Annotations for ALBION #1

by Damian Gordon, Pádraig Ó Méalóid and the Bash Street Contributors

 

All corrections and comments to Damiantgordon@gmail.com

 

Version Information

Version 1: 2/7/2005, Created after my first read-through I made a few notes which became version 1.

Version 2: 4/7/2005, Created after serveral re-reads and excellent contributions, including some from the Great Maker himself, John Reppion.

Version 3: 25/7/2005, More contributions and corrections

Version 4: 02/08/2005, More comments

 

Credits

 

Logo

Comic Title: Albion (this is an ancient name for England)

Comic Logo: Union Flag (only called "Union Jack" at sea)

The Title refers to England, but the Flag is for the United Kingdom, I wonder is there any significance in this?

Albion: Albion is various translated as 'white land,' from the Latin 'albus,' which is the same word root that gives us words like 'albino' and 'albumen;' or possibly from an old gaelic word 'alp' meaning a height or hill. The name Albion for England is often said to be because of the white cliffs of Dover, often the first thing seen by first time visitors to England. On the other hand, one of the old names for Scotland is Albany, probably meaning a hilly land.

The name Albion represents an idealised view of England, and Alan Moore has used it in his work before. On page 2 of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, volume 1, issue 1, we see the unfinished Channel Causeway between England and France, called Albion Reach. For further speculation on this, have a look at Jess Nevins’ Heroes and Monsters: the unofficial Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Also, in Moore’s last Captain Britain episode, A Funeral in Otherworld, in Mighty World of Marvel #13 from June 1984, we see Captain Albion, one of several alternate universe versions of Captain Britain, the others being Captain UK, Captain England, Captain Airstrip One, Captain Commonwealth, Captain Angleterre, Captain Empire, and Kommandant Englander.

There was also a Marvel UK character called Albion, who appeared in The Knights of Pendragon, but has no other bearing on this.

Logo: I’ve a feeling the logo is based on something else, but for the moment I don’t know enough to take a guess on it. You’ll find me saying that a lot as we go through the pages."

John Andrews says: "Albion is an archaic name for England or Britain and is usually used to refer to a mythical golden age. The actual logo seem to have a tail, and with the letters L I O N in the title, I wonder if this a subtle reference to the Lion comic? "

Mike ('The Prof') Pepper says "The logo on the comics is taken from the old Albion Trucks logo. see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albion_Motors"

 

 

Cover

Cover: Robot Archie

Robot Archie first appeared in LION (1952 – 1974) as The Jungle Robot was built by Professor C.R.Ritchie. He is aided by Ritchie’s nephew Ted Ritchie and his best friend Ken Dale.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/a/archie.htm

Cover Tag Line: The covers were all supposed to have tag lines but issue one's was mysteriously missing.

According to John Reppion the #1 tag should have been: "And Did Those Feet..."

And Did Those Feet... is from Blake's New Jerusalem, The full text of New Jerusalem is here: http://eserver.org/poetry/new-jerusalem.html

It includes the words: "And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England's mountains green?" ... which ties in quite nicely with the heroes of Britain, once there but now gone. Of course, William Blake is also the subject of Alan Moore and Tim Perkins' CD 'Angel Passage.' On a more prosaic note, it might also be related to the lack of feet Robot Archie has on the cover...

Notice also the equipment with valves to show old fashioned technology, reminding us of times gone by.

Cover: This is the head and torso of Robot Archie, with his name partially visible on his chest plate. Archie originally appeared in Lion in February 1952, where he ran for twenty-two years, the entire duration of the comic’ lifetime. The strip was originally called The Jungle Robot, but was changed to Robot Archie after about six months. Originally Archie couldn’t speak, but later acquired a mouth and voice box. Various versions of Archie have appeared elsewhere, and a character called Android Andy was one of the thinly disguised Fleetway characters killed by the Fury in Alan Moore’s Captain Britain.

It is clear now that the cover is depicting page 8 of Albion #2. Robot Archie's head is sitting on the workbench of Penny's underground lair with the old-fashioned multimeter (with vacuum tubes) beside it.

Daibhid Ceannaideach adds: " I don't think anyone's mentioned that the comic's colouring is quite clever. It's full colour, but *looks* like duotone, just like the old comics. Not only that, but for much of it the light sources are obscured in some way, justifying the shades of blue or red as a stylised version of how it would actually appear. "

 

Page 1:

9 Panels, The mysterious main character is introduced in the prison infirmary

 

Traditional 9 panel opening page, like comic strips, and Watchmen.

Panel 1: Unidentified character introduced in coma-like state, I'm sure he is very significant to the story.

Loki says : "The guy in the panels is a well known character. I won't say who he is out of deference to preserving the mystery, but there's a hint towards his identity in panel 4."

Ola Hellsten says: "My guess is that the man in a coma is Captain Hurricane. He has the same brutish appearance and is supposed to be a major character in the series. Furthermore, his calm state may be played out as a contrast to his Hulk-like “rage fit powers”."

Captain Hurricane ran in every issue of Valiant (6th October 1962 to 16th October 1976).

Panel 2: "THAT ONE GIVES ME THE CREEPS. JUST WATCHES YOU. I DON'T SEE HOW HE CAN BE ALIVE, REALLY."

Unidentified character introduced off-screen, I wonder who it could be ?

Panel 4: "LOOKS LIKE @%€*IN’ BEN GUNN"

Ben Gunn is from "Treasure Island" (1883) by Robert Louis Stevenson, a pirate stranded on a desert island for three years.

Geoffrey Tolle says:"The swearing seems to be transliterative. The most commonly used is "@%&*" for "fuck", "$#!+" seems to be used for "arse". Unfortunately, I haven't made much progress with "$&%£" or "£&%$""

Actually, it seems more likely that "$#!+" is being used for ‘shit,’ especially as the symbols closely resemble the letters they are replacing. $ for S, # for H, etc.

Daibhid Ceannaideach adds: " I agree with you that "$#!+" must be the s-word. Note that on page 10, panel 3 we get "$#!+£" for the long-i s-word. "@%&*" I'm pretty sure is the f-word. If we assume a genuine transliterative code at this point than "$&%£" and "£&%$" would be "scue" and "ecus". Which doesn't make much sense. Based on context, though, I think they're the c-word and the other f-word respectively (although if so then "£&%$in'" on page 18 should actually be "£&%$$in'". And two panels later we get the s-word out in plain view, which is odd.) Alternatively, they might be alternative renderings of the s- and f-words, which also fits. "

Panel 5: "COMA, TRANCE, SOMETHIN' LIKE THAT. EAGLETON'S NOT SAYING." The Warden maybe ?

Panel 6: "AND HE'S NOT GOT PARASITES LIVING IN HIM, EITHER" Maybe the Numskulls.

The Numskulls first appeared in BEEZER inside an unnamed man's head (only refered to as "our man"), in 1990 the Numskulls moved into a child's head called Edd.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Numskulls

Loki says: "The guy with parasites is almost certainly Fatty, whose body housed the Nervs, not the Numskulls as someone else has suggested. Apart from anything else, Fatty fits the "you fat @%&*er" comment, and the Nervs are IPC copyrighted, unlike the Numskulls, who belong to D.C. Thomson."

The Nervs appeared in Smash (1966-1971), and were drawn by Ken Reid, but, according to the 26 Pigs website:

"The Nervs inhabited a schoolboy called Fatty, and the strip was Odhams-only. That's to say it was one of the strips which was lost from "Smash" when the comic changed over from Odhams to IPC in the spring of 1969.” However, as Janus Stark originated in Smash, and appears in Albion, this may not be correct.

