever hearing about a team-up with Sped Savage though. That sounds pretty wild and I'll need to see about digging that up.

      Thanks for reading!