During one of my many online searches for Canadian heroes, I came across Jason Dittmer's book "Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero". In his book, Dittmer studies the significance of the flag-wearing comic book characters (including Captain Canuck) in society.
Amazon: "He argues that these iconic superheroes contribute to our contemporary understandings of national identity, the righteous use of power, and the role of the U.S., Canada, and Britain in the world."The book was recently reviewed by Noah Berlatsky for reason.com. In his review, Berlatsky suggests that such characters have been increasingly irrelevant for some time.
From the '60s to the present—the period on which Dittmer focuses most of his attention—superhero comics have been a more and more marginal, subcultural interest.I directed the review to Mr Dittmer as an opposing viewpoint, somehow not taking into account that he might find it disappointing. In this case, perhaps ignorance would have been bliss. If so, I apologize for that.
Dittmer speaks approvingly of subverting nationalist superhero archetypes, oblivious to the extent to which globalization has subverted sovereignty. Nationalist superheroes aren't what they once were. And that, contra Dittmer, is why more people focus on fantasies and/or nightmares about power without borders.
I haven't read Mr Dittmer's book (yet) so I can not comment directly on his position. I do know that I largely disagree with Noah Berlastky's.
I think it is more accurate to say that the significance of nationalist characters has shifted. They are no longer used as inspiration, but they can still be reflective of a country's general mindset and as such be culturally significant.
Wow. That sounded a little heavy considering that it was in reference to a sporting event.
But it does seem, at least in my day-to-day experience, that displays of Canadian pride are more common of late. Suddenly, Captain Canuck, and similar characters, started to be seen more frequently. A movie based on the Captain is finally starting to get legs. An animated version of the character was recently revealed. Canadian actor Nathan Fillion dresses as "Captain Canada" for Halloween, and the handful of pictures are displayed on many entertainment sites and social media. We can now look forward to an anthology comic (True Patriot) and book (Masked Mosaic).
I don't credit the increase in expressive pride specifically to Olympic results, of course. That was just an easy outlet. I expect that the cause goes much deeper.
Whatever the exact cause, I struggle to assume that the increase in visibility and acceptance of patriotic characters in the last 2-3 years is coincidental. It may not always be in comic book form, but the actual format is irrelevant. So long as the character's primary appeal is his nationality, then that should speak for itself.
The national superhero may no longer be used as a rallying point. He is no longer a tool to increase patriotism. I would suggest that he is now the result of it. Simplified, when Canadians feel good about Canada, Captain Canuck (and similar characters) is cool.