It is no secret that Canadians are under represented in the mainstream comic book world, with perhaps the exception of Marvel Comics, which has a significant amount of Canadians in their Universe, besides their Canadian superteam Alpha Flight (although most of the females are in Alpha Flight).
And when it comes to female superheroes, they are a rare breed indeed all across, although Marvel can be commanded again for having a team that is more or less balanced in terms of genders and several of their team members do figure prominently in our little list.
While we try our best here at Heroes of the North to keep a balanced team with a healthy dose of kick ass heroines, we thought it would be cool to make a list of our top ten favourites.
Without further ado, here is our list of top ten Canadian female superheroes:
10. Lady Canuck:
This should be more an honourable mention more than anything but we could not even find ten real female Canadian superheroes! There are a few variations of Captain Canuck as a female floating around the web, apparently the result of some contest.
Writer Jeff Lemire is apparently creating a Cree superhero called Equinox for his Justice League of Canada book but since we have not yet read it, it is hard to pass judgement at this point. Definitely an odd costume choice though.
9. Marrina (Alpha Flight)
Marrina is from an alien species known as Plodex. Her egg was found by Tom Smallwood, a fisherman in Newfoundland, who gave it to his wife Gladys. When Gladys broke the shell she imprinted Marrina with Human female DNA. Marrina grew up mostly normal, except for her odd appearance. She came to the attention of Alpha Flight and was part of the team in the first incarnation and has been on and off ever since.
Being an alien, she has a complicated history (not to mention a cheesy origin) and her powers are more or less linked to water: she is an amphibian, able to swim at tremendous speeds and has limited control over water. She also secretes at will a substance that renders her attacker temporarily blind and has some shape shifting abilities.
Not the most interesting character but there are so few female Canadian heroes, she is worth a mention.
8. Talisman (Alpha Flight):
Yet another Alpha Flight Member, Talisman is the daughter of Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen aka Shaman, another member of Alpha Flight. She is an archeologist who focus on First Nations findings and artefacts. She has a strained relation with her father, who could not save her dying mother as a child, despite promising her he would. She has inherited some mystical powers and as a result, been forced to re-establish contact with her father. She is a reluctant superhero most of the time, one of the rare Alpha Flight members not trained by the Canadian government, and quite frankly, a bit of a First Nation cliché character.
7. Nanook (Northern Guard)
Created by our pal Ty Templeton because of rights issues in regards to Nelvana and therefore strongly reminescent of both Nelvana and Snowbird, Nanook Iluak is also an Inuit goddess, both powerful and somewhat at odds with the human woman she shares her form with. As Anne Knight, she is the romantic interest of Johnny Canuck in the story that was attempting to revive the old Canadian Golden Age heroes. While the characterization was very interesting and we would have like to see more of her, there is one thing that always stood out: the costume is silly, even for a northern goddess and despite the obvious Frazetta-esque inspiration… Sorry Ty!
6. Snow Bird (Alpha Flight):
Strongly inspired by Nelvana (her mother is Nelvanna - see how clever that is?), Snowbird is yet another Inuit demigodess with strangely blonde hair that shares a body with a human, she is a shape shifter destined to fight the mystical evil forces of the Ancients Ones. While not the worst character of its ilk - it falls prey to the typical cliché of First Nations characterization: make the character mystical and mysterious, throw in some primordial deities and call it a day. We have nothing against using religious symbols, rituals and deities but when it is almost the only thing that defines the character as First Nations, it is lazy. Characters are individuals, first and foremost and while being of First Nations will certainly influence who they are, wrapping that up with just a veneer of folkloric deities is an easy way out. That being said, SnowBird was given a few stories to shine in, especially during the John Byrne Alpha Flight run, hence why she runs fairly high in the list.
This very hard to find (and as far as we know) unfinished series started as a webcomic experiment by writer Mark Shainblum and PEI illustrator Sandy Carruthers. Unfortunately, most of the material has disappeared from the interwebs and they were never published per say. Having read most of the run, we can only go from memory but the story was quite convoluted, dealing with other dimensions and Canadiana was the embodiment of the “spirit” of Canada, with flight and super strength powers. It was an interesting experiment that strayed from the typical superhero fare while retaining some of its elements. The costume was definitely something refreshing and not your conventional female superhero outfit. Definitely a breath of fresh air.
