COMIC LEGEND: Two Golden Age characters named Captain Wonder managed to be take offs of other, more popular characters without actually being influenced by each other!
Reader Hope wrote in to get the lowdown on the two Captain Wonders, so here you go, Hope!
Our story begins in Canada around the beginning of World War II.
From the moment that Canada declared War on Germany in 1939, Canada began rationing foreign currency.
But as 1940 came to a close, Canada found its trade deficit with the United States growing, so they decided to implement more drastic changes, including, in December of 1940, the War Exchange Conservation Act.
This Act involved the banning of importing any non-essential products from the United States. For instance, why import baseballs from Rawlings when Canada could produce their own baseballs and not further their trade deficit with the U.S.?
One major casualty of this were pulps, and by virtue of that, comic books, as well.
Comic books had become very popular in Canada by the end of 1940, with Superman, Captain Marvel and Disney comics being especially popular sellers.
So now with U.S. comics banned, Canadian comic companies sprung up to deal with the demand for comic books.
The first four were Maple Leaf Publishing, Anglo-American Publishing, Hillborough Studios, and Commercial Signs of Canada (the latter three were in Toronto, Maple Leaf was in Vancouver).
Hillborough was formed by a group of artists working together.
In 1941, they came out with their first book, Triumph-Adventure Comics #1.
Eventually, they teamed up with a new company called Bell Features.
Bell put out their comic, now called Triumph Comics…
Both Triumph and Bell’s other notable series, Wow Comics, were noted by their black and white interiors to save money (Wow actually originally tried to get by with just cheap coloring – that did not last long).
One of the characters from Triumph was created by Ross Saakel and he was called Captain Wonder.
Captain Wonder was a young man who was raised by a yogi from youth after his parents were killed. The yogi eventually turned to the Gods of Old and asked: “Oh, Gods, may I present a young Canadian who has lived with me for the past twenty years! His parents were killed by a criminal! And now he wishes to return to Canada to exterminate all such malignant doers! Will you aid him in his task?”
After this, a dazzling flash of lightning transforms the young Canadian. Standing there clad in a colorful costume he now has the three gods’ gifts – the strength of a hundred men, great wisdom, and speed, the power to fly like a bird and swim like a fish.
Meanwhile, in 1943, Timely Comics introduced a brand-new hero in the pages of Kid Comics #1 – Captain Wonder!
While saving the life of a scientist, Jeff Jordan was exposed to chemicals which gave him superhuman strength.
Teaming up with a young sidekick named Tim (whose codename was, well, Tim) – he donned a colorful costume and fought the Nazis and the Japanese in World War II.
Both Captain Wonders certainly evoke OTHER classic Golden Age heroes (Captains Marvel and America, respectively), but they are also not tied to EACH OTHER.
The Timely Captain Wonder, by the way, was recently brought back for J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston’s The Twelve series…
So there ya go, Hope! I hope this info helps you out!
On the next page, did the tagline for the film Barb Wire originate as an insult of a John Byrne comic?
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