The 1980 Comics Annual

One of my greatest regrets is that there are not more easy to access resources regarding Canadian comics. Some of these would not only include historical information but also sample work. This is perhaps one of the reasons why I so love anthologies. They are a testament to the range and variety of comics, artists and writers that were published at the time.

Ian Carr, a Canadian who has done a bit of everything in the comic book industry, is a man after my own heart. In 1979, Carr edited a book called The 1980 Comics Annual published by Potlatch Publications. Carr’s original goal was to put out an anthology like this yearly, featuring many top artists but unfortunately that did not happen. Had it been more successful, I would probably not be needing to write this blog, but I’m so happy he took the initiative anyway. The book, weighing in at 128 pages, half of which are in colour, feature work from great Canadian creators. Here is a list of the contents:

  • Return of the Magician: Arn Saba (Script), Lois Atkinson (Script assistance), Don Inman (Art)
  • Blarg the Swordsman: John MacLeod
  • The Intergalactic Depletion Machine #21
  • Stareway
  • Tales of King Arthur: Bill Slavin
  • Street Noise: Ken Steacy
  • Sir Rolaid and the Black Knight: Bill Slavin
  • The Believer!
  • Haab the Luckless: Steve LeBlanc
  • Totter of the Mounted: JOT
  • Last Chance!: Bob Smith
  • Neil the Horse: Arn Saba, D. Roman
  • The Revenge of Yukon Tom!: Richard Cordoba
  • Malcolm and Eric: Ian Carr
  • The Hunter: Martin Springett
  • Wirely L. Wiremire: Tom Nesbitt
  • Wirely L. Wiremire in Wired Again, Part I: Tom Nesbitt
  • Cave-in: James Simpkins
  • Dust Bowl Sanction: Jim Craig (Art and script), Bill Payne (Inks and Lettering)
  • Wirely L. Wiremire in Wired Again, Part II: Tom Nesbitt
  • The Gauntlet of the Gods: John MacLeod (Art and script), Steve LeBlanc (Assist)
  • Tommy Whitehawk: Don Inman
  • Cave-in: James Simpkins
  • Danger Squad: Ian Carr
  • A Dick Mallet Adventure: Michael D. Cherkas
  • Flying Eight Ball: Tom Nesbitt
  • Neil the Horse Goes to Hell: Arn Saba, D. Roman
  • Spud: William King (Plot), Paul McCuscker (Art and script)
  • Bubblegummers in The Cat’s Night Out: Jeff and Carol Wakefield
  • Little Feller: Ron Van Leeuwen (Script), Franc Reyes (Art)
  • Space Cat and the Flaming Commandos: Tom Nesbitt

The book also has that very distinct feel of the seventies with the science fiction fascination at the time, while there is also a very strong influence of underground comics, especially with MacLeods already satirical style. But most importantly, it shows a broad range of talents from more mainstream styles like Ken Steacy and Jim Craig to cartoonish spoofs by Bill Slavin and Tom Nesbitt. It even has Neil the Horse, a comic that successfully bridges the gap from the seventies to the eighties. As sited above in the Potlach Publications link, this book is still for sale by the publisher, but it’s also available on ebay or Abebooks if you look.

5 thoughts on “The 1980 Comics Annual

  1. Oh, cool! I found a used copy of this at a bookstore in Toronto last month, and loved it. That Ken Steacy story is great, and the mix of different styles and tones is stellar.

    • I believe that particular Ken Steacy story was published in a one shot with two other short pieces by him as well. Something to keep an eye out for. I’ll try and think of the name. Glad you liked the piece!

  2. Another nice post! Neil the Horse was wonderful, and Ian Carr – I just loved his art on the too-short lived Matrix comic ‘Dragon’s Star’.
    As far as easy access to resources, I don’t know how you’re set up for scanning and such but feel free to ask for help with the odd samples if you need some now and then.

  3. Moebius is gone? Nooo. It’s too soon for such an incredible artist to leave us.
    Noticing the R.I.P. mention on your twitter feed sent me scurrying around the Net to find tributes to one of the great talents of illustration. I’ll miss his work terribly.

    I guess your mention of anthologies in this post is the best segue I’m going to get to mention that Moebius made a small contribution to Drawing The Line, a Canadian benefit comic out of Toronto. His work appeared with comic book artists from Canada and the U.S.

    There’s some info at this website:

    • I KNOW!!!! :(
      It’s truly a very sad loss for the comics industry.
      I actually have Drawing the Line. Found it in a library basement (consistent with a lot of my finds actually). I haven’t posted about it because, haha, I’m trying to slow down on my anthology publications. The thing is, they’re so common in Canada, and I guess in a lot of places because they’re the best way to publicize a writer or artist’s work. That particular book isn’t quite the same, as you know, because it contains many high profile writers and artists, but it’s still an anthology. It will happen eventually!
      And in regards to your other comment, I may very well bug you for scans. I try to write about comics I have, and for the most part I do, but alas, I have no scanner…yet! I’ll let you know for sure!
      Cheers, Jim!


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