The Golden Age Of Canadian Comics, An Inuit Goddess And Kickstarter

Hope Nicholson writes for Bleeding Cool:

I've been obsessed with Nelvana, Inuit goddess of Northern Canada since I first heard about her. It's mind-boggling to me that I'm finally in a position to share this obsession with the rest of the world.

Here's my story, in as much of a nutshell as I can:

Nel1I was 18, and in my second year of university when I discovered the golden age of Canadian comic books. I admit, I felt very proud of myself that I joined this secret club of comic fans who knew about this era. It was only a few years later as I continued my research in depth that my pride turned into anger.

When I went to go read the comics finally, I discovered that it was basically impossible. The closest I got was to import the microfiche from the National Archives in Ottawa to my home library in Winnipeg. Every day after work for a month I would painstakingly go in and collect microfiche pages onto my USB. I managed to collect every page from the Triumph run of comics, approximately 2,000 pages in total and FINALLY I could read the comics. The only other alternative would have been to travel to the Archives in Ottawa and read them with cotton gloves on with an archivist standing over my shoulder, or paying upwards of $600 dollars on eBay for just a single issue.

I never stopped thinking about these comics. They were interesting, weird, fun, exciting, and NO ONE KNEW ABOUT THEM. That wasn't fair.

Nel2So I decided to produce a feature documentary about them. Luckily I managed to find a group of fans with the same idea, and together we worked to produce Lost Heroes, a documentary on Canadian superheroes that have fallen through the gap. It'll be on Canadian TV this fall. Along the way I found a friend just as excited about the Canadian golden age as I was, Rachel Richey worked at the Archives in Ottawa where she actually managed to read the comics in person, something that absolutely blew my mind.

Earlier this year, I realized that Rachel and I were suddenly in a position where we could bring this history back to the rest of the comics community. I knew the copyright owners, she had ties with the academic community, we could make it happen! We chose the best example of comic art from that period, Nelvana of the Northern Lights, as our first project, and the new crowdfunding platform for Canadians, Kickstarter as our avenue. Spending time hanging around at comic conventions and interviewing artists for the documentary meant that both Rachel and I had built some solid connections with artists in the city. We approached them carefully, knowing that working on tight deadlines they wouldn't want to take on anymore work. We were overwhelmed with the support we received. As of today, over a dozen high-profile web and print comic artists in Canada have signed up to contribute original art that we are using as incentives.

I launched the campaign with an extreme amount of anxiety and fear. This was compounded by the fact that my personal verification fell through, the campaign was delayed, and I was told that it could take up to a week to sort out – after I had told every single collector, fan, and friend I knew that we'd be launching on October 1. Miraculously, I worked it out and we launched only a few hours later than expected. Lesson: Always read the FAQs on Kickstarter, people. You can have your campaign approved MONTHS before you launch it if you wanted to!

Within three hours we were already at 1,000 dollars.

Rachel fainted. I screamed. How could we have expected that so many people would be as eager to read these comics as we were? Within four days, we were already over 70% of our goal.

I'm still anxious, we're not at 100% yet, and until we reach that magic number, I'm worried that we won't be able to make this happen. You, my readers, might be able to take this worry off my shoulders.

But I'll make it worth your while. If we reach the goal by Sunday October 6, before our appreciation party at the Silver Snail at 7 PM, we'll give a free print to everyone who's funded. Heck we'll give a free print to everyone who shows up at the party too (so come by if you're in Toronto!)

If all goes well, and the campaign's a success, we'll have finally restored a crucial part of Canadian and comic book history.

Wish us luck.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.