par André du Port
JULY 1st – 2014
i would come back to montreal/je reviendrai à montréal
Robert Charlebois – JE REVIENDRAI À MONTRÉAL (de la LP LONGUE DISTANCE ’76)
Doug Wright on TAKE 30 (October 25 ’68, CBC ARCHIVES)
Doug Wright: b. August 11, 1917 (Dover, England) – d. January 3, 1983 (Burlington, Ontario, Canada).
An aspiring illustrator, Doug Wright came to Montreal by steam ship in 1938, where he got a job with the insurance company, Sun Life, prior to his service in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.
After the war he freelanced as a cartoonist in Montreal before taking over the single panel comic, JUNIPER JUNCTION, in ’48–following the sudden death of its creator, Jimmy Frise–for the MONTREAL STANDARD, a weekly pictorial newspaper carried as a supplement in the MONTREAL STAR and in other papers across the country.
the weekend/le weekend
In addition to JUNIPER JUNCTION, almost by accident in ’49 Wright created his own wordless strip for the STANDARD–as the strip grew in popularity, it came to be called NIPPER (after a contest to select the title).
The STANDARD switched to a magazine style format in ’51 and was relaunched as the WEEKEND PICTURE MAGAZINE (later simply titled THE WEEKEND)–with NIPPER usually appearing at the back of the magazine (thus many readers would open the back of the magazine first, before checking out the other contents at the front of the mag).
One advantage of NIPPER’s pantomime was that the strip could easily appear in French publications, as well as English–all that might need to be changed for a Francophone audience would be the sound effects.
the canadian/le canadien
Wright started out a bachelor, but during the life of NIPPER, he married and had sons of his own. Nipper, likewise was to get his own baby brother. Then in ’66, with his growing family, Doug Wright moved out of Montreal to Burlington, Ontario.
And in ’67, Wright was wooed away from THE WEEKEND, to work for THE CANADIAN, a rival weekly magazine supplement carried in other newspapers across the nation. He could not take the name of his feature with him (he never liked the name, anyway) and thus NIPPER became DOUG WRIGHT’S FAMILY.
un jour un jour/hey friend say friend
Doug Wright and his family would come back to Montreal, however briefly, for Expo.
Un jour, un jour par Michèle Richard, chanson de thème pour Expo
Not only was ’67 the 100th anniversary of Confederation, but it was also the year that Expo came to Montreal. The political and financial issues aside, Expo ’67 was a grand celebration of modern achievements.
Ci dessous: un plan panoramique d’Expo, SPIROU No. 1514 (20 Avril ’67), publié par Dupuis, la Belgique.
d εt q
Montreal’s Drawn and Quarterly has begun to collect Doug Wright’s work in handsome collections for all to enjoy.
Below: For Christmastime, Doug Wright would create a special full colour page, rather than his usual black and red strip.
LILY RENÉE, ESCAPE ARTIST: FROM HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR TO COMIC BOOK PIONEER by Trina Robbins, Anne Timmons, Mo Oh (Graphic Universe, 2011).
The true life story of Lily Renée Wilheim’s life as a girl in Vienna and the tragedy that turned her world up side down is beautifully rendered in this wonderful book from Robbins, Timmons and Oh.
Lily Renée emerged as an artist and writer for Fiction House in the ’40s, working on such features as Senorita Rio.
The story behind the find: I was guided by the comic book gods to find this book and to discover the life of comic book veteran Renée when I chanced upon a newspaper article about the history of women in the comic book industry.
–Jim Kelly (July 1, 2014)