Sub sub series FC 3216 S2 1.2.2 - Active comics

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Active comics

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Reference code

FC 3216 S2 1.2.2

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Physical description area

Physical description

v. : ill. ; 26 cm.

Publisher's series area

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Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Toronto: Bell Features and Publishing Company, [1942]-[1946]

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Custodial history

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Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English

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Restrictions on access

All researchers (including students, faculty, visiting scholars, and members of the general public) must submit a Retrieval Request Form at least 24 hours before their visit to Bruce Peel Special Collections in order to be sure that library materials have been retrieved from storage and are available for their use.

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General note

Among the recurring features in Active comics was "Dixon of the Mounted," created by E.T. Legault. The "Dixon of the Mounted" entries in the Canadian comics database wiki and Public domain superheroes Web sites - available online at and (accessed 22 January 2017) - both indicate that the feature appeared from no. 1 (February 1942) through no. 7. The Lund Comics Collection, however, does hold copies of issues no. 9 and no. 17 in which a Corporal Dixon story is present. These commentators may have been referring to the extent of Legault-created content as the stories in both issues were composed by others.

General note

Holdings: [no. 4?] ([1942?]); no. 9 ([1943?]); and no. 17 ([1944?])

General note

The Lund Comics Collection copy of issue no. 4 is missing its covers and, with them, information about its numbering. Documentation accompanying the copy, however, indicates that it is no. 4.

General note

The initial panel of the Dixon story in issue no. 9 provides a summary of previous installments stating that he has been assigned "to find the source of distribution for the deadly drug marijuana among the Indians." The synopsis in no. 17 indicates that Dixon is on an inspection trip "to check the small settlements and outposts of civilization and to make a thorough report to Edmonton."

General note

Bell Features and Publishing Company produced other series, including Comic crimes and Crimefighters comics. The Lund Comics Collection holds issues of both titles, and they are described separately in the finding aid.

General note

The appearance of Active comics - and other series issued by Bell Features - marked a significant milestone in the evolution of a Canadian comics industry. The development of Canadian comics had traditionally been inhibited by the domination of American products in the domestic marketplace. During the Second World War, this dynamic changed. The war effort placed pressure on the government to address the growing trade imbalance with the United States, and, in December 1940, restrictions were placed on the importation of non-essential American goods. Among the banned items were comic books, and Bell Features - as well as several other companies - came forward to fill the void. (Information taken from John Bell, "A history: English Canadian comic books" in John Bell, ed., Canuck Comics, Montreal: Matrix Books, c1986).

General note

These competitors included Educational Projects and Anglo-American Publishing Company. The Lund Comics Collection holds issues of several of these publications - Action stories of the Mounties, Canadian heroes, Threes aces comics, and Robin Hood comics - and they are described separately in the finding aid.

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