Jag was one in a long line of short lived boys comics from Fleetway, lasting just under a year after it’s 1968 launch. Maybe it’s tabloid format (like the Eagle for all except it’s last six issues) was going out of style, maybe it was just one too many comics in a sea of comics, but either way it’s fondly remembered by many.
“The Indestructible Man” is a new one on me, published before I was a twinkle in the milkman’s eye and never again since. It’s written by Scott Goodall (OBE), an old hand at this sort of thing, and by the time this was a concern he’d written Captain Hurricane and Thunderbirds amongst others. The illustrations are from thirty years veteran Jesus Blasco, one of many Spanish artists who made a good living from British comics of the day. At the time he’d done great work for Tiger and Ranger (The Steel Claw was one of his) and would go on to bring his action packed style to the likes of Action and 2000AD. A good pairing, then, and I was excited to read this lost gem.
Straight off it’s clear that a lot of thought went into the strip, with Mark Dangerfield a modern day crime fighter who has been alive for hundreds of years. Originally entombed in an Egyptian pyramid as punishment, he stayed alive die to mystical plot devices, and emerged in the sixties with special powers and an urge to fight bad guys. Like you do.
The first fifty or so pages are taken from Jag, and as such there’s a lot going on, as each strip was originally equivalent to a double page spread, though with no panels wasted. Each page has sixteen plus panels to tell part of what become five multi part stories as Dangerfield uses his powers to defeat criminals and a would be dictator. They’re the sort of stories that hold up perfectly well as long as you don’t think too hard about them, and Goodall gives Dangerfield certain limitations so that he can’t just march in and beat everyone up.
In addition to the weekly stories we also get reprints from the three Jag annuals, and these are by different creative teams as well as being way less dense, with 5-7 panels the norm. As expected, they don’t come up to the standard of the parent strip, but they’re still a fun enough read, even if Dangerfield acquires new powers when the plot demands it.
“The Indestructible Man” is yet another quality release from Hibernia. I’ve been reading the digital version but can see that the scans they’ve used are incredibly clear, with the text easily readable thanks to very clear fonts, despite it all coming in smaller than originally published. Blasco’s art is superb, with Goodall writing very entertaining yarns all tied together with a hero that would have made a good onscreen character.
A splendid release, and a great opportunity for fans of classic UK comics to own something deservedly risen from the ashes.