Thursday, January 11, 2007

40 year Flashback: Valiant

For the second of an occasional series looking back four decades, here's the issue of Valiant that would have been on sale 40 years ago. One of Fleetway's flagship boy's weeklies it ran for many years (1962-1976) until it was eventually replaced on the production schedule by 2000 AD.

The issue dated January 14th 1967 (on sale Jan 7th) kicks off with a cover feature illustrated by Mike Western. The article reveals to its readers how commandos of the future (that's where we are now folks) will use rocket belts to "jump over the heads of an encircling enemy and enable them to escape across country by means of gigantic kangaroo leaps". Unfortunately, here in the real future, the military can't even provide troops with clean socks, so "jump belts" never got a look in.

Inside the 32 page comic, Tim Kelly (of Kelly's Eye fame) meets a duplicate Tim Kelly. And we know he's an evil duplicate because he speaks backwards and is irrationally violent! "YMENE! YORTSED...LLIK!"

Meanwhile, at the House of Dollmann, mechanical puppets Togo and Raider are captured by bank robbers, while The Steel Claw fights "an evil freak-show owner" and Captain Hurricane beats up some more comedy Nazis, as he did every week with tedious repetition.

As for Mytek the Mighty, drawn by Eric Bradbury, the giant robot ape was up against... evil robot legs. Yes, evil robot legs. Look at the panel scanned here. And it's all presented completely straight-faced. How mad is that?

One interesting ad in the comic is a page that announces the publication of the Fleetway Super Libraries. (See scan.) Four decades before Manga hit the UK, these black and white digest-sized 132-page comics featured complete full-length stories. Incidentally, the Fantastic Series which featured the Steel Claw alternating with The Spider changed its title to Stupendous Series with No.3. Presumably because Odhams were launching Fantastic the following month. (I'll be covering Fantastic in a later blog.)

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