DINGLE John Adrian Darley                                                                                          Adrian used the pseudonyms Darian and Jon Darian.

I’ve never regretted those exciting days of fantasy. The experience has been most beneficial to me as a painter. We had to draw fast and produce for a tight schedule. While I was endeavoring to pull my weight as Art Director for Bell. I was still writing and drawing four or five strips till the wee small hours. We all had dreams although short-lived.                                                                                        Now & The Times, 1-2, Oct.1973: 27.

Born 4 February 1911, in Barmouth, North Wales he came to Oakville, Ontario with his parents in 1914 at the age of three.

He worked in an insurance company in Oakville until about 1930 when he quit his job to study art. In 1931 he took the Ontario College of Art summer course studying under J. W. Beatty who was its founder and a close associate with members of the Group of Seven. From 1935 to 1937 he was in England where he studied at Goldsmith’s College of Art and exhibited at the London Portrait Society while working as an illustrator at Stillwell & Darby. Returning to Canada he regularly exhibited his paintings at the Ontario Society of Artists shows, and sold them through the T. Eaton Company Fine Art Gallery. At the same time, his illustrations were appearing in several magazines including the Standard and Star Weekly.

When, World War 2 began. Adrian attempted to join the military but was rejected because of his ear problems. He and several other artists who couldn’t enlist for health reasons organized a large petition volunteering to be war artists. They were more or less ignored probably because there was an abundance of older more experienced artists like members of the Group of Seven.

The market for fine art and for illustrations shriveled as the war effort ramped up and so, having failed to be accepted by the military, Dingle with artists André and René Kulbach took advantage of the War Exchange Conservation Act introduced December 2, 1940 and formed Hillborough Studio with about $400 from their one and only backer. He was the weak link in the organization. Dingle in a 1973 interview, described him as a “worry wart”. He, according to Dingle, “used to come in every morning and say ‘Well now, fellows, what worries me is this.’”

Quite the opposite, Pat (Dingle), who would become Adrian’s wife, thought organizing the company was a marvelous idea. “Isn’t this great, now maybe we’ll be able to get married.” she recalled during the same 1973 interview. They did get married and Pat recalled “… Adrian took his script along on our honeymoon and worked on the drawings.”

He was the mainstay in the company. For Triumph -Adventure Comics, he cartooned “Nelvana of the Northern Lights”, and a humorous filler called, “The Mums: Maxi and Mini”. He illustrated stories written by Pat and he drew portraits of military heroes. In a second periodical called Top Flight Comics, Adrian contributed “The Sword Of Destiny”. One can speculate that “Sword of Destiny might have later been resurrected as “Sign of Freedom.

Pat along with Doris Slater, who appeared in Anglo-American’s Three Aces Comics and Shirly Ley Fortune who worked for Maple Leaf Comics are the only three female contributors to have their names regularly appear in the 1940’s Canadian comics, although in fact in Anglo-American many unacknowledged women were significant contributors to the features produced by that company.

In 1942, Hillborough Studios was bankrupt, and Adrian was left with a bundle of debts. In the same 1973 interview he commented, “I remember taking all the debts and the broken partnership down to Cy Bell. To my surprise, I found the masthead for Triumph Comics was already made up and ready to roll. He was anticipating me. So he took over all the debts. And I was on salary then. And that’s how I really got started for those few years.”

Triumph-Adventure Comics became Triumph Comics, and Adrian became Artistic Director at Bell Features. Each Monday afternoon the cartoonists brought their finished work to Dingle who checked it for story content, spelling, reproductive clarity etc. He rejected any that didn’t measure up. “We had a lot of young kids coming down who didn’t stand a Chinaman’s chance. And they’d be bringing stuff in and then occasionally one had a spark and we’d cultivate that spark.” “Jerry Lazare, for instance, was quite young. And he, of course, has become a first rate illustrator.”

In addition to editing, “… we were all doing our own thing right from the start, script and drawings as well. We were at it night and day.” In addition to Nelvana, Dingle created “The Penguin” (which was later named Blue Raven) a crime fighter in a birdlike mask dressed in white tie and tails, “The Sign of Freedom” an RCAF pilot turned underground hero and “Nils Grant Private Investigator”.

