In part 1, I looked at Victor issue 754 and talked about the stand alone stories and given a respectful nod towards some of the artists that worked on the Victor. Now, in part 2, I am going to have a look at the serials.
For me, the strength of D C Thomson’s output was that they had a strong cast of recurring characters in their comics. For the Victor, it was the likes of Alf Tupper, Morgyn The Mighty, Braddock, Gorgeous Gus, Shiwa Sands and the Hammer Man that would appear time and time again. But in this issue, we only have two recurring characters that have featured in many serials. One being Killer Kennedy, a no-nonsense sailor who was determined to prosecute the war against the Germans at all costs. And the other was Gerald Cadman, a cowardly army officer, who was the diametric opposite and would find no depth too low if he thought that it would save his skin.
First up we have Tod Culver’s Crazy Crew. I know the style, but I have yet to be able to name the artist. This is a World War II story about one of the many small ships that were converted into fighting vessels and the trials and tribulations that beset them as they prosecuted their part in the war effort. In this episode, the crew seem to think they are beset with bad luck and their luck only seems to change when a pigeon lands on the ship and leads them to a drifting motor boat. Shame no one realises that it’s packed to the brim with high explosive!
Then we have a post-apocalyptic tale in The Last Six Hundred, illustrated by Jean Marie, which is set 90 years into the future where an infestation of giants ferns has caused all plants and animals to grow to a gigantic size where dogs are the size of horses and deer are as large as elephants. As a result, all but the last 600 humans have been wiped out and are now living on the unaffected Portland island. This episode deals with Tom Pierce trying to train the unaffected dog that he has rescued and how he saves the dog from being drowned. This is the one story in this issue that is a reprint. D C Thomson would re-use stories if they had not aged too badly and it is a subject I will go into more depth in a post on another day.
Once again, we go back to World War II with The Secret War of Killer Kennedy, illustrated by Vicente Ibáñez Sanchis. In this serial Killer Kennedy is operating amongst the Greek islands, using his MTB and crew to fight a hit and run campaign against the German naval and land forces. This episode is the final one in this run and is replaced by a complete story next week.
Next up, we have a relatively modern spy story in Sampan Sammy, which has been drawn by Geoff Jones. Ignoring the dodgy title, this is fairly standard junior spy fare where we have Sammy trying to evade the Cobra gang as they try to obtain his locket which has information that could lead to their downfall.
Our next tale is from Napoleonic days in Walker’s War Wagon with the art being created by Escandell. Escandell’s art has caused me problems for years as his style is very similar to a young Dave Gibbons. So it took me a long time to separate what was young Gibbons and what was Escandell. This story is set during the Spanish campaign where Sergeant Jeb Walker and his troops ended up looking after an experimental steam coach and using it in various ways to help defeat those revolutionary French.
The penultimate serial is Ten Tests for Strongarm which has been drawn by the stalwart Ted Kearon. This story takes us back to Viking days and the contest between Strongarm and the evil Wolf of Kurt to attain the empty Viking throne for one of them to be crowned king. This episode see Strongarm facing off against Ygg of Hunsingor to take the lead in the contest which is tied at four all.
And finally, we have Cadman The Flying Coward. This story is where we see Mike Dorey’s art begin to develop into the darker style that worked so well in the later Cadman stories and all the other stories that he worked on. In this serial Cadman has managed to wangle his way into the RFC thinking that it will be an easier life than being in the trenches, but that realisation soon wears off when he encounters the birth of aerial combat. In this episode, Cadman is being blackmailed into helping a German spy, but as always, manages to find a way to come up smelling of roses.
The only thing missing from this issue is some art from the wonderfully talented, Matias Alonso Andres but you never know what comic I will talk about next. Whatever happens, let’s hope that some of these wonderful stories that D C Thomson have printed will once again see the light of day some time soon.
Again all the art (c) D C Thomson