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Moncton artist, musician, author and Acadieman creator Dano LeBlanc dies at 55 | CBC News

Moncton author and comic artist Daniel Omer LeBlanc, known as Dano LeBlanc, died on Saturday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 55.

LeBlanc was an artist, poet, filmmaker and musician, but best known for creating the anti-hero character of Acadieman, the “first superhero acadien” who spoke almost entirely in Chiac.

Acadieman was featured in a number of comics, an animated series and animated feature film and became beloved by many Acadians, especially in southeastern New Brunswick.

According to Andrew Campbell, a retired teacher in Moncton, and the artist’s close friend, LeBlanc was most proud of his family, followed by his work on Acadieman.

“Acadieman was his singular creation,” said Campbell, to Information Morning in the Summer. “He was quite aware of that. It was a great idea and he knew it right away and ran with it. He was most proud of that.”

A front cover page of Acadieman Comics with "#quat" written in the upper right corner. The issue title is "s'echapper Dieppe" and the image is a large grey cartoon head with a hat and square flight goggles, against an orange background. In the foreground, small dark human figures flee the large head towards the viewer.
LeBlanc released a fourth issue of Acadieman in 2017, after stepping away for eight years to be a stay-at-home dad. (Submitted by Dano LeBlanc)

Campbell described him as a good man who mostly kept to himself.

“He had this kind of armour about him,” said Campbell. “He just went along and kept to himself. He didn’t get into the middle of things, out in the middle of social situations.”

Multidisciplinary artist

According to his obituary, LeBlanc was born in Moncton and travelled to Montreal after graduating from Mathieu Martin High School in 1986. He earned a BFA from Concordia University, studying film and English literature, and stayed there working as a filmmaker and musician for several years.

He was a member of the bands The Great Balancing Act and Sunset Industry at one time, according to Radio-Canada, and launched a record label named La Menuiserie.

LeBlanc also played on several recordings of Montreal post-rock group Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

A man of many artistic pursuits, LeBlanc released a poetry collection in 2000, Les Ailes de soi, followed by Omégaville in 2003.

Until 2013, LeBlanc also owned Folio, a used bookstore on St. George Street in Moncton.

For his Acadieman character and comic series, Campbell said LeBlanc drew inspiration from a number of places, including MAD magazine, but also from life as an Acadian in the Moncton area.

Remembering Acadieman creator Dano LeBlanc

Daniel Omer LeBlanc died Saturday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 55, but his culturally significant character Acadieman will continue to live on in the hearts of Acadians.

“All those moments, they often come from real life and the real connections of people that use that language and have these certain practices,” he said. “So the relationship with his mother, with his friends, with employment — all of those things are in there and they’re very much about Moncton.”

LeBlanc described the character as an Acadian “everyman” — he had a beer belly, worked in a call centre, drank lots of coffee and spoke Chiac.

So what are Acadieman’s superpowers? He doesn’t actually have any.

“He just kind of pretends to be a superhero, I guess,” LeBlanc told CBC in 2006. “There’s nothing really heroic that he does except if you look at it from a linguistic level. He’s heroic in the sense that he had the nerve to speak in Chiac.”

Acadieman first came to the screen in 2006 via community television and according to Radio-Canada, was the first animated Acadian television series.

An animated human character wearing an Acadian flag shirt, a light green parka over it makes a fist with one hand. He is wearing a brown hat with a yellow "A" in the front-centre and light green square-rimmed flight goggles.
Chiac is the language of choice for Acadieman. (CBC)

The film Acadieman – Le First Superhero acadien won the jury prize at the Yorkton Film Festival in Saskatchewan in 2006, and three prizes from Rogers Television between 2006 and 2008.

In 2009, it won the Vague-Léonard Forest prize for the best Acadian medium- or long-format film at the Festival international de cinéma francophone en Acadie (FICFA).

LeBlanc, who had also done comics for Le Mascaret, La Rumeur and Kaboom, published the first issue of the comic series Acadieman in 2007. The second issue followed in 2008, and the third was released in 2009.

In 2017, after an eight year hiatus as a full-time husband and father, LeBlanc launched a fourth issue of Acadieman titled S’échapper de Dieppe.


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