Saturday, April 11, 2015

Canadian Characters in Standard Comics

Remember Standard Comics?

Some time ago, I posted a fake cover of a book in which Captain Canuck and Commander Steel were fighting a half-robot, half-gorilla villain. Here's another, for example, with solicitation no less!

When three members of the Freedom Brigade decide to come to Canada to make demands of the War Department, some fighting Canucks remind them who won the War of 1812 (hint: it wasn't the Yankees). Since Canadians had been fighting against the Nazis since 1939, the Americans' "late" entry into the war did not put them in much of a position to make demands. So three of Canada's finest arrive at the Windsor-Detroit crossing, the Ambassador Bridge, to intercept the Yankees before they enter Canada. 
The writer Thomas Royale brings another issue of the retroactive series set in WWII, with perhaps a bit of pointed social commentary on how long it took to get the USA into a war the Canucks had been fighting for two years. Arvell Jones provides the dynamic cover, the first of many. 
Pencils by Arvell Jones, inks and colors by Christopher Ivy.
The three Canadian heroes in question, in the unlikely event that you are not familiar with them, are Commander Steel again, Nelvana of the Northern Lights and The Penguin at bottom left.

There is no such comic book, no matter how real the the images may seem. Roy Johnson, the man behind Standard, explains what the whole thing is about on a recently-built Facebook page:
Standard Comics was a real comic company until the 1950s when it went out of business. When I was commissioning art featuring Public Domain superheroes, I appropriated the name and logo as an imaginary 3rd publisher alongside DC and Marvel, doing fake covers and so on to give a glimpse into that alternative world. 
The art displayed on Mr. Johnson's Comic Art Fan gallery is convincing enough to fool people for a number of reasons. Many well-established artists have contributed to his hobby (including some Canadians in David Cutler and Geoff Isherwood), Mr. Johnson mixes golden age and/or public domain characters along with original creations, and the work tends to reflect a certain era very accurately.

But after years of fooling people, Mr. Johnson is now looking to take his interest to the next level.
"Standard Comics Encyclopedia (Abridged)" is a 30+ page comic in the style of Marvel's Handbook and DC's Who Who series: a group of illustrated profile entries on the exciting characters who populate the "Standard Comics Universe". 
The comic will be available in hard copy and digital form from IndyPlanet in the next few months. 
Several Public Domain characters (Magno, TNT Todd, Count Orlok, and others) are featured alongside a large number of my own original characters (Optima, UltraMan, Raven, etc.). 
If all goes well (hint hint, if I sell some copies and generate enough interest), I'll look into doing a traditional comic book featuring some of them. Here's hoping.
Mr. Johnson is well aware that he can not use Nelvana in his books but since he adds his own creations I'm hopeful that he'll use her (and the other Canadians he included in his fake material) as inspiration for a new character. I'm a big fan of those public domain heroes so I would have paid attention to the Standard's progress regardless, but at some point down the road I'd love to report a pleasant surprise from them. Wishing you luck, Mr Johnson!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, cool! Actually, I checked with both Corus Entertainment and the Archives - if you want to use any of the Bell Features Nelvana comics, you need a licence from them. If you just want to use the "character" of Nelvana, they have no interest.

    Although the final assembly is taking longer than I hoped due to, y'know, life, it's still going to get done.

    You can follow on Facebook:
    and Website:

    If you have any questions, let me know!