The Canadian comic book heroes of the early forties are the hardest to find. Their fame was short-lived. They appeared between 1940 and 1945. The War Exchange Conservation Act was passed in 1940 and it prevented the importation of British and American comic books, which had dominated the market (and continued to dominate after the act was repealed). But perseverance pays off and the retired comic book heroes slowly begin to reappear as aged retired heroes in the wood engraver's imagination.

"Major Domo and JoJo (ret.)" © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $150.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)

(JoJo is the one on top.) Here's a hero that takes the prize as the most bizarre of all the Canadian comic book heroes from this era. Major Domo lost his arms at Arnhem during WWII. The Major teamed up with a leg-less dwarf named JoJo who rode on Major Domo's shoulders as his assistant (and his arms). They became one under a trench coat and went throughout Europe bringing saboteurs and evildoers to justice.

"Mr. Totem (ret.)" © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $150.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)

Mr. Totem was an expert on totem poles, an academic, as well as a super sleuth of the supernatural. He had a way of picking up clues about crimes by communing with totem poles. Even though totem poles were a tradition with the natives of the northwest coast of North America, this comic book hero studied the totem poles from "all over the world"!

"Nelvana (ret.)" © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $150.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)

Nelvana was the beautiful daughter of Koliak the Mighty, king of the northern lights. Nelvana fought to protect her northern brothers from the evil "Ether People". When called to help she was seen descending in a bright light and would apply her powers, inherited from her father, to rid the north of evil. Nelvana also enjoyed the company of a large great dane.

"Thunderfist (ret.)" © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $150.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)

Comic book heroes had everyday lives when they were not saving humanity and Thunderfist was no excepltion. His name was Randy Steele and he ran a scientific laboratory where he invented a costume to help him fight crime and he would don the costume when there was a sign of danger. This included a glove that let him shatter solid material, a bullet-proof helmet (no mention of any other bullet-proof part of the costume) and shoes that allowed him to fly.

(two prints left in the edition)

"Retired Comic Book Heroes" © hand coloured woodengraving (ed. 10) image: 8 x 10 in. $500.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)

The problem of identity plagued the Canadian retired comic book hero series. It seemed important to introduce the world to some of these characters by creating a print with individual panels for each hero, so here they are. The texts are quotations (for the most part) directly from the comic books. The portraits of the retired heroes, of course, come from the imagination.

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