P:R Approved: Kalman Andrasofszky’s Captain Canuck!

Note: Every country needs its hero, and comics pro Kalman Andrasofszky is giving Canada’s patriot, Captain Canuck, a much-needed redesign. Andrasofszky did this as the character designer for an official animation development project for the Canadian Captain, and he’s really outdone himself in his spot-on updating of this hero. Take your time and look at this epic rendering and the character turnaround, and read below for Kalman’s thoughts behind the design. – Chris A.

Kalman provided us a look inside his intentions with this extensive write-up:

At least in terms of visual design, it’s almost impossible to talk about Captain Canuck without also considering that other flag-draped Canadian icon, Guardian AKA Vindicator. It’s also impossible to talk about any of this without going back to the impressions of my 10-year old self. He loved the idea of Canadian superheroes, and thought Guardian was awesome, but, if I’m honest, was also a bit put off by the asymmetry. He couldn’t understand why America had a Captain, and Britain had a Captain but we, Canadians, did not. When he discovered a little later that we in fact did, my 10 year-old self couldn’t understand why, unlike Guardian, Canuck’s suit didn’t have a stronger flag motif. The Maple leaf on his mask wasn’t even a maple leaf. It’s obvious to me now why it was simplified, and it was absolutely the right call, but my 10 year-old self thought it was whack. The only reason I know how to draw a perfect maple leaf to this day is because a superhero, (unfortunately, not Canuck.) wore one. To my 10 year old self, it was no different from Wolverine’s mask or Batman’s emblem. (Both of which I can also still draw from memory, ladieeees…)

Which brings us to the flag as an obvious starting point, and luckily, the Canadian flag is simple, tasteful and graphic, with an elegant limited palette. The trick then, is to retain the iconic elements without making the character look like an olympic skier (there’s a bit of this in the Guardian costume, much as I do love it.) My first instinct was to try to center the flag, to correct the perceived design imperfection that dogged my childhood. The result was, predictably, way too busy and cramped, especially with that tiny maple leaf crammed onto his chest. Richard Comely and John Byrne knew exactly what they were doing, back in the day.

My next trick was to keep my symmetrical approach, but zoom way in on the flag, and use an enlarged but cropped maple leaf as the key element, so it’s middle frond becomes the main graphic shape on Cap’s chest. The two fronds on either side are clipped, so only the inner point of each remains visible on his biceps, where the whole design repeats and wraps around his back.

For the additional details, I went abroad and cherry-picked appealing elements from the international community of flag-wearing heroes:

Canuck’s helmet, though it may resemble Guardian’s, is actually based on Captain Britain’s helm. The design of the chin/jaw guard is a straight-up homage, as is the profile. And not just in the gear, I tried to capture a bit of the rigid, upright posture Alan Davis gives all his heroes. For a little splash of color up top, I repeated the chest frond. This is also a nod to Richard’s classic Canuck design: plain white mask with a graphically interpreted leaf emblem.

The small maple leafs on his shoulders were inspired by Ultimate Captain America. Bryan Hitch took Cap’s iconic star emblem and repeated it on his shoulders, almost like rank insignia. I think this gives a touch of military styling to Cap and with all the large shapes dominating the suit, I felt a couple of smaller elements added visual variety.

Finally, the yellow belt buckle –It just needed it, it was the missing element and along with the teal-blue eyes, all the primary colors are represented, a nod to classic hero design aesthetics, even though we knew our Cap wouldn’t be a standard spandex hero.

He’s a super-agent and possibly even a super-soldier, he’s been military and law enforcement (and a scout master!) in past incarnations, and his power set is quite grounded and so he wears armour and carries gear. His night-sticks, or tonfa, new to this incarnation, are his signature weapon. They can electrify at his command, or can merge into a single bo staff. All non-lethal weapons, (but formidable in the right hands,) something that touches on his Canadian-ness, which is at the heart of this revamp, without irony or snark. We’ve seen patriotic super-soldier characters before, but we want to emphasize the things that set a Canadian one apart. Cap doesn’t carry a gun or a sword or blast people to smithereens, he relies on strategy, negotiation, and wits. And he’s also super-polite, it’s a real power that all Canadians posses.

42 comments on “P:R Approved: Kalman Andrasofszky’s Captain Canuck!
  1. Over all I like it but I feel that the back piece that holds the night-sticks is just too bulky. A leg holster like DD or something that hangs from the belt might look better? Absolutely love the helmet though!

  2. Um, wow. I admit this is going to sound very insulting to the Canadians who visit this site, but when I think of Badass, The Great White North is the very last thing to pop in my mind. This design has just changed all that. This is the perfect response to The Avengers Captain America outfit.

  3. Very nice design, but it has the feel of being more of a soldiers uniform, meaning that I see this as something a whole squad of guys would wear – not an individual. Maybe it’s all the gear, I don’t know.

  4. My god,that first pic is so boss ! I have to say I really don’t like country themed super heroes,but this design is just so well put appealing to look at.I need an action firgure for this guy asap !

  5. I’m still trying to figure out the color divisions of the back pack/nightstick holder and why those lines and shapes are there, but I really like the upper tip of the Maple leaf on the abdomen. Great way to do it.

