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Guardians of the NorthSuperhero ProfilesCreator Biographies
Guardians of the NorthCreator BiographiesSmashing the Axis: The Canadian National Superheroes of the Forties
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Near the end of 1941, Dingle joined the Toronto comics firm Bell Features and Publishing, bringing Triumph Comics with him. In 1942 Bell began to expand its line of comics. Among the new titles was Dime Comics, which featured the second Canadian national superhero – Johnny Canuck.

Johnny, who derived in part from his political-cartoon namesake, was the creation of a high-school student named Leo Bachle. Forced to watch the war from the sidelines, Bachle invested Johnny's adventures with his own adolescent fantasies of wartime heroism. As this portrait reveals, Johnny bore a close resemblance to his creator.

An Allied air captain, Johnny operated as a secret agent, working with partisans and guerilla forces. Although Johnny fought the Axis powers in Libya, Russia, Africa, China, Tibet, Yugoslavia, and the South Pacific, his most memorable adventure was probably the early mission which took him to Germany.

These four pages are from Johnny's German adventure, which saw him join the anti-Nazi underground in Berlin itself. In this sequence the resourceful Canadian superhero, disguised as a Nazi officer, confronts Adolph Hitler in his own headquarters!


In 1943 Johnny Canuck was joined on the newsstands by another male national superhero – Canada Jack. Created by the artist George Menendez Rae, Jack appeared in Canadian Heroes, which was published by Educational Projects of Montreal. Unlike its competitors, Educational viewed comics primarily as a medium for education.

Canada Jack's adventures lasted until October 1945, when the influx of U.S. comics (no longer banned) and other factors led to the demise of comics publishing in English Canada. In many ways, the careers of Canada Jack and Johnny Canuck complemented each other. While Johnny fought the Axis abroad, Jack was a hero for the home front.

Harry J. Halperin, the publisher of Canadian Heroes, saw Canada Jack's adventures as an opportunity to connect with his publication's readers. As a result, he organized the Canada Jack Club, which allowed kids to feel more involved with their hero and which enabled Halperin's firm, Educational Projects, to celebrate the activities of real-life children who were contributing to the war effort. Most issues of Canadian Heroes featured pages devoted to both CJC members and Honour Members such as Joyce Lambert.

Canada's home-front hero had to outwit a host of Nazi agents and dupes: firebugs, rumour mongers, black marketeers and kidnappers. In his fourth adventure Canada Jack was pitted against shipyard saboteurs. In these four pages, the story concludes with Jack, aided by a young member of the Canada Jack Club, capturing an evil chemist who has been using acid to sabotage ship production.

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