Incidentally, Wham! included a strip called George's Germs, which was about germ characters going around inside the body, and which is a likely candidate for the person referred to in page 1/Panel 6. Some George’s Germ pages are online here: http://uk.geocities.com/pjgleobax/georgesgerms.html

 

Panel 7: ""AYE, PROBABLY WANTS TO TURN THIS PLACE INTO CAMP X-RAY"

Camp X-Ray is the controversial detention facility located in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Camp X-Ray is sometimes considered to be a concentration camp; on May 25, 2005, Amnesty International released a report calling the facility the "gulag of our times".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_X-ray

As mentioned in panel 7, that an American is coming, presumably to inspect and possibly take over the place, presumably a prison, where this is all taking place. As all the characters are from British comics, and are being published by an American comic company, then that’s almost exactly what has happened. The Americans have taken over…

The prison itself appears in various places throughout the comic. However, as it can be seen to be beside water on page 21, this is presumably not the prison that Janus Stark is in, which is “a long forgotten dungeon beneath London.”

 

Page 2:

1 Panel, CHARLES LOVE ANTIQUES

 

"NO FUTURE IN ENGLAND'S DREAMING" : The title are lyrics from The Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen"

The title of this issue, “No Future in England’s Dreaming,” not only ties in nicely with the last line on the previous page (“Wonder what he’s dreaming about.”), but also possibly has a further significance. The line is from “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols, and was a song of quite considerable controversy in its time. It reached number one in the British singles chart in 1977, in the week of Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, but was banned by the BBC, and many of the music charts for the week either ignored it, and moved everything else up one, or simply left the top spot blank. In essence, if the Sex Pistols were the quintessential punk band, then this was their defining moment. Punk rock itself was a product of its time, when unemployment was high and there was rioting in the streets, and a lot of distrust in figures of authority. As it happens, it was roughly around this time, the mid to late seventies, that a lot of the comics in the IPC stable closed down for business, and therefore we had the last sightings of many of the characters in this comic. As one of the central tenets of Albion is that the characters have been missing since then, imprisoned for reasons that will presumably become clear, then this song represents that time, and the events of the time, pretty much exactly, rather than being chosen randomly. There is one other, rather more far-fetched idea I have about this: This song, from the time the characters were imprisoned, mentions the queen. A few pages later, we learn that the prisoners in Janus Stark’s time were being held on the order of Queen Victoria. Is there possibly a connection here?

"CHARLES LOVE ANTIQUES" :

I don’t know who Charles Love is, but I’d like him to be an analogy of Charlie Peace, the Victorian criminal who travels to present-day London by some accident of time. He’s actually based on a real person:

http://www.met.police.uk/history/history_cases/charlie_peace.htm

Raymond Scurr agreess: "When I was reading about Charles Love, my mind drifted to "Charlie Peace" which featured in Buster. I don't have any real memory of the stories, just that I think he was originally from Victorian times but somehow ended up in 'modern' times. If so, then it would make sense for him to run an antiques shop. However, the character looks very different, so I think I'm well off the mark! Still, it's given me a warm sense of nostalgia. Charles Peace (1832 - 1879) was notorious for his activities as a prolific and clever burglar whilst being wanted for murder in Sheffield despite his appearance as a well-dressed, violin-playing, respectable man. After being caught by PC Edward Robinson on his beat at Blackheath, Peace was sentenced to death - and then confessed to a second murder - of a police officer - in Manchester 2 years earlier. Born in Sheffield on 14th May 1832, Peace had reputedly injured his leg whilst serving his apprenticeship at a rolling-mill in Sheffield, but was nevertheless agile and strong for a man of small stature (5' 3-4"). He later wandered from town to town collecting and selling musical instruments and bric-a-brac. He played the violin well enough to perform at local concerts, as well as at public houses"

Charlie Peace was the star of ‘The Astounding Adventures of Charlie Peace’, which previewed in Valiant on the 20th of July 1964, and then ran in Buster from 27th July 1964 until the 28th of December 1974, which fits our ‘vanished in the mid-seventies’ hypothesis. If I remember rightly, this started in Victorian times, but, by some event I don’t recall, Peace is projected forward in time to modern times, where, presumably, he still is. Peace’s Victorian origins would fit in quite nicely with Janus Stark’s involvement with the story, too.

Box Labelled "MILLS & BOON" :

Mills & Boon is a British publisher of romance novels. Mills & Boon were founded by Gerald Mills and Charles Boon in 1908 as a general fiction publisher. It was not until the 1930s that the company began to concentrate specifically on romances."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mills_%26_Boon

Mills & Boon have a website at http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/ Their nearest American equivalent would be Harlequin Romances, to whom they are related, and who started out doing reprints of the British titles. They publish a large numbers of titles monthly, and are a staple of the secondhand book trade, or certainly were when I was involved in it.

"THE SPY WHO LOVED ME" :

The Spy Who Loved Me is a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming first published in 1962. It is the shortest and considered the most sexually explicit of Fleming's novels, it was banned in some countries and was not released in a paperback edition in Britain until several years after Fleming's death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spy_Who_Loved_Me

The cover of the Ian Fleming book, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me,’ is the actual cover of the first edition of this book but, considering that the rest of the stuff in the window is, at best, tat, this is more likely to be a book club edition, which had the same cover, as first editions of this run to several hundred pounds. The rest of the things seem to be the kind of things you’d find in any shop of its kind. They may all have some secret significance, but I’m none the wiser as to what it is!

"LEGAL ANNUAL 7"

A pun on the Eagle Annual, featuring the Eagle Logo. Note was originally "Eagle Annual" in preview art.

The ‘Legal Annual’ presumably refers ironically to the difficulties that the creators have apparently had in trying to get the rights to some of the characters they wanted to use in this series. The feature character in Eagle was Dan Dare, who is referred to obliquely later on as Captain Dare, but presumably was not available to actually use as a character.

The Eagle Annual 7 would have been dated 1957.

 

"CAPTAIN CONDOR VIEWMASTER"

http://www.comicsuk.co.uk/ComicInformationPages/LionPages/LionHomePage.asp?ReturnPage=CIP

Captain Condor featured in LION from 1952 to 1964 and was a rival space hero for Dan Dare.

John Andrews says: "In the shop window there is a teddy bear that looks like Little Ted from Play School, a children's programme that appeared on BBC 1 in the seventies and eighties. Also the little doll may be Red Riding Hood"

Geoffrey Tolle observes: "Captain Condor Viewmaster reel and Legal Annual. Note that "Legal Annual" was changed from "Eagle Annual" but "Captain Condor" remained the same. Either Mr. Love is leaving clues out for anyone to see or this is an indication that some things have been changed by the forces that have imprisoned the super-humans. Could the Captain Condor reel set indicate that Captain Condor's contribution to the space program was so minimal that it didn't need to be changed while Dan Dare's (presumably successful) venture into space was so successful that the truth hidden away in the comic books had to be changed?"

Captain Condor ran in Lion from 23rd February 1952 to 14th November 1964, with some of the strips reprinted in the comic in 1965, 1966, and 1969. Captain Condor’s Spaceship was exhibited at the National Schoolboys’ Own Exhibition in the Royal Horticultural Hall, London from 31st December 1952 to 10th of January 1953. You could also buy a Captain Condor watch in 1956. Most recently, Captain Condor turned up in the Starlord Annual 1980.

Reflected in the shop window is Danny, the male protagonist of the story.

