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I SPY--------- THE FIRST EPIC SERIAL 
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'SPARKY' issue 231, [June 21, 1969].

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'I SPY versus the incredible MR.X'; [part 7 of 8]:

'The mechanical monster ......SSSSSUPER-SPY!'

SYNOPSIS: I SPY is caught in the path of MR.X'S colossal robotic 'SUPERSPY', an ultimate all-out war machine the villain intends to conquer the world with......I SPY escapes being crushed by drilling underground to safety, re-emerging to light a TNT stick he places at the robot's base. This has absolutely no effect other than to alert MR X of I SPY'S presence, and our hero is duly sucked into the machine via a mega-vaccum...

Inside, MR.X feeds the dazed I SPY 'Wonder Weakness Pills', ties him up, then loads his vast machine's internal engine with 'Super-strength pills' as war appears on the horizon, in the shape of the BRITISH ARMY. MR.X taunts them to do their worst, and an all-out shelling blitz leaves not a mark on SUPERSPY........MR X begins his offensive now, in the form of vast steel rollers, which squash the tanks like tin-cans....

SUPERSPY pauses to literally sweep up the sorry mess, and as a last resort, the ARMY launches a mega carnage-shell rocket;-----however, SUPERSPY'S 'I SPY'-like capabilities means it can split in two vertically [via hydraulic jacks]' revealing an elasticated net which returns the missile to the ARMY, who flee.......

Onboard SUPERSPY, I SPY uses scissors to gain freedom, and confronts the seated MR X with cannon. However, a trapdoor mechanism is activated, and I SPY is held in an internal vault [manacled with steel clamps this time] as MR X repeats his intentions of taking over the world 'by tomorrow.'------He also intends thinking up a 'nasty way' to do away with I SPY.......once and for all.

More imaginitive hyper-mayhem, as the tale approaches it's conclusion. The hi-tech high-jinks are nicely offset by the liberal application of lunatic comedy [I SPY sucked inside a vaccum-hose, like a spider, MR X'S casual sweeping of the flattened tanks, primarily for his twisted amusement].
The BRITISH ARMY here are depicted as ineffectual buffoons, almost KEYSTONE KOPS-like in their ineptitude......

This episode features the most actual interaction between I SPY and MR X, as BOND-like, the outlandish events are controlled from afar, with the two geniuses in their respective fields [one good, one evil] finally encountering one another late in the game.

The concept of 'SUPERSPY' is marvellously done, all functional steel-plating, internally and throughout.

I SPY'S DEVICES: vertical drill, scissor-snippers, high-caliber cannon. with: TNT stick, matches.

SUPERSPY'S DEVICES: MEGA mega-phone, stainless steel mega-rollers, elasticated netting. with: elevated hydraulic seperation capabilities.


'next week... THE FINAL FIGHT TO THE FINISH!'



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this issue of 'SPARKY' also ushered in the first-ever appearence of 'PUSS and BOOTS', a strip that was to almost equal 'I SPY' in it's ability to impress and amuse me.......as far as I am aware, this was JOHN GEERING'S first-ever widely seen comics work.

----Note the LOGO here: the battling pair look friendly and appealing here;----this was swiftly changed to the much more famous pic of them snarling at each other!

what with KEN HARRISON'S 'KINGS of the CASTLE' heralding in another eventually-to-be-major comics talent, old 'SPARKY' sure backed some winners in this period.

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01 Jun 2008, 08:59
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great seeing the first Puss and Boots :D

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01 Jun 2008, 18:02
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'SPARKY' issue232, [JUNE 28, 1969].

I SPY versus the INCREDIBLE MR.X; [part 8 of 8];

'Super-Spy's in a stew.....Hic! Hic! ACHOO!

SYNOPSIS: MR.X, aboard his gigantic robot SUPERSPY, returns to central LONDON after vanquishing the BRITISH ARMY. Approaching the BBC HQ, he demands a microphone in order to make a WORLD BROADCAST. Meanwhile, I SPY, [imprisoned inside the mobile robotic WAR-MACHINE], makes his escape via mechanized hacksaws, and sets about 'gumming up' SUPERSPY'S central fuel supply with tins of 'super sneezing powder' and 'hiccup pills' ['POWERFUL'].....

Radio listeners listen intently to MR.X'S live broadcast, which goes: 'THIS IS YOUR NEW SUPERBOSS, MR. X.....I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.................HIC!'

