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.
CREATED AMID WORLD WAR
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.
1995 JOHNNY CANUCK STAMP
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.