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This week, a forgotten neighbor from the North is back. Will he find a warm welcome for his return?

Time was, I had to actually go to Canada to experience the adventures of Captain Canuck. The one and only issue that I’d ever seen of the original run — issue #3, I think — was picked up in a visitor’s centre gift shop during a family trip to Niagara Falls. I was ten or eleven years old, and I had never seen anything like it; it was my first indie comic, my first non-U.S. Comic, and I had no context for it.

Wherever creators Richard Comely and George Freeman were taking their cues, it wasn’t from the Marvel books that I was devouring like potato chips. They were speaking the familiar language of comics, but (as is often the case with Canadian artists crossing to a Stateside audience) with an accent that I couldn’t quite place. It was unfamiliar, but endlessly intriguing; I read the comic to tatters.

Captain Canuck’s self-titled book, put out under the Comely Comix imprint, lasted until 1980, when the venture at last proved financially unsustainable. Since then the Captain’s adventures have been fondly-remembered but little-seen, despite periodic attempts to revive the character. Now, thirty-some years after the original run, IDW has collected stories from those original 15 issues into a slick new trade paperback; and, at this remove, it’s easier to see what Comely and Freeman were trying to do, and to assess how well they were doing it.

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About the Author

Jack Feerick

Critic at Large

Jack Feerick — editor, proofreader, freelance know-it-all, and three-time Jeopardy! champion — lives with his family somewhere in upstate New York, where he plays in a rock 'n' roll band and occasionally runs his mouth on local radio. You can listen to more of his work on Soundcloud, if you like.

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