Here is something that I have never, and I mean ever had a problem saying.
I am a proud Canadian.
I love my country, the people in it and what it stands for each and every day, and being Canadian doesn’t mean that we shout it from the rooftops whenever we want, we just pull it out when necessary. I love this about us, but it has a tendency to work against us. On the global scale from either a pop culture or a factual standpoint, when you ask most people to picture a Canadian, there first image goes straight to this, no matter how much we may not want it to.
While we all love our beer and our flannel just as much as the next guy, as Canadians I like to think that we have a little more depth to us, and while Bob & Doug wouldn’t hurt a fly there certainly is more to us then this iconic image above because much like we do in our favorite sport, when the situation calls for it we have no problem dropping our gloves and getting in a good old fashion fight.
With the upcoming theatrical release of Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds as the foul mouthed, mentally unstable mercenary with a superhuman ability to heal, it got me to thinking. It doesn’t really get advertised, but Deadpool is Canadian and in the history of comic books, cinema and really life in general we Canadian’s have our fair share of iconic heroes and badasses (or at least actors who played them on screen) and I figured we should take a look and see if they measure up to the next installment of badassery in Deadpool which will be open in theatres everywhere on Friday Feb. 12th.
OK Bub… this one was a no brainer.
James Hewlett aka Logan aka Wolverine first made an appearance in the pages of the The Incredible Hulk #180 and the Marvel Universe was forever changed as this badass antihero run roughshod over anything that may be in his path with his enhanced abilities, superhuman healing powers and adamantium claws that came out of his forearms at will. Easily one of the more iconic superheroes of all time and even when growing up those friends you had who thought comic books were stupid always and I mean always thought that Wolverine was cool.
There’s always something special about being the first.
Born in 1975 from cartoonist Ron Leishman and artist/writer Richard Comely, it actually marked the rebirth of an industry that had been dormant in Canada from the end of World War II. Granted this comic has only been published sporadically over the years, but it is a clear marker of the first Canadian superhero, but the many more to come.
Our country is just so damn unique that you really can’t sum it up in one singular character.
Basically The Great White North’s version of the Avengers first appeared in April of 1979 in X-Men #120 when they were sent to get Wolverine back home to Canada where they felt he belonged.
Featuring different characters (French-Canadian & Inuit among others) from all across the country when its own comic launched in Aug of 1983 it was also one of the first comics to take a real lead on female empowerment when the team leader Guardian apparently died in issue #12 only to have his wife take leadership of the team and don her late husband’s costume now modified in her role as Vindicator. A positive and diverse example of what it means to be Canadian while not being afraid to mop up the bad guys at the very same time.
Don’t you just love it when truth gets to be just as entertaining as fiction?
Deadwood only ran for three 12 episodes seasons, but this western was easily one of the best written shows in the recent memory of television and still has a loyal following even to this day after it has been defunct for nearly 10 years.
Drawing on real life events, Deadwood tracked the growth of this mining town in the Dakota Territory as it began to ease its way from the ways of the wild west in those of western capitalism. The always underrated Timothy Olyphant played the role of Sherriff, Hardware store owner and US Marshall with a gripping aplomb and in the real life town of Deadwood as he navigated all sorts of danger, no one ever really remembers that this man was Canadian.
Courage comes from so many places.
Known for his affable charm and doughy demeanor, we often forget that Seth Rogan rose to the challenge of playing Britt Reid (aka The Green Hornet) and while the film didn’t quite get the reception that it was hoping for it wasn’t for a lack of trying as he brought a unique energy to the role.
Arrow is taking over TV screens all across the globe as the DC Universe gains it’s foothold in the action/adventure comic book realm as Amell has made this character of a spoiled billionaire turned sharpshooting vigilante one of the hottest destinations on television to date.
And if that wasn’t enough, actor Stephen Amell takes his badass character very seriously as he even stepped into a WWE ring for the very first time as a competitor to take on a challenge from the enigmatic Stardust back at this past year’s Summerslam event.
Sure he might be London born, but this Canadian actor stepped into the shoes of Jack Bauer for nine seasons on 24 as a key cog in the Counter Terrorist Unit that brought down numerous terrorists threats. In the post 9/11 landscape he was easily one of the more iconic and beloved TV characters in the United States and if you ask most of them, I bet they’d never know that he was actually played by a Canadian.
He played John Wick…do I really need to say anymore?
An iconic steely gazed genre hero as Captain James T Kirk and he was played with reckless abandon by one of Canada’s own. He was easily my first example of a hero in pop culture and he was brought to life by a Canadian.
Romeo Antonius Dallaire
We can’t forget some of those real life heroes either.
The subject of several documentaries and feature films, while his mission in Rwanda wasn’t initially successful one we have to doff our cap to a man who had to courage to stare down some of these horrible atrocities and do the right thing.
I found this man in my research, and quite frankly someone needs to make a movie about this guy as soon as humanly possible.
It was Nov. 20th 197 at the Battle of Cambrai, he took command of a mounted Squadron when their commander was killed and led the squadron through the machine gun posted enemy lines, killing seven gunners by his own sword and rallying his remaining troops back to safely with 15 prisoners. For this he received the Victoria Cross which was the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy. We renamed a mountain and a lake in his honor and the mounted military regiments have a parade every year marking the anniversary of this amazingly brave military assault.
Someone needs to green light this man’s story right now, because that is a movie that I would watch.
God knows that I have probably missed a few but next weekend when you are heading out to the theatre to catch Deadpool continue the fine tradition of Canadian badassery that has come before him, just remember that in the pages of a comic book, on the big or small screen and even in real life. We Canadians are nothing to fuck with.