MR.X. [his authority now reduced to ridicule by the public] is surprized as I SPY flees the sabotaged ROBOT, which now acts erratically and out-of-control, sneezing violently, and visibly loosening at the seams as it approaches a '200 FEET DROP'.

Plummeting to the cliff-bottom floor, SUPERSPY is now in very poor shape indeed, but still MR X manages to steer it ahead.........however, I SPY power-rockets [with mega-boxing-glove ramrod attachment in front] ahead, totally obliterating MR.X'S mega-construction, which ends up as a vast pile of armour-plating, nuts, bolts and springs....

All this drama has given I SPY a sore head, and he suitably pops a pill......however, this proves to be wrongly chosen [being of the aforementioned' HICCUP-inducing variety]------and our titular hero is last seen bouncing off into the distance.......


The final chapter in this vigorous, vital tale is essentially a straightforwards slapstick affair, tying all the loose ends up nicely, in a well-rounded, satisfying conclusion. Interesting how the BBC is actually depicted as such, with BROADCASTING HOUSE clearly recognizable..........very unusual in comics like 'SPARKY' to actually name-check the BBC [a more common device was that of 'NIRDLE NETWORK', sometimes used in 'PUSS and BOOTS'.

This very ambitious [certainly for a comic like 'SPARKY' in the late 60s] epic tale delighted and enthralled my 7-year-old self like no other comic-strip story has ever done, before or since.....perhaps I was at an age where I was deeply impressionable, but for whatever reason, the understated, pared-down style of LES BARTON in this instance delivered a breathtaking, all-out fantasy spectacle, that I far preferred to the more accomplished work of contemporary WATKINS or DAVE SUTHERLAND.


The final frame sees MR.X [represented by his right arm bearing the legend [on a placard]: 'I SHALL RETURN'.---- I SPY doesn't bother to check to see if MR. X has survived or not. Very unusual motif of PILLS run throughout this saga.........also, who is 'CLIFF', [again, arm only seen] who hands MR X the BBC mike?-------is it CLIFF RICHARD or CLIFF MICHELMORE? [this was 1969.]


I SPY'S DEVICES: powered hacksaws, internal ROCKET-ENGINE, power boxing-glove. with: tinned 'sneezing powder' and 'hiccup pills'.


'THE END FOR NOW! NEXT WEEK A GREAT NEW I SPY ADVENTURE!'





-------------------more to follow....see ya then!!!!!!

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07 Jun 2008, 16:17
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-------what exactly MR. X had intended doing with the world [had he conquered it] was never made clear, and no sooner had I SPY tied up the loose ends in the previous towering epic, his skills were called upon once again, in a second 8-PART ADVENTURE.

Although the series was never again quite to reach the surrealistic, slapstick heights of the MR. X 'X-TRAVAGANZA',-----I personally feel the strip peaked early---- the remaining stories in the initial run kept a consistently high standard of imagination and gags, and the strip was to evolve further, culminating in the very bleak, apocalyptic final serial, that contained virtually no humour, being a sombre, more intruiging MYSTERY tale.


I SPY: the SECOND EPIC SERIAL: 'I SPY and the FANTASMAGOR DIAMOND HUNT'.


---------the strip changes direction again, this time featuring a globe-trotting yarn, the closest the series ever got to reaching 'INDIANA JONES' territory...this tale is a more episodic, stream-of-consciousness affair, that nevertheless retains the vital, dynamic essence this strip was steeped in in the early days.


'SPARKY' issue 233:JULY 5, 1969: 'SSSSH! SOS......I Spy's in distress!'


'FANTASMAGOR DIAMOND HUNT' part one of eight:

SYNOPSIS: ORIENTAL SPY MAHAIREE YOGI approaches SPY HQ travelling via RUMBLE, his INDIAN ELEPHANT. BOSS, meanwhile, summons I SPY to base.....MAHAIREE, meanwhile, lassos BOSS with his 10-foot long, animated BEARD [I kid ye knot!] demanding from him a mysterious map..........he is interrupted by the returning I SPY, however, and the INDIAN FAKIR SPY unleashes a killer python, which I SPY neutralizes with his handy 'how-to-tie-knot' book.....

