Nelvana of the Northern Lights vs. the Devil-Ship

A few months ago, I wrote about the first appearance of Canada's first superheroine, Nelvana of the Northern Lights and promised more. This week, I was all set to encourage you to back a Kickstarter project that aimed to collect all the stories in one fine trade... but it got funded within the week! Nelvana has more fans that we thought! (You can still back it to get the book and other goodies through November 1st.)

But today, we're still going to look at Triumph Comics #2 (cover-dated September 1941) and the second chapter in Nelvana's first story. As you may remember from just having clicked the link or read the blurb above, she and her brother-turned-into-a-dog Tanero have come across evil Karlunets (white men) up to no good, and that no good is whale poaching.
Cue the most graphic extended whale hunting sequence since Moby Dick (less literate readers may think of Star Trek IV instead). The villainous Toroff may or may not be using science fiction on the hunt. It looks legit, but he also melts the icebergs in the way with a big laser, so... But his crew has been spooked by Nelvana's celestial powers so while he "angrily musters his men for a more concentrated orgy of destruction" (Golden Age writing, folks), the heroes board the ship and...
Oh, my bad, she's just turning her brother back into his blond superhero form so he can sink the ship. With cod Shakespeare that would put Thor to shame, Tanero springs into action and starts mucking up the works. Meanwhile, Nelvana finds Toroff's ultimate plan in his cabin and hides it (even from us)!
By the time she sneaks out, the boat is already tipping and the water rising. The Karlunet crew run for the lifeboats. She's about the climb over the side when Toroff catches her puts her in a trap that makes use of the tipping deck. If she lets the barrel she's sitting on slip, she'll fall into the fat rendering pit!
That's a strange bondage scene, and you should remember this comic has a cover date 4 months ahead of the first Wonder Woman appearance's! So yes, this disappointingly relegates Nelvana to damsel in distress in her own strip, but she WAS shown to be the thinker and leader in this duo. Tanero is just the muscle and couldn't carry his own book.

As for Toroff's secret plans, I'm afraid that's a tale for another day...


Hope L Nicholson said...

Hey, thanks for supporting us! I can't wait to show you this issue in its full glory, the microfiche really doesn't do it justic

Siskoid said...

I was hoping you'd say that!


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