Heather McNeil is the now estranged wife of James Hudson (Guardian), leader of Alpha Flight. She herself led Alpha Flight for quite a while, changing names and costumes a few times in the tenure and enjoys a similar power set than her husband, which includes flight and some level of enhanced strength amongst other things, courtesy of the technology in the costume developped by her husband.
4. Vindicator (Alpha Flight):
She is an interesting character because she is a take charge type of person, although the early incarnation made her also weirdly smitten by her scientist husband, she eventually grew on her own as a strong independant woman, until the character got mucked up in silly alternate universe and alternate histories timeline that kind of destroyed the potential of the character in our humble opinion. Hopefully down the line they will give her back some dignity.
3. Aurora (Alpha Flight):
Possibly the most interesting of all the female Alpha Flight characters, and not only because she has a split personality disorder, is French speaking (she is from Quebec), is a Marvel Universe mutant, has a twin (Northstar) and was raised by abusive Catholic nuns and separated in a young age from her brother.
Her powers consist of flight, superspeed and when she joins hands with her brother, they can create a bright flash of light for no particular reason, although it is useful to blind enemies.
Her multiple Personality Disorder is what makes her interesting. As Aurora, she is a carefree, sexually liberated woman with very little inhibitions. As Jeanne-Marie, she is a repressed, borderline bigot, conservative who is afraid of men and pretty much anything. The Jeanne-Marie personality seems to manifest itself in times of intense stress or fear, especially in restricted spaces as Aurora is claustrophobic.
2. Fleur-de-Lys (Northguard):
Yet another Canadian female superhero character created by Mark Shainblum, Fleur-de-Lys is an accomplished French Canadian martial artist that trains Northguard after his first not so successful adventure. She eventually takes the mantle and costume of Fleur-de-Lys and becomes sort of the unofficial sidekick of Northguard, a role she seems to relish and enjoy. Unfortunately, the character will never really fully reach its potential as the character was never further explored. It has also the distinction of being the sole female Canadian superhero to have its own Canada Post stamp.
1. Nelvana of the Northern Lights:
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. Her powers include flight, immortality (being a half-goddess), super-speed, invisibility, and can call upon the powers of the Aurora Borealis to do other stuff.
Notable for being one of the first female superheroines (there was a few more obscure characters that made it before her but she did beat the amazon Wonder Woman by three months!)
So there you have it! What do you think of our list? Who is your favourite Canadian superheroine? Let us know in the comments below!
The Canadian comic book by Ty Templeton - page 1 colours
It is here! Lots of first on this one: The first full on Canadian story by our first guest writer, the legendary Ty Templeton! And a first on the art as well since Daniel Wong contributes his first Heroes of the North story as well! Colours by Aljosa Tomic and lettering by Zen. Do not miss this exciting Canadian story!
Only one story to go to wrap up our comic slate for Season One!
The Acadia comic is out! It is a nice little story about second chances, growing to be the person you want to be, and how fate sometimes changes our path. The story also features Hornet (Marie-Claude Bourbonnais) and introduces a new CDO character, Donovan Eastman. Written by Yann and Michel Brouillette, gorgeously illustrated by Geof Isherwood, coloured and lettered by Keiren Smith, with a cover by Ty Templeton! What more to ask? We hope you enjoy reading the story - and as usual, do not hesitate to rate or comment. This book will be part of our second magnum opus, the Heroes of the North: Missions omnibus which comes out in September 2012.
The Heroes of the North 80 pages behemoth, Omnibus volume 2, will hit the comic book stores everywhere in North America this fall - September to be precise. Yet, you should nag your favourite friendly comic book store this month (July) about it. Or, alternatively, if you live abroad or do not have a comic book store nearby, you can also pre-order it from our online store.
This is the wraparound cover for the second Omnibus, by Geof Isherwood.
Why now? What is the rush?, do you ask? Because the way it works is as follows: The book is currently being solicited now in comic book stores all across America in a magazine/catalog called Previews and published by Diamond Comics - which is pretty much the sole distributor of comics in North America for the retailers.