 

 

Page 3:

7 Panels, Danny in Mr. Love’s Shop

 

Not much to say about this, except to point out, based on the suggestion that this might be set in Liverpool, that John and Leah live there…

John Andrews says: "From the colloquialisms used it would seem that this is set in Liverpool. Charles Love's shop reminds me of The Collector, which appeared in the relaunched Eagle in the early eighties. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Collector_(comic_strip) for more details."

Daibhid Ceannaideach adds: " I was deeply disapointed when I confirned that Charles Love looks nothing whatsoever like the sinister newsagent who sold Davey Doom his Creepy Comix, since that was always one of my favourite Chips strips, and it would have fitted so well (Danny buys a comic from the man, and then discovers the characters in it are real.) Oh, well."

Panel 3: Mr. Love is introduced, it’s probably just me, but Mr. Love looks a lot like the character of Krapp in Samuel Beckett’s play Krapp’s Last Tape.

Panel 7: Danny is holding an issue of VALIANT comic. VALIANT ran from 1962 to 1984, and merged with VULCAN comic in 1976. The comic he is holding is set in 1976. The cover features Adam Eterno in an adventure entitled "Island of Doom"

Adam Eterno appeared in VALIANT from 1974 to 1976, and was an alchemist who drank an elixir of life which allows him to live forever fighting evil, but he is vulnerable to gold.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/e/eterno.htm

"THIS MUST BE LIKE, THE LAST EVER…"

Not sure what this is referring to ? John Reppion kindly clears this up for me: "Valiant ceased to be a weekly in 1976 but annuals and summer specials continued until 1984. Hence: “THIS MUST BE LIKE, THE LAST EVER…

Valiant and Vulcan:

Danny is holding a copy of Valiant and Vulcan. Valiant ran from 1962 to 1976, as noted earlier. Vulcan ran from 1st of March 1975 to 3rd of April 1976, although from 1st March 1975 to 20th September 1975 it was only available in Scotland. It amalgamated with Valiant to form Valiant and Vulcan from 10th of April 1976 to 2nd of October 1976. It consisted entirely of reprints of stories from other comics, including Mytek the Mighty, Kelly’s Eye, The House of Dolmann, and The Steel Claw from Valiant, Robot Archie and The Spider from Lion, The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire from Look and Learn, as well as some others. A lot of the characters who appear in Albion, in fact

Adam Eterno:

Adam Eterno ran in Thunder from 17th October 1970 to 13th of March 1971, in Lion from 20th March 1971 to 18th of May 1974, and in Valiant from 25th May 1974 to 16th October 1976.

“THIS MUST BE LIKE, THE LAST EVER…”:

Presumably this meant that this is the last issue of Valiant, dated 16th of October 1976. This is probably significant, especially as the Janus Stark story ending as it does, with the prisoners escaping, although the demise of the UK comics in the mid-seventies seems to have coincided with their being imprisoned in turn. .

 

 

Page 4:

8 Panels, First Page of Janus Stark Adventure

 

Panel 1: "THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF JANUS STARK"

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/j/janus.htm

Janus Stark feature in SMASH from 1969 to 1971 and VALIANT from 1971 to 1973. He is born with rubber bones and is thus a brilliant escapologist, and solves crimes in his spare time.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/j/janus.htm

Geoffrey Tolle adds: "Janus Stark has spiritually reincarnated as Charles Raven, Escapologist in Paul Grist's excellent series "Jack Staff".

The Incredible Adventures of Janus Stark: This two-page Janus Stark story is presumably what Danny is reading in the comic he is holding.

The Incredible Adventures of Janus Stark ran in Smash! from 15th March 1969 to 3rd April 1971, and in Valiant from 10th April 1971 to 22nd of March 1975, with scripts by Angus Allan and art by the studio of Solano Lopez. The fact that the story Danny is reading is in a comic dated a year and a half after the last Janus Stark story supposedly appeared is obviously what cause him to say, on Page 3/Panel 7, “OH WOW! I NEVER EVEN KNEW THEY DID THIS ONE!”.

Panel 2: We are introduced to Inspector Bryant, Janus’ rival who is unsure which side of the law Janus is really on.

"THE CATACOMBS OF A LONG FORGOTTEN DUNGEON BENEATH LONDON" Two possibilities occur to me either (i) this is the same dungeon that the modren-day prisoners are also in, and that the locking up of comicbook characters has been going on for a hundred years, or (ii) The Adventures of Janus Stark are set in Victorian times, but Stark's adventures actually took place in the 50s and 60s, and the events are real but the period is changed to obsure the facts.

Geoffrey Tolle adds: "The mysterious London dungeon is almost certainly directly connected to the prison shown through the rest of the book. "

Long Forgotten Dungeon: As noted in notes for Page 1, this is not the same place as the prison elsewhere throughout this issue, as the dungeon is underground in London, and the prison is over-ground, and by a lake.

One other thing worth mentioning here: “ITS CHAMBERS HAD LAIN EMPTY FOR NEARLY A CENTURY.” As we can presume this story is set in 1888, from references to the Whitechapel murders of that year in page 5/Panel 4, this means that the last time the dungeon was used was about the beginning of the 19th century. For whom, and why?

JAILER: "HE IS … COMFORTABLE"

Panel 3: JAILER: "THIS WAY, INSPECTOR"

Panel 4: "YES, I HEARD THAT THEY HAD TERRIBLE TROUBLE WITH THAT SPRING-HEELED CHAP…"

Spring-Heeled Jackson featured in HOTSPUR (1977 - 1985), John Jackson was a bumbling police clerk who fights crime with the aid of a fantastic costume.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/s/sphldjak.htm

John Reppion says: "Actually a reference to Spring Heeled Jack the supernatural Victorian pest."

Spring Heeled Jack (also Springheel Jack, Spring-heel Jack, etc.) is a character said to have existed in England during the Victorian era. The first recorded claimed sighting of Spring Heeled Jack occurred in 1837. Later sightings were reported from all over England, from London up to Sheffield and Liverpool, but they were especially prevalent in suburban London and later in the Midlands, where they peaked between the 1850s and 1880s. He was described by his victims as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, and he was capable of effecting very high leaps.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Heeled_Jack

John Andrews adds: "He has appeared in a book by Phillip Pullman as well as a 48 part serial by Charles Lea. See http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/s/shjack.htm for more details. Interestingly, the last time the "real" Spring Heeled Jack was spotted was in September 1904, in Liverpool…. http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/articlejack.shtml "

Geoffrey Tolle adds: "I heard that they had terrible trouble with that Spring-Heeled chap. Of course, no one else could have brought Stark in..." I'm not sure what the trouble was but the "Spring-Heeled chap" was the top-hatted gentleman in panel 8 who shot Janus. If I had to guess, I'd say that Scotland Yard was so grateful to the "Spring-Heeled chap" that they took him into custody as soon as he had shot Janus."

Spring-Heeled Jack gets a mention on the Alan Moore and Tim Perkins CD The Highbury Working (Re: 2000) on track 3, Pepper’s Ghost:

“Pepper’s ghost suggested as a culprit in the Spring Heeled Jack plague of the eighteen-seventies, blamed for the rowdy orgies, for the ghost sex current spilling out through Highbury Barn.”

Spring-Heeled Jack also appears in The Game of Extraordinary Gentlemen. This originally appeared in America’s Best Comics 64 Page Giant, and subsequently reprinted in America’s Best Comics (2004), and is related to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, which is the adventures of a group of Victorian adventurers. Jack appears in Box #1, which says “Jump 5 spaces with SPRING-HEELED JACK.” This, or variations on it, is repeated in 7 other squares.

