Winnipeg. 1975. Richard Comely and Ron Leishman, two young men with grand ideas, come to a realization: Canada is sorely lacking in the super hero department.
Captain Canuck bursts onto the scene shortly after, a new hero for a new generation of Canadians. Although Comely published the series sporadically over the years, Captain Canuck became a cultural icon, woven into the fabric of Canadian pop culture history. Nearly thirty years later, another intrepid crew of energetic young men have taken that grand idea and are running with it in an entirely new way for Captain Canuck, an animated web series. As it turns out, animation is not cheap, so the creative team turned to Indiegogo to crowd source funding for the first five episodes. That’s right fans; the Captain needs your help to make this a reality. New rewards are still being added as updates continue to be posted about the series. Most recently announced was Laura Vandervoort ( Smallville’s Supergirl), who will be voicing the enigmatic and deadly Blue Fox, joining Paul Amos (Lost Girl, Warehouse 13) as the villainous Mister Gold and Kris Holden-Reid (Lost Girl, The Tudors) as Captain Canuck himself.
Although Comely still consults as needed, Fadi Hakim founded Captain Canuck Inc. with television industry veterans Paul Gardner and Dean Henry (Creative Directors) in 2012 to re-imagine Canuck for a new audience. One modern makeover from character designer Kalman Andrasofszky (illustrator, Marvel & DC comics) later, the Captain looks fresh, modern and battle ready. Andrasofzsky blends elements of the original costume with functional body armor and weapons to make the Captain look futuristic but believably so. Most importantly, he looks like a hero that good guys can approach but bad guys would be intimidated by. Lead animator Sam Chou’s excellent teaser video proves that as Canuck speeds over rooftops across Toronto in hot pursuit of some dastardly villain. It’s a short sequence but it conveys the excitement and seriousness the new animated show is aiming for. That excitement is infectious, especially after chatting with Gardner, Comely, Andrasofszky and Mike Valiquette (Director of Animation) about the series.
“There are so few opportunities in this country to do something like this.” Valiquette says bluntly, as to why he became involved. “It’s the only iconic superhero property in Canada, it really is. Everybody knows it from somewhere, even if you don’t know it as intimately as some of us do. I’m a comics geek from way back. I still have a couple of moth-eaten, half destroyed issues. I still have sketches of Captain Canuck in that Bruce Timm animated Batman style, making model sheets of my own.” This passion for Captain Canuck is obvious in everyone involved; they are fans that have found themselves in the position to make their childhood icon an animated reality. That’s pretty damn cool, and as Gardner explains, an opportunity to create entirely new fans as well. “I have two young boys, twelve and ten, and they got so excited when they saw the drawing that Kalman did. ‘Dad, this guy kicks butt!’ Yes, he’s going to kick butt! It’s exciting to see that you can connect with ten year olds and twelve year olds [as well as] guys my age: they’re just as excited about it.”
Comely seems at ease placing his creation in the team’s capable hands. “It’s more personal because we’re not a huge team,” he explains, “we’re all interested in what everybody brings to the table. When they presented the re-visioning of Captain Canuck, I could see right away the work that had been done there. I could see the effort— not just the physical effort but the efforts of the mind. All the imagination they put into it.” As the character designer, it’s obvious that Andrasofszky takes the role seriously. “This project is very close to my heart and I’m going to bust ass to make sure it turns out as awesome as it needs to be.” He states candidly. “I’ve done my time in the trenches, paid my dues as a draw monkey. I’m invested. There is a lot of me in this as well as what Richard and others have brought before. That’s huge.”
The team’s passion for Captain Canuck is undeniable but just as importantly, everyone involved is also proudly Canadian. “It’s a Canadian product, through and through.” Andrasofszky asserts. “Richard created him in Winnipeg in 1975, and he printed, self-published and distributed that all himself. We’re trying to continue that same legacy by keeping it a small production. Made by Canadians, produced by Canadians, distributed by Canadians. If you guys want to see more Captain Canuck, there is a multi-tiered plan: the webisodes are just the first part. Show us that it’s something you care about and want to see. Help us do it our way and do it right, keep it Canadian.”
Ready to do your civic duty? Donate today! There are several affordable tiers and great rewards for supporting the Captain Canuck Indiegogo campaign . But don’t delay: campaign ends on May 27
! Episode One of the Captain Canuck Animated series is set to launch on— no surprises here— Canada Day, July 1