Friday, March 30, 2012

From time to time, look past the obvious

I was looking for information the other night and one of my search engine results directed me to a comics-based message board. It wasn't specific to Canadian books, but someone had started a thread asking about Canadian heroes other than Alpha Flight.

One Canadian poster lamented the lack of Canadian characters in comics, to which an American reader suggested that perhaps the Canadian poster should support Canadian comics. Crazy, eh?

The response? Basically that there was little out there to support so there's no point. That's a common attitude in many forms of entertainment and I'll never understand it.

All right, disclaimer time. I have no direct or indirect involvement with the Heroes of the North aside from enjoying the material they put out there. In other words, I’m not promoting something I have a stake in, other than as a fan. They just happen to be the best example in this case.

It’s also not a dump on Alpha Flight. I have most of their material, with the exception of some gaps in volume one, and many of their guest appearances. But those that perceive Alpha Flight as the only current Canadian hero option are mistaken.

Heroes of the North are not Alpha Flight and to their credit(in my opinion) they don’t pretend to be. They can’t match Marvel’s output of a regular (or limited) monthly series when Marvel happens to see fit that there should even be an output. But they maintain a steady stream of material. Comics are only a small part of their whole package. But for that part of the package, they have drawn from a pretty impressive stable of Canuck talent, including Big Two veterans Ty Templeton and Geoff Isherwood.

And while Alpha Flight is little more than an afterthought to Marvel, HotN’s entire attention is dedicated to their characters. They care about them, and along those lines, HotN are far more interactive through social media and they seem genuine in their appreciation of interest. In other words, they are fan-friendly, as opposed to Marvel, which has disappointed Alpha Flight fans numerous times.

There are other options if Heroes of the North is not your deal. Arcana appears to be based out of Vancouver and strays a fair bit from the superhero genre. And this part of the Joe Shuster Awards website lists other Canadian comic book publishers, most of which wander even further off from that theme.

Bottom line; that the "scene" doesn't appear to be very strong is not a reason to avoid supporting it. It's actually the very best reason to do that very thing.


  1. I'm happy to tell you that they have more good comics coming soon...

    Thanks for keeping it Canadian!

  2. And I'm happy to hear it! And appreciate your part in it!

    Really, when you look at the variety of products offered by HotN, I find what they've accomplished pretty damn impressive.

    Now change those glasses. ;-)