Canadian Whites

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Golden Age of Canadian Comic Books
Time span c.1941 – c.1947

Canadian Whites were World War II-era comic books published in Canada that featured colour covers with black-and-white interiors. Notable characters include Nelvana of the Northern Lights, Johnny Canuck, Brok Windsor, and Canada Jack. The period has been called the Golden Age of Canadian comics.


The "Whites" proliferated in Canada after the War Exchange Conservation Act restricted trade of what was considered non-essential goods from the United States into Canada, which included fiction periodicals.[1]

Four companies took advantage of the situation by publishing comics in Canada, sometimes using imported scripts. Anglo-American Publishing of Toronto and Maple Leaf Publishing in Vancouver started publishing in March 1941. Later, two other Toronto-based publishers joined in: Hillborough Studios that August, and Bell Features (originally Commercial Signs of Canada[2]) in September.[1]

For the most part, the comics published had colour covers, but the interiors were printed in black ink on white paper,[1][3] although there was a handful of comics with colour interiors.[1]

Some of the more notable "Whites" creators include Joe Shuster Award Hall of Fame inductees Ed Furness, Ted McCall, Adrian Dingle, Gerald Lazare, Jon St. Ables, Fred Kelly, and Leo Bachle.[3] They produced stories featuring characters such as Nelvana of the Northern Lights—the first female Canadian superhero, predating Wonder Woman by several months—Johnny Canuck, and Canada Jack.

This period has been called the Golden Age of Canadian comics,[4] but the age of the "Whites" did not last long.[3] When the trade restrictions were lifted following World War II, comic books from the United States were once again able to flow across the border.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d John Bell (2002-06-24). "Beyond the Funnies: Canadian Golden Age of Comics, 1941-1946". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  2. ^ Walter Durajlija (2011-11-22). "Undervalued Spotlight #103: Better Comics #1, Maple Leaf Comics, March 1941". Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  3. ^ a b c "Canadian Golden Age Comics Online". Joe Shuster Awards. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  4. ^ John Bell, ed. (1986). Canuck Comics. Special contributions from Luc Pomerleau and Robert MacMillan; Foreword by Harlan Ellison. Downsview: Matrix Books/Eden Press. ISBN 0-921101-00-7. 

External links[edit]

  • CBC video on the history of "Canadian Whites"

Further reading[edit]