-----MAHAIREE flees, as I SPY frees the trussed-up BOSS, who produces a photo depicting a 10-foot high diamond, the world's biggest, brightest, sharpest, most priceless gem.............and the stolen map reveals the gem's location. I SPY resolves to stop MAHAIREE, blasting his way through SPY HQ in haste, and the FAKIR atop his mighty elephant charges our hero full-on, catching [and returning] a CARNAGE SHELL I SPY has despatched. Now, the charging elephant trundles full-on towards I SPY, about to crush him.......


NOTES: I SPY is first seen bizarrely sunbathing on the beach, and picks up a nearby 'shellphone'. Arch-villian of the piece MAHAIREE YOGI [I STILL don't know if this name was a subversive moniker 'slipped in' by the scriptwriter!] cuts a suitably sinister dash; all elaborate diamond-encrusted turban, exotic moustache.......and that ANIMATED BEARD........a welcome piece of WHIMSY injected into the proceedings.

MAHAIREE somewhat resembles a portly MR. X, and suitably exudes the right degree of measured menace.............the photo depicting the DIAMOND is very different to the one that actually appears in the tale later! Nice dynamic ACTION set-piece at the end begins with I SPY RRRREVVVVVVING into action......


I SPY'S DEVICES: 'shellphone', SHELL-BLASTER, motorized wheels.


'How can I SPY get out of this one? Read next week's SPARKY and find out!'

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20 Jul 2008, 07:38
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Hooray, I was just thinking it had been far too long since your last synopsis :)


20 Jul 2008, 13:22
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Thanks, Andy....I certainly haven't given up in my quest to include the entire ' I SPY' run......I had a bit of 'writer's block for a few weeks, however...........I'm fine now, though.....I'll aim for around 3 episodes a week from now on.

'SPARKY' issue 234, JULY 12, 1969:

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------full written synopsis of above episode will follow shortly.

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23 Jul 2008, 12:10
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SYNOPSIS [of above scanned episode]; 'the FANTASMAGOR DIAMOND HUNT' [part 2 of 8]:


'This Sssssh! guy's in a fix...........he's been hit for SIX!'

I SPY deals with the urgent, oncoming threat of MAHAIREE'S elephant, 'RUMBLE' by releasing the old 'pet-mouse-in the-pocket' routine, causing the ORIENTAL SPY to career into a bypassing dustcart. I SPY pursues his quarry, who ends up 'cubed' in a nearby 'rubbish baler'. Wheeling back to SPY HQ with MAHAIREE suitably in tow, the dreaded villian works his HYPNOTIC skills on poor BOSS, who K.O'S our hero with a sturdy chair....

---------the elephant RUMBLE is summoned, and the unconcious I SPY is used as a 'ball' in a bizarre outdoor CRICKET MATCH......quite literally 'knocked-for-six', he is happily equipped with his 'everything-proof' helmet, and ROCKETS skywards, seeking out MAHAIREE, who has left BRITISH SHORES via 'magic carpet;: complete with BOSS and RUMBLE onboard!

--------however, as I SPY approaches , MAHAIREE commands his elephant to drop BOSS over the ALPS which loom perilously below......



FOLLOWING last weeks episode, which quite naturally as an 'opener' had to take time out to establish necessary plot elements, this week's outing is a refreshingly straightforwards slapstick excursion, with random, but nevertheless entertaining visual set-pieces. The CRICKET MATCH in particular is an absurdist delight, complete with MAHAIREE'S elephant wearing CRICKET CAP for the occassion!

-----significant in the 'I SPY' saga inasmuch that the strip leaves the shores of old BLIGHTY for the first time, this serial contains much 'magical' high-jinks from MAHAIREE, ----slightly in keeping with 'SPARKY'S' 'whimsical, more recent past, and a departure from the technology-heavy MR X. previous outing.

FRANCE is indicated far below by a TEX AVERY- like sign, that dwarfs the EIFFEL TOWER!

I SPY'S DEVICES: powered motor-wheel [with hat-exhaust], cannon [unused]'EVERYTHING-PROOF' helmet [a favourite, that one!] hyper-JET-ROCKET capabilities, and 'SUPER-SPY DETECTOR'.


'WHAT CAN I SPY DO NOW? Don't miss NEXT WEEK'S Spine-tingling tale!

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27 Jul 2008, 13:24
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'SPARKY' issue 235, JULY 19, 1969.

'the FANTASMAGOR DIAMOND HUNT' part 3 0f 8:

'SSSSH! Much to their relief.....that bull's now BULLY BEEF!'

