Wartime restrictions accidentally created a golden age for Canadian comic book heroes with patriotic messages
Torontonian Leo Bachle was just 16 in 1941 when he created Canadian wartime comic book superhero Johnny Canuck.
“I didn’t see it as propaganda at the time,” he said in a CBC interview in 1995. “I created Johnny to give Canada a hero. I really believed in the war effort. I felt very nationalistic.”
With typical Canadian reserve, these heroes didn’t always possess Superman-like powers.
Bachle was in the right place at the right time with the right talent. Canada’s War Exchange Conservation Act of December 1940 banning non-essential imports had an unintended benefit to the war effort. Among paper products it barred were pulp magazines and comic books. In blocking popular A...