He also succeeded other artists on “Active Jim”, “Rex Baxter”, “Clift Steele” and “Guy Powers Secret Agent” the last two done under the name Darian. He took on the task of drawing most of the covers either under his own name or under Darian after the principal cover artist Edmond Good left for the U.S. to take over “Scorchy Smith”.

Jerry Lazare said of him, “I think Dingle was a guy who could’ve done a strip in the States and have been successful because he was I think the best of the group.” Adrian described his own style as “Hurried. No time for anything. I enjoyed trying to break up the pages a bit, having a continuity going through various shapes. And that sort of broke up the monotony of the constant drawing ….”

When the Canadian industry ended after World War Two, Dingle returned to painting full time. He had carried it on part time even when he was editing and cartooning. An illustration by Adrian appeared on the front cover of Maclean’s, 58-4, Feb. 15, 1945. In the mid 1950’s he was illustrating books: Redcoat Sailor & Tecumtha to name two. He developed into one of Canada’s foremost landscape and semi-abstract artists travelling and painting in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Eire, New England and Canada’s Atlantic provinces until his death. He taught at the Doon School of Fine Arts. He was elected an associate member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1948. In 1961 he was awarded a life fellowship in the International Institute of Arts and Letters (F.I.A.L.) . In 1967 he was President of the Ontario Society of Artists.

As Dingle later recalled, “… it was an exciting time … we sort of lived the world that we were working in. We got our heroes and heroines into terrible scrapes and had to get them out before the next issue. It would often take a lot of hashing back and forth among a lot of the lads to find out what we were doing so we wouldn’t be stepping on the toes of someone else’s script. So, it was a hectic thing – working right through the night.”

As for the effect this experience had on him as a painter: “Drawing from imagination, if one can call it that, without any time for research has certainly, for me, provided a sort of mental retention by which I can see something and paint it later. Which has been very useful [to me] as a painter. I couldn’t have done it without this sort of experience. It’s very much like court artists of the earlier days before photography, how they’d have to go in and draw like mad. C.W. Jefferys, of course, developed his drawing ability tremendously through his court art work. These things are useful and I certainly don’t regret going through it. It was a very happy five years plus.”

He died from cancer in Erindale Ontario 22 December 1974.





Content serial & Cover book front:

Amazing Adventures in the Life Of Nelvana. Bell Features & Publishing Co., no date. Collects stories from the series “Nelvana of the Northern Lights in the Strange Frozen World of Glacia” Triumph Comics, 8 to 13. Apparently the last story “Nelvana and the Death-Dealing Double.” was included in error instead of “Death From Above” the concluding chapter of the “Glacia” series,

Nelvana of the Northern Lights. Ed., Hope Nicholson & Rachael Richey. Nelvana/LAC, 2014. Collected the complete “Nelvana” serial.

PERIODICAL GRAPHIC ANTHOLOGY:                                                                            Published by Bell Features & Publishing Ltd. Colour covers. Black & white interiors.

Content serial:

Active Comics …no date: “Active Jim …”. Dingle sometimes identified as Darian. ….
12: “…”:10-13.

13: “…”: 52-54.

14: “…”. Darian” 53-56.


15: “…” 33-35. Unidentified. likely Dingle

16: “…”:9-11.

17: “…”: 30-33. Unidentified likely Dingle.

18:”…”: 44-48.

19: “…and the Mystery Of The Counterfeit Ten.” Darian: 51-55.

21: “…, Overcoat Racket.”. Darian: 54-56.

Active Comics, 27: “The Brain.” Identified as “P and D” probably a collaboration between Adrian &

Pat Dingle: 40-45.

Commando Comics …: no date “Sign Of Freedom”…. Bell Features. Black & white.
4: 12-17.

5: 11-16.

12: 29-33

14: 43-48.

16: 48-53.

17: 34-39.

18: 51-56.
Triumph Adventure Comics …: ““The Mums, Maxie and Mini.” Dingle sometimes identified as Jon Darian. ….
1-1, Aug.1941.: “…” Jon Darian: 17, 50 & 63.

1-2, Sept. 1941: “…”:30, 40, 63.

1-4, Nov.1941: “…”: 23, 25 & 39.

1-5, Jan.1942: “…”:42.

