Exciting news for Canadian comic book fans has been unveiled at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto, as DC Comics announced that its Justice League brand is about to take on a distinctly northern feel.
DC announced that the Justice League, which has included superhero members such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Martian Manhunter among others, will be moving its headquarters north of the border for a series slated to publish in the spring of 2014.
According to an article published in Friday’s Toronto Star (http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/2013/08/23/dc_comics_to_launch_justice_league_canada_in_2014.html), the Justice League of America will be renamed and a new Canadian character will be introduced as part of the series.
Canada has some comic roots, of course. While I’m not a comic geek, I am a proud Canuck and I take some geek pride in the fact Marvel’s Wolverine hails from the Great White North. And there has been Captain Canuck and the Alpha Flight.
Canadians have also taken pride in the fact several comic book film franchises shoot north of the border. Vancouver played host to The Fantastic Four. Toronto’s Casa Loma was featured in the X-Men. And Montreal has been home this summer to the cast and crew lensing the highly anticipated X-Men: Days of Future Past movie.
Heck, even the Man of Steel came north to hide out while searching for a scout ship sent by his Kryptonian ancestors in Zack Snyder’s hit film released earlier this year.
But this news is sure to please many Canadian geeks, who no doubt, in true Canadian fashion, will be bracing for some sort of backlash from fans south of the 49th Parallel. Canada is largely an unknown quantity to many Americans, who think of this great nation as a socialist haven replete with free health care and Vietnam-era draft dodgers, where everyone dines on poutine and playing hockey is a rite of passage.
But take heart, my fellow Canadian geeks, for it seems that DC is being somewhat sensitive to our national psyche. It has hired an actual Hoser, Toronto writer Jeff Lemire, to pen the series. And Lemire, who has written for DC and Vertigo properties such as Green Arrow and Trillium, told The Star’s tech reporter, Raju Mudhar, that he is mindful of not playing up the clichés.
Revealing that the team’s headquarters will be in the remote area of Northern Ontario, situated around James Bay and the small town of Moosonee (yes, American readers, that’s the name of a real Canadian town), Lemire said the Justice League of Canada will not be housed in “a hockey rink.”
“Although, of course, it did cross my mind,” a laughing Lemire told Mudhar.
“This is like my ultimate dream job,” Lemire added. “It sounds like a joke and something like this would never happen, but it is actually happening, and I couldn’t be happier.”
While the JLC HQ will be in remote Northern Ontario, the plots will include a lot of action taking place in Toronto. One can only hope that Lemire will present Canada’s best known and most populous city as something other than an icicle-covered burgh where Mr. Freeze or some other chilly villain would feel most comfortable. Given the fact there’s actual snow on the ground for maybe three to four months of the year in Toronto, Lemire has an opportunity to showcase a side of Canada that many Americans don’t know exists.
Lemire told The Star his Canadian character will be unique: “I’m trying to make a character that reflects a real part of our cultural identity, who could be a real Canadian teenager. That’s what I’m really after with that.”
And while there are other surprises revealed in the article, one last point stands out. The JLC will not be some B-list of superheroes. Lemire described it as “dream team” of top DC characters.
“It really is just trying to make an honest portrayal of the places and the country and people that I know. That’s why I’m setting it in Toronto and Northern Ontario, because those are the places that I really know well,” he says.
So, how will North American comic geekdom react to the Justice League moving – most likely very temporarily – out of America and setting up shop on the James Bay coast? Let the debate begin ...