SYNOPSIS: MAHAIREE rather sadistically drops BOSS to his 'dyings below', though I SPY recklessly rescues him via handy power-winch, causing poor BOSS to become dragged up the SNOWY PEAK of a nearby mountaintop. I SPY, now in pursuit of the ORIENTAL SPY, blasts the same winch which snags MAHAIREE'S magic carpet....

------unravelling rapidly, baddie and elephant plummet earthwards, however, a 'spare' carpet always comes in handy, and further magic is worked as MAHAIREE 'snake-charms' the unravelled wool, causing his pursuers to crash-land below. Once freed, I SPY and BOSS blast off to the RAJAH of BUNICURRY'S lavish palace, hoping to secure their own map of the DIAMOND'S location.

MAHAIREE is lurking-in-wait, however, and unleashes a dangerous batch of savage TIGERS, causing the duo to leg it........a bellowing BULL is tormented next, charging towards I SPY and BOSS, which is duly despatched [in non-PC 'pressed beef' form] and handily fed to the tigers!
Finally entering the PALACE lobby, our heroes approach a slumped figure, who turns out to be MAHAIREE in disguise, who activates a DUNGEON TRAPDOOR......


MORE dynamic high-jinks as the tale shifts GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION on an almost arbitary basis. The 'BURNICURRY PALACE' is splendidly realized in a stunning establishing shot, and the brace of TIGERS are menacingly, very effectively rendered. The old 'ANVIL-behind-the-toreador-cape' routine is somewhat reminiscent of old BUGS BUNNY/DROOPY animated frolics, and there is a nice visual running gag as I SPY and BOSS incongrously exchange hats for a time.


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above; some non-PC elements in the treatment of the bull, that was typical of COMICS FARE almost 4 decades ago.

I SPY'S DEVICES: lassoed power-winch [twice], internal ROCKET ENGINE, handy patented BLACKSMITH'S ANVIL.

'MAHAIREE WINS AGAIN!' What lies in store for I. SPY and BOSS SPY? FIND OUT in next week's SPARKY'

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29 Jul 2008, 12:16
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'SPARKY' issue 236: JULY 26, 1969.


' I SPY and the FANTASMAGOR DIAMOND hunt', part 4 0f 8.

'Poor MAHAIREE wasn't countin'.........On bobbin' about on top of a fountain!'

SYNOPSIS: The diabolical Oriental spy MAHAIREE YOGI has sent I SPY and BOSS plummeting into the depths of a deep 'bottle prison' within the RAJAH'S PALACE......poor BOSS takes the brunt of the fall, and the RAJAH himself has been imprisoned there, also.
Typically mercilessly, MAHAIREE starts flooding the pit, and I SPY responds with his handy patent INFLATABLE DINGHY, which works fine 'til the captives bump their heads on the cell ceiling....

---------I SPY'S shell-blaster proves an underwater damp squib, but his aquatic DRILL works wonders, causing cascading tonnage of WATER to rain down on MAHAIREE and his elephant, who were in the process of escaping outside. MAHAIREE is left high-but-not-dry like a waterborne ping-pong ball suspended by a jet of water from his ELEPHANT'S trunk......leaving him dazed on the ground, as I SPY retrieves the map revealing the whereabouts of the DIAMOND.
MAHAIREE makes a dash for it, but is thwarted by I SPY'S handy 'super liquid-cement' blaster, leaving the baddie suspended rock-like like a living statue.

I SPY and BOSS depart for the final epic stages of the hunt location, approaching a vast jungle wilderness.




A right-rollocking entry into this tale with slapstick-a-plenty, this concludes the somewhat disjointed, episodic first half, clearing the way for a more satisfying, sustained final four instalments.
MAHAIREE'S pet elephant, 'RUMBLE' announces his departure from the story ; 'I' m leaving! This chap [I SPY] is too good for me!'----a shame, as this character was welcome comedy relief. In all honesty, there are more than enough events and scenarios to cram into this tale without making room for an ELEPHANT!

Looking at this now, it's incredible the sheer scale of events that are packed into these pages: I reckon that today, such an episode would more than likely be spun out over 6 or so pages.This episode ends with a wonderfully comic tableaux of I SPY and BOSS [sporting 'BOY'S OWN' pith helmets] casually leaving a motorway that abruptly transforms into a lush, lavish JUNGLE setting: this episode is also unusual in that the final frame 'previews' a scene from next week's episode: in this case, that of MAHAIREE escaping his concrete 'tomb' via ANIMATED BEARD.