Another good source of information on Spring-Heeled Jack is Jess Nevin’s Fantastic, Mysterious, and Adventurous Victoriana site here:

http://www.geocities.com/jessnevins/vicintro.html

specifically on this page:

http://www.geocities.com/jessnevins/vics.html

Spring-Heeled Jack is one of several markers for the Victorian age, which almost always find their way into anything set in that time. The others include Jack the Ripper, the Elephant Man, Sherlock Holmes, gaslight, and fog, amongst other things. This particular segment has very nearly a complete set…

Panel 5: Poster says Janus is performing at the Globe Theatre.

The Globe Theatre was founded in 1599, burned down and rebuilt in 1613, and closed in 1642 by Purtians. The Globe Theatre was rebuilt in 1993.

Second poster underneath says "LI H'S...CHA..." could be something interesting.

Loki says: "The other poster, only partially visible, is a homage to a similar poster in the Dr. Who story, Talons of Weng-Chiang. It advertises the magic and mesmerism show of Li H'Sen Chan."

The Talons of Weng-Chiang:

This is a six-part Doctor Who story, broadcast between 26th February 1977 and 2nd of April 1977, and starring Tom Baker as The Doctor. It is set, according to Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping’s The Discontinuity Guide, in London between 1889 and 1901. No reason, however, that Li H'Sen Chang couldn’t have been in London for a while before that… More about Li H'Sen Chang at

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/l/lhchang.htm

More about The Talons of Weng-Chiang at

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/t/talonswc.htm

Panel 8: Does anyone recognise who actually shoots Janus ?? Villain in top-hat and moustaches.

Oh, O.K. the text says it's Spring-Heeled Jack.

 

 

Page 5:

8 Panels, Second Page of Janus Stark Adventure

 

Panel 4: "…DANGEROUS INDIVIDUALS, THAT’S WHAT HER MAJESTY CALLED THEM…"

Perhaps a foreshadowing of the plot ???

One can’t help wondering who the ‘Dangerous Individuals’ are. “I MEAN, IT HAD TO BE DONE.” this presumably refers to the imprisonment of the people in the dungeon. “BEEN A LONG TIME COMING, REALLY.” Does this refer to the fact that, up until then, the dungeons had been empty for nearly a century?

"AND WHAT WITH ALL THAT BUSINESS IN THE EAST END…"

A reference to Jack the Ripper, an unidentified serial killer active in 1888 who killed (at least) five prostitutes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_the_Ripper

This refers to the Whitechapel murders committed by the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper. He was responsible for five murders in 1988, at least, these being Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols, August 31st, Annie Chapman, September 8th, Elizabeth Stride and Catharine Eddowes, both September 30th, and Mary Jane (Marie Jeanette) Kelly, November 9th.

These murders form the basis for From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (Knockabout 1999). Much has been written about the killings, and there are innumerable websites dedicated to them, and to various solutions, so we’re not going to attempt to add anything to the debate!

A good grounding on the case can be found at

http://www.casebook.org/intro.html

The fact that Inspector Bryant refers to the murders in the present tense, apparently, leads me to believe we’re meant to believe this story is set in 1888, the year of the murders.

Panel 5: "I NEVER TRUSTED HIM, YOU SEE, I WAS NEVER FOOLED"

A reference to Inspector Bryant’s on-going suspicion that Janus is involved in a number of the crimes that he investigates.

Panel 6: JAILER: "YOU ARE CERTAINLY A MOST RESOURCEFUL MAN, INSPECTOR. AH, HERE WE ARE."

Notice initials "J.S." painted on the door.

Panel 8: The Jailer is revealed as Joseph Carey Merrick (1862 - 1890), known as "The Elephant Man" because of his extreme deformity.

http://www.jsitton.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/elephantman/elephant_man.htm

http://phreeque.tripod.com/joseph_merrick.html

JAILER: "MISTER STARK WAS VERY KIND. AFTER HE HAD FREED HIMSELF OF HIS BONDS HE RELEASED US. ALL OF US!"

Who are the “all of us” referred to here? We know that Janus Stark, Spring-Heeled Jack, and the Elephant Man were all there, but this seems to imply a lot more. All in all, I imagine we haven’t seen the end of our Victorian characters, especially if you note the end of the page, which reads, “THE END?” complete with tantalising question mark.

 

 

Page 6:

6 Panels, Danny goes home

 

Panel 2: Note Charles Love’s reading material…

Panel 3: Unidentified man in foreground.

Panel 6: Poster "THE TRIGAN EMPIRE STRIKES BACK" : This looks like a movie poster to me.

"The Trigan Empire" stories began in RANGER comic (1965 - 1967) moved to LOOK AND LEARN comic, it was a part Roman epic, part sci-fi fantasy adventure.

This is a reference to two things:

Firstly, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire,’ which ran in Ranger from 18th September 1965 to 18th June 1966, where it was written by Mike Butterworth and drawn by Don Lawrence, before transferring to Look and Learn, where it ran for another 16 years, until 1982, although Don Lawrence quit in 1976. More about Don Lawrence in the notes on page 16. Ranger only ran for 40 issues, from 18th September 1965 to 18th June 1966. Look and Learn ran from 1962 to 1982 (I don’t currently have full dates for this). L&L was supposed to be an educational magazine, and was probably more popular with parents, who wanted their children to read ‘good’ comics, that it was with the readers themselves. This probably accounts for the lack of information about it either in reference books or on the Internet…

The other thing the poster is referring to is a reasonably well-known film by George Lucas called The Empire Strikes Back. Either this indicates that Lucas made a movie based on The Trigan Empire, or, as I suspect to be the case, artist Shane Oakley is having a bit of fun. http://www.starwars.com/episode-v/

 

Page 7:

8 Panels, Danny sees Grimly Feendish on TV

 

Panel 3: Cup features logo of skull on fire, like The Ghost Rider or The Screaming Skull, maybe Deathshead from "The Cloak" ??

Panel 4: John Andrews says "the location is identified as Liverpool"

Panel 5: "GRYMLEIGH GARTSIDE FIENDSTEIN"

Grimly Feendish (The Rottenest Cook in the World) featured in SMASH! comics.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/g/grimfien.htm

Grimly Feendish originally appeared as the villain in Eagle Eye Junior Spy (http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/e/eagleeye.htm ), which ran in Wham! from 1964, a comic which was created largely by Leo Baxendale.

Eventually Grimly Feendish got his own strip, Grimly Feendish, The Rottenest Crook in the World, which ran in Smash!, a comic that was also home to another Baxendale creation, Bad Penny…

There are some original Grimly Feendish pages available to see on the net here:

http://uk.geocities.com/pjgleobax/grimly.html

In 1985 English punk band The Damned recorded a single called Grimly Fiendish, and the lyrics are available here:

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/d/damned,-the/35653.html

There is also a band called Grimly Fiendish, from Hertfordshire in England, who are currently gigging thereabouts.

Panel 7: SMASH! Comics (1939 – 1949). "Rollo Stones" ??? "The Man from Bungle" was a spoof on the TV show "The Man from UNCLE".

The Man from B.U.N.G.L.E.: This was also created by Baxendale. There are some original Man from B.U.N.G.L.E. pages online at http://uk.geocities.com/pjgleobax/manfrombungle.html

Leo Baxendale’s site is here: http://www.reaper.co.uk/main.htm

Another useful site is Peter Gray's Leo Baxendale comic fansite: http://uk.geocities.com/pjgleobax/

John Reppion says: Rollo Stones "was one of The Legend Testers."

Geoffrey Tolle adds: " "Smash!" was actually published by Odhams/IPC from 1966 to 1971. The "Smash Comics" referred to in your annotations started off as a US reprint and is not related. This particular title (since it is not the one Danny bought at Love's shop) may be a homage to Mr. Moore's "Terra Obscura" which feature the Nedor-based super-hero team S.M.A.S.H. "

Panel 8: Looks like an original Grimly Feendish strip.

