Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dive in to Our New Book! The Comic Art of George Feyer

The Comic Art of George Feyer: 1921-1967

Learn how George Feyer eluded the Russian Bear and went on to live a full and happy life as one of Canada's greatest cartoonists! The booklet will be available at the Doug Wright Awards being presented 8pm Thursday, September 14th at The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto (1214 Queen St West).

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Monday, July 24, 2006

It Happened in Canada!

The Canadian Comic Art Centre is proud to present "It Happened in Canada: The Art of Cartoonist Gordon Johnston" by Jeet Heer.

It Happened in Canada is the best-known strip by Johnston, a skilled cartoonist and illustrator who worked for many years at the Ottawa Citizen. The strip was a daily dose of Canadian history in the single panel style pioneered by the American Robert Ripley (in fact, it is rumoured that the Believe It or Not folks once took a legal interest in Johnston's strip).

Book collections of It Happened in Canada were very popular a few decades ago but are now largely out-of-print. Now, thanks to Jeet Heer, we learn a little something about the strip and its creator.

For those who may not know, Jeet Heer is a respected journalist, academic and comics historian who is based in Toronto. Considered one of our most important comics critics and scholars, he has written on the comics artform (and many other subjects) for the National Post, Boston Globe, Comics Journal, and others. As an editor, he is responsible for two remarkable book projects: Walt and Skeezix, the complete Gasoline Alley by Frank King (Volume 2 just came out), and Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium (with Kent Worcester).

Our thanks to Jeet for this article:

It Happened in Canada

Friday, July 07, 2006

Prehistoric Simpkins

Jim Simpkins is mostly remembered as the cartoonist behind Jasper the Bear, which ran for decades as a single panel gag cartoon in Maclean's Magazine. Jasper and Simpkins are always linked together and other aspects of the artist's career are rarely mentioned. What a pleasure then to discover another little-seen Simpkins strip.

For several years, Simpkins also drew an infrequent comic strip about cavemen. In the vein of Johnny Hart's B.C. and Edward Reed's prehistoric cartoons for Punch, these cavemen cartoons show another side of Simpkins. They are sequential where Jasper is a static panel and somewhat racy where Jasper is sweet and childlike. Several of the cavemen strips (like the one featured here) are variations on a battle of the sexes theme and feature dim-witted, club-weilding cavemen pursuing toothsome cavewomen.

The example featured here is from Weekend Magazine, November 26, 1966.

(apologies for the blurry scan)

Friday, June 30, 2006


To celebrate the beginning of Summer and Canada Day, the Canadian Comic Art Centre presents this great panorama by cartoonist Peter Whalley. Taken from the cover of the August 16, 1958 issue of Maclean's Magazine, Whalley's cartoon illustrates the enormous difference a generation makes in the experience of the seasons. The huge colourful image of frolicking kids --probably taken from Whalley's own childhood memories-- in contrast with the dull black-and-white tableau of the tv-addicted boys of the 1950s is a perfect mute comment on technological change and the loss of innocence, issues that continue to preoccupy us today.

Whalley was a prolific contributor to Maclean's and other major publications during the 1950s and 60s, with many cover credits, interior feature illustrations, ads, cartoons and comic strips. He was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 2005.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Early Ben Wicks

Ben Wicks was one of the most successful cartoonists ever to live in Canada. He had his own tv show for many years and his cartoons appeared worldwide. Perhaps best known for his syndicated strip The Outcasts. Interested in literacy, his family continues a reading program in his name. Born in England in 1926, Wicks came to Canada as a youth and eventually found his way to cartooning after a variety of jobs. He received many honours during his lifetime before dying of cancer in 2000 (full bio). He is also memorialized in the Ben Wicks Pub in Toronto --Wicks was co-owner of the popular watering hole for some time and the place still features his artwork throughout (exterior and interior).

The sequential cartoon above is from an early 1960s issue of the Saturday Evening Post, a defunct U.S. magazine that shared the best cartoonists with The New Yorker and a few other magazines for a time. Wicks broke into this tough U.S. market when he was just starting out and went on to conquer most other outlets then available to him, including editorial cartooning and children's book illustration.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Giants of the North

Introducing our new logo for the Giants of the North!

The great design above, for the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame, is by renowned cartoonist Seth. Thanks to Seth for taking time out of his busy schedule to work on this project!

A new inductee to the Giants will be announced at the 2006 Doug Wright Awards.

Giants of the North

Friday, January 20, 2006

Iron Man

New at the Canadian Comic Art Centre:

Vernon Miller's Iron Man

-a new page featuring a great image of the first comic book super-hero published in Canada with links to the full story

Iron Man by Vernon Miller