Retailers ie your favourite comic book store, must collect their orders during that month and submit them at the end of it to Diamond, who will in turn, inform the publishers of the minimum amount of copies the publisher needs to make to fulfill the demand, in order for everyone to minimize their risks, especially on lesser known titles like ours.
Now here is the rub: comics are a tough business these days and most retailers are pretty conservative. They usually stick to what they know and that is why they are still in business. They do not want to get stuck with stuff that does not sell and so on. And no one can blame them for that. But if their clients ask for it, they will order it. Maybe a few more, because there is a demand. And that is good for us and the show, for many reasons. Keep reading to find out why...
For the first Omnibus, the book was under ordered by a lot of retailers - most stores had ran out of the books three weeks after its release! - and they had to order more the next month. Thankfully we over printed a bit for conventions and so on - and we were (barely) able to meet up the demand. Whatever we had left for conventions has been selling like hot cakes with the end result that we have almost none left! If you want to get your hands on it, you can always visit our store or perhaps we will have some at the next convention, but that is the extent of it: a few dozens left.
The cover of the first Heroes of the North Omnibus, released in February 2012.
Now you may be thinking that we are making lots of money going through Diamond , with its extended distribution market that is so much wider than anything we could humanely cover on our own, but the truth is we are not: once you factor in the printing fees, Diamond’s own, huge distributor’s cut (60%!), our publisher’s share and other expenses like the fees of the artists and other contributors themselves, not to mention the cost of shipping at almost every steps, there is really not that much left, quite frankly. Not enough for a profit.
But going through Diamond allows us to get the book far and wide and spread the news of the shows to people we could never afford to reach otherwise. And that is why we do it and it is also why we ask you to order it from your retailers instead of through us, even though we technically lose money when you do it at this point.
As the books get more popular, get great reviews and so on, the show also gets more known and it helps on many fronts - people end up buying merchandise that is not available anywhere but in our store, they talk about the show to their friends and neighbours, they buy the next comic and so on… Allowing us to continue our growth.
And who knows, one day we might reach the critical mass in comics sales to an extent sufficient to make us a decent profit once all the people in the chain have taken their fees and all expenses are paid. We are not there yet but we are not that far off either. And with your help, we can definitely get there.
We want to do more comics and we want to keep going with the show. It is difficult but also a lot of fun and very rewarding on so many levels.
So, what can you expect in this new book, besides comics that are already on the site? As it turns out, a lot! In the first book, we only had one extra stories that appeared nowhere else. We have several more for this book. Here is a run down:
The book will feature five of the 12 pages book currently (or soon to be!) available on the site. They are:
- Nordik and 8 Ball Team-up: Chilling me softly, written by Yann Brouillette, with art by David J. Cutler, colours and lettering by Keiren Smith.
- 8 Ball and Black Terror team-up: The Bang Bang Theory, written by Yann Brouillette, with art by Gibson Quarter (with some inks by Guillermo Ortego), colours and lettering by Keiren Smith.
- The Archie style hilarious romp called Zombots being schooled, written by Yann Brouillette, with art and colours by Dan Parent and lettering by Zen.
- The tragedy packed Acadia: Pretty Clear, written by Yann and Michel Brouillette, with stunning art by Geof Isherwood, and colours and lettering by Keiren Smith.
And, last but not least, a superb story of the Canadian written by Canadian comic legend Ty Templeton, definitely the man for the job, illustrated by Daniel Wong. Those five 12 pages stories make up some two-third of the book’s sixty pages. There is twenty more to go. Here is the line up for those:
- A 12 pages, psychedelic and bat shit insane crazy Black Terror story called The Dark Alley, written by Yann Brouillette, illustrated by Zach Fisher, coloured by Aljoša Tomić and lettered by Zen. What happens in this one is so insane, we would not know where to start if we tried to explain it. So we won’t. An image should suffice:
- There is a fun little mystery three pages story called Blood Bath, featuring 8 Ball and Alpha Q, written by Yann Brouillette, illustrated by Geof Isherwood, coloured by Aljoša Tomić and lettered by Zen.
