Friday, November 8, 2013

Johnny Canuck reinvented, part one

After a couple of months of having nothing to add to the "Solicitations" page, I recently removed it and created the "$1 Box" at the top right of the blog, just under the banner.  Its goal should be rather obvious; I wanted to display books that I knew were being sold for only a dollar and thereby direct readers to an inexpensive method by which they can support Canadian talent and/or creators.

While preparing that page, one of the books I tried to locate was Legion Unleashed by (at the time) Raven Entertainment.  I remembered buying the two issues at the time for a dollar each but couldn't recall if that was a temporary special price, if I'd bought from creator/writer Richard Evans, and so on.

To some surprise, I found the first issue on Comixology under a publisher called "Round Two Comics".  The name was entirely unfamiliar to me so, as I seem to do frequently nowadays, I asked Evans about it on Twitter. He confirmed that it was indeed a return to the comics medium (Evans had announced last year that he was no longer producing comics) and that the second issue would be added soon.

Evans then dangled a bit of news in front of me that I totally misunderstood.  Here's how it was worded:
TOP SECRET: I plan on doing my first Kickstarter soon, reinventing a Canadian icon. :)
Because we were specifically talking about Legion, I believed his intention was to create a fundraising campaign to complete that series.  His plan is actually a new take on Johnny Canuck.

Art by Emilio Martinez Epigmenio

A little jarring, eh?  You were probably expecting something more like the stamp version at right.

There's an aspect to that character that Evans rejects.  Here's a portion of an entry on his own blog that provides a simple explanation.
“Johnny Canuck is linked to a tradition of stalwart, honest, upstanding Canadian heroes.”

See this is where me and the old ways have to part ways. Why do Canadians have to be one-dimensional?? Why can’t we have a badass, scary hero who takes no prisoners??
Fair enough, and not at all surprising considering the source.  My favourite character in the Legion series is beyond the shadow of a doubt Black Flag, who is the very type that Evans describes. 

And I find the lumberjack look an interesting direction in which to take the character.  Google "Johnny Canuck" and most of the image results you'll get involve the Vancouver Canuck's logo.  I don't watch the NHL, but I would think a strong case could be made that their image of "Johnny Canuck" is more recognized than the WW2 version.  The notion of a lumberjack type named Johnny Canuck shouldn't appear unusual to the general public.

While Evans' blog posts about Johnny debate whether to proceed with the Kickstarter campaign, it sounds like he ultimately will go ahead with it.  To be frank, I'm worn out on Indiegogo and Kickstarter, but this is one I look forward to supporting.

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