Top 10 Canadian Superheroes
July 23rd, 2013
The Wolverine comes to theaters this Friday, and us Canadians couldn’t be more excited. Why? Because Logan hails from the Great White North, eh, and just might be Canada’s most popular superhero. Or is he? Let’s find out…
Creators: Len Wein and John Romita, Sr.
Debut: The Incredible Hulk #181 (1974)
Powers: Healing factor, retractable claws, super senses, and an adamantium skeleton.
C’mon, an obvious choice, right? It’s a point of Canadian pride that one of Marvel’s most popular superheroes hails from the Canada (he’s not the only one either, see our #2 entry) – not to mention that he’s one of the fiercest characters in Marv’s roster and comes from a country that has a reputation for peace-keeping. Is that ironic? Let’s ask fellow Canadian Alanis Morissette.
Alright, alright, calm down God from Dogma.
9. Capitaine Kébec
Creator: Pierre Fournier
Debut: Les Aventures du Capitaine Kébec No. 1 (1973)
Powers: Super strength, speed and flight
Considered to be Quebec’s first national superhero, Capitaine Kébec was a spoof of the American superhero genre and the state of Canadian society at the time. And sure, he doesn’t look like much (his cape is a towel!) and he got his powers by meditating in a forest while high, but he’s still a pretty cool hero. Heck, he even fought Captain Haddock from Tintin!
Creator: Leo Bachle
Debut: Dime Comics No. 1 (1942)
Ah, Johnny Canuck – the Canadian ideal of manhood. This guy is our country’s version of Captain America, but without the tights and shield (that’s right, our guy is so bad-ass that he doesn’t need weapons or armor). However, Mr. Canuck is not completely powerless: He has super-strength, which he uses to beat the crap outta Nazis (hey, it was the ’40s – everyone and their mothers were beating up Nazis… except for the Nazis).
7. Northern Light
Creator: T. Casey Brennan
Debut: Orb Nos. 2 (1974)
Powers: Derived from light, NL’s powers include the ability to turn invisible, burst into uncontrolled radiance, and transport via light beams.
Northern Light’s backstory is pretty heavy: Award-winning architect Ian Davis, the man who would become Northern Lights, becomes so disillusioned with modern architecture that he packs up his family and moves outta the city and into the wilderness (as one would). That’s where sh*t gets weird: The Davis’ then get abducted by aliens who run torturous experiments on the family, going so far as to murder Ian’s wife and son! Fortunately for Mr. Davis, a bunch of Canadian secret agents show up and save him (hooray, talk about your tax dollars at work).
Now, are you ready for that Twilight Zone twist ending to this story arc that sounds like it’s lifted directly from that show I just said? Ready? Ok: Those alien experiments have granted Ian Davis superpowers, and he spends the rest of his days as the hero known as Northern Light. Wait, what? Really? That’s it? No weird comeuppance for the guy who quit his career and forced his family to move to the middle of nowhere, resulting in their abduction, torture and murder? Nothing? See, this is why you’ll never get a movie deal, NL.
6. Captain Canada
Creators: Geoffrey and Scott Stirling
Debut: Captain Newfoundland No. 1 (1981)
Powers: CC’s armor allows him to fly, become invisible, shoot lasers, and create holographic duplicates of himself, among other abilities. He also has innate mental powers.
Captain Canada is actually a spin-off of the Captain Newfoundland comic strip that appeared in the Sunday Herald from 1979-80. In fact, Captain Newfoundland is responsible for the creation of Captain Canada, after having selected he who would act as the nation’s guardian (i.e. Daniel Eaton). CC is one of the few Canadian superheroes to actually make it beyond the realm of comics and into other mediums: His likeness has been used in TV promos, he’s appeared in parades, and there was even a Captain Newfoundland made-for-TV movie in which CC makes an appearance.
Creator: Adrian Dingle
Debut: Triumph-Adventure Comics #1 (1941)
Powers: Flight, super-speed, invisibility, and can call upon the powers of the Aurora Borealis to do other stuff. Oh yeah, and she’s immortal.
Adrian Dingle was inspired to create Nelvana of the Northern Lights after his friend, Group of Seven artist Franz Johnston, told him stories about the Inuit legends Johnston had learned during a trip to the Arctic. Putting his own spin on said legends, Dingle turned Nelvana into a superhero, and sent her off to fight Axis forces and Nazis (again, this was during the 1940s). How did Nelvana get her powers? Well, her father was a god, Koliak, King of the Northern Lights.
Creators: Mark Shainblum and Gabriel Morrissette
Debut: New Triumph Featuring Northguard (1984)
Powers: Can shoot bolts of energy from his arms, and can use that energy to create a forcefield.
Northguard is kinda like Canada’s answer to Iron Man… kinda: Y’see, Northguard’s power is derived from a personal-weapons system called the Uniband, which grants its wearer the firepower of an army battalion. The Uniband is given to one Phillip Wise who, as Northguard, battles the forces of ManDES (a collective who wants to force a merger between Canada and the U.S. under a theocratic dictatorship). Northguard’s adventures, which later included his sidekick Fleur de Lys, often tackled political issues, from espionage to Canadian-U.S. relations, corporate ethics to the impact religion has on the world. Very heavy stuff, if you ask me (I just like it when stuff blows up).
3. Scott Pilgrim
Creator: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Debut: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life Vol. 1 (2004)
Powers: Pretty good fighting skills for a slacker
Scott Pilgrim isn’t so much a superhero as he is just a dude who is unnaturally good at fighting (c’mon, he’s a 23 year-old slacker who kicks butt like he’s freakin’ Goku). Reading this series is almost like consuming the literary version of a video game – and it’s intended that way. But heck, if you’re not into reading (then why are you here?) you could just rent the movie, which stars Canada’s sweetheart,
Justin Bieber Michael Cera. Or play the video game.
Creators: Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza
Debut: The New Mutants #98 (1991)
Powers: Healing factor, superhuman stamina and reflexes
Yep, apparently ol’ Wade Wilson is Canadian – who’d thought? Initially, the Merc with a Mouth was introduced as a villain, but as his popularity grew, the character headlined his own series (a few of ’em, actually), as well as a newly released video game and cameos in Marvel’s animated shows. Oh, and let’s not forget that Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds played him in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
On second though, let’s forget.
1. Captain Canuck
Creators: Ron Leishman and Richard Comely
Debut: Captain Canuck #1 (1975).
Powers: Super strength and speed
Not to be confused with Guardian from Alpha Flight (seriously, check him out – they’ve got like identical costumes), Captain Canuck may be one of the most popular Canadian superheroes of all time. There have been three different incarnations of the character with three different guys wearing the red and white, but the original CC was Tom Evans, a secret agent who gains powers after exposure to alien Zeta rays.
Captain Canuck’s popularity has resurfaced as of late, and there’s a new animated web series which you can check out here.