- A short but gorgeous Pacifica story called ASAP written by Yann Brouillette, with art by David Cutler, coloured by Aljoša Tomić and lettered by Zen.
- and we round up the book with a New Felquistes Halloween tale called October Crisis, written by Jean-Dominic Leduc and illustrated by Geof Isherwood.
With this line-up, we managed to feature every single characters featured on the gorgeous cover above, illustrated by Geof Isherwood. Every single one of our Heroes, and indirectly, our current main villains, made it in this 80 pages collection!
And you get all that Canadian superhero madness for six bucks! Canadian! We are not kidding, folks! As a reviewer said (about the first book): “Heroes of the North is the best bang for your buck right now in the comic book world!”. We may be biased, but we strongly agree with that! And we are bold enough to think we even topped it for the encore!
So spread the word! Like this post, tweet it, google plus it, whatever you need to do to let it be known that the time to get the book is NOW! And order it now yourselves, regardless of the way you choose to do so!
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support. And we look forward to entertain you with the book this fall!
The Heroes of the North Team
We know it has been a while since new episodes and new comics have come up on the site. Be reassured - we are not dead yet. In the spirit of being honest and transparent with our fans and supporters, here is what is happening:
We had a month long conventions sequence that took us literally from one end of the country to the other. The logistics and preparation for that took its toll on our small crew. But it is not the only cause of delays.
For some reason, despite a healthy diversification of our artists and pencilers, most of our books are severely behind for reasons out of our control. Several of our pencilers had to deal with either health related or family and/or business related issues. with the end result that a lot of books are delayed. Which brings us to the following comic book related updates:
- Mr. Richard Pace, who was to pencil and ink the most excellent Ty Templeton scripted comic of The Canadian had to bailed out of those duties for health reasons. Consequently, we now welcome Daniel Wong to the team, who will pick up on Mr. Pace’s duties and will heroically attempt to nevertheless help us deliver the book on time for the end of the month for the upcoming Heroes of the North: Missions comic book coming out this summer via Ardenn Entertainment. Which is where we remind you to order the book from your favourite comic book retailer!!! Hopefully we manage to make that deadline and get that wonderful story in the book! If it does not make it in the book, you will at least get to enjoy it in our comic books section later this summer.
- You probably saw some work in progress on a Black Terror story by Zach Fisher, who did those terminally cute Chibis versions of our characters a little while back. Well, Zach has been hard at work on a very strange Black Terror story that will also be featured exclusively in our upcoming summer book. We do not want to tell you anything about this story except that it is so wild and fun, it is definitely not one you will not want to miss… Especially since it will only be available in the printed version of the Heroes of the North: Missions Omnibus! This story is also notable because we are introducing to you a new member of our little team, a new colourist from Serbia, Aljoša Tomić. Welcome to the team Aljoša! Aljoša joins to team to helps us lighten the load on poor Keiren Smith, who besides having life complications of her very own, was now faced with an incredible amount of pages to colour and letter since so many books were delayed… They are now typically, arriving mostly at the same time… Which created a major clog in the work flow and sadly amplified the delays.
- Another story that will only be found in the upcoming book is a tale called Politically Incorrect, by Yann Brouillette and masterfully illustrated by Geof Isherwood. This one is right on time. But it was meant as a back up tale. From the looks of it, it will end up in the book as well! And it definitely earned it - the art is simply stunning! Isherwood fans will be happy to hear that he also contributed his considerable talents to two short tales that will also be exclusive to the Heroes of the North: Missions release. One features the New Felquists and Fleur-de-Lys while the other is a fun 3 pages romp starring 8 Ball and Alpha Q called Blood Bath. Which is also our cue to introduce Zen, another talent coming to the rescue to help us get the books out on time! Zen will be lettering the shorter stories - and perhaps a few longer ones, in order to ease the burden on Keiren… who is heroically colouring and lettering an Acadia story, drawn by Geof Isherwood as well and written by Yann and Michel Brouillette, which will also be part of the book and very soon available online in our comic book section as well.