I SPY'S DEVICES: inflatable dinghy, SHELL-BLASTER, aquatic drill, 'super liquid-cement' blaster'.

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'MORE THRILLS -NEXT WEEK!

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04 Aug 2008, 12:02
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''SPARKY'' issue237: AUG 2, 1969.

I SPY and the FANTASMAJOR DIAMOND HUNT [part 5 of 8]:

'S-s-s-super weedkiller can't .........kill that m-mighty MAN-EATING PLANT!'

SYNOPSIS: I SPY and BOSS enter trecherous jungle TERRITORY, following locations given in the map, which gives clues as to where the DIAMOND'S whereabouts are. MAHAIREE, meanwhile, escapes his 'rocky tomb' via his handy animated beard, and careers ahead with HIS map.

Flying overhead on his flying carpet, he mystically charms a vast MAN-EATING PLANT into attacking his opponents; I SPY'S weedkiller spray is tastelessly spat out, and they are wholly swallowed. I SPY manages to burst free with a powerful motorized thrust, however, and the following jungle density is duly removed as effective obstacle, via the agent's ultra-powerful CIRCULAR SAW.

UP AHEAD, MAHAIREE removes a 'DEATH SWAMP' sign, and supported by concealed stilts, lures I SPY and BOSS into an engulfing QUICKSAND, which is neatly removed by hi-power 'SUPER PUMP'. MAHAIREE once again races forwards towards a secret caveside door outlined in the map, but he is thwarted by I SPY'S handy ejector-'ITCH BOMB' , and he is last seen tied up in a very resrticted state by his own beard.


the second half kicks off with much outlandishly dynamic sight-gags, nicely spliced with the erratic silliness of which the strip was celebrated. This final burst of activity is essentially an extended, elaborate chase-scene set against a constantly changing exotic backdrop. The action stops only to pause for the neccessary introduction of I SPY'S heavy-duty, much-needed devices, and is typical of the sheer spirit of vitality which embodied early editions of this comic-strip.

The extremely powerful 'SUPER-PUMP' that so effectively despatches a jungle SWAMP reminds me of a similar idea in 'TOPPER'S' 'SEND for KELLY', which used a story that utilized a vaccum-like machine that sucked in entire lakes, transferring the contents into powerful globes of 'water-bombs'.

I SPY and BOSS retain their PITH HELMETS for the duration of this episode.

I SPY'S DEVICES: 'super-weedkiller' spraygun, powered unicycle, ultra-powerful circular saw, 'POWER-PUMP' swamp-remover, and 'ITCH-BOMB' device [ejectable].


'PSST! NEXT WEEK- ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN'

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12 Aug 2008, 10:39
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'SPARKY' issue 238: 9 Aug, 1969.

'I SPY and the Fantasmajor Diamond Hunt'; [part 6 of 8]:


'I Spy gets quite a fright....at the Abominable Snowmen's APPETITE!'

SYNOPSIS; I SPY and BOSS enter the 'cave of mysteries', as indicated on the map, with I SPY'S searchlight sweeping ahead. MAHAIREE, meanwhile, struggles free from his own entangled beard, and catches up with the duo as they inspect a hostile river of LAVA. The baddie trips them up [via animated beard] and I SPY saves impending doom with his all-purpose telescopic hat: which MAHAIREE utilizes as a handy 'stepping-stone'!

The nasty agent alters an ''ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN' signpost for an 'EXIT' one, and up ahead, the pair are confronted by two vast, imposing YETIS: SHELLFIRE proves to be a convenient snack only for the SNOWMEN, so I SPY handily feeds them on a diet of shells, as they approach an exit to the caves. Mahairee is spotted running in the snow-bound distance, so I SPY launches his final shell at him, which lands [by parachute] bouncing off MAHAIREE'S bonce....


---------MAHAIREE boots the offending shell into the distance, where it explodes. The SNOWMEN don't take too kindly to their 'snack' being destroyed, and the giant YETIS swing poor MAHAIREE around like a demented yo-yo....... leaving I SPY and BOSS to complete the last leg of the search.



