AIRCEL PUBLISHING LTD Location: 2185 Ogilvie Road, Gloucester, Ontario Founder & owner: Ken Campbell. Founder & editor: Barry Blair. Contributors: Barry Blair, Denis Beauvais, Dave Cooper, Gordon Derry, Patrick McEown, Adrian Kleinbergen, Guang Yap. Characters: Elflord, Samurai, Shadowalker
In September 1985, at the suggestion of Barry Blair, Ken Campbell transformed his insulation installment company into a publisher of graphic periodicals, after it had lost a major Federal government contract. In the 1980’s reputedly Canada’s largest comic book publishing company, it was located in Ottawa. Its flagship bimonthly comic Elflord sold 80,000 copies per issue. It also published Samurai.
At least in 1987 and 1988, Gordon Derry was a writer almost as important to Aircel as Barry. In this short period he wrote two mini-series Darkewood and Starstone plus two serials or the beginnings of two serials Shadowalker and Warlock 5. In 1988, he suddenly vanishes, Shadow Walker abruptly stops, and Warlock 5 begins a very steep descent in quality and interest as first Ottawa fantasy novelist Charles de Lint then Barry Blair himself take over writing duties while a variety of illustrators including Barry assume the visuals. Shadow Walker will resurface in 1991 published by Ground Zero Graphics founded by another ex-Aircel contributor Adrian Kleinbergen.
Aircel’s imprint appears on the first two issues of The Adventurers. It is hard to see why since Steve Milo a U.S. entrepreneur based in Washington seems to have been the driving force behind it and none of the creative team was part of the Aircel group. After only two issues the title was transferred to Steve Milo’s Adventures Publications in Washington where the first two issues were reprinted and the series continued. It appears that Steve was selling Aircel periodicals in the U.S. and this was probably the first connection. He then probably decided it would be more profitable to publish and sell through his own company. See BURLES Kent for more about the Canadian aspects of this periodical.
Aircel ceased existence as an independent company in 1988 when the black and white comic phenomenon collapsed. It was acquired by Malibu Comics Entertainment which assumed its financial burdens. Although an imprint of Malibu, it appears to have remained a separate operation. At the same time Malibu acquired the U.S. based Eternity Comics and in 1989 Adventure Publications.
The Adventurers, 2, no date. Writ., Scott Behnke. Illus., Kent Burles. Let., Ron Kasman. Colour cover. Black & white content.
|Darkewood …: Writ., Gordon Derry. Illus., Adrian Kleinberger. Colour cover & content.|
|2, 1987.||3, 1988. (?)||5, 1987 (?)|
Shadowalker 1, 1988. Writ., Gordon Derry. Illus., Tom Grummett. Colour cover. Black & white content.
|Starstone …: Writ., Gordon Derry. Illus., Adrian Kleinberger. Colour cover. Black & white content.|
|1, 1987.||2, 1987.||3, 1987.|
|Warlock 5, …: Writ., Gordon Derry. Illus., Denis Beauvais. Colour cover. Black & white content.|
|Warlock 5, …: Writ., Charles de Lint. Lay. & Pen., Patrick McEown & Barry Blair. In., Jim Somerville. Let., Mike Charbonneau. Colour cover. Black & white content.|
|14, 1988.||15, 1988.|
|Warlock 5…: Writ., Charles de Lint & Barry Blair. Pen., Dale Keown. In., Jim Somerville. Let., Mike Charbonneau. Colour cover. Black & white content.|
|16, 1988.||17, 1988.|
|Warlock 5,…: Writ., & Pen., Barry Blair. In., Jim Somerville. Colour cover. Black & white content.|
|18, 1988.||19, 1988.|
|Warlock 5, …: Car., Barry Blair. Let., Edwin Mark. Aircel Publishing Ltd a division of Malibu Graphics Ltd. Colour cover. Black & white content.|
|20, 1989||21, 1989.||Bk. II-3, August 1989.|
The Adventurers, 4, 1986: “The Adventurers – And Much More!!!” Writ., Scott Behnke: Inside front cover.
The Adventurers, 9, October 1987: “Fantasy & Reality.” Writ., Scott Behnke. Inside front cover.
The Adventurers 2, no date: “Welcome to the second issue of The Adventurers”: I.f.c.
Toronto Sun 11 Jan. 1987: “Fab Funnies.” Writ., Dan Proudfoot: C8.
Toronto Star, 27 Feb.1987: “Here’s your guide to superheroes of Canadian comics”: D6.
“Aircel Comics.” Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 23 December 2017. Accessed 4 April 2018.
“Barry Blair.” Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 11 March 2018. Access April 2018.
“Malibu Comics.” Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 28 March 2018. Accessed 4 April 2018.