- Another story about to hit our comic book section very soon is the long awaited team-up by Archie artist Dan Parent. The Zombots being schooled story is a lot of fun and we just cannot wait for you to read it!!! It will be part of the book being released this summer as well.
- Those who enjoyed the art of our last Nordik/8 Ball team-up will be happy to learn that another exclusive story, a Pacifica tale this time, has been penciled and inked by David Cutler, with colours by Aljoša Tomić and lettering by Zen. And to complete the book, there will be the 8 Ball and Black Terror tale penciled by Gibson Quarter!
- And while it is not part of the next book, another important piece is being finished as we speak, albeit terribly late as well. We are talking about the 24 pages Season Finale book, which wraps up Season One and is written by Yann and Michel Brouillette, penciled by Olivier Raymond and inked by Kellam Templeton. This one is an action packed piece featuring most of the characters of Heroes of the North and is NOT to be missed!
Well, that is already a pretty major post and we have just covered the comics! So if you have read this far, you can pretty much surmised that we had our hands pretty busy just with conventions and comics! But stay tuned tomorrow as we will go over what is happening with the remaining episodes, the Season One DVD release, Season 2 preparations and more!
Here is the lineup of the book:
- Nordik and 8 Ball Team-up, 12 pages, by David J. Cutler, Keiren Smith and Yann Brouillette.
- 8 Ball and Black Terror Team-up, 12 pages, by Gibson Quarter, Guillermo Ortego, Keiren Smith and Yann Brouillette.
- Acadia: Pretty clear, 12 pages, by Geof Isherwood, Keiren Smith, Yann and Michel Brouillette.
- The Canadian, Fleur-de-Lys and Nordik Team-up in Zombots being schooled, 12 pages, by Dan Parent, Keiren Smith and Yann Brouillette.
- The Canadian and a CDO agent team-up,12 pages, by Richard Pace, Keiren Smith and Ty Templeton.
- ??? (12 pages): Cannot announce this one yet as we have three books currently being finished and the first one that is done wins.
plus three short stories written EXCLUSIVELY for this book!
- 8 Ball and Alpha Q in Blood Bath! by Geof Isherwood, Keiren Smith and Yann Brouillette.
- Pacifica in ASAP!, by David J. Cutler, Keiren Smith and Yann Brouillette.
- and the New Felquistes in October Crisis, an Halloween tale of mayhem, candies and lost opportunities, by Geof Isherwood, Keiren Smith, Christian Viel and Jean-Dominique Leduc!
We are pleased as punch to announce that will be adding a few comics to our line-up of books for Season 1. The comics menu page will be updated in the next few days to reflect these additions.
Besides the books already listed in the comics section, you will be able to look forward to books about the following characters:
- 8 Ball
- The Canadian
Some new artists will soon join us as well - more on that as things develop, but you can see a little sample above. However, here is a major scoop about the Canadian book. The Canadian comic, a 12 pages story, will be written by none other than jolly Ty Templeton. Winner of a Joe Shuster award as “outstanding writer” for his work on The Batman Adventures in 2005, it is with great anticipation that we welcome Mr. Templeton to the Heroes of the North fold. We cannot wait to read what he comes up with!
A lot more things are going on behind the scenes but we cannot reveal them to you yet...
We love Ty Templeton over here at HOTN Central. First of all, he is Canadian. Second, he was worked for almost every major comic book company under the sun, Third, he has worked on Batman AND Spider-Man, fourth, he’s a writer and an accomplished artist and teacher, and like most Canadians, he’s funny as all hell, fifth, he has a cartoon blog called Bun Toons, sixth, he’s bursting with passion for comics as an art form and a story telling medium, seventh, he is one of the creative minds behind Hoverboy, eight, he draws himself as a rabbit, ninth, he took us HOTN folks seriously and with respect from day one, despite our ridiculous means, and tenth, his wife is also a comic book professional who letters and colours comics… Better yet, she even does us the favour of working on some of our books once in a while. So what is not to love? Feast your eyes on his latest Heroes of the North offering.
BONUS: Ty Templeton talks about his creative process for creating the illustration on his blog.
On a side note, all our comics are now HTML5, hence readable on all those Flash adverse devices. They are also in a easier to read online format.