artist for Jack O Justice / Highway Days in Valiant / Sun

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tolworthy
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artist for Jack O Justice / Highway Days in Valiant / Sun

Post by tolworthy »

I'm reading old Jack O Justice strips from Valiant, and loving every page. Does anyone know the artist? The small villain faces look to me like the work of Dudley Watkins, but I am no expert. This example is from 8th December 1962.
Image
Also, did the original (from the old Sun comic - does anyone know the rough date?) have speech bubbles? Some of them look very squashed, as if they were not in the original: I know a lot of early stories didn't have them. Thanks for any help!

tolworthy
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Re: artist for Jack O Justice / Highway Days in Valiant / Su

Post by tolworthy »

Also, sorry for going on, but it intrigues me: obviously the images have been widened in places. yet the descriptive text, which fills the extra width, looks very old fashioned, so I assume that has not been changed. i read that the original Sun comic was large format: was the text originally in much smaller print?

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philcom55
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Re: artist for Jack O Justice / Highway Days in Valiant / Su

Post by philcom55 »

Hi Tolworthy. I think the Jack O'Justice page you posted is a reprint of Dick Turpin and the House of Secrets, drawn by Geoff Campion. This story originally ran in Sun from 8th Feb 1958 to 17th May 1958. To begin with the main Highway Days/Dick Turpin artist was Hugh McNeill, drawing in a very different style from the humorous approach he later became famous for on Harold Hare; subsequent stories were drawn by a variety of people including HM Brock, Eric Parker, Edgar Spenceley, Eric Bradbury and Jesus Blasco. As far as I'm aware the Jack O'Justice strip began to feature newly commissioned stories in Valiant from late 1963 with all-new artwork by Jack Pamby, Mike Western and Tom Kerr (who also went on to draw the modern-day adventures of Jack's Great-great-great-grandson Jack Justice).

For what it's worth I have Hugh McNeill's original art for a couple of unreprinted Highway Days pages and these feature plenty of word balloons - though strangely enough the captions are still written in pencil, suggesting that they may have been typeset for the printed versions.

tolworthy
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Re: artist for Jack O Justice / Highway Days in Valiant / Su

Post by tolworthy »

Many thanks! As recent as that? I wonder how many readers recognised the story with different names from just four years earlier :) I had hoped it was older, because of the non-PC stereotypes: the black guy is a rubber lipped coward, dwarfs are evil, etc. It's good to see that in some ways comics (and pop culture as a whole) has advanced. But in other ways i think these stories could show most modern comics how to do it. So much happens on each page: that "talking head" scene was a rarity. There's so much action, such well designed frames. The text is a bit verbose, but even there it doesn't take up too much space and is charming and interesting.

It's funny how everyone has different tastes. Judging by the content of most adventure comics, I guess that most boys prefer sports and war, with a side order of school stories. But those leave me cold. For me, it's Jack O' Justice (and Janus Stark) all the way. Even though JOJ is a gothic cliche from beginning to end I can't get enough of those castles and characters.

Thanks again for the info.

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philcom55
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Re: artist for Jack O Justice / Highway Days in Valiant / Su

Post by philcom55 »

Of course the popularity of Dick Turpin goes right back to the 'penny bloods' of the 1830s with their enticing combination of gothic horror and the Wild West, and many of the early strips that appeared in Sun and Valiant were directly adapted from text stories which had previously appeared in the famous library titles published by the likes of George Newnes and the Aldine Company.

Dick's retainer 'Beetles' is an interesting character in that he's probably one of the first black adventure heroes in British popular fiction (just as Moll Moonlight was one of the first all-action female heroes). Although Beetles occasionally displayed some unfortunate aspects of racial stereotyping he also saved the day more than once, and it's noticeable that he became much less of a caricature in the later Sun stories drawn by Jesus Blasco.
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tolworthy
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Re: artist for Jack O Justice / Highway Days in Valiant / Su

Post by tolworthy »

philcom55 wrote:many of the early strips that appeared in Sun and Valiant were directly adapted from text stories
Ah, that explains it. The best stories are so rich in detail that it seems like the writer really knew his genre then worked extra hard. If they simply chose the best of an existing text only series then that's why.
philcom55 wrote:he became much less of a caricature in the later Sun stories drawn by Jesus Blasco.
That's good to know.

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paw broon
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Re: artist for Jack O Justice / Highway Days in Valiant / Su

Post by paw broon »

Bear in mind that the pocket library series, "Thriller Picture Library", featured a number of Dick Turpin issues, a fair number of which were originals in as much as they were not reprints from other comics. This link is to a gallery of covers:-
http://www.bookpalace.com/PicLibs/TPL/INDEX.HTM
Also, that thing with descriptive text and word balloons seemed to happen a lot in British comics - and before anyone picks me up on it, I know that other countries' publications had both on occasions but to a lesser extent, whereas in British comics the mix of the two seemed at times to take over the panels. It's a style that has a variation with the text box being beneath the panel which contains the illustration and (a) word balloon(s).
I'm with you on Jack O'Justice and Dick Turpin. And I confess to a particular enjoyment of Janus Stark stories. I'm also a comics fan who prefers my comics without war or sport, although Bunter has been and remains a great favourite, both Magnet prose and the comic version.

tolworthy
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Re: artist for Jack O Justice / Highway Days in Valiant / Su

Post by tolworthy »

paw broon wrote:Bunter has been and remains a great favourite
I haven't reads any Billy Bunter since the 1970s, I'll have to keep my eyes open. Thanks for the tip!

While my general taste is "war, sport and school bad, interesting locations good", I love good writing regardless of the genre. I remember some girls comic annuals from the 1950s with great boarding school yarns. And I was surprised recently by how much I enjoyed Luck of the Legion. I never would have guessed that was my kind of story, but each of the Eagle Annual LotL stories was a delight. So many interesting characters and situations, and just beautiful art.

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Shaqui
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Re: artist for Jack O Justice / Highway Days in Valiant / Su

Post by Shaqui »

Looking at the original post, I came to the same conclusion it is Geoff Campion, before scrolling down to see Phil had beat me to it...

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