OTD: Canada bans import of comic books

On today’s date in 1940, the Government of Canada banned the import of comic books, paving the way for the development of home-grown war-time heroes like Johnny Canuck.

Rather than rely on U.S. imports to aid war efforts, a previous personification of Canadian culture was re-invented during the Second World War. The fictional lumberjack first appeared in political cartoons dating back to 1869, when he was portrayed as a younger cousin of Uncle Sam and John Bull, who were personifications of the U.S. and Britain, respectively. A hero without superpowers, Johnny Canuck was strong, brave and passionate about Canada.

More than a homegrown comic book hero, “Captain Canuck” personifies the spirit of Canadians by embodying self-sacrifice, determination and integrity—all with a full dose of humility and compassion.


In 1941, John Ezrin, of the Canadian comic book publisher Bell Features, saw a young boy browsing through a comic book at a newsstand.

The boy,  16-year-old Leo Bachle, was critical of the artwork and drew an action scene on the spot.

Ezrin, who was impressed with the boy’s work, asked him to create a character by the following morning.

That night, Johnny Canuck – Canada’s second national superhero – was born.


On Oct. 2, 1995, Canada Post commemorated Johnny Canuck alongside four other comic book superheroes in a five-stamp set (Scott #1579-83).

Johnny Canuck is depicted as he appeared in the comic books: he’s dressed in a flight jacket with goggles, leather headgear and boots. The 45-cent stamp (SC #1580) was printed by Ashton Potter and designed by Louis Fishauf based on Bachle’s drawings.

Leave a Reply

Canadian Stamp News


Canadian Stamp News is Canada's premier source of information about stamp collecting and related fields.

Although we cover the entire world of philatelics, the majority of our readers are Canadian, and we concentrate on the unique circumstances surrounding collecting in our native land.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Stamp News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $59.99/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier stamp publication. Canadian Stamp News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now