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Thanks Phoenix!

In that case it sounds as though Johnny Jett may well have been a direct response to DC Comics' Superboy whose own title made its debut in 1949 (though he was created earlier) in much the same way that Mr X was inspired by the success of Superman.

As somebody or other once said, there's no copyright on ideas! :)

By the way Paw, I'm afraid the only thing I can add about the Blue Domino is that he was a 'handsome young earl' in his civilian identity. My knowledge of the character is limited solely to the short profile of Gertrude Wilson that appeared in The Comic Art of Roy Wilson.

- Phil Rushton


Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:44 am
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Phoenix, thank you for the cover illo. of Gifford's book but I don't remember it looking exactly like that. The interior had 6 entries to a page, usually with an illo. and some brief explanation of the character/feature around or beneath. But my memory is not what it should be and I could be very wrong.
Excellent Watkins page there, Phil. I've always enjoyed Johnny Jett. As to whether he was a direct result of Superboy being given his own title, I'm not sure but it seems likely. There is another Super Boy, the French one, who appeared in the eponymously titled Super Boy, although the character himself didn't appear in the comic during it's first 9 years. Be very careful if ordering on-line and you are looking for the superhero, 'cos you wont find him in those early issues. Lots of info. here:-
http://www.coolfrenchcomics.com/superboy.htm
Jack Flash. That is amazing and I'd love to imagine what a British comic with that quality art would have been like. I would have bought it. That is an image to cherish, indeed.
Len Manners even looks like Clark Kent, doesn't he? But to digress slightly, you've all noticed that J.J and Mr. X are examples of a more British approach to comic strips in that they are both examples of text strips, as opposed to balloon strips, which predominated in N. America at the time and since. And I have often wondered if, as the supposed definition of a comic strip is a mixture of pictures and word balloons, we really had a slightly different form of the comic here. Although, in the Netherlands, there existed a number of text strip comics, usually following the landscape format of 3 or 4 illustrations at the top of the page with perhaps 2 columns of text beneath. Granted, most of these were reprints from newspapers but we have the same here nowadays with Rupert.
There are some very fine examples of this in one of the all time great cute animal strips, Tom Poes, here:-
http://www.heerbommel.info/tom-poes-hee ... n/plakboek
Tearing my hair out trying to find proof that Mr. X wasn't the first British superhero in a text strip or balloon strip comic, to no avail. Yet. No doubt that there were many masked mystery men and a couple of heroes with powers in text stories, but the Mr. X thingy is starting to annoy me.


Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:31 pm
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paw broon wrote:
... J.J and Mr. X are examples of a more British approach to comic strips in that they are both examples of text strips, as opposed to balloon strips, which predominated in N. America at the time and since. And I have often wondered if, as the supposed definition of a comic strip is a mixture of pictures and word balloons, we really had a slightly different form of the comic here.


I've had a difference of opinion over this with the guys at the Grand Comics Database before now. On the whole Americans seem to think that publications without word balloons are simply magazines and shouldn't ever be classed as 'comics' however much they rely on sequential images to tell stories. Similarly they argue that a comic ceases to be a comic (or comic book) if the percentage of pages using word balloons falls below 50%. By contrast most Europeans who got involved poured scorn on both ideas, insisting that comics are comics are comics, and that Americans can't tell their ears from their elbows! :)

- Phil R.


Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:54 pm
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I'll just chuck these three metal-clad/masked DCT protagonists into the mix. Any ensuing discussion will help to bridge the gap between JT's promise and the execution of it. We want The Black Sapper, We Want The Black Sapper, WE WANT THE BLACK SAPPER........


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Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:40 pm
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Radio Fun's ' Falcón' became a masked.
e.superhero in the mid 1950's if memory
serves.


Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:49 pm
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Yes he did indeed, Kashgar, and a good one at that. Really nice art from George Heath. Not sure if it was Heath who designed the glider suit but it looked impressive.
Phil, I tried and gave up on GCD, mainly because I couldn't work the site. My old computer was on it's last legs and it was taking me ages to add or change info. But that nonsense about 50% balloon strips and not counting text strips was really frustrating. I have a particular fondness for landscape comics and Dutch titles, such as Eric de Noorman, Kapitein Rob, Rikki Visser, which are all text trips (although Rikki Visser started out as a balloon strip and converted) are great examples of the form. But they are no less comics. So, imagine if these pro-balloon strip folk were correct and we had to discount Flip McCoy etc.as comics. It doesn't make sense. Embrace the different ways of telling entertaining stories and the diversity of formats. When there is only the American pamphlet size left, we will all realize how much has been lost.
It occurs to me that Prince Valiant doesn't therefore qualify as a comic strip as it has no word balloons. The strip is different again in that the captions are open and placed in different parts of each panel.
Leatherface is intriguing, Phoenix. Thanks again.