John Reppion says: "Nope, totally new Shane Oakley special (done in the Baxendale style)"

 

 

Page 8:

9 Panels plus no-panel no-nose, In prison at dinner time

 

Panel 2: Prisoner #1(in silhouette), Cook (Fred), Prisoner #2 (seems to be the Spider, more clearly visible on Page 9, Panels 2-3), Prisoner #3 (seems to be Tim Kelly, referred to as Tim in Panel 7).

John Reppion says: "Nope, not The Spider. He only appears on the final page of the issue."

Byron Virgo suggests: "The particularly gruesome looking cook (who, if memory serves, says something along the lines of "It's the Dwarves, you know. They're the worst.") is, I believe, Faceache, late of both Jet and Buster, and was created by the mighty Ken Reid." Definiely this makes a lot of sense, in fact the request for him to do his Bruce Forsythe also makes a lot more sense in this context.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/f/faceache.htm

Loki says: "Fred is Ricky Rubberneck, Faceache, as someone else has mentioned - guess his full name was Frederick. The prisoner insulting him is Sylvester Turville, from Spellbinder / Turville's Touchstone. Not sure who the last prisoner is yet, but he's not Tim, who is already seated on the other side of the room"

Faceache ran in Jet from 1st May 1971 to 25th September 1971, and then in Buster from 2nd October 1971 to 1st October 1988. The character was created and drawn for the majority of its run by Ken Reid. Later Faceache scripts were written by Dez Skinn, the man responsible for landmark British comic Warrior.

Jet was another short-lived Fleetway comic, only lasting 22 issues. It ran from 1st May 1971 to 25th September 1971 before being incorporated into Buster.

Some original Faceache pages, again from Peter Gray’s invaluable fan pages, are available online here:

http://uk.geocities.com/pjgkenreid/faceache.html

http://uk.geocities.com/pjgkenreid/faceache2.html

http://uk.geocities.com/pjgkenreid/faceache3.html

More information about Ken Reid here:

http://uk.geocities.com/pjgkenreid/

 

Geoffrey Tolle agrees: "The bearded man making the snide comment may be the (former) super-hero Sylvester Turville, the Spellbinder "

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/s/spellbnd.htm

Sylvester Turville appeared in the strip The Spellbinder, which ran in Lion from 3rd May 1969 to 18th May 1974, although the strip was called Turville’s Touchstone for the first nine months, from 3rd May 1969 to 31st January 1970.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/s/spellbnd.htm

 

http://www.newsarama.com/DC/IPC/2000kely.jpg

Tim Kelly appeared in VALIANT (1963 – 1976), hero of "Kelly’s Eye", possessed a jewel, the Eye of Everlasting Life, which protects Tim from death by granting him invulnerability.

Tim Kelly appeared in Kelly’s Eye in Knockout from 21st July 1962 to 16th February 1963 and in Valiant from 23rd February to sometime in 1971. A number of the strips were subsequently reprinted in Vulcan. Art was largely by F. Solano Lopez. An analogue of Tim Kelly, Tom Rosetta, owner of the Rosetta Stone, is one of the characters killed by the Fury during Alan Moore and Alan Davis’ run on Captain Britain, collected in Captain Britain (Marvel 2002).

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/k/kellyeye.htm

Panel 3: Evil Looking cook assistant (unknown), Blott, Cook (Fred).

Loki says: "Evil Looking cook assistant is "Dr. Ratty Rat from Rat-Trap.""

Dr Ratty Rat appeared in the strip Rat-Trap in Cor!! No dates for the moment. Cor!! ran from 6th June 1970 to the 15th June 1974.

http://www.26pigs.com/cor/characters.html

Panel 4: On the left is Louis Crandell (his nametag is visible in the next panel).

 

http://www.newsarama.com/DC/IPC/stelclw2.jpg

Louis Crandell is the Steel Claw, appeared in VALIANT (1962 – 1976). Following a lab accident Crandell wears a steel hand. By exposing himself to electric shocks he can turn himself invisible. He started off as a criminal but later because a secret agent and a superhero.

Louis Crandell appeared in the strip The Steel Claw which ran in Valiant from 6th October 1962 to 27th October 1973 with early art and scripts by Jesus Blasco and SF writer Henry Kenneth Bulmer. A number of these were subsequently reprinted in Vulcan. An analogue of The Steel Claw, Iron Tallon, is one of the characters killed by the Fury during Alan Moore and Alan Davis’ run on Captain Britain, collected in Captain Britain (Marvel 2002). There was also an appearance by The Steel Claw in Grant Morrison’s Zenith.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/s/stclaw.htm

Panel 6: Front Row Bench: Crazy Dwarf, Bespeckled prisoner (maybe X-Ray specs)

Middle Bench: Tim Kelly, Louis Crandell, prisoner standing up

Loki says: "Seated in foreground are the Dwarf, and (based on that like of hair at the top of his head) the Toymaker. Not sure who it is carrying the tray, since it's not the Spider. Turville later provokes a fight with the Dwarf when he tries to levitate away the small villain's cake"

Henry Jardine, AKA The Toymaker, appeared in the strip The Toys of Doom in Buster from 27th February 1965 to 13th January 1968, which was reprinted between 3rd May and 6th September 1986. It was also reprinted under various titles in Smash!, Jackpot, and Eagle. To quote the excellent International Hero site, “The Toymaker was a scientist who transformed harmless toys into remote controlled weapons of destruction. Ostracised by the rest of the scientific community, who thought his ideas were inhuman, he vowed revenge on humanity, and created an army of killer toys up in a remote Scottish castle.”

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/t/toymakr1.htm

Panels 8 & 9: John Andrews says: "The ability of the bearded character in panels eight and nine to levitate the cake from the plate of the man sitting next to him. Is this a clue to his identity?"

Daibhid Ceannaideach answers: "Well, yes, because he's Sylvester Turville/Spellbinder, as identified by Loki and Geoffrey Tolle from panel 2"

No Panel: Prisoner on bottom of page, no-nose prisoner, any recoginse him ??

Loki and Ola Hellsten suggest this may be the Cloak.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/c/cloak.htm

The Cloak (1967 – 1969) was created by Mike Higgs, who was a secret agent who fought mainly supernatural enemies, he was aided by the Mole and Shortstuff.

The Cloak strip ran in Pow! from 1967 to 1968, and then in Smash! from 1968 to 1969, but didn’t survive a relaunch of Smash!, along with other casualties like The Man From B.U.N.G.L.E and Grimly Feendish. Originally created by Mike Higgs as a Shadow pastiche called The Shudder in a fanzine of the same name in July 1964, his name was changed for his initial appearance in Pow! He fought foes like Deathshead and Lady Shady, the Shady Lady.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/c/cloak.htm

 

 

Page 9:

9 Panels, A fight in prison

 

Panel 4: Security Guard #1

Panel 5: Security Guard #2: Perhaps it is simply my imagination, but there seems to be a drop of something dangling from the end of his nose. I can’t for the moment recall who this reminds me of, but there was definitely someone who went around with a permanent drop on the end of his nose.

Daibhid Ceannaideach suggests: "Pongo Snodgrass from Krazy. "

http://www.toonhound.com/pongalongapongo.htm

Panel 6: Security Guard Blott, (name tag visible in Panel 9) from "The Swots and the Blots", George Blot ?

Loki says "One of the Blotts, from the Swots and the Blotts."

