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DIED - 1984


Valiant ran for 713 unnumbered issues until it joined with Battle in October 1976. Through it's life span it was paired with Knockout (Feb.1963), Smash (April 1971), TV 21 (October 1971), Lion (May 1974) and Vulcan (April 1976).

A Valiant issue 1 with the free gift of the 'League Ladders' and 'Pocket Rocket' would be worth around £100 today.

Two notable feature in the early issues of Valiant were Percy the Problem Child, drawn by Roy Wilson. This strip consisted of a boy setting quizes and puzzles for various characters. Some of these were reprinted in the Buster Puzzlebook Specials in the seventies. And Big Fred and Little Ed which was in fact a reprint the first Asterix strip except they changed the names of the main characters and made Asterix and Obelix ancient Britons instead of Gauls. The first proper English version of Asterix the Gaul was published in Britain in 1969. Valiant ran the Star Trek comic strip after it incorporated TV 21 in 1971 - Clive Huggett

I can remember my sister getting the first issue for the league ladders because she was football crazy but it was me who read it from cover to cover. First stories were Captain Hurricane featuring the mighty Captain Hercules Hurricane and his batman Maggot Malone who fought the Germans single handed in the second world war and won; Kellys Eye - Tim Kelly who found the good eye (a big diamond which he wore round his neck) and had to find the evil eye and destroy it to save the world; Legge's Eleven - Ted Legge who got a football team of misfits together and they were brilliant! Chubby Mann the overweight goalie who was colour blind so they had to wear zigzag stripped shirts so he would recognise who his team mates were, Pierre Gaspard the french acrobat who used to run down the pitch on his hands with the ball on his feet, the psychic Tearaway twins from Australia who knew what the other was thinking & Algernon Simms who knew every single rule in the football rule book and sorry I can't remember the other 5, but they won the cup!

The Steel Claw with his remote control hand, The Wilde Wonders, two boys found living wild somewhere in the jungle I think and brought back to England. They were the best at every sport imaginable and had their own language (the only word I can remember is 'iggle'). And Gabby McGlew (his yarns aren't true) was the comic strip. Sorry I can't remember any more, it was 40 years ago, but a few years ago I found the first annual issued and had to buy it - I was amazed how much I could remember from it. All the best - Lizzie

If I can remember the first issue of Valiant was in 1964 or 1965 and the free gift was a Curly Wurly followed by a flap banger which was a card with brown paper in a triangular shape which when swung with your arm flapped out making a bang like a paper bag bursting. The first issue had a lord of some kind who was a spy during the war. I might be wrong but I think he was codenamed Warlord.

In the Valiant the other strips were; Adam Eterno, The Nutts, The wild wonders were the Wild boys who were found on an island and brought to England by a coach in athletics.

Captain Hurricane used to have a raging fury and bent tank barrels and called Germans sausage noshers. There were many German phrases used such as Achtuge der Englanders, Gott in himmel and Tommy Atkins every week.

Adam Eterno could travel through time to help people (remember Quantum leap) and could not die, he always wore a tattered type of poncho like clint eastwoods character but it was much more tattier, where he ended up next he could not tell but you found out next week. Cheers - Donald

The Steel Claw - His name was Louis Crandall and if he got an electric shock he went invisible !!!!! - Brenda Olford

I started reading the Valiant back in April 1963. I was at my Grandmothers, in bed with Chicken Pox, and she went out and bought me a copy of the Valiant. I must have read that comic a hundred times and of course I had to get the next week’s copy just to see what happened. That edition had the first episode of the Wild Wonders and from then on I was well and truly hooked. I read every edition from then until mid 1969. I still have them somewhere in a box but I haven’t looked at them for ages. These are just a few of the characters and strips from memory.

You have to start with Captain Hurricane, a marine fighting in WW2. A great lummox of a man, possessed of superhuman strength when the mood took him. His Ragin’ fury always saved the day. Maggot Malone, his crafty little Cockney batman, often tested his patience to the limits (cue another Ragin’ Fury). His vocabulary was as colorful as his character. The Germans and the Japanese were called every conceivable name under the sun. Like another famous captain (Haddock) he had a wonderfully rich line in expressions Sink Me Sideways, Galloping Gangplanks, Stow Me Hammock, Blistering Bulwarks - there were hundreds more like that. And, I think I’m right in saying, although the bullets flew everywhere, not one person was ever killed. It was his fists that always settled things.

Kelley’s Eye the Eye of Zoltec, a large sparkling diamond-like object which Tim Kelly wore on a chain around his neck. It made him (or occasionally whoever had stolen it from him) immortal. You would have thought that should have settled matters once and for all but no, there was always enough going on for there to be some doubt as to whether the Eye would truly save him. There was a good period where he hooked up with a weird old Doctor who had a time machine which, of course, went wrong. I often wondered why he wore the eye outside his black polo neck. He would have had it stolen a lot less often if he’d kept it hidden under his shirt.

Legge’s Eleven. Rockley Rovers finest in the days before substitutes were allowed. In addition to those named in Lizzie’s post above, the 5 missing ones were 1) Lord Darcy Lozenge, the master of the long through ball 2) Griffith Jones, a fast talking Welshman 3) Nippy Norton, an ex-poacher who could dodge his way past anything 4) Badger Smith, a stocky little thug with 12 o’clock shadow who could barge his way past anything and 5) Angus McPhee, a Scotsman who could head the ball like a bullet and had size 18 feet. Games were invariably won or lost in the closing seconds.

