As CBR wishes our readers a Happy Canada Day, we saw it fit to look back on the various appearances from Canadian prime ministers in superhero comics across the last few decades!
Let's start chronologically, shall we? While World War II-era PM William Lyon MacKenzie King did indeed get his own spotlight comic published up in the Great White North, the occult-loving first minister never actually made a splash in superhero comics.
It took over a hundred years after Confederation for a prime minister to debut in the pages of a superhero comic, and the first to do so was, of course, the Rt. Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau!
The long-serving prime minister, who assumed office in 1968 after winning Liberal leadership in the wake of Lester B. Pearson's stepping down as PM, was the first Canadian first minister to debut in comics, and he did so pretty late into his tenure. Naturally, the senior Trudeau appeared alongside the government-run Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #120 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.
While American superheroes and the U.S. government have tended to have a ...testy relationship, at best, the Canadian government has been pretty cozy with their super-powered beings over the years. Alpha Flight has consistently been a government organization, sanctioned of course by the prime minister his/herself. When Alpha Flight made their comics debut in the late-'70s, Pierre Trudeau was of course the prime minister at the time, and that was reflected in the comics.
The next time a prime minister appeared alongside Alpha Flight -- in the pages of Uncanny X-Men -- it happened to be Trudeau who, again, was prime minister. Poor Joe Clark, who served as PM briefly from 1979-1980, never got the chance to appear in a comic (yet!)
As Alpha Flight got their own ongoing comic book series in the '80s, Trudeau would continue to appear with the team giving orders and whatnot. But (that) Trudeau's days as head of government were soon over as Progressive Conservative official opposition leader Brian Mulroney won in a landslide election versus Trudeau's successor, PM John Turner, in 1984.
Thus, as Canada saw a change in leadership in real life, the comics reflected that. Mulroney would make his Marvel Comics debut in the pages of Alpha Flight #60 -- but that wasn't his first superhero comic debut!
That honor goes to 1987's Captain Atom #2 by Cary Bates and Pat Broderick, making Mulroney the first and only Canadian PM (to date!) to appear in a published DC comic book. In the issue, Mulroney made an appearance alongside his US counterpart and Shamrock Summit buddy, President Ronald Reagan.
The third prime minister to make his debut in superhero comics was none other than incumbent PM Justin Trudeau! That happened rather recently in the pages of Marvel's Civil War II tie-in comic, Choosing Sides #5, in a story written by Canuck Chip Zdarsky. He even made the cover of the comic, by Ramon Perez.
In the comic, Alpha Flight members seek his advice when deciding where they stand regarding the civil war (two!) tearing Marvel’s superhero community apart. “I didn’t want this to just be like a walk-on … rescued by superheroes and he thanks them and that’s the end of the story,” Zdarsky said upon the story's announcement. “I think a lot of these real-life appearances in comics tend to go that way. I liked the idea of him actually engaging them in an ethical debate.”
And that wraps up appearances from Canadian PMs in superhero comics! We here at CBR wish all our Canuck colleagues and readers a swell Canada Day!