  6. I’ve always wanted to write a new story of Captain Canuck. He’s a hero that for too long has gone through muddied stories and cancelled series. He needs to be revised! Whoever has copywrite… come on already! People want to write/draw him!

  7. My wife’s uncle is Ron Leishman (co-creator of the good Captain). I’ll have to pass this along to him to see what he thinks.

  8. Love the new treatment. This is Ron Leishman. I co-created Captain Canuck along with Richard Comely back in the early seventies. And yes, the original design for the Captain was mine. Wish I still had that original drawing. I was heavily influenced by Jack “King” Kirby, and Steve Ditko. I went on to other things years ago but still have a soft spot for my creation.

    And speaking of Maple Leafs, don’t forget that my original also had the maple leaf on his belt. It was designed to replicate the flag.
    It’s been massaged over the years but I do like this new rendition.

  9. Man, I loved Captain Canuck comics as a kid growing up in Detroit. I think he was the first non-DC or Marvel superhero comic I’d ever read.

    I like this design a lot. I don’t think it’s too “busy” because everything serves an actual purpose–either functional or design–which will make it easier for the artist to keep everything straight. there’s no random “noodling” of lines all over it (unlike some I could name). I assume the backpack is also some kind of battery pack that charges the batons, which would explain why Kalman didn’t just go with holsters. Plus, the “pack” gives the costume a strong military feel, which suits these type of characters.

    Nice work.

  10. As national-icon characters are as much public relations as combatants, I think the helmet/mask is doesn’t fit with Canada’s intended “peacekeeper” image. At minimum, his eyes should be visible like Captain America’s and the original costume design, not coloured slits like Batman. The back-mounted tonfas create a distinctive silhouette, which is always good.

  11. The uniform is too complex to animate. They already dropped the shoulder leaf in the 4 second clip.
    I hope that they leave him as all Canadian Mormon with powers from space, and watched over by the Canadian gods. Again.

  12. This is an AWESOME redesign! I love the original character and would love to see this done on a regular basis. Love the cartoon sample as well!

  13. Love it, love it, love it! For far too long, Captain Canuck has been missing from our shelves and from our hands. This is a hero who NEEDS desperately to return (TRIUMPHANTLY) to comics, and this is a great re-design to speed him on his way. And agree with Mr. Leishmann (and thank you for writing in, sir!), the one thing on this design I’d want changed would to be a white maple leaf belt buckle. Other than that, I really love the whole thing, although i am curious as to what those things on the back of his belt are; wrist gauntlets? rocket packs? water bottles?

  14. Loathe as I am to criticise this thing that is so clearly awesome, I must say that I have two quibbles.

    Firstly, I dislike the use of the Tonfa as his signature weapon as they have no association with Canadian culture at all, and are a bit overused at this point, at least in my opinion. Something more home-grown, like the gunstock club, would feel more appropriate. They’re even the signature weapon of Canada’s one and only martial art, Okichitaw.

    Secondly, scowling? That doesn’t seem very nice.

    Love the design, excited for the movie, apologetic for the complaints.

  15. Firstly, I dislike the use of the Tonfa as his signature weapon as they have no association with Canadian culture at all,

    Umm, in Canada they’re just called “nightsticks.” Standard cop weaponry.

  16. You did a great job, and I really like it. However I have to echo the eye-slits concern and the tonfas. That aside, he looks nice. Of course, “Captain Canuck” is just a nickname, right? Otherwise….uphill climb.

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  18. This is fantastic. But. I’m going to be a total greedy jerk and say that I wish this was a design for Guardian. Just because I have an unrequited love for Alpha Flight despite being very American.

  19. Jay: Very nice design, but it has the feel of being more of a soldiers uniform, meaning that I see this as something a whole squad of guys would wear – not an individual. Maybe it’s all the gear, I don’t know.

    Canuck Commandos?
    No enhanced super soldiers, but an elite highly-trained group.
    I’d read that.

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  21. I’ve never been particularly interested in country-themed heroes (save for Captain Britain), but this design has definitely got my attention. Maybe we Canadians will be known for more than just having Wolverine now.

  22. I too remember how awesome Guardian’s costume was when he first appeared in X-Men to drag Wolvie back home, and , though I’m not Canadian, I anxiously awaited his return. I also picked up some early issue of Captain Canuck, and this redesign is amazing!

  23. Firstly, I dislike the use of the Tonfa as his signature weapon as they have no association with Canadian culture at all,

    Umm, in Canada they’re just called “nightsticks.” Standard cop weaponry.

    Go here, please:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baton_(law_enforcement)

    The only information left out of that article is that police adoption of the ‘side-handle baton’ design dates from the 1970s while the tonfa was created in 1470s Okinawa.

    I think the first poster had a point – but they do look cool in the character design.

  24. I sure hope that in spite of the redesigned costume, that this incarnation of C.C. is the original Captain, Tom Evans. I little bit of me died inside each time they announced a new Canuck project, only to have it be a different character just using the name for nostalgia sake.

    It would be nice if they could find a way to tie in the end of the original series to modern times. Perhaps the new higher-tech suit is a response to no longer having access to C.I.S.O for intel/tech/weapons/ground support/etc while Tom was stuck in the past?

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