Great Moments in Mounties: Less-Than-Model Behaviour From the Men in Red (Captain Canuck, Vol. 1 #3)
Yeah, alright, I'm up, I'm up. What day is it? Sunday? Oh, good, I didn't sleep through the weekend - wait, what? Next Sunday? Aw, crap.
So, yes, I may have overslept a tad, and neglected this fine blog for almost a week now, but you should have realized that I would never give up trying to achieve immortality via the internet so abruptly - not without a well-reasoned excuse, anyway.
The last time we looked into the proud tradition of Mounties in Comic Books, we saw Batman and Rob battling evil Quebecois in service of an apparent summer camp for RCMP personnel. Tonight, we'll learn that there's no guarantee that the Men of the Mounted will be portrayed authentically even when the comic comes from the northern side of the border - Captain Canuck #3 is our principal piece of evidence in making that case. I previously published a week-long-ish tribute to the Captain (and his many wacky merchandising schemes) that you can look over here.
Let's recap a little: in 1975, Richard Comely and Ron Leishman would sense a hole in the market where a patriotic Canadian superhero should have been, and so they set about self-publishing Captain Canuck, a comic book series following the adventures of Canada's top C.I.S.O. agent as he foils plans by Commies and other new-world-order-types to usurp Canada's true place as a natural-resource-fueled super-power. Despite solid popularity, costs for such an independent book were high, and the company could not continue publishing Canuck at a price that was competitive with imported American superheroes, and only 14 issues could be released sporadically from 1975 to 1982 until Captain Canuck ultimately folded. He would return three more times (or more, depending on where you happened to live) between 1993 and 2005, but the general decline in comic book sales, coupled with poor distribution and the constantly shifting creative directions of Captain Canuck's copyright holder (the views expressed in his 1982 magazine, Star Rider and the Peace Machine, are not exactly what we would call "marketable") would defeat the Captain in every one of his attempts.
So, that's Captain Canuck.
Now, meet Captain Canuck in his formative years.
As Captain Canuck #3 opens, the oddly-inked eponymous hero is working with his fellow C.I.S.O. officers, the super duo known as "Redcoat and Kebec" (Redcoat is in red, Kebec is stuck with the colours of the flag of his namesake), as the crack security organization moves in to arrest a "crooked MP," Rosechuk. This issue never reveals exactly what Rosechuk - or "Rosey," as his criminal buddies like to call him - is up to, but one thing is certain: the Canada of alternate-1993 (the "future" portrayed in the series) must have one hell of a penalty for corruption, since he escapes the clutches of C.I.S.O. using this:
a skyscraper cum missile silo.
Although Captain Canuck is the second-greatest Canadian bad-ass - pulling just ahead of William Shatner, but slightly behind that Prime Minister who held conversations with his dead dog - he is, in fact, vulnerable to a rocket's flaming exhaust, and must be transported to a hospital to be treated. This is where we have our first glimpse at the Mounties of the Future (TM), who are dressed more sensibly, if not more Judge-Dreddy. That's where any dignity the Mounties might have been given in this comic stays, though, because we're barely given six pages until eeeevil Mounties show up in full Musical-Ride regalia.
The dark RCMP officers are there to kidnap the Cap'n, because their boss, crooked MP Rosey, wants to make sure that C.I.S.O. doesn't have any information on his source of funding... and... uh... is that a pitcher of urine next to the Captain's bed?
Huh. Strange thing to keep there.
Bodily fluids aside, another villain has gotten word that Captain Canuck is in the hospital, and he's dispatched his own people - another kidnapping squad, determined to find out who Captain Canuck really is, and then to hold him hostage for the mysterious Mr. Gold. The two abductors, one a doctor turned informant named Borden, the other a professional named Wilby, get into the hospital room by posing as doctors. As they're preparing the Captain, the two faux-RCMP officers arrive with orders to move Captain Canuck to another hospital - "for security reasons." Captain Canuck asks his maker for a little strength, but it's really the collision of two thugs' greed that allows him to take advantage and kick some fake Mountie ass.
With a little unexpected help from "Dr." Wilby, the Captain is perfectly fine. But the thug in the scrubs has apparently come prepared, because he whips out what appears to be RCMP identification. Oy vey, another false Mountie! Is anyone in the RCMP really who they claim to be?
As the story comes to a close, the Captain and the pretty nurse who was so intent on getting him naked are herded into an ambulance the evil "Dr. Wilby," where the good doctor immediately degenerates into a third-rate Dick Tracy villain, throwing out enough "sweethearts," condescending adjectives, and demented laughs to fill a graphic novel written by Frank Miller.
Oh boy! I wonder how the Captain will get out of this one! I'm a little kid in 1975, and I'm overwrought with anticipation! I just can't wait to look for Captain Canuck #4 on the news-stands next month! But I do wait. And I wait. And I wait some more. Because this is when Captain Canuck dies for the first time. Captain Canuck fans had to wait until 1979 to get the ending to this story. What the crap, Canada? First you give me stereotypical Mounties, and then you make me wait 4 years to read the ending of Captain Canuck #3? Egad. If that happened today, I don't know how anyone would be able to stand for it.