Comics’ lost stories

Hope Nicholson and Rachel Richey look to the past and restore Canada’s great lost comic titles and give homegrown superheroes a new life.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Nelvana?

Nelvana of the Northern Lights is Canada’s first superwoman, an Inuit demigoddess whose job was to protect the Arctic in the 1940s. Her history, including her adventures, was forgotten until Hope Nicholson and Rachel Richey resurrected her story.

This tale of Canadian comic book history is part of the intrigue at this year’s Hal-Con convention. The sold-out geek extravaganza is the premier comic convention east of Montreal. The growing event continues to attract big names including Kristian Nairn, who plays the lovable Hodor from the popular Game of Thrones and Johnny Yong Bosch, the original Black Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

While comic book culture has become mainstream, Canadian comic book history has been lost. Nicholson and Richey hope to get people interested in Canadian superheroes by reprinting the classics. The women launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 and raised $50,000 to print the Nelvana collection with their publishing company CGA Comics. Last year Nicholson worked as associate producer for the documentary Lost Heroes, a film about Canadian comics; the film will be screened at Hal-Con.

“I can’t remember when I began to love comics,” says Nicholson. “I was doing another project in my undergrad when I came across Canadian comics. So many are hidden and you can only find them on microfiche. I wanted to know more.”

With the exception of Superman, who was co-created by Canadian Joe Shuster, most Canadians are unfamiliar with homegrown superheroes. Nicholson is hoping to change that. With the success of Nelvana, Nicholson is working on a solo project to publish the Brok Windsor comics, an action adventure series from the 1940s. She believes there are opportunities in television to expose audiences to Canadian stories.

“Our heritage is more than just Superman,” says Nicholson. “We have great content. I think we have a strong possibility to have a Canadian superhero on TV, something similar like Orphan Black and Lost Girl, which have similar story lines to comics. We need someone to tell the story.”

November 7-9

Richey and Nicholson speak at Hal-Con
Friday, November 7 at 3pm
Saturday, November 8 at 4pm

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