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Tuesday, August 25, 2020 

Some history of a 1980 Comics Annual from Canada

A writer at the Free Press of London, Ontario gives some history of a special Comics Annual published in Canada, considered an important part of their own heritage:
The annual was created by Hamilton’s Potlatch Publications, a boutique publisher that appears to still exist, if the internet can be trusted. Potlatch originally intended to put out a new Comics Annual every year, plans which did not materialize. [...]

The 128-page anthology contains a number of sci-fi and fantasy tales, some as brief as a page long, others extending to a dozen pages.

Looking at my faded copy, many of the stories still leap off the page. In particular, Martin Springett’s The Hunter seemed like a RUSH album cover come to life. The book was a dazzling glimpse into the future of comics.

Some of the creators featured in its pages, like Ken Steacy, went on to greater fame. Steacy’s contribution, Street Noise, was the best Star Wars story that didn’t appear in the official Marvel Star Wars title. In one panel you can glimpse a giant robot crushing Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder.

What’s noticeable by its absence is any mention of superheroes. This is the part where I point out Canadian readers have traditionally shown a distrust of showy super-powered beings.
Today, they'd do better to distrust the corporate-owned mainstream in the US to deliver the goods convincingly. The anthology annual in focus here sounds similar in its content to some European comics, which don't commonly emphasize the same themes USA comics are famous for. Too bad if the Comics Annual didn't prove successful. But today, there are alternatives, like paperback and hardcover books, where artists can showcase their goods and get even wider marketing, if they're seeking more recognition for the art form.

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