There are original pages of The Swots and the Blots available online here:

http://uk.geocities.com/pjgleobax/theswotsandblots.html

Panel 9: "'ERE FRED, DO YOUR BRUCE FORSYTHE."

Bruce Forsythe is a very famous British entertainer and showman who achieved celebrity on the shows like "Sunday Night at the London Palladium", "The Price is Right", "Play Your Cards Right", "The Generation Game" and "You Bet". ("Nice to see you, to see you nice" :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Forsyth

 

 

Page 10:

7 Panels, Danny sees Grimly Feendish and Penny appears

 

Panel 1: Crowd Scene, anyone recognise any faces ??

John Andrews says: "These crowd scenes on this page are reminiscent to the mob which waited outside Queen Elizabeth II courts in Liverpool, during the trial of the two boys who murdered two year old Jamie Bulger. For more information see www.crimelibrary.com/classics3/bulger

Policeman in bottom left-hand corner: Ever since I first saw him, I’ve been convinced that this is George Dixon of Dixon of Dock Green, as played by actor Jack Warner. He first appeared in the 1950 Rank movie The Blue Lamp which ended, incidentally, in his being killed, but public demand was so high that he was brought back in his own BBC TV series, which ran from 1955 to 1976, and was the longest-running police show in the history of British television.

http://www.nostalgiacentral.com/tv/cops/dixon.htm

John Andrews says: "One protester is wearing a top with the words "Le Chav" on. A chav is a new word, recently included in the Oxford Dictioanry. Basically someone who is a chav is supposedly a working class person with little sense of style or good manners. Quite a snobby and demeaning term really. Suppose the closest thing in USA would be trailer trash. See here for more details: http://www.worldwidewords.org/topicalwords/tw-cha2.htm The use of the French "Le" is also part of the joke. In the eighties and nineties, chavs or scallies as they were known then, often wore Le Coste sports clothes, or even something called Le Shark. "

Chav was *the* buzzword of the British media in 2004. The word itself seems to come from Romany, via Polari, the gay/theatrical slang, which was itself popularised by the BBC Radio series Round the Horne.

The Cassell Dictionary of Slang has this:

chavy/chavvy: [mid-late 19C] 1 (Polari) a child. 2 [late 19C+] a form of address to a man e.g. wotcher chavvy [Rom. chavi, a child] Chav is, in certain ways, the equivalent of the American term Trailer Trash.

One of the defining characteristics of the chav, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chav , is “The wearing of particular clothing, such as … brand name athletic clothing and shoes…,” so the Le Chav branding is particularly well observed.

For more information, have a look at http://www.chavscum.co.uk/

For comparison, see the Wikipedia entry on their Dublin counterpart, the Scanger: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scanger

 

Panel 4: Grymleigh Gartside Fiendstein identified as "GRIMLY FEENDISH!"

Panel 7: The female protagonist of the story appears, Penny.

Maybe she is Bad Penny.

Bad Penny (a naughty schoolgirl) who appeared in SMASH! and was created by Leo Baxendale.

Ola Hellsten agrees: "Penny is definitely based on, or at least a homage to, Bad Penny. Just check that beret."

http://uk.geocities.com/pjgleobax/badpenny.html

 

 

Page 11:

6 Panels, Danny and Penny run away

 

Panel 1: John Andrews says: "The building on the left hand side behind the trees is the Queen Elizabeth II Courts in Liverpool. See www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/culture/2002/08/st_georges/crown_court.html for more details.

The building directly behind this is the Liver Buildings, one of the most famous landmarks in Liverpool. You can just make out the Liver Bird on top of the tower in the centre of the picture. The Liver Bird is a mythical creature which supposedly inhabited the pools by the River Mersey. For more information please see http://www.liverpoolviews.co.uk/citycentre/birds/birds.html "

Panel 2: Daibhid Ceannaideach says: "I'm surprised there haven't been any theories about the "Bucky 4 Irma" graffiti. Unfortunately I can only think of three Irmas (Irma Bunt, James Bond villainess; Irma Gobb, Mr Bean's girlfriend; and Moore's own Irma Geddon from Top 10) and two Buckys (Bucky Barnes and Bucky O'Hare). "

Panel 3: Anthony Broke, Turf Accountants ???

John Reppion kindly clears this up for me: "A ref to Ivor Lott and Tony Broke from Cor!!"

Ivor Lott and Tony Broke started in COR!! in 1970 and moved to BUSTER in 1974, Lott and Tony were neighbours, Lott lived in Lott Hall and Tony lived in Broke Cottage. Lott was very rich Tony was very poor.

 

Taxi Driver: Maybe it's Noddy ;-)

Panel 6: John Andrews says: "On the border of Liverpool town centre and Toxteth, just by the Dock Road, there is a large sign which runs along a wall and reads "Norton's For Scap". In this picture you can just see the "Sc" of "Scrap".This is another local joke. As you can see the wall has pillars which jut out slightly so often the sign reads, "Norton's For Crap". Very juvenile I know, but a well known joke in Liverpool. http://www.s-norton.com/"

 

 

Page 12:

9 Panels, Trouble in the prison laundry

 

Panel 1: Unidentified prisoner in bows. To be honest I wasn't sure if this was a male or female prisoner for a while, now I'm fairly sure it's a woman.

I think it could be "Minnie the Minx", only because this prisoner also appears on the last page with a wristband red with a black strip, kinda like Minnie's jumper, and she has bows in her hair.

Minnie the Minx appeared in the BEANO from 1953, created by Leo Baxendale, he characterised Minnie as "an Amazonian warrior" who specialised in beating up boys - often dozens at a time!

John Andrews says: "No idea who any of these characters are, unless it is Beryl the Peril and Minnie the Minx as adults."

Ola Hellsten adds: "Beryl the Peril is a good guess. But based on the pigtails, one can also wonder if she (!) may be Belle Tent or Pansy Potter?"

http://www.toonhound.com/belle.htm

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/p/pansypot.htm

John Sinclair suggests: "The moment I saw it I recognised 'Petunia' - minus her trademark St Trinians' hat but with her distinctive braids - from 'the Dolls of St. Dominics', a strip by, I believe, Ken Reid that ran in Pow! comic. I would imagine that the terrifying females behind her are more of the Dolls. "

Image supplied by Loki

Panel 2:

Unidentified large prisoner, unidentified short bespeckled prisoner with gum, unidentified tall prisoner, prisoner from panel 1, unidentified prisoner in bowler hat. Bowler hat girl might be Cynthia Swot or Beryl Blot.

Mark Jack suggests "The brutish lady with the pigtails and her cohorts.....Beryl the Peril or the Belles of St. Lemons? "

The Belles of St. Lemons appeared in BEANO (1971 - 1972). St. Lemons was essentially the girls' boarding-school equivalent of "The Bash Street Kids"

 

Panel 3:

Unidentified prisoner being attacked. Maybe Val from "Val's Vanisihing Cream" or "The Cat Girl" or someone else

Panel 8:

Wadren Eagleton (?), maybe based on one of the sadistic school masters that appears in many UK comicbook stories, like the headmaster in "The Bash Street Kids" ?

Geoffrey Tolle says: "I strongly suspect that this is Inspector Bryant from page 4."

Panel 9:

Crazy guard with mirriored sunglasses (there's always one), hopefully not X-Ray Specs.

Daibhid Ceannaideach says: "Looks a bit like him, yes. Also looks a bit like Calculator Kid."

 

 

Page 13:

4 Panels, Outside of Penny’s house

 

Panel 1: Penny's home is a junkyard

John Andrews adds "The junkyard scene is reminiscent of the first Dr Who episode, when a young girl, wearing a beret returns to her home in a junkyard." and "Penny? If we are sticking to the Liverpool connection, how about Penny Lane?"

