This is the cover for the final issue of Action, dated 12th November 1977. There are some that might think it wasn’t a moment too soon. Sales were in sharp decline following the ‘re-launch’. The art was, with few exceptions, suffering from a lack of decent artists, and the comic was suffering overall from a lack of decent stories.
“Hell’s Highway” was replaced by “The Loner“, a sort of maverick British cop thing. It ran from the 9th April to the 17th September. Looking back, I don’t even remember it. “Roaring Wheels” and “Double Dynamite” both drew to a conclusion on the 18th June, to be replaced on the 25th June by “Jinx Jackson“, a story about a news photographer who brings disaster with him wherever he goes, and “School for Survivors“, which was pretty much a Lord of the Flies for the 1970s. Both these stories would have had more potential before the ban.
Pat Mills was touting the idea of “Jinx Jackson” way back when Action first began, but it saw the light of day far too late to be any good. The art was irredeemably awful. “School for Survivors” promised much, but delivered very little. The best thing to be said about both stories is that the covers Carlos Ezquerra provided for these strips on many occasions, were without doubt far superior to anything that appeared in them. Until I began researching this site, I’d forgotten both of them.
On the 24th September, “Slater’s Steamer” replaced “The Loner”. You wouldn’t have known, because the cover announcing the start of “Slater’s Steamer” didn’t appear until the week after. ‘Start reading it today!’ looked pretty stupid in front of episode two. “Slater’s Steamer” was set in Britain, following an atomic accident. There is no technology, and law has broken down as usual. In among this, a couple of blokes get enthusiastic about traction engines. I remember strangely enjoying this story and its premise at the time, so I may elaborate on this after I read it again.
It goes without saying that ‘Exciting news inside!’ is never a good sign in comics. The three cover stories of the final issue continued in Battle Action whilst everything else came to a sudden halt. The endings of “Lefty” and “Hook Jaw” were left open for a possible return, but neither were ever seen again in a weekly comic.
Exciting news… your comic has just been dumped.
Text © Moose Harris
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