The variant cover of the comic Civil War II: Choosing Sides #5, featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau surrounded by the members of Alpha Flight.

The variant cover of the comic Civil War II: Choosing Sides #5, featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau surrounded by the members of Alpha Flight.
Photo Credit: Ramon Perez/Marvel

Justin Trudeau joins Canadian superheroes for Marvel Comics cover

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He packs a mean punch and can do one-hand push-ups. And as Canada’s prime minister he has a small army to fight evil with and legions of loyal to fans support him.

And now Justin Trudeau suits up for his latest feature role — comic book character.

Trudeau will grace the variant cover of issue No. 5 of Marvel’s “Civil War II: Choosing Sides,” due out Aug. 31.

Trudeau is depicted smiling, sitting relaxed in the boxing ring sporting a Maple Leaf-emblazoned tank, black shorts and red boxing gloves. Standing behind him are Puck, Sasquatch and Aurora, who are members of Canadian superhero squad Alpha Flight. In the left corner, Iron Man is seen with his arms crossed.

“I think the interesting part was – because he’s such a well-known figure and his likeness is a kind of a pop-culture sensation in Canada right now – trying to keep that likeness as accurate as possible and actually have his personality shine forth,” award-winning Toronto-based cartoonist Ramon Perez. “You don’t want to have just like stiff phototrace image, you want to have that twinkle in his eye.”

(click to listen the full interview with Ramon Perez)

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Creating Trudeau as a comic book character “felt like an idea that was just sitting on table to be grabbed,” said Edmonton-born artist and writer Chip Zdarsky who was approached by Marvel to write an Alpha Flight story.

(click to listen the full interview with Chip Zdarsky)

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Award-winning Toronto-based cartoonist Ramon Perez says he was trying to keep the likeness of Justin Trudeau as accurate as possible and have his personality shine forth at the same time. Ramon Perez/Marvel

Award-winning Toronto-based cartoonist Ramon Perez says he was trying to keep the likeness of Justin Trudeau as accurate as possible and have his personality shine forth at the same time. Ramon Perez/Marvel

Father’s legacy

Justin Trudeau’s father, former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, made an appearance in the original Alpha Flight story back in 1979, Zdarsky said in an interview from his studio in Toronto.

“When I was hired for the job, I immediately thought I need to use the prime minister, because of the legacy and because he’s such a huge figure right now in the pop culture, political sphere,” Zdarsky said. “Whether or not you voted for him, I think most people can agree that he is kind of a breath of fresh air on the scene in terms of how people view Canada.”

Zdarsky said he has met Trudeau while covering the 2006 Liberal convention and his famous boxing charity match against the disgraced Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau in 2012.

“We’re not close personal friends, I’m assuming after this, we’ll be best buddies,” Zdarsky joked.

Dialogue worthy of a prime minister

Zdarsky said when he started working on the project, he reached out to the Prime Minister’s Office to see if there was anything he needed to do get likeness rights.

“Their stance was basically, they can’t endorse anything like this for obvious reasons, but they also wouldn’t stand in the way,” Zdarsky said.

He’s very curious to find out if he got the prime minister’s dialogue right, Zdarsky said.

“That’s a tricky thing to write the dialogue of a real person,” he said. “It’s easy to write the Spiderman’s dialogue, we all have an idea of what he sounds like, but there is no real Spiderman to get angry at me.”

Zdarsky says hopes Trudeau who has made appearances at comic conventions and reportedly enjoys comic books “gets a kick out of it.”

The variant cover featuring Trudeau will be an alternative to the main cover in circulation showcasing Aurora, Puck, Sasquatch and Nick Fury.

Ramon Perez/Marvel

Ramon Perez/Marvel

‘Canadian first’

The story involves a mysterious new Marvel character, Ulysses, who has the power to calculate the outcome of future events with a high degree of accuracy.

The Marvel heroes are divided on how best to capitalize on the predictive power. Carol Danvers — also known as Captain Marvel — is in favour of profiling future crimes and attacks before they occur, while Tony Stark (Iron Man) believes the punishment can’t come before the crime.

Alpha Flight — formally the Canadian peacekeeping force — is supportive of using Ulysses to stop disasters and capture people, but there are also ethical conflicts within the group, Zdarsky noted. Despite being part of an international agency, the team feels they’re “Canadian first” and seek out Trudeau for advice, he added.

Issue No. 5 of “Civil War II: Choosing Sides” can be pre-ordered through any local comic retailer, and is also available for digital pre-order through Marvel’s Digital Store.

With file from The Canadian Press

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