Loki adds "We've got a milk churn in the foreground with "Grimsdale Dairy" on it, a reference to the 1965 Norman Wisdom film "The Early Bird"

 

 

Page 14:

4 Panels, Inside Penny’s house

 

Panel 1: Penny's home is in a state of exterme dissarray. Notice the puppet sticking out of the box in the bottom right. (may be significant).

Panel 2: Daibhid Ceannaideach says: " Leaning against the large pipe beside the door is a round object with a tartan pattern. This may be a bunnet belonging to one of the Jocks from the Jocks and the Geordies, who were (and may well still be) in the Dandy."

Panel 5: Geoffrey Tolle says: "My name's Penny, by the way." There are probably a large number of Penny's to choose from. I happened to come across a Penny Less from "Jackpot" #1 (5th May 1979) (http://www.toonhound.com/millypenny.htm). This Penny was quite poor but constantly interacted with Milly O'Naire. Later on (when "Jackpot" merged with "Buster". Penny Less and Milly O'Naire were teamed up with Ivor Lott and Tony Broke. This all ties together will with Penny living in a scrapyard within running distance of Ivor Lott (presumably) and Anthony Broke, Turf Accountants (page 12, panel 3)."

 

 

Page 15:

8 Panels, Danny and have a cup of tea

 

Panel 1: Notice the normal food supplies: PG Teabags on counter, and on shelf; Tesco Pasta, Heinz Beans (Watchmen!) and HP Sauce.

Panel 2: POW! Comic (1967 – 1968).

Panel 4: Comic Titles visible in pile; LION, WHAM, COR, WHIZZER AND CHIPS.

Raymond Scurr adds: "BUSTER - I can just make out the top of its title on one of the comics poking out from a box"

Panel 6: There is a postit note on Penny's screen "FAB PHONE!" a similar note can be seen in her underground workshop on Page 8, panel 2 on Albion #2. I guess she is a bit forgetful.

Panels 6&7:

DANNY:"WAS THAT WHY YOU WERE THERE, THEN? CHASIN’ COMIC CHARACTERS?"

PENNY:"I’VE BEEN DOING THAT FOR A LONG TIME"

I guess the plot is unfolding.

Loki adds: "Seeing as she is a comic character herself, she's probably a fugitive, and naturally wonders what happened to all the others"

 

 

Page 16:

6 Panels, Mike Higgs interviewed

 

Panel 1: A cup with what looks like the original Flash logo. Daibhid Ceannaideach says: " Or the original Captain Marvel logo, which is slightly more relevant, since it was an absence of Captain Marvel reprints that led to the creation of the very similar UK superhero Marvelman. And we all know how that turned out, and its significance to British comics in general and Mr. Moore in particular... "

Notes taped to Penny's computer "EAT!" and "SLEEP!" yes she is definitely forgetful.

Panel 2: "I PUT ALL THE IN-JOKES INTO THE CLOAK"

John Reppion points out: "That's Mike Higgs talking."

Loki adds: "behind Mike Higgs you can see a poster mentioning Don Lawrence (creator of Trigan Empire, and much more) and Frank Hampson (creator of Dan Dare, etc)."

Panel 3: "BRITISH FANDOM WAS JUST STARTING UP, Y'KNOW? PHIL CLARKE AND EVERYBODY."

Phil Clarke started KA-POW fanzine in 1967, a comic fan magazine with comic sales lists and a comic strip drawn by Mike Higgs.

Panel 4: "WHAT ABOUT THE RUMORS THAT THE CLOAK WAS ACTUALLY BASED ON A REAL PERSON"

The plot thickens.

 

 

Page 17:

6 Panels, Steve Moore interviewed

 

Panel 1: "YES. YES, I DID SIGN THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT."

The Official Secrets Act is a UK act of Parliament prohibiting the disclosure of confidential material from government sources by employees; it remains an absolute offence for a member or former member of the security and intelligence services (or those working closely with them) to disclose information about their work.

John Reppion points out: "That's Steve Moore talking."

Steve Moore is a prolific British comics writer. He is credited with showing Alan Moore (no relation), then a struggling cartoonist, how to write comic scripts, and the pair collaborated under pseudonyms on strips for Sounds magazine, including one which introduced the character Axel Pressbutton. Steve Moore's pseudonym was "Pedro Henry", Alan's was "Curt Vile". He devised the Future Shocks format in 2000 AD, and wrote the adventures of the Doctor, as well as co-creating the character Abslom Daak (with artist Steve Dillon) in the Doctor Who Magazine. He also wrote several stories in Warrior magazine, including, as Pedro Henry, a revival of Axel Pressbutton.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Moore_(comics)

Panel 3: "EVERYONE WHO WORKED AT ODHAM HAD TO SIGN IT. "

Odham Press published Eagle Comics (1950 – 1969, 1982 – 1993)

Panel 4: "I FIGURED IT WAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH CAPTAIN DARE; THE SPACE PROGRAM WAS IN EVERYONE'S THOUGHTS THEN.

Dan Dare (Colonel Daniel MacGregor Dare of the Interplanet Spacefleet) was created in 1950 by Frank Hampson. The sci-fi classic Dan Dare was originally published in EAGLE. Dan Dare fought his evil arch-nemesis The Mekon over many decades.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/d/dandare.htm

Geoffrey Tolle says: "The reference to Dan Dare makes me wonder if a lot of the mystery isn't tied into the discovery of alien civilizations."

Ola Hellsten adds: "Dan Dare was not a Captain, as far as I know."

Daibhid Ceannaideach adds: " He was a Colonel. Hampton reckoning that Space Fleet would have army ranks, rather than navy or air force. Either the writers disagree, or they're distancing Albion's Dare from The Eagle's. Or both. Incidentally, Dan Dare's adventures were, of course, set in the future; the future being the 1990s..."

"IN FACT, WHEN I THINK ABOUT IT, DAN LLOYD WAS AN ASSISTANT EDITOR AT "FLYING SAUCER REVIEW" AT THE TIME; MAYBE THAT WAS WHERE HE GOT HIS INFORMATION. HEH."

Yes, he was, and the author of a number of articles, including "Things Are Hotting Up In The Arctic" for "Flying Saucer Review", Vol. 11, No. 5. September-October 1965.)

Panel 5: "NOT HIM, NO BUT CAPTAIN HURRICANE CAME IN ONCE, WENT STRAIGHT THROUGH TO THE OFFICE. HUGE BLOKE, EVEN IN CIVVIES YOU COULDN'T MISS HIM."

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/c/caphurr2.jpg

Hercules Hurricane appeared in VALIANT (1962 - 1976), he was the captain of a tramp steamer until his ship was sunk by a German U-Boat. He and his first mate, "Maggot" Malone, enlisted in the Royal Marine Commandoes, and took the fight back the Axis forces.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/c/caphurr.htm

Loki adds: "Captain Hurricane later became the editor of Battle, so it makes sense he might pop down the offices of a comic company at some point.."

Geoffrey Tolle says: "Captain Hurricane was spiritually reincarnated as Project: Hurricane in Paul Grist's "Jack Staff" series."

 

 

 

Page 18:

8 Panels, Danny and Penny leave her place

 

Panel 3: Key fob looks like "Frankie Stein"

Frankie Stein originally appeared in WHAM! comic in 1964, and appeared in a number of different books until 1973.

http://www.toonhound.com/frankiestein.htm

Raymond Scurr adds: "It looks like the key chain also includes "Evil Eye" ?"

Panel 6: "WHERE DID THEY ALL GO ?"

I can’t wait to find out.