1-6, Feb. 1942.: “…”:53, (lower half of page).

Triumph Adventure Comics…: ” Nelvana of the Northern Lights…”….. Hillborough Studios, Black 7 white.
l-1, Aug.1941: “…”:18- 35.

1-2, Sept. 1941: “…The Devil Ship”: 1-14.

1-4, Nov.1941:”… Cave-in”: 40-51.

l-5, Jan.1942: “…The Battle of the Arctic”: 19-30.

l-6, Feb. 1942: “…Icebergs of Death”: 23- 35.

Triumph Comics…no date: “Nelvana of the Northern Lights…”….. Bell Features. Black & white.
no number: “… The Dictator Strikes “: 1-13. From internal evidence this is no. 7

08: “…:In the Strange Frozen World of Glacia”: 1-12.

09: “ … In Glacia the Land of Frozen Life.”: 1- 12.

10: “… 1- 12. In Glacia World of Ice – Chapter 3,Vultor the Villainous”: 1- 12.

l1: “ … Chapter 4,Vultor’s Plot”: 1-12

l2: “…: In Glacia, Chapter 5, The Unmasked Claw”: 1-12

l3: “…In Glacia, Chapter 6, Death from Above”: 1- 11.

Triumph Comics … no date: “Nelvana of the Northern Lights”…. Bell Features. Black & white.
l4: 1- 9. l5: 1- 9. l6:1- 9. l9:1- 7. 20:1-7. 23:1-7.

Super Duper Comics, 3, May 1947: “Nelvana of the Northern Lights.” F.E. Howard Publications.


WOW Comics …no date: “ The Penguin …” Bell Features. Black & white.
19: ““Holy Smokes That’s The Penguin — That Was”: 1-8.

22: “…and the Mystery of the Piano Playing Corpse, pt. 1”: 1-7.

24: “…and the Case of High Grade Murder”: 1-7.

27: ““The Penguin’s Double Trouble, pt. 2”:1-8.

28: “… pt. 1”: 1-7

29: “… pt.2”: 6-12


Active Comics, 27: “’Scoop’ Hilton.” Car., Unidentified probably Adrian Dingle: 46-51. Bell Features. Black & white.



Content poetry:

Tecumtha. Writ., Wallace Havelock Robb. Abbey Dawn Press, 1958.

Content biography & Cover dust jacket:

Redcoat Sailor: The Story of Sir Howard Douglas. Writ., R.S. Lambert. Macmillan Co. of Canada, 1956. “A book in a series Great Stories of Canada.”


Content legend & Cover dust jacket:

Logging With Paul Bunyan. Writ., John D. Robins. Ryerson Press, 1957.


Content story & Cover front:

Thrilling Stories For Boys. Bell Features & Publishing, no date:                                                  “Buried In The Skies.” Writ., Vic Griffin.                                                                              “Unfinished Business.” Writ., identified Pat Hamilton; most likely Pat Dingle.

PERIODICAL GRAPHIC ANTHOLOGY:                                                                          Published by Bell Features & Publishing. Coloured covers. Black & white interiors.

Content portrait:

Triumph Adventure Comics, 1-1, Aug.1941:                                                                                  “Sergeant John Hannah, V.C.”: 36.                                                                                      “Winston Churchill”: 37.

Triumph Adventure Comics, 1-2, Sept. 1941:                                                                                “E.S. Fogarty Fegen, R.N.”: 31.                                                                                          “A.G.L. McNaughton, Commander-in-Chief of Canadian Forces”: 41.

Triumph Adventure Comics, 1-4, Nov.1941:                                                                                  “Capt. Douglas W. Cunnington.” 24.                                                                                    “General Sir John Dill.”: 38.

Triumph Adventure Comics,1-5, Jan.1942: “                                                                                “Sir Archibald Wavell, Commander of the British Forces in India”: 31.                                “John MacMillan Stevenson Patton”: 43.

Triumph Adventure Comics, 1-6, Feb. 1942:                                                                               “The Heroic Feat of Sergeant Pilot James A. Ward V.C. Royal New Zealand Air                 Force”: 22.

