You will find this info over at Down The Tubes (check the blog roll) but after some emails I thought I’d explain.
While people have continued writing and talking about the Beano and Dandy from this period it seems that no one is really interested in the comics of the other companies –Gerald Swan and Swan Comics, Secret Service Comics, Soloway, Cartoon Art Productions and others.
This period saw the creation of Britains first occult detective, Dene Vernon (soon to feature in a new book of his own) not to mention Robert Lovett in Back From The Dead. Some may have heard of the British super-man Ace Hart (even if his continuity is a bit odd), but there was Wonder Man, Bring ‘Em Back Hank (a sort of time-travelling Tomb Raider); TNT Tom, given super powers by aliens he rescued. Tiger Man, who got cat-like powers after fighting a tiger… in Africa (and getting cat-like powers -the science is a bit vague-ish..you are NOT questioning the science?!). The axe-wielding Iron Warrior – one of the bloodiest strips in British comics up until Action.
There are also Cat Girl, Phantom Maid, Skybolt Kid, Speed Gale, The Phantom Raider, Streamline, Super Stooge and many others including some humour strips.
The strips were printed in orange, red, purple, blue and even green and you try adjusting scans so that the blue text is half as clear as the orange coloured art) and considering the throw-away attitude the quality was not perfect.
In some cases it has taken a month of work to remove sellotape repairs, foxing and just plain decayed pages.
Quality ranges from high to medium – but then, if you are interested in this period or a comic historian these collections are about the only place you’ll find the strips and cover prices are low (ignoring all the work put into the books).
They are a labour of love and definitely not big money-makers!
Dennis Ray of the 3-Ds comic store in Houston deserves a big thanks because, while I’ve received no help from people in the UK in tracking down books or scans, Dennis has provided me with many!
Of course, The Iron Warrior, Krakos the Egyptian as well as The Bat have all returned in new stories and these seem to be getting a lot of attention in Europe –I’m really amazed and choked-up with the comments.
If you want to see British super heroes and crime-fighters as they appeared in the 1940s up to 1950 then these books are for you.
Check out the Black Tower range at