 

 

Page 19:

8 Panels, Driving to Manchester

 

Panel 5: Is there a FAB bar in Manchester I wonder?

John Andrews answers the question: "FAB bar is a real bar in Manchester off Oxford Road. It is a sci-fi themed bar, with it's name taken from the F A B phrase used in Thunderbirds. www.manchester.com/interactive/guest2.html"

And John adds "Danny's comment about how he hates Manchester. This is a common sentiment in Liverpool and is reciprocated by many Mancunians. It originates when Liverpool was the "Second City in the Empire". The Liverpool docks brought wealth and prestige to the city, but after WWII the city began to decline. Manchester has prospered during this same period and the two cities rival for the top city in the North West. Football has played a big part with Liverpool Football Club being the most successful British club ever, although Manchester United dominated for the 1990's."

Loki adds: "The Fab Cafe is a real bar in Manchester, located near Picadilly and Canal Street. And they actually do have science fiction characters displayed like they are on the next page - not sure if they have a Cyberman, but they did have a Dalek and Ice Warrior last time I was in there. "

Panel 7: Look like "Supercar" to me, which makes sense in a bar called "FAB Bar"

Supercar (1961 - 1662) was a Gerry Anderson series (later creator of "Thunderbirds"), it was the first of the Supermarionation science fiction shows that he became famous for. Supermarionation was Anderson's term for the realistic style of puppetry he developed. The technique featured a cast of eighteen inch high marionettes that blinked, moved their eyes and seemed to speak.

Unidentified patron of FAB bar sitting in foreground.

 

Page 20:

1 Panel, Look who’s in the FAB Café

 

Cyberman, Robot Archie, Vampira ??

The Cybermen were created by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis for the BBC science fiction program "Doctor Who", where they became one of the show's most popular monsters. Though the appearance of the Cybermen changed over the course of the show, for over twenty years they terrified school children throughout the world. Alan Moore contributed to Doctor Who Weekly Comic.

Byron Virgo adds: "Oh, also, if you were looking for a further connection with the Cyberman, wasn't Alan Moore's first work on the backup strip in Dr. Who Weekly 'Black Legacy', a Cyberman strip drawn by Dave Lloyd?"

John Andrews adds "The Cyberman looks like a hybrid of the ones which appeared in The Invasion in 1969 and the updated version from Earthshock in 1982."

Robot Archie is described in the section dealing with the cover.

Don’t know if this is Vampira or not ??

Geoffrey Tolle says: "I presume that the vampiress is from a Hammer movie. This display, thus, represents tv (cyberman), comics (Robot Archie), and movies (vampiress). "

 

 

Page 21:

5 Panels, Lights out in prison

 

Panel 1: Notice the rat on the pipes, lovely !

Panel 2: Two of the prisoners from Page 12.

Panel 3: Female prisoner attacked on Page 12 with a Gnome.

Mark Jack adds "Still not sure who the girl is but her gnome is definitely Splodge: the last of the goblins from Topper or at least a homage to him."

Loki adds: "The floating girl looking out her window could be Justine (the Justice of Justine), though she should need her magic cloak to fly. It might be Jackie Flash, but that's a DC Thomson character, so I think it unlikely. "

Panel 4: Unidentified floating prisoner.

 

 

Page 22:

7 Panels, More Lights out

 

Panel 1: Notice the SUICIDE WATCH wing on the top right of the panel.

John Andrews adds "This prison dungeon looks very similar to the one in the Janus Stark strip on pages four and five. The same prison a century later?"

Panel 2: Unidentified pipe smoking prisoner (maybe Inspector Bryant ?)

John Andrews and Loki suggest that it is Captain Hurricane.

Geoffrey Tolle says: "I presume that this is the Warden (Inspector Bryant). I just can't imagine Captain Hurricane in a smoking robe. I might also add that It is very unlikely that this is a prisoner - note that this room has wallpaper."

Daibhid Ceannaideach adds: " I thought he was an exaggeration of the prison "Mr Big", who gets privileges the other prisoners don't because even the wardens are scared of him (Grouty in "Porridge" for instance). ICBW; I haven't read #2 yet."

"BIGGLES BIG ADVENTURE"

Biggles was created by W.E. Johns in 1932, Major James Bigglesworth started off as a fighter pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. Later stories told of Biggles' adventures after the War's end, his return to service in World War II, and further adventures in peace time. Johns continued writing Biggles short stories and novels up until his death in 1968; in all, nearly a hundred Biggles books were published.

This book title is not a real Biggles book, but is mentioned in UK SF TV show "Red Dwarf" in season three "Marooned".

We now know that the book is a hint at the identity of this person, considering Biggles was also a World War II hero.

Panel 3: Unidentified prisoner in vat.

Loki suggests: "Since he must be alive in that water, either Fishboy (except I don't recall him being scaly) or else Kid Chameleon (except I didn't know he could breath underwater). "

John Andrews suggests: "Surely not Janus Stark?"

Geoffrey Tolle says: "This may be the former Spider foe, the Shark"

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/s/spidfoe2.htm#shark

Panel 4: The Spider confirmed by John Reppion

http://www.newsarama.com/DC/IPC/spider.jpg

The Spider appeared in LION (1965 - 1969), was a criminal mastermind who spun webs using his backpack and webgun, and later became a crime fighter.

http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/s/spider.htm

Panel 6: Unidentified character from page 1.

Panel 7: "STRANGE DOORS THAT WE'D NEVER CLOSE AGAIN " – Next Month’s title are lyrics from David Bowie’s "Scary Monsters"

 

Questions Left to Answer

Page 1/Panel 5: Who is Eagleton?

Page 2/Panel 1: Who is Charles Love?

 

Fleetway/IPC Characters Identified or Guessed At

Page Character Comic

Cover: Robot Archie Lion (1952-1974)

Page 1/Panel 1:Captain Hurricane Valiant (1962-1976)

Page 1/Panel 6: The Nervs Smash (?-?)

Page 2/Panel 1: Charlie Peace Buster (1964-1974)

Page 2/Panel 1: Captain Condor Lion (1952-1964)

Page 3/Panel 7: Adam Eterno Thunder, Lion, Valiant (1970-1976)

Page 4/Panel 1: Janus Stark Smash, Valiant (1969-1975)

 

Fleetway/IPC Comics Identified or Guessed At

Buster: 28th May 1960 to 4th January 2000

Lion: 23rd February 1952 to 18th May 1974 Incorporated with Thunder (Lion and Thunder) 20th March 1970 to 18th May 1974 Incorporated with Valiant (Valiant and Lion) 25th of May 1974 to 22 March 1975

Smash: 5th February 1966 to 3rd April 1971

Thunder: 17th October to 13th March 1971 Incorporated with Lion (Lion and Thunder) 20th March 1970 to 18th May 1974

Valiant: 6th October 1962 to 16th October 1976 Incorporated with Lion (Valiant and Lion) 25th May 1974 to 22 March 1975 Incorporated with Vulcan (Valiant and Vulcan) 10th April 1976 to 2nd October 1976

Vulcan: 1st March 1975 to 3rd April 1976 Incorporated with Valiant (Valiant and Vulcan) 10th April 1976 to 2nd October 1976

 

Useful Websites

26 Pigs http://www.26pigs.com/

 

Books Consulted

The Fleetway Companion, compiled by Steve Holland, CJ Publications 2002

Contributions by: John Andrews, Daibhid Ceannaideach , Ola Hellsten, Mark Jack, Loki, Mike ('The Prof') Pepper, John Reppion, John Sinclair, Raymond Scurr, Geoffrey Tolle, Byron Virgo.