Archive Fever 5.0!
dir. Will Pascoe, Canada, 2013, digital, 107 mins. color
Lost Heroes is a new documentary set to explore the hidden history of Canada’s comic book super heroes. From Canada’s Golden Age when millions of children read the tales of Inuit goddess Nelvana of the Northern Lights, to the thrilling days when Canadian superheroes returned to the newsstands with Captain Canuck and Cerebus, Lost Heroes celebrates the unique Canadian talent behind these characters and asks why can’t Canada keep their heroes?
Canadian Golden Age of Comics, as it is now known, came about thanks to
government intervention. In December 1940, the feds, responding to a trade
deficit with the U.S., introduced the War Exchange Conservation Act,
restricting imports of non-essential goods, including fiction magazines and
comics, which had become ubiquitous after the 1938 introduction of Superman,
drawn by Toronto-born Joe Shuster, and Batman the following year. Looking to
fill the void on newsstands, local publishers sprang up overnight with
Canadian-made creations. Goodbye, Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne—hello Canada Jack,
Commander Steel, Johnny Canuck and Nelvana of the Northern Lights! These characters
thrived for a few years, but after the war ended, the borders reopened to the
likes of DC and Timely, as Marvel was then known. This and the waning
popularity of superheroes led to our national defenders hanging up their
costumes, largely to be relegated to the dustbin of history’, says Mark Dillon
of POV Magazine.