Cover scan from Stephen Lipson
Brief History of Canadian Golden Age Archie Comics
invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. On September 3, 1939, Britain,
France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany, after German
forces penetrate deeper into Poland. This marks the beginning of World
was an independent country at this point, but many still felt a strong
kinship with the British Empire, and thousands of Canadians
immediately joined the armed forces to fight on behalf of the
declared war on Germany.
the country quickly shifting into wartime mode, the federal government
created new agencies to oversee such war efforts as munitions
manufacturing, propaganda control, and the rationing of natural
September 15, 1939 the Foreign
Exchange Control Board
was established to oversee the rationing of foreign currency,
It was in charge of monitoring Canada's international trade.
Throughout 1940, its members grew concerned by Canada's growing trade
deficit with the United States, still a neutral country at this point,
the United States would not enter the war until after the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
1940, as Canada's trade deficit with the United States
grew, and British gold shipments were curtailed, government
intervention in the economy broadened with the introduction of the War
Exchange Conservation Act.
Aimed at countries outside the sterling bloc; sterling bloc countries
traded heavily with England and kept their currency at parity with the
English pound, it was primarily designed to conserve United
dollars by restricting the importation of non-essential goods.
"non-essential" items meant practically anything that
couldn't be converted into weapons and ammunition.
Among the items banned, including comic books. Companies that used to
publish Canadian comics, called Canadian Whites, because they were
mostly black and white, began importing printing plates from the U.S.
and printing the comics in Canada for the Canadian market. These
comics weren't published in any particular order, nor were they often
exactly the same as the US editions.
of the new Canadian Pulp Magazine Publishers, Science Fiction,
the purchase of this periodical, you are giving Canadians employment,
Canadians who are paying taxes, buying War Savings Certificates and
Victory Bonds, doing their bit to preserve a free Canada and to
maintain our prosperity ... Ours are truly All-Canadian magazines,
conceived, edited and written in Canada by Canadians, spending our
currency among ourselves, adding to our country's business. They ARE
NOT printed-in-Canada editions of inferior American magazines, which
freeze the Canadian money spent on them for after-war profits and
which do not build native industry."
all of the stories in the Canadian Pulp, Science
original printed in the United States,
they including stories from Louis
Silberkleit, Martin Goodman, and Maurice Coyne’s Columbia
Publications, Future Fiction.
Canadian publisher would also buy American scripts from publishers,
including MLJ Magazines, and then have a Canadian artist re-do
the artwork. Anglo-American Publishing had such an agreement
with Fawcett. This lead to some interesting Canadian versions,
including Commander Yank, a patriotic American hero, fought his
Canadian adventures with a British Union Jack, Canada's official flag
at the time, on his chest.
News Co. of Canada,
did the same with the Shield, when they re-drew copies of Pep
Comics for the Canadian audience. The Canadian versions of Pep
Comics were sold under the title Super Comics. Citren
had apparently purchased these stories second hand from Pershing
1944 both F. E. Howard Publications Ltd., and William
Superior Publications started publishing comics.
Howard took over the publishing of Super Comics with volume
two. Most issues were printed with blank inside covers, no indicia,
copyright or trademark information was present. Super Comics,
Volume 2, Number 5 included “Published monthly by F.E. Howard
Publications Ltd., 7 Wellwood Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.”
and that was unusual for Canadian Comics of that time period.
F.E. Howard, also published an Archie Comics one shot, which
reprinted the contents of Pep Comics #49. No reference to MLJ
Magazines is made and the MLJ logo on the cover is replaced with a
FEH logo. Again inside covers are blank, no indicia, copyright or
trademark information was present. There are only 5 know copies of F.E.
Howard’s Archie Comics one shot left in existence.
Superior Publications, also jumped on the MLJ bandwagon with
the publication of Three Ring Comics, published in Toronto
from their Century Comics division. Three Ring Comics
was interesting in the fact that it had a cover featuring a re-drawing
of Pep Comics #22, yet featured an interior of only funny
animal comics. This comic was printed in Canada for limited
distribution in the United Kingdom. There is only one know copy in
After the war, United States based publishers resumed
distribution in Canada. F. E. Howard, began distributed in both Canada
and the United States. However, American competition proved too
overwhelming and he was driven out of business.
William Zimmerman’s Superior Publishers, not only survived
the transition, but also began publishing and received distribution in
the United Kingdom. Superior dominated the Canadian comic book market
from 1947 until 1956. In addition to using its own name, Superior
published under four different imprints: Century Publishing, Herald
Printing, Duchess Printing and Randall Publications.
In addition to distributing in the United Kingdom Superior also
entered the United States market. Superior was among the leading
reprint firms by the end of 1948. Superior was the only publisher to
survive the import deluge of 1951. Superior finally went out of
business in 1956.
I would like to thank Stephen
Burton, Jonathan Gilbert,
and Shawn Clay,
for helping with research, information, and cover scans.
visit Archie Comics on the web go to
scan from Shawn Clay