It’s been many years since the last official new Garth adventure appeared in the Britain’s national Daily Mirror but his many fans still hanker for his return – and now an unofficial continuation of the character, written and drawn by Bill Storie, coloured by Ant Jones, is being published online, with the blessing of the newspaper.
Exclusive to the Garth fan page over on Facebook, the story is an unofficial sequel to the final Garth story from the strip’s original run, “Z File”, first published in 1997 and recently re-published by the Mirror as part of its long series of Garth reprints, which began in 2011.
The team behind this new adventure are aiming to post an episode once a week.
Garth, the brainchild of Stephen Dowling, made his Mirror debut in July 1943 when, with his ship torpedoed, he was washed ashore with amnesia on to a remote island. Long before the last of his 165 adventures in 1997, he had become firmly established as one of Britain’s most iconic fictional heroes, reprinted in France, Norway, Australia, India, Spain and many other countries.
Over the years, Mirror readers learned he had been adopted by a Scottish couple who found him on a Shetlands beach. Garth went on to become a navy captain and military genius, then discovered his ability to travel through time after finding a ringed helmet that gave him that power.
It’s not the first time Garth has been given new life, of course. Writer / artist Huw J Davies (“Huw-J”) was approached by the Daily Mirror in 2007 to update Garth for the 21st Century – we interviewed him about the project for this site – but the project, published on the Mirror’s web site, hit problems, which he discussed with Alex Fitch on one of his Panel to Panel podcasts and he subsequently re-imagined his interpretation for his graphic novel Freeman.
The Mirror has also toyed with a return of the character to its print edition on many occasions and several creators have pitched ideas including myself and Bill after STRIP Magazine publisher Ivo Milicevic expressed interest in reviving the character. Artist John M. Burns was considered for a Sunday Mirror-published revamp of the character and Pete Nash, creator of Striker, the long-running football strip for Mirror rival The Sun was courted to revamp the character by the Mirror’s then strip editor Ken Layson.
John Cooper, who’d worked with Pete on the early stories of Striker, was attached to draw the strip, which would have seen Garth cast as a British intelligence agent with PTSD, leaving readers wondering if his memories of past incarnations were real or imaginary.
Martin Baines, longtime colourist on Garth’s Mirror reprints (who also colours “Buck Ryan” for the paper) also pitched ideas and artist John Higgins drew some Garth samples that gave the character more os a 2000AD-styled edge.
Bill’s new adventure is 100 per cent unofficial but as a longtime fan of the strip he’s ensuring there’s plenty of respect for the original run, and it looks great, as the samples published here show
Along with this Garth project, Bill is also working on a new strip for the digital anthology 100% Biodegradable starring future female warrior Rourke, a character created by Liam Sharp and I as a creator-owend strip for Marvel UK back in the early 1990s. The story will appear in 2016.
• Read the Mirror’s reprints of Garth at: www.mirror.co.uk/fun-games/cartoons/garth
• Ant Jones, former Garth writer Philip Harbottle and others recently created a Garth Wiki, which includes past story outlines and more. You can read it here
• Spaceship Away Issue 32, published in 2014, features an article by Ant Jones and Claire Barnes on “lost” Garth adventures. Back issues are available here. Spaceship Away also published a number of Garth reprints, re-mastwered by John Ridgway
Garth © 2015 Mirror Newspapers