Hot on the heels of last week's JUNGLE JAPERY, the setting shifts once again to a wonderfully evocative, dark, dank subterranean cave-world [which stretches from lush jungle territory to ice-bound wasteland!]......this episode is probably my favourite entry in this partcular serial, inasmuch as it is a fine example of lunatic comedy and absurdist situations grafted onto an unfolding yarn of traditional melodrama: the hallmarks of early 'I SPY'.

The utter lack of pretension, in favour of dynamic, novel use of surprize and plot-twisting was always a welcome facet of the strip's winning formula, and this is an excellent, typically 'no-holds barred' example.

The KONG-like appearences of the gargantuan SNOWMEN, [who are thwarted by the sight of their own reflections] are untypical, but effective fantasy elements in this episode.

I SPY'S DEVICES: powerful searchlight, extendable, telescopic hat [with hook], SHELL-BLASTER [with generous supply of SHELLS], extendable mirror, and parachute-launched shell.


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ABOVE: the strip, having ran for around 6 months at this point, has taken on more elaborate, fantasy-bound plot elements that have evolved considerably from the earlier gag-heavy entries.


'NEXT WEEK I SPY finds the Diamond- AND LOSES IT AGAIN!'

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14 Aug 2008, 09:19
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'SPARKY' issue239: AUGUST 16, 1969.

'I SPY and the FANTASMAJOR DIAMOND HUNT', part 7 of 8:

'Mahairee's scheme's flopped.......his magic bubble has POPPED!'


SYNOPSIS: MAHAIREE, still in the process of being violently spun round by the mammoth SNOWMEN, is catapulted far ahead of I SPY and BOSS, who enter pursuit via motorised ski-kit. They inspect a MAHAIREE-shaped hole, but the villian is on an elevated snowbank, who then engulfs the pair with a giant snowball, who plummet perilously down a 'BOTTOMLESS CREVASSE'....

........MAHAIREE, meantime, drifts upwards and onwards within a large 'magic bubble' he has conjured, heading towards the final destination outling the DIAMOND'S whereabouts: namely, the 'TWIN PEAKS'.

Deep within the CREVASSE, I SPY and BOSS tumble to their imminent doom within the giant snowball, which I SPY is in the process of melting through with his 'flame gun'. Now free but falling dangerously, I SPY'S harpoon-launcher saves the day, and they fly off towards the TWIN PEAKED mountain, bursting MAHAIREE'S balloon on the way, causing him to career into a ground-level snowbank.

Now at the summit of the 'TWIN PEAKS', I SPY deduces that one of the snow-covered PEAKS is in fact the quarry, just as BOSS carelessly leans against it, causing it to plunge earthwards, just missing MAHAIREE......who, at last, gets his mitts on the world's most powerful DIAMOND.....


the final quarter of the tale is cast against the final backdrop of snowy ice-capped wastes, [TIBET/ARCTIC/ wherever] and provides a suitably spectacular location in this scene-shifting extravaganza. Nice slapstick touch as I SPY halts the perilous descent within the 'bottomless crevasse' [BOSS notes that 'it ain't so bottomless', a reference to lethal stalactites that thrust upwards, and JAB his posterior momentarily].

The diamond itself is revealed as a 10-foot-tall, sparkling, dazzling gem, possessing properties of 'cutting through rock like butter', and concentrating the sun's rays into a super-hot burning beam.

A consistent, fantasy-laden outing that delivers the usual high quota of gags and mayhem, pointing towards the final climax, in a tale that is more esoteric and ethereal than is usual in the canon.

I SPY'S DEVICES: 'motorized ski-kit' [incorporating propellor-thrust], hyper-powerful flame-gun, harpoon and cable, internal rocket-engine.


'HOW CAN I SPY WIN IT [the diamond] BACK? FIND OUT NEXT WEEK!

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18 Aug 2008, 17:20
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'SPARKY' issue 240; AUGUST 23, 1969:

' I SPY and the FANTASMAJOR DIAMOND hunt' [8/8]

'Trouble and toil....... I SPY'S ON THE BOIL!'

SYNOPSIS: MAHAIREE dons groovy 60s sunshades to inspect the booty of the lustrous, dazzling giant DIAMOND.....instantly making him the richest, more powerful person on the planet. I SPY and BOSS ski down from the PEAK SUMMIT, but are thwarted by dazzling sunbeams reflected by the gem; and I SPY opts to powerdrill [underground] ahead.....his SHELL-BLASTER, however, wilts like wax from another radiant beam-blast.