Editing this to add that the link below will take you to Lambiek and their page on krantenstrips. A number of examples of text strips from newspapers, and near the bottom there is an amazing 1 panel page with the 2 columns of text beneath, by the amazing Hans G. Kresse. Look and be delighted.
http://www.lambiek.net/aanvang/1945krantenstrip.htm


Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:43 pm
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That's a great Kresse battle scene Paw - I really wish he'd done more work for the British market. 'Widescreen' panels were particularly effective in photogravure comics such as Eagle: Frank Bellamy's use of them for series like 'Heros the Spartan' and 'Montgomery of Alamein' is justly famous, but my own personal favourite was Pat Nicolle's epic retelling of the Norman Conquest in 'The Last of the Saxon Kings'. This was the very first strip to take up the whole of Eagle's full-colour centrespread and it'd be hard to think of a more dramatic use of the format than Nicolle's panoramic views of William's army coming ashore at Pevensey and Harold's last stand on Senlac hill. It also ended with one of the single most haunting panels ever to appear in a British comic! (imho at any rate)

Returning to the Falcon, he was an astonishingly versatile character whose stories constantly hopped from one genre to another - at different times taking in science fiction, espionage, crime, murder-mystery, exploration and super-heroics. What's more, his adventures as a flying mystery man (aka the Winged Avenger) continued to alternate with assignments in which he reverted to plain clothes: it was almost as if Bruce Wayne regularly appeared as the Caped Crusader in the pages of Batman but as a dapper millionaire sleuth in Detective Comics.

Here are some contrasting examples taken from 1951, 1952, 1957 and 1959 respectively:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

...I love the idea of him watching Nat Lofthouse from the Moon! :)

- Phil Rushton


Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:08 pm
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philcom55 wrote:
I love the idea of him watching Nat Lofthouse from the Moon!
I used to watch him regularly from the Burnden Stand, Phil. We came fourth in the First Division that season, and reached the last eight in the Cup (as Cup Holders, so we should have done!). I've just checked in my Empire News and Sunday Chronicle Football Annual for the 1958/59 season, and on March 28th we were at home to Tottenham Hotspurs, and as both teams played in the same kit, (great for the Subbuteo company), the visitors had to change. The trouble is I can't remember what Spurs' change strip was that season, but I don't think any team had black and red striped shirts, although Manchester City did a few years later. I sadly have to conclude that the televiewer's prisms are only partially successful. Back to the drawing board, boys!!


Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:33 pm
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Phoenix wrote:
paw broon wrote:
I did some trawling through various comics websites but found no rumours re. Black Sapper. I hope I'm not going to be disappointed
Well, if JT doesn't come through with the goods, Paw, or his revelations don't cut the mustard, I'll just have to muscle in on his patch. Personally speaking, though, I'd much prefer him to step up to the plate.


Ok, the Black Sapper is coming back. So is 6 Gun Gorilla, and Trixie's Treasure Chest and The Smasher and various other dormant DC Thomson characters. Including The Supercats - written by yours truly! Just waiting for contractual bits n bobs to be settled before I give you any more.

:)


Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:52 pm
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JT Mirana wrote:
Ok, the Black Sapper is coming back. So is 6 Gun Gorilla, and Trixie's Treasure Chest and The Smasher and various other dormant DC Thomson characters. Including The Supercats - written by yours truly! Just waiting for contractual bits n bobs to be settled before I give you any more.
Trixie's Treasure Chest? Is that her main weapon?


Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:15 pm
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JT Mirana wrote:
Ok, the Black Sapper is coming back. So is 6 Gun Gorilla, and Trixie's Treasure Chest and The Smasher and various other dormant DC Thomson characters. Including The Supercats - written by yours truly! Just waiting for contractual bits n bobs to be settled before I give you any more.

:)



Wow! The Smasher being the massive robot from Bullet I presume, not the humour character? :D

Is this directly for DC Thomson or have they licensed out the characters?

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Sat Feb 22, 2014 6:07 pm
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I have had a good day - topped off by an excellent plate of pasta, some decnt Italian collapso and the news that The Black Sapper is coming back. I trust he is in good hands, cos that bloke in California has some powerful associates 8)
I do hope it's THE Smasher!
Supercats, eh. Well now, there's a thing. The Supercats I am aware of are a bit glamourous. The same ones?


Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:24 pm
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I wonder how this will impact on the Boom! Studios version of 6-Gun Gorilla, and their rather questionable claim that the character is now in the public domain?

Returning to the Black Sapper, one nice thing about the comic strip version that appeared in Beezer was the fact that it was drawn by Jack Glass, who'd been the artist for the original text stories in Rover (as well as designing the Amazing Mr X for Dandy).

Image

Incidentally, did DC Thomson get some sort of commission from the Scottish Tourist Board for every one of their comics that featured the Forth Bridge??? :shock:

- Phil Rushton


Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:39 pm
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Good to see that Black Sapper page. I only have one example from The Beezer. I saw the strip when it was reprinted in Classics from the Comics a couple of years ago but it lost some of its effectiveness in black and white and reduced to A4.


Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:40 pm
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That is truly a beautiful piece of art. Thanks for showing it to us.

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Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:37 pm
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