Monday, November 14, 2011

"Phantom Rider of the Crimson Sage"

Here's a cool Canadian take on the Western comic...
...with an origin tale from "WOW" Comics #16 (1942).
And, yes, the quotation marks are part of the book's title!
This story was from the Canadian-produced "WOW" Comics (note the quotes), not to be confused with Wow Comics from Fawcett Comics which featured Mary Marvel, Mr Scarlet, and others.
Sad to say, I don't have scans of any of the other issues, and, according to the Grand Comics Database, the Phantom Rider never made the cover for the remainder of the book's run.
Originally, Canada imported American comic books and pulp magazines, filling their newsstands with Superman, The Lone Ranger, and loads of other American characters.
But, when World War II broke out, Canada banned all "non-essential" imports...including comics and pulps!
This opened up a whole new industry for Canadian writers and artists to finally do their own characters!
One major difference between the American and Canadian comic books was that the World War II Canadian books were black and white inside, not four-color like American comics!
(British comics were also b/w inside until the 1950s, when they started using a second color on some books.)
Some American companies licensed Canadian publishers to reprint US comics, but the interiors for those were b/w as well.
In addition, there was a limit to how much "non-Canadian content" could be included in Canadian magazine print runs, so there were relatively-few American reprints during the war.
After the war ended American comics were again imported, so most Canadian publishers began doing color insides to compete with the imports.


  1. The Canadian comic book cowboy Phantom Rider did get his own cover though. Bell finally released a collection of his stories in one big (15c) edition, devoted to this western star. You can enjoy the cover listed at the GCD here:
    Happy trails,
    ~jim b.


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