Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nelvana of the Northern Lights, a Golden Age Canadian classic!

Golden Age comics have created many big names like Superman, Batman and Captain America though there are many amazing heroes from the Golden Age virtually unknown and forgotten in modern times. Nelvana of the Northern Lights is one of those comics.

Now there are some Canadian comic fans who are making that right. Hope Nicholson and Rachel Richey spearheaded a Kickstarter campaign to reprint the complete adventures of Nelvana of the Northern Lights by Adrian Dingle that was successfully funded on November 1, 2013.

Nelvana is a rare type in comics, Golden Age and otherwise. She was a female hero who wasn't some cardboard cut-out, sexy/sexist boy toy or some kind of inoffensive, ineffectual female role model for young girls, she was an Inuit demi goddess, the daughter of the god, Koliak the Mighty, King of the Northern Lights.

Nelvana of the Northern Lights was created by Adrian Dingle after hearing about artist and explorer, Franz Johnston's stories about an Inuit shaman woman named Nelvana. Adrian was so inspired by the stories that he used them to create his character Nelvana.

Nelvana was one of the very early female superheroes predating Wonder Woman. She first appeared in the Canadian anthology Triumph-Adventure Comics #1 (Aug. 1941).

Triumph Comics #7, April 1942
In the comic, an Inuit leader ask Nelvana to come down and help them bring back the mysteriously disappearing fish and caribou.

Nelvana has a brother Tanero who can't be seen by white men in his true form so is disguised as a great dane that Nelvana rides on.

They end up fighting the evil commander Toroff and his "devil ships" which are cleaning the seas of all fish and wildlife.

Nelvana is different from most heroines found in comics. She wasn't an ineffectual role model for some homogenous little girl to learn life lessons from or a titillating, plastic sex toy for some creepy prepubescent boy. She was her own person. A daughter of a god and a hero to Inuit who happened to be a female. She could be cute or could be tough but she didn't let ridged societal stereotypes dictate her image and actions. She was a real (semi) human doing her best to help those in need. What better role model is that?

Canadian born, mega-star writer and artist John Byrne has apparently known about her for some time. He paid tribute to her when he created his character Snowbird, a member of the Canadian superteam Alpha Flight, that first appeared in the pages of the X-Men in the late 70s.

Snowbird is the daughter of a demi-goddess named “Nelvanna of the Northern Lights,” who is the daughter of Inuit god Hodiak.

Hope Nicholson and Rachel Richey are comic book historians who participate in international fan and academic conventions to promote Canada’s comic book legacy.
By November 2013 they successfully fulfilled a Kickstarter campaign to publish Nelvana and in November IDW will be bringing Nelvana to comic book stores all over America.

Currently, Rachel is working on a Kickstarter to reprint Johnny Canuck
and Hope is working on a Kickstarter to reprint Brok Windsor.

You can see more things Nelvana on the official Nelvana of Norther Lights web page.

Or for current news check out the Nelvana of the Northern Lights page on Facebook.

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