Content serial:

Triumph Adventure Comics…: “Clue-Catchers.” Writ., Pat Dingle., sometimes under pseudonym Pat C.
1-1, Aug.1941: “…” Pat Dingle: 40-49

1-2, Sept. 1941: “…” Pat Dingle:54-62

1-4, Nov.1941: “…” Writ., Pat C. (Based on story submitted by Fred Butland of Fredericton, N.B.:18-22.

1-5, Jan.1942: “…”: Pat C: 1-10.

1-6, Feb. 1942: “…, the Maniac’s Revenge.” Writ., Pat C. 44-53 (upper half).


Active Comics, 13, no date. “Hi-jacking Davey Jones’ Locker.” Writ., Vic Griffin: 36-40.

Cover front:

Active Comics … no date: “…”
5, Untitled

9, “Dixon of the Mounted.”

14,“Dixon of the Mounted.”

15, “King Fury and Robot Menace.”

16, “The Brain.”

17, “The Brain.”

18, See illustration below.

20, “The Panthers.

22, “The Brain.”

23, “Cinder Smith.”

24, “Dr. Blue and Blackie.”

27, “Dr. Blue and Blackie.”

29, Untitled

Triumph Adventure Comics…:
1-2, Sept. 1941. no number, no date. From internal evidence this is no. 7. 12, no date.
WOW Comics …no date: “…”
19: Untitled. 22: Untitled. 24: Untitled. 27: Untitled. 28, : Untitled. 29, “Thunderfist.”


Cover front:

Maclean’s, 15 Feb. 1945.



Content advertisement for crests:

Active Comics, 10: “Would you like to have a FREE Sweater Crest of your FAVOURITE COMIC BOOK CHARACTER??? —“ 24-25, 46.

Content newsletter:

Active Comics… no date: “Active Jim’s …” … Bell Features. Black & white.
09: “…Monthly Message”: 18.

10: “ … Monthly News Letter”: 19              “Club News and Views”: 44-45.

11: “…Monthly Message”: 26.                                                            “Club News and Views.” 38-39.

12: “…Monthly Message”: 40.

13: “…Monthly Message”: 16. Unidentified likely Dingle

Active Comics … no date: “Active Jim’s Message”… Bell Features. Black & white.
15: “…”:21. 16: “…”:34                                                                      “Active Jim’s Club News and Views”: 16 17: “…” 16 & 22. 21:”…”: 8


Bell Features & Publishing Co.


Article book:

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

Nelvana of the Northern Lights. Car., Adrian Dingle. Ed., Hope Nicholson & Rachel Richey. Nelvana Comics, 2014: “Adrian Dingle”.

The World Encyclopedia of Comics. Ed., Maurice Horn. Chelsea House Publishers, 1976: “Dingle Adrian (1912 – 1974)”: Writ., Peter Harris. 208.

Article periodical:

Canadian Notes & Queries, 93, Summer 2015:“The Landscape: Adrian Dingle”.

Now and Then Times,1-1, Summer 1972: “World of Canadian Whites”: Writ., Bill Thomas: 22.

Now and Then Times, 1-2, Oct.1973:                                                                                            “A conversation with Adrian and Pat Dingle and Bill Thomas.” Interviewer, Dave               Sim. 27+.                                                                                                                            “An interview with Jerry Lazare.” Interviewer, Dave Sim,: 33.

Article newspaper:

Globe and Mail, 23 Oct.1982: “Whatever Happened to …?”: Writ., Peter Harris. Fanfare 7.


www.robertsgallery.net/dynamic/artist_bio.asp?ArtistID=90, Accessed 3/27/2014.


DINGLE ADRIAN, Triumph, 1-5, Jan

DINGLE ADRIAN, Triumph, 1-5, JanTriumph Adventure Comics, 1-5, Jan.1942

DINGLE Adrian, Active Comics, 18, nActive Comics, 18: One of the finest of the wartime comic covers.

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE BY CARTOONIST\D\DINGLE Adrian, Thrilling Stories For Boys, fc.jpgThrilling Stories For Boys: Front cover.

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE BY CARTOONIST\D\DINGLE Adrian, Painting, Robert's Gallery, Toronto .jpg“Till Infinity, Portugal.” Oil on Masonite 22”X30”. 23rd Annual Sketches Exhibition, June 14 2017, Roberts Gallery, Toronto. This was a show & sale of historical Canadian art.