Last year, Canadian comics publisher Chapterhouse Comics kicked off their own version of a shared superhero universe akin to those of DC or Marvel. Now, they've added a new hero to their growing roster: Canadian actor, director, and writer Jay Baruchel.
Chapterhouse is Canada's largest publisher of comic books, delivering over 16 monthly titles since emerging in 2015. Noteworthy properties include: Dan Parent's Die Kitty Die, Jason Loo's The Pitiful Human-Lizard, and the lavishly patriotic Captain Canuck. Now, Canadian Renaissance man Jay Baruchel will help lead the team as Chief Creative Officer, investor and owner.
Baruchel, known for his roles in films like How to Train Your Dragon, Goon and This is the End, has been a longtime fan of pop culture and is an advocate for Canadian media. “This was the kind of thing we’d talk and dream about as Canadian kids — a home grown Canadian extended comic book universe. We want to be the home for superheroes the big publishers don’t have the balls to create.”
Meet The Team
Chapterhouse has only been publishing for two years, but has already established 16 series. Several of those belong to a shared superhero universe they dub "The Chapterverse," and many of them have already crossed over into each other's books. Have a look at some of the heroes currently defending the Chapterverse.
The flagship hero franchise in Chapterhouse's universe, Captain Canuck has been repping the Maple Leaf since his inception in 1975. Canuck saw sporadic releases for the first few decades of its existence until a 2013 miniseries lead to the Chapterhouse team re-imagining the hero in 2014.
The creative lead on Captain Canuck is Kalman Andrasofszky, who serves as the primary writer and illustrator. Multiple creators have taken a turn at contributing to Captain Canuck, including Jay Baruchel, who wrote Captain Canuck: Year One for Free Comic Book Day 2017.
The Pitiful Human-Lizard
The Pitiful Human-Lizard is a new type of superhero, in that he isn't very good at what he does. Defending the city of Toronto, Lucas Barrett a.k.a. The Human-Lizard, blends his uncanny ability to regenerate limbs with his patented adhesive gloves to take down haters and hipsters who threaten the town.
Instead of being visibly patriotic like Captain Canuck, creator Jason Loo wanted the Human-Lizard to be Canadian in his character traits, the same way Iron Man or Spider-Man are distinctly American without sporting flags on their costumes. The Human-Lizard aspires to be as great as the other heroes in his universe, and has already teamed up with Captain Canuck twice in the comics.
This four-issue series is a globetrotting adventure that stars a re-imagined version of the second Canadian superhero ever created, Freelance. Trio Lance, John and Tasha travel the world battling Aurora Dawn — essentially the Chapterverse version of HYDRA — in an action-packed, romantic and beautifully drawn LGBTQ-friendly series.
Agents Of P.A.C.T.
When Captain Canuck goes missing, Paranormal Activity Containment Team (P.A.C.T.) director Manon DeChamps, who first appeared as Fleur de Lys in Captain Canuck, assembles a team of secret agents to investigate mysterious happenings in northern Canada.
P.A.C.T. is comprised of an all-female team and combines science fiction with political espionage/intrigue in a four-issue series written by Kalman Andrasofszky and Blake Northcott, with illustrations from Federica Manfredi.
Giving Canada A Pop Culture Identity
A lot of the pop culture Canada consumes comes from our friends in America, but Jay Baruchel and the Chapterhouse team are making a focused effort to give Canada more local icons.
"I want to [celebrate] the land I live in; I want its people to have a pipeline for their stories and ideas that are distinctly ours; I want the world to read them and wish they lived here… or at least visit!”
Chapterverse even has the thumbs up from the Canadian government, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau penning the foreword of Chaptererse's 2016 Summer Special. With team-ups never out of the question, maybe one day Justin himself will throw on his boxing gloves and fight alongside Captain Canuck and The Pitiful Human-Lizard!
What Canadian superhero would you most like to see make an appearance in a big-screen adaptation?