Cloudscape wants YOU for All-Canadian Comics, an anthology of Canadian-focused heroism inspired by classic Canadian comics from the Golden Age of Comic Books. Many of the characters in this anthology will be superheroes, those with special powers or skills skills who have adopted larger-than-life personas to confront injustice and evil. However, other kinds of Canadians heroes will also be featured: adventurers, explorers, men and women of exceptional character and dedication. Stories that deal with various Canadian social issues or minorities (ethnic or psychological) are encouraged, as are stories that explore what it means to be Canadian or what it means to be a hero.
The exact format of All-Canadian Comics has not yet been selected. The amount of people who are interested in contributing to the project will greatly determine this. One thing that has already been decided is that the anthology will be an “ebook” publication, so no physical books will be produced.
Keep the following in mind when planning your stories:
1. Each story must either take place in Canada (whether a Canada of the past, present, or future) or feature a clearly Canadian protagonist (or both).
2. One story that will be prominently featured in the anthology, written by Bevan Thomas, and illustrated by Jeff Ellis, is the story of Johnny Canuck, Canada’s greater WWII hero, returning in the modern age to reform the Allied Enigmas, a team of superheroes inspired by the “Canadian Whites” (the 1940s Canadian comic books). If you want to connect your stories or characters to this arc, either by telling stories of Allied Enigma members or by referring to them in some other way, you are totally free to do so. Alternately, you can instead just focus on your own characters in your story.
3. If you wish to create a story about someone not connected to the Allied Enigmas, the story must still be about a person who is a hero in some way. This can certainly be a superhero, but could instead be a hard-boiled detective, grizzled soldier, noble police officers or firefighters, ancient aboriginal warrior, adventurers of the far future, Flash-Gordon-esque figure thrown into a fantasy world, or something else entirely, as long as the protagonist can still be classified as a hero. The person could even be an historical figure, such as a prime minister, famous Mountie, or early Canadian explorer.
4. As mentioned previously, the editors are especially interested in stories that explore social issues facing Canada or are told from the perspectives of minorities, be they heroes of ethnic minorities, heroes of non-hetero sexuality, heroes of particularly faiths, heroes dealing with various mental issues (such as clinical depression or autism), or other heroes who are for whatever reason outside the norm. That said, the book will also feature light-hearted tales to counterbalance the more introspective one, and if you want to tell some grand adventure with no message beyond that of excitement and fun, then by all means send it to us, and we will be delighted to take a look.
5. Unlike with many other anthologies, it is our hope that all of the stories in All-Canadian Comics will exist in the same world (though characters can certainly be in the far past or future of that world or find themselves flung into fantasy realms). All the creators will keep the rights to their own characters, but a person will be allowed to refer to other peoples’ characters in his or her own story and vise versa, and nothing can happen in one story that would too dramatically contradict the generally flow of the world (such as Ottawa being reduced to a smoking crater). To facilitate this, everyone will create their heroes before creating their stories, giving the other comic artists an opportunity to incorporate other people’s characters in their own works.
Format for Submission
As All-Canadian Comics will in many ways be a more directed project than other anthologies, the submissions process will be a little different. Right now, we want people to tell us whether or not they are interested in participating in the anthology and if they are, what sort of hero are they most interested in writing about: a member of the Allied Enigmas, a separate reinterpretation of a Golden Age Canadian superhero, a totally new superhero, or someone who embodies a different kind of heroism. If we are not already familiar with your art, then also show us some samples of your work so we can decide whether or not you will be right for this project.
We are also open to submissions of scripts from writers who don’t have an artist and art samples from artists who don’t have a writer, but it is sometimes hard for us to match up artists and writers. Therefore, it often works best to have your whole team ready during the submission process.
To contact us about the project, either email Cloudscape Comics or speak with Bevan at one of Cloudscape’s Wednesday meetings (7:30 PM at the Grind Cafe, Vancouver).
To give you an idea of some of the ideas already going into this anthology, here is the core tale of the Allied Enigmas. Though they are all inspired by Golden Age Canadian superheroes, some have had their names changes to avoid copyright issues. The original names are mentioned in brackets.
Without a doubt, the most beloved Canadian hero of World War II was Johnny Canuck, a decorated captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force who became his country’s greatest weapon against the Axis. When eventually the Nazi inner circle brought together forces too powerful for Johnny to stand against alone, he formed a team of his country’s greatest mystery men and women, who became known as the Allied Enigmas. They included the aquatic powerhouse known as the Iron Man, the adventurer Freelance, the homefront’s defender Canada Jack, the ruthless crime-fighter the Loon (the Penguin), the mighty Captain Wonder, the spectral Ghost-Woman, the other-worldly explorer Brok Windsor, and the Inuit demigoddess Kinguyakkii (Nelvana). Together they faced down the Axis menace and helped the Allies win the war.
However, after the war ended the team fell apart, and many members were persecuted by the Canadian government and the populace for various reasons, such as religious beliefs, ethnicity, political affiliations, and, in the case of Canada Jack, homosexuality. Many of the Allied Enigmas abandoned their heroic identities, either returning to normal life or to far-off worlds, and the Golden Age of Wonder ended.
Now a new age is dawning. Johnny Canuck has returned, strangely still young, and he is resurrecting the team. Some members are old associates, others are heirs who have taken on the mantle of old heroes, and some are totally new. They will all face the greatest threats that Canada has ever known, but they will face them together.
If you wish more information on classic Canadian superheroes, the following websites are good resources:
Canadian Archives: Guardians of the North
International Superheroes: War-Time Heroes of Canada
Public Domain Superheroes: Canadian Characters
Digital Comic Museum: Canadian Comics