Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Is Canada ready for its own screen superhero?"

Much gratitude to the Toronto Star for the article below and more specifically for not making the notion seem like an absurd joke.

I don't feel right about copying the entire thing and in fact, I don't believe I'm "allowed" to, so I've copied what I consider to be the most pertinent portion.  For the full version, click here.
...isn’t it about time we had our own man or woman in tights fighting on the big screen for truth, justice and the Canadian way?

That day might be nearer than you expect. If only we could get over our own modesty for once and let Canada save the planet.

Winnipeg artists Richard Comely and Ron Leishman noted this gap in the comics 40 years ago. “We felt there was a void — something lacking in our pop culture,” says Comely, who now resides in Cambridge, Ont. So in 1975 they launched Captain Canuck. Decked out in patriotic red and white, Canuck was a government agent battling terrorists and space pirates after garnering super-strength from a close encounter with aliens.


...the good Captain may finally get a shot at live-action glory. Saskatchewan production company Minds Eye Entertainment is developing a feature-film adaptation it plans to promote at Comic-Con, the massive comics convention that runs July 12 to 15 in San Diego, Calif.

The Toronto Star has learned that Arne Olsen, who wrote the 2010 Canadian sci-fi film Repeaters, directed by Carl Bessai, will write the screenplay with input from Comely and executive producer David Cormican. While the budget will be a small fraction of The Avengers’ $220 million (figures U.S.), Cormican says he expects the movie will be “larger than any other Canadian independent film.” Minds Eye’s most expensive title to date is the forthcoming $18 million French coproduction The Tall Man, starring Jessica Biel.


Captain Canuck wasn’t the only Canadian costumed crusader. Lost Heroes, a documentary now in the works, reminds us that during the Second World War, a ban on imported print materials meant issues of Superman and Batman could not cross the border into Canada, and publishers here took advantage by launching their own comic book do-gooders.

It was a Canadian golden age, however brief, for comic superheroes. Among those kicking Nazi butt were Canada Jack (strengthened by our clean air and water), Johnny Canuck (who nearly ends the war despite no superpowers) and Nelvana of the Northern Lights. Predating Wonder Woman by five months, Nelvana, female protector of the Inuit, was able to fly, shape-shift and turn invisible.


Artists have injected plenty of Can-con into the American books they’ve drawn. Dale Eaglesham, who works out of his home in Vankleek Hill, Ont., illustrated last year’s reboot of Alpha Flight, a team of Canadian heroes including Guardian (who looks an awful lot like Captain Canuck), Sasquatch and Northstar. The characters, created in 1979 by Edmonton-raised John Byrne, first appeared in the pages of Marvel’s The Uncanny X-Men, a group that numbers Alberta’s Wolverine as one of its members. The new Alpha Flight series lasted only eight issues.

Eaglesham believes the title wasn’t renewed because “There are no known superstars. We did bring in Wolverine, the most famous Canadian comic book character. But with Canadian superheroes you don’t get a lot of support, even from Canadian readers. They’ll still follow the X-Men and Batman.

“That’s an issue for Canadian musicians, artists and moviemakers,” he adds.

Nonetheless, he insists Alpha Flight would make the ideal Canadian superhero flick “because of the variety and strength of those characters, and the fact they’re a team and it all takes place in Canada. It’s a rich tapestry for movies. I’m surprised no one’s even thought to do that. Maybe people think big things don’t happen in Canada.”

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