Happy Canada Day, Folks.
Those were the words that kicked off the first episode of the Captain Canuck Animated Webseries that hit the web this very day last year. It was the first chapter in a five part adventure that showcased the Canadian hero’s battle with the villainous Mr. Gold. This year, Canuck is keeping the action going, but this time in comic form with the Captain Canuck Summer Special (First Canada Day Edition). With two new stories featuring the Captain along with a yearbook-style wrap up of the festivities of the past year and interviews and write ups on some of the folks involved the making of all things Canuck, this comic has more of a “comics magazine” feel with lots of material to digest and enjoy. And here’s the big kicker – IT’S FREE. Distributed to comic shops and libraries across the country, this comic is free of charge and in limited quantities (making it a collector’s item for any of you out there who care about the rarity of things). With all this material in just one book, one might ask if the quality is maintained throughout. If you’re a fan of the Captain, I would say yes.
The book begins with two very special messages: one from Captain Canuck Creator, Richard Comely, the other from the Governor General of Canada. It’s great to see the involvement of Comely in the evolution of his own creation and his words are timely and a great way to start off the book. The Governor General’s comments are surprising as it’s not common to get a message from the government endorsing the cultural importance of a superhero. But seeing as this a hero who drapes himself in the flag, it’s hard not to acknowledge his positive patriotic pursuits. The book’s main event is served up next with two new stories featuring the “classic” Canuck character. The first is written by Paul Gardner and Dean Henry, the writers and creative directors of the Canuck webseries, and is designed to be just plain fun! Think back to your childhood days of playing with action figures and some of the fantastical stories you created for your toys to participate in. That’s what this story is and has the pacing and energy of a little boy’s imagination. A cute story with A LOT of action beats. The second story harkens back to the former incarnation of the character as it’s written by Richard Comely and drawn by George Freeman. This tale is a bit of a time travel episode as the Captain is stuck back in 1981 (13 years in his past as the original timeline for Canuck had him living in 1994). Canuck is a man out of time and has another “visitor” tagging along with him on his journey that could cause more than a bit of trouble if he’s seen by any civilians of that era. If you’re a fan of the original comic, you will enjoy the nostalgia that this story will bring you as it’s very much like it was back in the day. The back pages of the comic are filled with a number of supplemental features including character bios for the new version of Canuck and his supporting cast as they were presented in the animated series, interviews with Kalman Andrasofvsky (the cartoonist for the upcoming Captain Canuck series) and David Pea (from UDReplicas, the company that’s made a real, live version of the current Canuck uniform as a motorcycle suit), a time line of events on the making of the Canuck series and even a directory on special events, comic shops and comic conventions across Canada. All in all, the most bang for your FREE, indeed.
While I think that it’s great that the CC crew were able to bring us such a dense and full comic special and at such a great price, my only real complaint is that this book speaks to the current Canuck fan only. I was interested in this comic because I’ve been following the journey of the webseries and am looking forward to the upcoming comic series. There was something here for me. But what about someone who hasn’t heard about any of the happenings with the character from the past year? What about someone who’s never even heard of Captain Canuck before this one-shot? Sure, there’s a few bios in the middle of the book and Comely gives a bit of history in the intro, but there’s really nothing in this book that easily invites new readers. I’m not saying that new fans need things spelled out for them but a quick intro comic strip at the front might’ve been a nice touch.
Overall, this was a fun little read and is worth checking out if you’ve been following the Captain Canuck-Mania that’s been happening over the past year. If you don’t know what stores or libraries near you are carrying the Captain Canuck Summer Special, a list of all participating locations in Canada is available at the Captain Canuck webiste. Check it out and have a Happy Canada Day!
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!