MAHAIREE conducts a quick 'circular tour', and I SPY and BOSS once again plunge under the EARTH'S CRUST, only to re-emerge by handy harpoon. The oriental SPY is revealed to have decapitated mountaintops and blasted holes clean through solid rock with the DIAMOND'S laser-like properties. Rocket-blasting ahead, I SPY goes into attack offensive, veering directly towards MAHAIREE and his dazzling beams....


---------a handy water-cooled power-shower temporarily does the trick, but our hero is seriously entering 'boil' mode, so his final trick, [an extending mirror] causes MAHAIREE'S pot-belly to sizzle, obliging him to dip into a nearby icepool. The fiend's lethal animated BEARD emerges to 'sort out' I SPY, who responds by ssslicing off the offending appendage.

As I SPY and BOSS set off into the shimmering distance [with DIAMOND in tow], MAHAIREE sits, defeated and dejected, lamenting the loss of his MAGIC BEARD.


The concluding chapter of this second [and final ] 8-week opus radiates with the usual sheer vitality that was always a joy to behold in the early serials. The DIAMOND itself only really comes into it's own in this final episode; and poorold MAHAIREE only gets to enjoy it's untold POWER for a short while only. Virtually everything in this chapter is rendered in long-shot [by neccessity], establishing an exotically elaborate, distant fantasy world.

Peppered with suitably comedic [arachnoristic, but hilarious] utterances: 'Quivering curry trees!' /'Home we are going for a hot bowl of curry, then I take over the world!' adds a further period charm to the outlandish acts, which reflect a vibrant late 60s sensibilty that still entertains today.

For all his relentlessly devious, diabolical acts, the reader feels somewhat sorry for poor MAHAIREE in the final frame, as he looks utterly lost and despondent following the loss of his cherished BEARD.

I SPY'S DEVICES: skis [standard],underground drill, shell-blaster, harpoon with cable, internal rocket-engine, motorized wheels, water-cooled shower, and extending mirror.


'THE END [for now] NEXT WEEK-----the TARTAN TERROR!'

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20 Aug 2008, 16:38
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time for a short break, viewers.....the following [highly expensive] items are available at the foyer for your consumer delight:

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22 Aug 2008, 10:49
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I SPY: the story so far:

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above: detail from a late 1973 'SPARKY' that saw the publication of 3 hithero unseen early 'I SPY' episodes: these appeared well after the second BRIAN WALKER b/w and colour runs, and may well have originated from 1969 unpublished LES BARTON pages; these 'lost' I SPY episodes will be covered later.
' I SPY' sometimes appeared more like an item from the pages of US import 'MAD' Magazine than a UK British comics entry of the late 60s; certainly evident in the above example.

------the two epic-length serials:'I SPY vs. the INCREDIBLE MR.X' and 'FANTASMAJOR DIAMOND HUNT' represent the pinnacle of the early strips, and set the benchmark for the remainder of the initial run to aspire towards. Though 'INCREDIBLE MR.X' remains [for me at least], the definitive 'jewel in the 'I SPY' crown, 'FANTASMAJOR' is a more than fitting companion piece, with it's lavish, exotic settings and equally ambitious sweep. While it somewhat lacks the sheer escalating paranoia of the first serial, it makes up for lost ground in other areas, namely in satirizing 'BOY'S OWN' melodrama, and it's welcome injection of whimsical MAGIC into the outlandish events.


The 16 weeks that these two serials ran for represents the timeperiod that the strip truly defined and established it's recognizable traits: 'cliffhanging' 'con't-next-week' teasers, highly inventive, often surprizing gadgetry, and a sense of danger and drama relentlessly driven forwards by an ever-increasingly absurdist storyline, conventional in some respects, but still very unlike the majority of scripts knocked out in the UK comics scene in this very late 60s period......'I SPY' remains a true one-off, particularly for a traditionalist publisher like DC THOMSON, and is wholly untypical of the standard type of character/concept turned out by that company.


The following early 'I SPY' serials would continue for a few more months yet, and though the remainder were undoubtedly more scaled-down and modestly-mounted, the usual high standard of comic invention----and, equally importantly, diversity-----would remain healthily in place, with further surprizes and directions to be explored, the early strip was far from finished flexing it's creative muscles at this point........

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25 Aug 2008, 20:04
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