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Canadian Whites Comic Book Collection

  • F 2015.003
  • Collection
  • 1941-1946

Fonds consists of 181 comic books, produced in Canada, mainly during World War II, after the War Exchange Conservation Act (WECA), on December 2, 1940 classified American comics as "luxury goods" and limited their importation. Generally referred to as the "Canadian Whites" (due to the fact that the comics were black and white, except for the covers), the comics were published by Commercial Signs of Canada, which consisted of brothers Cyril (Cy) and Gene Bell, with investor John Ezrin. Publication began in the summer of 1941 and included titles Wow Comics, Active Comics, Dime Comics, and Joke Comics. '

In the winter of 1942, Commercial Signs absorbed another publishing house, Hillborough Studios, and renamed the company Bell Features. The acquisition brought the "Triumph Comics" title, and two more, Dizzy Don Detective (later retitled The Funny
Comics), and Commando Comics, soon followed.

When WECA was repealed in June of 1944 and American comic books were once again available to Canadians, Bell Features attempted to remain competitive by expanding their market into the US and the UK, and by publishing some titles in colour. Due to a lack of available newsprint, however, the company shifted its focus on Canadian content and began reprinting American titles.

Source: Scanlon, Meaghan. (10 July, 2015). Written, Drawn and Printed in Canada ---- by Canadians!”
Bell Features, CanCon, and the Perception of Comics in Postwar Canada. Presentation for SHARP Montreal.

Bell Features and Publishing Company Limited