Will Hollywood take off to the Great White North for a kinder, gentler superhero adaptation?
Captain Canuck — a masked man who dates back to the 1970s but never really rivaled Captain Britain much less Captain America — is stirring interest as a film project, according to Richard Comely, the co-creator of the red, white and true hero. The good Captain has already mounted a bit of a comeback over the last two years, thanks to some lavish hardcover reprints from IDW Publishing in San Diego.
Comely said he is close to striking a deal with a Canadian production company to make a $15-million live-action version of the comic. He would not say which company he is in discussions with.
Sales of the two hardcover volumes of vintage Captain Canuck adventures were brisk since the initial release in early 2009, according to IDW projects editor Scott Dunbier, who added that a soft-cover omnibus is due in October.
It may be a bit early for Comely to be counting his Canadian dollars. Movie deals are common in the comics field these days, but movie deals that fall through are far more prevalent. If the movie deal does come to fruition, Comely said Captain Canuck will surprise fans accustomed to the fiery violence and high-tech gizmos that define the American masked-men movies. “I wanted him to be as real as possible,” Comely said in a phone interview from Ontario. “He’s polite, by the way. Just a little bit gentler.”
Captain Canuck, who was conceived by Comely and artist George Freeman in 1974 as an honest and decent Mountie-turned-intelligence-agent named Tom Evans, who mysteriously develops tremendous strength and speed overnight. He was camping with a scouting troop when they encountered aliens. The next day, he wakes up twice as strong and twice as fast.
His bosses at the Canadian intelligence agency seize the moment — they rechristen him Captain Canuck, and they create a costume patterned on the maple-leaf flag of his native land. Comely originally wanted to call him Captain Canada, as a riff on that icon to the south, Captain America; he changed his mind after he saw other Captain Canadas, including one who wore moose antlers.
Comely said it’s unclear which Captain Canuck would appear in the movie — the character had many incarnations over just 26 issues of his own comic series. He was “reborn” as Darren Oak, the scion of a family that owns a massive corporation. His brother, who runs the company, is part of a cabal trying to create a one-world government, headquartered in Toronto. Oak as Captain Canuck has no powers, just a costume to cloak his identity as he tries to warn Canada of the coming conspiracy.
A rougher, tougher Captain Canuck showed up in Manitoba, in a version created by a group licensed by Comely. “West Coast Canuck,” as Comely called him, grew tired of due process and decided to take justice into his own hands. But Comely scoffed at the notion of his creation getting all Gotham on the bad guys: “How very un-Canadian of him.”
— Rick Rojas
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