Leo Bachle

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Leo Bachle (1926 – 2003), a.k.a. Les Barker, was a Canadian comic book artist and comedian.

Biography[edit]

In late 1940, fourteen-year-old Bachle was hired by John Ezrin, the manager of Bell Features in Toronto, Canada, to come up with something exciting for the company's growing comic book line. Bachle's character, Johnny Canuck, debuted in the first issue of Bell's Dime Comics, dated February 1941. In the first Canuck story he confronts Adolf Hitler and propelled Dime Comics to become the best-selling comic in the Bell line. Leo became one of Bell’s key artists, drawing characters such as Wild Bill, The Invisible Commando, Chip Pipher, Southpaw, Super Sub, and The Brain. Bachle's success led to the company hiring a number of new, young artists, including Ross Saakel and Jerry Lazare.

Bachle's character, Johnny Canuck, was considered invaluable to the war effort. Canuck remains his most enduring creation.

After the war, Bachle changed his name to Les Barker and gave up drawing comic books. He became a well-regarded comedian and toured the globe performing his unique comedy act.

Canada Post put Johnny Canuck on a postage stamp with other Canadian comic-book heroes, such as Superman by Joe Shuster, Nelvana of the Northern Lights by Adrian Dingle, Captain Canuck by Richard Comely and Northguard by Mark Shainblum (but not Alpha Flight by John Byrne, often credited as a Canadian).

Leo Bachle died in Toronto in May, 2003.

Legacy[edit]

In April 2004, Leo Bachle was among the first batch of Canadian comic book artists inducted into the Joe Shuster Awards Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]