JACK CANUCK

JACK CANUCK

“Jack Canuck” and “Johnny Canuck” (See JOHNNY CANUCK) owe their origins to the editorial cartoonists of the Confederation period who in their cartoons revealed a fierce nationalism and intense antagonism to any suggestion of annexation to the United States. They personified Britain as “John Bull” or “Mrs. Britannia”, and the United States as “Brother or Cousin Jonathon” later as “Uncle Sam”. Canada was represented by a demur “Miss Canada” fending off the advances of the unsavory “Jonathon” or by a strapping upright youth called “Young Canada”.

Out of the latter evolved “Jack Canuck” and “Johnny or John Canuck”. Cartoonists altered between the two names but “Jack Canuck” was probably the first used in order to more sharply differentiate him from the sleazy “Brother or Cousin Jonathon”. As “Jonathon” gave way to “Uncle Sam” “Johnny or John Canuck” became more prominent.

The name varied but the character was essentially the same, an average straight talking, independent mustachioed Canadian wearing a stetson and work clothing. Some have described him as naive, a bit of a boy scout, but that seems an inaccurate description given the sharp editiorial comment that accompanied his image. In the “Johnny Canuck” cartoon below, he has no illusions about the intentions of “Brother Jonathon” or that Britain is an unreliable defender of Canadian interests.

Although “Jack Canuck’s” prime function was on the international stage he was by no means restricted to it. In the early decades of the twentieth century, Jeffery’s used “Jack Canuck” to comment on the growing strength of Western Canada. Lou Skuce used “Jack Canuck”, as the spirit of Canada making comments about domestic politics However, the name “Jack Canuck” gradually faded away in favour of “Johnny Canuck”.

The next version of “Jack Canuck” can be said to have occurred in Canadian Heroes Comics although his name had changed. See CANADA JACK. He had also been converted from a persona of editorial criticism to a patriotic hero. The Stetson hat and work clothes were replaced by a gymnastic outfit. Yet, in wartime when so many Canadian heroes were in Europe “Canada Jack” like his ancestor remained firmly on Canadian soil defending national interests.

In 2013, Bevan Thomas and the Cloudscape Comics Society of Vancouver created “Canada Jacques” or “Jacques De Canada” a homosexual hero. See CANADA JACQUES.

Another modern day incarnation, of the “Jack” name, “Dominion Jack” was created by Jack Briglio and Ron Salas also in 2013. . For the full story see DOMINION JACK.

SOURCE:

Book text:

Guardians of the North: The National Superhero in Canadian Comic-Book Art. Writ., John Bell. National Archives of Canada, 1992: 10-17. A catalogue for the exhibit of the same name.

The Hecklers. Writ. & Ed.., Peter Desbarates & Terry Mosher. McClelland and Stewart Ltd.,1979: 43, 58, 93.

GALLERY:

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE BY CARTOONIST\J\JEFFERIES, C.W. Editorial Cartoon.jpg “Merchants of Mirth and Malice.” Writ., Robert Crew. Toronto Star, 11 Jan.1992: D5.       Perhaps drawn during the dispute over the Alaskan panhandle 1902.

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE BY CARTOONIST\S\SKUCE Lou, Private Post Card.jpg                            Car., Lou Skuce. Private Post Card, circa 1910.

Here is a different series of cartoons, post cards featuring a triumphal Jack or Johnny Canuck, a benevolent John Bull and Uncle Sam and a rather envious Uncle Sam. These were produced in the first decade of the 1900’s when Canada was experiencing a boom and great prosperity.

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON\IMAGE CARTOON J\JACK CANUCK, Post Card, Knowles Series_0001.jpg Car., unidentified. Canadian Private Post Card. Knowles & Co. London Ont. Circa 1907/09.

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON\IMAGE CARTOON J\JACK CANUCK, Post Card, Knowles Series_0002.jpg Car., unidentified. Canadian Private Post Card. Knowles & Co. London Ont. Circa 1907/09

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON\IMAGE CARTOON J\JACK CANUCK, Post Card, Knowles Series_0003.jpg Car., unidentified. Canadian Private Post Card. Knowles & Co. London Ont. Circa 1907/09