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Banished From The Promised Land: A Tale of Two Canadian Anti-Heroes

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 4: Wolverine Vs Spawn

The road from Scott Pilgrim’s Toronto, to Wayne and Tanis’ Letterkenny, and out to the farthest reaches of Essex County has turned into a Heart of Darkness journey… of sorts. This is still Canada, remember? There was, at long last, some heroism, but nothing yet that could credibly be called evil. For that, we’ll have to go abroad, and back in time a few decades, to the grim-darkest depths of the 1990s.

You know this place: everything is XTREEEEEEEME!!!! and everyone thinks in Frank Miller internal monologue balloons, wears eye-bleeding colours and more ammo pouches than ever could be considered practical, talks like a surfer, and enjoys stable employment as a vigilante contract killer. How would morally squishy Canadians hold up in this kind of environment? Pretty well, it turns out, because you probably know Wolverine, one of this era’s grittiest exemplars, and you’re probably familiar with the work of Todd McFarlane, who drew some of those badass anti-heroes.

McFarlane is Canadian, but his character Al Simmons/Spawn is an American: Wolverine is a Canadian character created by Americans Roy Thomas and Len Wein. I chose these two as a study in contrasts, but also to highlight what happens when the Canadian creator, or creation, gets sick of the aggressively dull homeland and thrusts himself into a hostile world.

PreTeena: November 13-30, 2017

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