1st Legion of Utopia


The turmoil of the Great Depression galvanized Canadians to rise up and fight for improved labour conditions, social equality and universal healthcare. In the frontier city of Calgary, Holly Burnside and Brian Mah get involved with the founding of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the first national party dedicated to the needs of workers and farmers.

Written by James Davidge, art by Bob Prodor and Nick Johnson, cover, lettering and design by Ryan Ferrier

graphic novel – 80 pages – Full colour – softcover

SKU: N/A Categories: , , , , Tags: , , ISBN: 9781988903545


Holly Burnside (THIRTEEN MINUTES) and her friend Brian Mah find themselves caught up in a violent world of social unrest, political excitement, and pansy clubs.

Set amidst the riotous times of the Great Depression, 1st Legion of Utopia explores the forces surrounding the founding of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the trail blazing party of first female Member of Parliament Agnes Macphail and Tommy Douglas, the leader most instrumental in Canada adopting what has become one of our defining policies – public health care The CCF went on to become the modern day NDP.


Writer, James Davidge was born in Edmonton, Alberta and studied mathematics education at the University of Calgary. His first novel, Driftwood Ellesmere, was published in 2006 by Bayeux Arts. He has since released the four remaining novels that complete the Driftwood Saga, a series about a young girl who tries to save the world using heartfelt magic. James has released two graphic novels with Edmonton artist Bob Prodor; The Duchess Ranch of Old John Ware recounts the inspirational legend of a respected black cowboy from Calgary’s frontier history; Thirteen Minutes is a 20th century fable about the Alberta Eugenics Board, the Dadaist art movement and the short-lived Prairie Hockey League. James released My Modern Panic in 2012 – a collection of short comic and prose stories that playfully yet thoughtfully address various social issues. It features illustrations by many great Canadian artists including Fiona Staples, Nick Johnson and Judd Palmer. James also writes an ongoing comic series entitled Mathemagick that is illustrated by his cousin, Vancouver animator Jesse Davidge. An active founding board member of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, James teaches at the Willow Park School for Arts-Centred Learning and lives just outside of Calgary with his wife and daughter.

Bob Prodor is an illustrator who started with Edmonton’s underground music scene where he created posters for many infamous bands. He moved to Vancouver where his clientele included UFC teams, a burlesque troupe, and more. Here Bob coined the term “outlaw art,” taking outsider art one step further “out.” From Edmonton, Bob Prodor has been a creative presence in the Edmonton art and music community for over 25 years. He has created hundreds of gig posters for local and touring bands including Nirvana and Green Day, album covers for Corb Lund and Shuyler Jansen among others. His clients also include UFC teams and a burlesque troupe. Bob is co-creator of two graphic novels with James Davidge as well as “Road to Ruin”, a graphic novel he wrote and illustrated. His current project is performing in a blazing rock and roll band, Cutoffs.

Nick Johnson is an Illustration graduate from the Alberta College of Art + Design. Based out of Calgary, Alberta, he has provided work for children’s books, advertising, animation and comic books. Some of these comic books include WOLF HANDS, THE V-CARD and WISHLESS: A GRAPHIC ANTHOLOGY. Fresh from a year-long stint as the Art Director for NEW MACHINE STUDIOS, he now freelances as an illustrator and comic book artist, finding inspiration in Canadian literature, horror films, and the ghosts of utopia.
Not content to spend his days drawing in the darkness, he teaches comic workshops for kids and adults, has recently begun teaching Illustration at ACAD, and moonlights as the bass player for the band ME THREE. More of his work can be found at www.nickj.ca


Renegade Arts Entertainment continues its glorious mission of providing comic fans something that is both educational and entertaining […] This book is more important now than ever.”

– Keven Skinner, Fox Force Five

“A timely story that is as relevant now as it was nearly 90 years ago.”

– Rob Alexander, Rocky Mountain Outlook

‘A little gem from Alberta which focuses on the early days of Canadian socialism….It may sound suspiciously educational but the story’s excellent, too.”

– Mike Donachie, Toronto Star

“A fantastic story of a time that helped shape Canada and reinforce values our country still upholds: equality, co-operation, and acceptance.”

– Chris Doucher, Geek Nerd Net

“A very ambitious work.”

– Val Ken Lem, Canadian Materials

“It’s a great resource for history nerds, for Canadian teachers, and it is easily accessible to the layman also.”

– Helena, Good Reads

Catch an interview with author James Davidge and artist Bob Prodor at Sequential Tart, where they discuss the real-life events that inspired 1st Legion of Utopia, and how they told the story in comics form.


Additional information


Softcover, Digital PDF download


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