ORB PRODUCTIONS LTD Locations: See below. Owner: James Waley.
Contributors: John Allison, Dan Archambault, Stan Berneche, Jim Beveridge, T. Casey Brennan, Jim Craig, Gene Day, Augustine Funnell, George Henderson, Robert MacIntyre, Vince Marchesano, Don Marshall, Paul McCusker, Bill Payne, Richard, RobertsonMatt Rust, Paul Savard, John Sech, Ken Steacy, Ron Sutton, James Waley.
Characters: Dark Ninja, Electric Warrior, Kadaver. Northern Light.
ORB Magazine a pioneering anthology that launched the careers of several artists but which itself did not survive. It provided an early outlet for emerging creators like Jim Craig, Gene Day, Ken Steacy, and Augustine Funnell, plus the ones listed below. It was home to stories by the pulp culture icon and Memory Lane store owner George Henderson. It introduced new Canadian characters like Northern Light, The Electric Warrior, Dark Ninja and Kadaver. Through it and Andromeda Publications, one can get a very good sense of the character of the Toronto graphic arts community of the 1970’s.
According to Jim Waley a Sheridan graduate, ORB Magazine “…as an attempt to prove that the production of a viable Canadian comic wasn’t impossible.” Waley initiated the project with assistance from John Allison, Stan Berneche, Paul McCusker, and Matt Rust. These individuals contributed their work free to the magazine and most involved in the project contributed about $75 each to get the magazine off the ground.
The first issue was successfully premiered at COSMICON ‘76 at York University, Toronto. Encouraged by the response, the founders applied to and received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. With that grant, some income from the magazine, free contributions of work from the creators and by distributing the magazine themselves, they were able to release issues 2 and 3. Next, over a six month period they incorporated Waley’s private company Orb Publications into Orb Productions Ltd.
At this point several problems arose. First they published issue 4 and locked themselves into a bimonthly schedule before the $40.000 in share capital they had expected to raise, was raised. Second they hired a business manager and sales representative who were inexperienced. They had distribution problems perhaps compounded by the fact they were a small company and therefore a low priority for the major distributors. With issue 6, cash flow had practically dried up and Orb Productions ceased publishing.
ORB Magazine, 1-1, 1974, Century Comics Group, 31 Albany Ave. Toronto.
ORB Magazine, 1-2, July 1974, Punk Publications, 660 1/2 Bloor Street, West, Toronto.
ORB Magazine 1-3, Dec. 1974, Orb Publications, 660 1/2 Bloor Street, West, Toronto.
ORB Magazine 1-4, Nov./Dec. 1975, Orb Productions Ltd., 621 Richmond Street West, #3, Toronto.
ORB Magazine 1-5, Jan./Feb. 1976, Orb Productions Ltd., 621 Richmond Street West, #3, Toronto.
ORB Magazine, 1- 6, March/April 1976, Orb Productions Ltd., 621 Richmond Street West, #3, Toronto.
“ORB Explanation.” Writ., Jim Waley. Captain George’s Penny Dreadful, no date.
Pen., James Craig. In., Bill Payne. Col., Gene Day. Orb Magazine, 6, March/April 1976: Front cover.
Some of the Orb Gang & Friends on the Occasion of the “Jews In Comics” exhibit at the Beth Tzedec Synagogue Toronto, 4 April 2019. Photo sent by Ivan Kocmarek.
Left to right: James Waley, Ron Kasman, Art Cooper, Allen Sant, Vince Marchescano, Ivan Kocmarek.