Trying to remember British comic series from 1959-1961 with story about giant spine throwing cacti

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ffjg
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Trying to remember British comic series from 1959-1961 with story about giant spine throwing cacti

Post by ffjg »

I've managed to track down most of my childhood favourites, but there's one story line I can't seem to track down and was wondering if someone could help out with a pointer in the general direction?

The comic from maybe between 1958 and 1963 was published in one of the half text half comic series – Hotspur or Wizard ring vague bells, but this was a long time ago.

Unfortunately I don’t remember the title/name of the story, which is complicating any search. The Eagle is the closest so far to the right sort of “look” in my search for the mutant cactus story. Another partial memory of the comic is that unlike the Eagle it had a single large colour illustration as the front page, and the exploded diagrams of aircraft which featured were sometimes double page spreads. Other features memorable to a 12 year old in 1961 were articles on the Charge of the Light Brigade and another on Congreve rockets.

The story, mainly text but with vivid illustrations, is about giant mutant cacti that propagate by shooting out their spines like javelins over long distances, impaling anything they manage to hit, The javelins are actually seeds, so new cacti grow where the spines strike. The race is on to control the spread…. and this is where I couldn’t continue the comic. The ending has bugged me for more than 60 years!

If anyone remembers the story and where it appeared over many issues. I’d be grateful for any hints that might help me track them down!

If there’s another way of matching a story/plot to a comic, that’d also help?

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stevezodiac
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Re: Trying to remember British comic series from 1959-1961 with story about giant spine throwing cacti

Post by stevezodiac »

You mention Hotspur and Wizard but then say Eagle is closest to the look. I can only think of Boys' World which looked like The Eagle and published fantasy stories. The first issue was published in January 1963. And a December 1963 cover mentions a Tree of Terror story inside. (information from cover images on Grand Comics Database)

ffjg
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Re: Trying to remember British comic series from 1959-1961 with story about giant spine throwing cacti

Post by ffjg »

Thanks for the response.

It's a really long time ago, and Boys World wasn't available at our local bookshop, Eagle makes it into the list of possibles only because it had exploded diagrams of aircraft. Hotspur and Wizard are the two I thought most likely, but I've seen a few copies of these from around that time and neither ring any bells for looking like what I remember and Wizard is outside the date range. I've seen a whole lot of Eagles from around the 1959-1961 period, and that's not it either.

Of course it doesn't help narrow things down that so many boys comics from that period had some WW2 derring do story, making them all similar at a certain level. I suppose what I'm looking for is possibilities of weekly comics that featured a mix of text and graphic stories. a single large full colour outside page illustration, and an exploded colour diagrams of mainly aircraft, possibly double page.

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stevezodiac
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Re: Trying to remember British comic series from 1959-1961 with story about giant spine throwing cacti

Post by stevezodiac »

Phoenix could help but he has been absent from these pages for well over a year. Is anyone in contact with him?

Kashgar
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Re: Trying to remember British comic series from 1959-1961 with story about giant spine throwing cacti

Post by Kashgar »

Hi fjg,

Just noticed this. I'll supply more details tomortow but the story you are looking for was called 'The Scarlet Javelins' and it appeared in the Hotspur in 1959 (1157-1164)

ffjg
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Re: Trying to remember British comic series from 1959-1961 with story about giant spine throwing cacti

Post by ffjg »

Thanks, Kashgar - I've been hunting for a long time with little success based on imperfect memory while being aware time is not on my side.

Now all I have to do is track these down somehow. I see the "New Hotspur" came out just after these were published, which threw me off the track quite a bit Do you have associated dates, or the date of one of them?

This reinforces what a powerful resource the Internet is, that this completely arbitrary and non-obvious information is forthcoming.

If you don't mind my asking, how did you work it out?

Regards,
Jacot

Kashgar
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Re: Trying to remember British comic series from 1959-1961 with story about giant spine throwing cacti

Post by Kashgar »

Hi Jacot,
When I get the chance to check the issues themselves tomorrow I'll give you more precise details but the story in question appeared in Jan/Feb 1959. It was a reprint of a Wizard story published seven years previously where it had been titled The Monster in Hyde Park. It would then resurface as a picture strip in the New Hotspur in 1964/65.
How did I work it out? Simply by remembering the title from your description and working from there.
The issues shouldn't be too difficult to track down.
More details to follow.

Kashgar
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Re: Trying to remember British comic series from 1959-1961 with story about giant spine throwing cacti

Post by Kashgar »

The Scarlet Javelins that you remember appeared in Hotspur nos 1157(10/1/59)-1164(28/2/59) and it featured on the full colour cover twice during its run firstly in issue no1158 and then more spectacularly in issue no1162 where the huge cactus is seen in all its glory with both full page illustrations drawn by the excellent Bill Holroyd.
Checking on ebay a seller named Strouds Emporium has the full run in vgc for £4.99 per issue should you wish to read the story again.

ffjg
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Re: Trying to remember British comic series from 1959-1961 with story about giant spine throwing cacti

Post by ffjg »

Thanks again, Kashgar.... I thought there had been a cover illustration, but wasn't sure that it might be a figment of my imagination. Maybe that's what made the story stick in my 9 year old mind! I'll spend some time tracking the issues down and see how it goes. It'd be interesting to reread

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