Lost Heroes (2014)

(On TV, June 2015) There’s something charmingly neurotic in the way we Canadians seek so desperately to prove our modest achievements while holding on to our vaunted politeness.  As someone who was there when the Canadian written-SF field sort of re-discovered itself in the mid-nineties, Lost Heroes’ quest to prove the existence of Canadian comic-book superheroes feels intensely familiar (it helps that I’ve chatted with some of the interview subjects, such as Mark Shainblum)  A documentary tracking down the history of Canadian superhero comics since World War 2, Lost Heroes does a fine job hitting the main references in the field (Nelvana, Johnny Canuck, Captain Canuck, Northguard/Fleur-de-Lys, with honorary points for Alpha Flight / Wolverine) and pointing the way forward through the nascent media of webisodes.  Trying hard to get away from talking-head repetitiousness, Lost Heroes jazzes up the material by blowing up comic-book frames and using them as animation elements.  Writer/director Will Pascoe’s paean to Canadian geekdom moves at a decent pace, although some of the latter material seems to get away from the comic-book world and into something that’s just too new to evaluate fairly.  As a statement on Canadian superheroes so far, Lost Heroes does feel definitive enough.  Dedicated genre fans may even learn a thing or two.  (As far as minor revelations go, I was fascinated to find out that Mark Askwith, co-creator of the much-missed Prisoners of Gravity, was also involved with Silver Snail, where I did a bit of shopping back in the days.)

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