Going Postal

Perf & Gauge, Canada Post Corporation, 1996
One last comic you won't believe I have in my collection! Perf & Gauge is a freebie promo issued by Canada Post, featuring the superhero design that won some contest I wasn't aware of (like Dial "H" for Hero, but without the bragging rights).

The story is simple enough. A kid with a chess piece hairdo called Perv--sorry, Perf - fingers slipped, there - releases a superhero from the planet Fellator -sorry, that's Philator, just a spelling mistake, honest - called Gauge. The superhero design contest specified a Canadian superhero, but they make him hail from another planet. I guess they've got maple trees as well.

Anyway, Perf helps Gauge defeat a villain called Dr. Pane and we learn about the wonderful hobby that is stamp collecting. The whole thing runs 10 bilingual pages (with the French being error-free, surprisingly, but totally undramatic).

Anyway, Gauge is a perfectly good Canadian superhero design, though with Perv and Fellator in this comic, it's a wonder they didn't pick runner-up The Great Canadian Beaver. So Gauge creator Richard Lee from Mississauga is blameless, but the characters created by the comic's "writer" are terrible. Cartoony Perf is totally out of place, and Dr. Pane is a terrible big-headed alien with mechanical parts. There's not a whole lot of thought put into it, with Perf describing himself as having friends, playing sports AND enjoying philately. Sing along with me now: One of these things doesn't go with the others...

I could have scanned the comic's interior, but the quality doesn't really vary from the cover. More interesting are the five stamps this thing was selling. In 1996, Canada Post issued this series, showcasing five Canadian superheroes (sorry, not you, Gauge):
Quite the list! Superman is the seller, but a controversial figure. Yes, co-creator Joe Shuster was Canadian, but Siegal wasn't, and before you start quoting that Heritage Canada commercial, let me tell you it is a load of BULLSHIT!!! There are so many things wrong with that one that it makes me doubt every part of my heritage. (Damn it! Is that PEI instant mashed potato story true??) Ok, sorry, got a little hot under the collar there. Ok, so Superman. After that, Johnny Canuck and Nelvana, and I'm right with you going "who?". Captain Canuck, ah now there's a hero. He was our guy during the 70s and 80s. Put Alpha Flight to shame. And then Fleur de Lys, no doubt because of a federal policy to include something from Quebec so that they wouldn't split from the country on the day these stamps came out. It might've been the last drop, after all.


joncormier said...

Funny, I was using Jonny Canuck as an X-box Live handle for a while before I realized he was a golden age hero.

I think Fleur De Lis was Cpt. Canada's partner or sidekick or something. There's an online resource for that kind of thing which is quite good.

Also, I was in Antigonish, NS for a few years of schoolin' and they have the philatelic centre there. It's only a one floor building but has an elevator in it. I'm pretty sure it's a spy training centre - or home to Alpha Flight.

Siskoid said...

Or possibly Stompin' Tom's secret HQ.

Siskoid said...

Oh yeah that's right. You were an X-Man.

BlackmarketPies said...

I remember entering this contest as a kid. Can't remember what my hero was, though.

I think the "Perf" character (an abbreviation of "perforated," as in the edge of stamps and his head) was the official mascot of Canada Post's efforts to get kids to collect stamps, and was pretty much obligated to be in the comic. My mother worked in a Post Office (hell, she still does), so I was quite the stamp collector in my day, and saw the little scallop-headed dude on a variety of promotional materials.

Bill D. said...

Hey, I've actually seen that Heritage Canada commercial. Must've either been on one of our trips to New Brunswick or Toronto, or else when we had CBC on our cable system at UMaine.

Why the ire? What do they get wrong? Or should I ask what don't they get wrong?

Siskoid said...

Click the link in the main text to watch it, but as for the ridiculousness...

It basically says that Shuster came up with Superman when he was a kid, independently on Siegal, and that's just wrong. It totally negates the evolution of the character (name from illustrated story Day of the Superman, and look from Doctor Occult's astral costume). It's total fabrication.


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