The House of Dolmann. God what imagination. Dolmann was, in public, a master-puppeteer and owned a shop where he sold and maintained mannequins. In private, of course, he was master crimefighter, aided by his dolls (robots, really) who were all controlled from buttons on his belt. The dolls were the stars, they each had individual strengths. There was Togo, the Japanese Wrestler, Raider, the Commando, Elasto, who could stretch his arms and legs (for someone reason the others never really liked Elasto), Mole, Joker, Micro ( a tiny walking audio bug) and my favourite, Metallo who could morph into anything.

The Steel Claw. Following a Laboratory accident (a wonderful universal clich Laboratory accidents invariably turned you into a super-hero or arch-villain), Louis Crandell found that if he received a jolt of electricity i.e if he stuck his fingers in an electrical socket - it made him invisible except of course for his artificial steel hand. Not quite invisible, then. Naturally he was co-opted into the Secret Service. Much darker, both in looks and style, to the rest of the Valiant there was never much humour to old Louis. Things got more interesting when they fitted his hand with a bunch of gadgets. If he was really an agent they should have put a martini stirrer at the end of his little finger.

Mytek The Mighty. The best issue of the Valiant - hands down was when they relaunched it in late 1963. It was the first one with the league tables given away and two new series, Legge’s Eleven and Mytek the Mighty began. They may have called it Issue 1 again but there were definitely issues of the comic before that. Anyway, Mytek was a giant mechanical ape, something like 50 metres tall and the spitting image of King Kong. He was invented by Professor Boyce as a way of keeping the Askari (an African Tribe) under control. Mytek was their God so basically they became very compliant when they saw him. He had a control room inside his head, an access panel behind his ear and solar panels under his fur on his back. The problem was that Boyce’s assistant, Gogra, stole Mytek. And then Boyce’s friend Dirk Mason stole it back. Only to lose it again. And then Mytek gained artificial intelligence and Gogra built his own robot It got a tad sillier (!) later on when real monsters appeared (invariably radiation had leaked somewhere) but I suppose they always had to have something of Mytek’s size for him to fight.

The Wild Wonders. Rick and Charlie Wild who became unbelievable athletes as a result of being left to grow up and fend for themselves on Worrag, a remote Scottish Island. Adopted by Mike Flynn, part of Britain’s Olympic swimmer team, it turned out that they weren’t just athletes they were good at all sports. And, after they became good at all sports they were then called on to save a town or two. They had their own language, could talk to animals and were hugely superstitious.. Best moment when Charlie leapt clean over the long jump pit. I’ve always wanted to see that.

Jack O’Justice. In the days of highwaymen, long before policemen were recruited, Jack and his girlfriend, the very fetching Moll Moonlight, were out there keeping law and order. Probably my favourite series because creatively it was so inspired. The highwaymen were no problem for Jack it was the mad scientists and alchemists living in dark castles on small islands in the middle of lakes who turned their butlers into deranged flying birdmen or brewed potions to summon the dead and invariably protected themselves with massively intricate traps. I often thought they should have filmed it Indiana Jones from the early 18th century.

Of course there were many, many more..

I’ve no idea what the situation is with Comics today. Do they still exist Whatever, the Valiant was both a fabulous diversion and splendidly imaginative. Nowadays it would be viewed as hugely un-PC but the morals and lessons were basically sound and they never changed. Good won out over evil, persistence and creative thinking would pay off, life was always better with a laugh and no matter how bad things got, there was always going to be a way out. I loved it to bits and look back on it with a real fondness. -
David Terrill

The last story in Valiant Annual ’68 (or was it ’69?) was called 13 Grimm Street. It involved a down on his luck reporter “Hack MacKenzie” whose car had broken down, in his own words “Grimm Street”. Whilst walking home, he bumped into a man who disappeared into number 13. At the time, he was unaware the man had stolen valuable artefacts. The police arrived and did not believe his story as number 13 had been destroyed in the war. Hack is under pressure from his editor to produce a worthwhile story for the newspaper. He knows from a “reporter’s hunch” that this is something worth pursuing. His lack of worthwhile news and fruitless attempts to nail the master villain result in his being fired from the newspaper. He cannot prove Sir Chilton Harmsworth, an eminent historian, is responsible for the theft of historical artefacts. A colleague asks a favour to report on a function that night. Hack obliges, but it nearly costs him his life.
The reporter goes to Grimm Street and finds number 13 is actually a hologram actuated by Sir Chilton for the purpose of the robberies. Sir Chilton is embittered by the fact an ungrateful Government has paid him virtually nothing for his researches.
His next act is to steal the Crown Jewels by sneaking into the Tower of London by means previously undiscovered tunnels. Having gained access into Sir Wilton’s house, Hack marvels at the historian’s artefacts. Sir Wilton confronts him with a cry of “Gah, you meddling fool”, poisons the reporter with a barbed whip and ensures Hack ends up in the basement.
Luckily for Hack, most of the poison has been absorbed by his clothing. But still feeling drowsy, he perceives a Stone-Age man and woman in the fire-light. Fearing for his life, Hack picks up a burning log to defend himself, only to realise that the figures are wax effigies on an actual Stone-Age site discovered by Sir Wilton. Hack’s act of self-defence starts a disastrous fire at 12 Grimm Street which leads to Sir Wilton being killed. Hack, however, has recovered an amount of artefacts for which the authorities are grateful. As a “reward”, Hack is reinstated and promoted to Chief Reporter with his discoveries as “front page news”. - John Walker

I remember Jack O' Justice pitting his wits against his eternally slippery arch enemy: The Spectre. Tales that unravelled with a thrill of cerebral suspense. Nothing compares today. - Del Keen

If you have any other information on Valiant please drop us a line

 

 


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