FAN EXPO: Revisiting Canada's Own Hero at the Captain Canuck Super Panel

Attendees at this weekend's Fan Expo in Toronto received a super-powered update from the Captain Canuck super panel on Friday, detailing on the hero's new look and the future of the series.

The panel consisted of Captain Canuck creator Richard Comely, president of Captain Canuck Inc. Fadi Hakim, creative director Paul Gardner, illustrator Kalman Andrasofszky, Silver Snail owner George Zotti, Comic Book Daily author Walter Durajlija and "Lost Girl" star Paul Amos, who plays Mr. Gold in the animated web series. The team went into detail on Canuck's place in the comic book world, his costume design and some plans they had in store for the maple leaf captain.

"We wanted to put Captain Canuck in as real of a world we could without distilling it too much," said Gardner. "We wanted to establish who this character was going to be - he's continuing to evolve with the comic and story, but really it was just to have fun with the character."

When redesigning Canuck, Andrasofszky said he looked at other patriotic heroes and distilled what elements weren't working. Features from Ultimate Captain America were part of the design as well as Captain Britain, whose costume is a favorite of Andrasofszky's. Part of the design was also taking a military approach to the outfit, and he also took into account feedback from Canadian soldiers who were really excited that Captain Canuck was coming back.

"He's not a super powerful character; he has a power set, but he isn't a god or like Superman," said Andrasofszky. "We also tried to give him gear that is believable for someone who is going to be doing stealth operations and combat."

Looking at the gear used by Captain America and Christopher Nolan's Batman, they decided to stay away from the 1970s spandex look and moved onto Kevlar and armor. The maple leaf on the shoulders was used to invoke a military insignia, citing Captain America's star motif as an influence. Although Captain Canuck's costume is very similar to Marvel's Guardian of Alpha Flight, Andrasofszky said he went for symmetry to differentiate from Guardian's asymmetrical attire.

As for the animated web series, Gardner said he wanted high adventure while having a few laughs along the way. All five web episodes were shown to the panel's audience, which were met with great delight.

Paul Amos, who voices the evil Mr.Gold for the Captain Canuck web series, said he enjoys doing voiceovers because you can go into the sound booth and knock out five episodes in a couple hours - if you are as good as he is, Amos joked. With his role as Vex in "Lost Girl," he says playing villains is always fun, especially comic book ones like Mr. Gold.

"There is a little bit more free reign to play around and do different things, which is really cool since it's your voice and you can manipulate it more than live acting," said Amos.

A new comic series was also announced at the panel to great approval from the audience. The series will feature the origins of Canuck, being set partly in Toronto, the Oil Sands and other Canadian areas on interest. They are looking for a six-issue start and if the series does well, they have a four-arc plan in the works.

Part of their approach for the series is to keep it all-Canadian as well, with Gardner saying they want to make Canadians proud of it and they want to introduce it to the rest of the world. Although the process is going a bit slower than the team hoped, Zotti says it's because of the amazing work Andrasofszky is doing.

"You look at a lot of modern comic books today, and even though you don't notice it right away, a lot of the artists today don't draw backgrounds," says Zotti. "You just have your superheroes in the front and that's kind of it. Kalman is filling every panel with all the information you can imagine - he is designing the rooms first before putting them in the comic book because he wants it to be dead on."

Hakim said the comic would hopefully be released in early 2015.

In terms of future work, Gardner said the team is looking to expand into merchandising and marketing, as well as doing more web-related work for the animated series. The team also revealed more mainstream media was in the works, with a Captain Canuck movie script still in progress and Mind's Eye Entertainment developing.

As the creator of the captain, Comely said he was happy to be working with the team and even though it was a little odd seeing something he brought into the world evolve, things do have to change. He said he was grateful for all the effort and creative energy the team was putting into his creation, and the bold and imaginative ideas they have in store.

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