At the end of last year I revealed a ‘lost’ British comics character, Jet Jason, created as a British Airways mascot and initially brought to life for Fleetwings, the official magazine of British Airways Junior Jet Club by writer Donne Avenell, and artist Dave Gibbons in the early 1980s, before he started drawing mainly for big US publishers.
Until now, I knew the character featured in issues of Fleetwings from 1979 until 1983, but I didn’t know what happened after that. As the Spring 1983 issue only featured a pin-up rather than a comic strip, I surmised that was maybe the last of Jet Jason, as by then Dave would have been too busy with his comics work for the US market.
However, a further issue of Fleetwings has now come to light and it does contain a “Jet Jason” strip, published in the Winter 1983 issue, drawn by “S. King“, whose style may be similar to Dave Gibbons’ work – but there’s no denying that the strip is by another hand.
Could this be the same mysterious “S. King” who drew the “Dan Dare” strip in the 1977 2000AD Summer Special, whose identity remains elusive even today?
However, this does rather suggest that there is more “jet Jason” to be uncovered in the Summer 1983 issue out there, as this would fit the publishing pattern seen in 1981 and 1982)…
There is one bit of good news for fans of Dave Gibbons Jet Jason fans though -as this newly-found issue includes the chance to spend £2.50 on a Fleetwings Jet Jason pencil wallet and two ballpoint pens (one blue, one red).
Jet appears to be saying “Look out Stellar!….that space monster….”, while his female companion Stellar appears to reply saying “He only wants to talk, Jet” – prompting robot Digit to pipe up “A friend in need is a friend indeed!”
Could this be a contender for the most obscure piece of merchandise featuring art by Dave Gibbons ever produced? Have you got anything that can beat it?
“Jet Jason” was written by Donne Avenell, whose many credits include War Picture Library, “Adam Eterno” for Lion, The Phantom and the newspaper strip Axa, and told the adventures of the square-jawed blond space hero Jet Jason, who operated alongside glamorous, shrewd and intuitive sidekick Stellar, aided by the logical and unemotional robot dog, Digit.
Interviewed about his work on the strip for the Summer 1980 edition of Fleetwings, Dave Gibbons told feature writer Janet Fealy how much he liked illustrating SF strips as “I can do it all from my imagination and, as long as the machines appear workable and look good, you can do anything you like.
“Whenever I look at a spaceship drawing, I always want to know what the machine looks like inside, where the cabin is and how much room there is.”
JET JASON CHECK LIST
Jet Jason appeared in Fleetwings, the official magazine of British Airways Junior Jet Club as follows:
1979 – July (featured here on downthetubes); October/November (here on Richard’s Boys Adventures Comics blog)
1980 – Spring (More here on Boys Adventures Comics); Summer (More here on Boys Adventures Comics); Winter (More here on Boys Adventures Comics)
1981 – Spring (More here on Boys Adventures Comics); Summer (More here on Boys Adventures Comics); Winter (More here on Boys Adventures Comics)
1982 – Spring (More here on Boys Adventures Comics); Summer (More here on Boys Adventures Comics); Winter (More here on Boys Adventures Comics)
1983 – Spring (More here on Boys Adventures Comics)
With thanks to Shaquille le Vesconte for the the Dan Dare note