Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005
John Adrian Darley Dingle was born at Barmouth, North Wales in 1911 and came to Canada (Oakville, Ontario) at the age of three. During the 1930s, he worked as a commercial artist to supplement his career as a painter. In 1941 Dingle and a group of associates co-founded a Toronto comic-book publishing firm, Hillborough Studio, which, in August 1941, issued the third Canadian Golden Age comic title, Triumph-Adventure-Comics. Among the characters featured in Triumph was Dingle’s Nelvana of the Northern Lights, the first Canadian national superhero and one of the earliest superheroines in comics (predating Wonder Woman by three months). Hillborough also issued a single issue of a second title, Top Flight Comics, which is now regarded as one of the rarest comic books of the Canadian Golden Age.
In 1942, Hillborough merged with another Toronto-based comics company, Bell Features. Following the merger, Dingle became the art director at Bell, where he not only continued to work on Nelvana but also created a number of other notable characters, including the Penguin and Nils Grant, Private Investigator. As well, Dingle produced a large number of covers for various Bell titles. After the collapse of the Canadian comics industry in the late 1940s, Dingle combined his fine-art career with book and magazine illustration. In his later years, he was recognized as a major Canadian landscape painter. He died at Erindale, Ontario in 1974.
In 1971 Dingle’s Nelvana loaned her name to one of Canada’s most important animation studios. In 1995 she became one of five superheroes celebrated in a popular Canadian stamp issue.
Biography compiled by John Bell